UNITY Announces Newest Members of Earth Ambassadors Leadership Program
Mesa, AZ – The United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) has announced the first thirteen members of its re-established UNITY Earth Ambassadors Leadership Program. The environmental stewardship program was started in the 1990’s, but due to funding challenges, was suspended until this year when the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community agreed to provide partial funding for its return.
The new class will attend training sessions and informational workshops to increase their knowledge of environmental issues affecting Native America, learn to serve as an ambassador to increase awareness of the issues affecting the environmental quality on Native lands, and promote the efforts to address environmental concerns within the nation’s Native communities. Topics will focus on, but not limited to, recycling, conservation, regeneration, and restoration.
The 2015 class of the UNITY Earth Ambassadors Leadership Program includes:
- Henry Birk Albert, 16, Koyukon Athabaskan – Lake Placid, NY
- Kristine Baker, 16, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians – Belcourt, ND
- SuSun Fisher, 16, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians – Grand Ronde, OR
- Mariah Gladstone, 21, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Blackfeet – Helena, MT
- Wyatt Goggles, 20, Eastern Shoshone – Fort Washakie, WY
- Kenaba Hatathlie, 18, Navajo – Kirtland, NM
- Jessica McCool, 17, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians – Solvang, CA
- Xavier Medina, 16, Pascua Yaqui – Tucson, AZ
- Nadira Mitchell, 14, Navajo – Tucson, AZ
- Ryan Stiffarm, 15, San Carlos Apache / Acoma / Gros Ventre – Chandler, AZ
- Rory Wheeler, 17, Seneca Nation of Indians – Irving, NY
- Tomas WhiteAntelope, 24, Northern Arapaho / Lummi – Richmond, CA
- Erica Woody, 19, Navajo, Kirtland, NM
The newly selected ambassadors were nominated by a member of their community, meeting criteria that included demonstrating leadership potential, showing an interest in protecting the environment, and experience and participation in community service projects. The remaining twelve members, making a full class of twenty-five, will be announced at the upcoming National UNITY Conference taking place July 10-14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The new class of ambassadors will receive their initial training at the national conference.
“We are so pleased that this valuable and important program has made its return to UNITY, providing our Native youth leaders an opportunity to further enhance their skill set in environmental stewardship,” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. “The training they will receive over the next 9 months will include outdoor experiences, working with tribal elders in their respective communities and working with professionals in the field of environmental protection,” added Titla.
In addition, the ambassadors will be provided special opportunities, coordinated through UNITY, to take their message to tribal and government agency representatives, and lawmakers.