UNITY at 16th Annual SAIGE Training & Youth Track
NIAGRA FALLS, NEW YORK – UNITY youth leaders and alumni participate in the 16th Annual Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) annual national training program youth track. The training took place on the traditional homelands of the Seneca Nation, the “Keepers of the Western Door.”
SAIGE was formed in 2002, and is the first national non-profit organization representing American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Federal, Tribal, State, and local government employees. “At SAIGE I was able to connect with Native youth from across the country while gaining knowledge about what it means to be a government employee. I am extremely thankful for having this opportunity to visit the homelands of the Seneca Nation, experiencing their warm hospitality.” – Mariah Sharpe, Colorado River Indian Tribes.SAIGE provides a forum on the issues, challenges, and opportunities of AI/ANs in the government workforce and works to foster a professional network among AI/AN government employees.
The annual training brought together over 300 professionals and Native students from across the country, “Honoring Our Nations: Building Strength Through Understanding.” The youth track featured a dynamic group of presenters, highlighting youth presentations from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Remember the Removal riders, NCAI youth commission, and UNITY. “I was honored to serve as a Student Leader for the SAIGE Training Program in the lands of Keepers of the Western Door, the Seneca Nation, my home. I was thrilled to learn more about career opportunities, networking, and skills for success with fellow young people.” – Rory Wheeler, UNITY Youth leader/Peer Guide
In attendance was UNITY’s Social Media Specialist, Jared Ivins-Massey. As well as UNITY youth leaders from our Earth Ambassadors environmental stewardship program, 25 Under 25 leadership award program, peer guide program, and National UNITY Council executive committee. “It has been a blessing being welcomed into the SAIGE family when I was awarded the Dallas Peterman Youth Leadership Award in 2018. I have definitely gained friend’s and family for life through this organization, and I look forward to continue to return and give back to SAIGE” said Jared Ivins-Massey.
“I had the amazing opportunity to be apart of the youth track at the SAIGE conference. My time there, I always knew that youth deal with powerful adversities that affect them individually, and each person from SAIGE encouraged us in the youth track to think of the future and ways we could contribute to society that would benefit our tribe, our families, and Indian Country. At SAIGE we learned to demonstrate power, our advisors guided us through high expectations and accountability. I overall felt how important it is to develop characteristics and build relationships among my peers, mentors, and attendees at SAIGE to create positive outcomes such as achieving social competence, appreciation for engagement opportunities, knowledge of government, and most importantly building new friendships.” – Shasta Dazen, White Mountain Apache
We thank the SAIGE organization and Joann Brant for providing Native youth this opportunity for growth.