Each year during the National Conference, the National UNITY Council (NUC) gathers to vote on the Top Ten Issues facing Native youth across the country. Youth Representatives from the 325+ Youth Councils who make up the national network to discuss their regional priorities. The collective impact on youth led national campaigns reaches far beyond that of the UNITY membership. With each youth council working together across the Nation, youth are empowered knowing they are not facing these issues alone.
The NUC voted on these issues at the Virtual National Conference for Youth Councils to address during 2020-2021:
- Drug/Alcohol abuse
- Suicide/Self harm
- School Dropout/Education Disparities
- Cultural Identity/Blood Quantum
- Bullying/lateral violence
- Unhealthy home environment
- Human Trafficking/Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Lack of Positive Role Models
- Poverty/Unemployment/Lack of Resources
- Juvenile/adult incarceration/generational impacts of imprisonment
What Can Youth Councils Do to address these issues:
- Youth Councils are encouraged to share Prevention messages addressing drug and alcohol abuse.
- Youth Councils should share warning signs of suicidal thoughts and resources for persons with thoughts of suicide regularly.
- Youth Councils can encourage educational opportunities and encourage academic achievement.
- Youth Councils are encouraged to make efforts to Creating Belonging for all members, promote inclusion of mixed blood natives in your events and host events that teach and strengthen cultural identity.
- Youth Councils can have community conversations addressing lateral violence and focus on building positive mental health and self esteem for Native youth.
- Youth Councils should help raise awareness on creating healthy relationships and resources for safe places to seek help.
- Youth Councils can share information on how to know the signs of human trafficking, raise awareness on MMIWG and how to keep safe.
- Youth Councils should strive to be role models for younger generations and have guest speakers who Native youth can look up to.
- Youth can share creative ways Native youth have overcome community challenges such as poverty and host workshops on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
- Youth can openly discus the impacts on generational incarceration. The youth can also work with UNITY Peer Guides to host Town Halls on how to develop a personalized plan to create a safer communities.
If your local Youth Council is currently addressing one of these top ten issues, please share with us by emailing email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org today! We would like to share your community event with others to empower Native youth to be change agents.