December 13, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Melissa Kaszuba
Mesa, Arizona – United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) proudly announces a star-studded lineup for its upcoming Midyear conference, including hip hop artist Christian “SupaMan” Parrish, acclaimed actor Kiowa Gordon, visual artist Tomás Karmelo Amaya, and the newest Netflix star Charley Hogan, who landed her first lead role as the character Dawn in “Frybread Face and Me.” The 2024 UNITY Midyear Conference is set for February 2 – 4, 2024, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. An advanced registration rate of $375 is available through January 15th. The rate increases to $450 on January 16th.
The Midyear Conference will engage Native youth nationwide through workshops, breakout sessions, and cultural sharing. UNITY is now accepting applications to present a speed workshop; sign up here.
College and Career organizations are encouraged to reserve their exhibitor booths here.
Attendees and their chaperones can register for the full conference here.
UNITY is excited to host several renowned trainers and presenters passionate about supporting community service and advocacy throughout Native Country. This year’s theme is “Advocacy In Action,” where attendees will engage in hands-on planning to develop an advocacy campaign to address a community concern of their choice. Through a variety of programmatic activities, team building, and collaboration, our Native youth leaders will actively engage with one another, brainstorming and building on new ideas to create change within their respective communities.
UNITY has been fostering the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth, and helping build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement since 1976.
“Supaman” Christian Takes Gun Parrish – As a member of the “Apsaalooke Nation”, Supaman makes his home on Apsáalooke lands in Montana. “Supaman”, a Native American dancer and innovative hip hop artist who has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope, pride and resilience through his original art form. He has been the recipient of the 2017 MTV VMA award for “Best Fight Against the System”! He is also a Nammy “Native American Music Award” winner, “North American Indigenous Image Award winner, and 7 “Tunney Award winner. He was awarded The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award in Canada for best video and was voted MTV’s new Artist of the Week! His nominations brought him home awards for Best Hip Hop Album and Best Producer for the Indigenous Music Awards. His videos have received millions of views on youtube and facebook which has put him in high demand touring extensively throughout the U.S.A and internationally. He has performed for Google at the Google headquarters in San Francisco. He recently was asked to audition for America’s Got Talent and the Broadway play Hamilton. He is currently on tour around the country spreading the good medicine of resiliency, love, laughter and inclusion.
Kiowa Gordon – Kiowa is a Hualapai actor with award winning film and television credits. He stars as “Jim Chee” in the series DARK WINDS for AMC, based on the book series from Tony Hillerman, and produced by George R. R. Martin and Robert Redford. Born in Berlin, Germany, Kiowa moved to the States shortly thereafter to live on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Peach Springs, AZ and moved around quite a bit growing up until settling down in Phoenix, AZ where he landed the role of Embry Call in THE TWILIGHT SAGA. In 2013, Kiowa won Best Supporting Actor at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco for his role in the indie film, THE LESSER BLESSED. On the small screen, Kiowa had a Series Regular role in the Sundance original series, THE RED ROAD, starring Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson and Martin Henderson and Guest Starred on the Netflix series FRONTIER. In 2019, Kiowa starred in 2 features which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival – BLOOD QUANTUM (multiple festival nom and winner) from director Jeff Barnaby and CASTLE IN THE GROUND (TIFF nominated for best Canadian feature) from director Joey Klein. That year he also had roles in the Netflix comedy LADY DYNAMITE, a recurring in the technologically groundbreaking series THE LIBERATOR from A+E Studios for Netflix, and a recurring role on the CW series ROSWELL. More recent work includes a lead in the feature TWO EYES, directed by award winning filmmaker Travis Fine which was the closing film at Outfest 2020, and guest starred in Taika Waititi’s RESERVATION DOGS (FX).
Tomas Karmelo Amaya, Native Wellness Institute – Born for the A:shiwi, Ralámuli, and Yoeme tribes, Tomás Karmelo Amaya co-owns a creative agency and production company named KANION (@kanionpro), founded in 2018, with his wife Siera Begaye (@siera.amaya). He is also a creative director, film director, writer, visual artist, and wellness educator whose work focuses on creating opportunities for healing by embracing intentionality and Indigenous teachings. He was raised in West Phoenix, AZ on the ancestral homelands of The O’odham, Yavapai, Piipaash, and Yaqui tribes.His work has been published in Vogue, The LA Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Complex among several others. His client work includes collaborations with Born x Raised, Nike, Apple, Levi’s and Adobe. In addition to his roles as a creative professional, he also is a facilitator/trainer with The Native Wellness Institute, a non-profit who works to heal communities from the lasting impacts of intergeneration and historical trauma.”When we think of visual medicine, we think of healing through stories. There’s intentionality, there’s a healthy collaboration with those that we work and co-create with. There’s that element of not only being trauma-informed but, as my mentor Jillene Joseph from The Native Wellness Institute explains, ‘we can be healing-informed as well.”
Charley Hogan – Charley is T’odiichiinii (The Bitter Water Clan) and Akohni Dine (Acoma Pueblo). She is a member of the Navajo Nation. Her maternal family is originally from Nazlini, Arizona and her paternal grandparents are from the Wheatfields, Arizona. Charley grew up on the Navajo Nation and in the urban city of Phoenix, Arizona. Her dual lifestyle of traditional and urban living, has provided her with Dr. Evan Adams’s motto: “Be excellent in Both Worlds”. Charley’s journey of becoming a professional actor began with her love of entertaining others. Charley’s first lead role is the Netflix feature Film ‘Frybread Face and Me’, where she is the title character. The film debuted at #4 in the top 10 of Netflix movies. Charley is not only an actor, but she is also a multimedia artist; her skills include drawing, painting, photography and music. She has developed quite a collection of her most memorable works of art, including writing and producing three mini amateur guitar and electric ballads. Her choice to become an artist has motivated her to continue to explore her creativity and skills. She not only has a keen eye for details in her art, but also details in the characters she portrays. Charley has become an inspiration for the Indigenous Youth in Native America, advocating for Environmental Justice, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relations and Indian Residential School trauma. Charley believes storytelling begins with our youth and society needs to learn to listen to our children. Charley Hogan is definitely a name to remember.
DJ and Stage Manager
Shawn Martinez “DJ Tribaltouch”
Shawn Martinez finished up his third season as Senior Director of Live Presentation for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. He oversees the strategy and execution of all in-game live production and entertainment elements for the organizations. Martinez’s leadership elevated the game day experience at the recently renovated Footprint Center, creating the best homecourt advantage in the NBA and WNBA.
Martinez played a pivotal role in the two-and-a-half-year development of the Suns’ ORIGINATIV platform, a symbolic turquoise City Edition uniform and basketball court honoring and celebrating Arizona’s 22 federally recognized indigenous tribes. The program and uniform details pay homage to the rich histories and cultures of the state’s Tribal Nations and celebrate their shared love of basketball.
Martinez grew up in Fort Defiance, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation and is an enrolled member of the Diné/Navajo Tribe. An athletic standout from Window Rock High School, Martinez continued his basketball journey at Fort Lewis College. He received his bachelor’s degree in communications and fine arts and launched an entertainment career under the stage alias DJ Tribal Touch.
Before joining the Suns and Mercury, his home state teams, Martinez spent 12 years with the Denver Nuggets and six years with the Detroit Pistons. An NBA veteran, Martinez has supported the strategy and execution of four NBA All-Star Games and produced both the 2021 NBA Finals and 2021 WNBA Finals in 90 days. Beyond basketball, Martinez regularly mentors Native youth and shares his indigenous roots and career journey at various events across the country. In 2022, Martinez performed at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to celebrate Native veterans and the official dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. As DJ Tribal Touch, Martinez has performed coast to coast at some of sports and entertainment’s biggest events.