Imagine being thrust onto a national stage in front of tribal leaders from across the country. That opportunity happened for National UNITY Council Co-Presidents Joseph Davis, Akimel O’odham, and SuSun Fisher, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, when they were invited to do a presentation at the 75th Convention of the National Congress of American Indians in Denver, Colorado. The convention drew hundreds of tribal leaders from reservations, communities, and Alaska Native villages. Fisher and Davis spoke to tribal leaders about UNITY’s successful track record of empowering Native youth and developing youth councils in the U.S.
“NCAI was very eye-opening for me because it gave me an opportunity to witness for myself all of the moving parts of that organization. To be in a huge room with hundreds of tribal leaders was such a sight. So when it came time to present on UNITY, I was very nervous. I feel it went very well though. We had the opportunity to explain our mission, as well as the different programs we offer, and we announced the dates for both the mid-year and the national conferences. In closing we had the chance to express our gratitude, as well as our excitement in working with the newly elected NCAI Youth Commission to make even bigger changes for youth in Indian country,” said Davis.
“This was my first NCAI conference. I was blown away by the support from the tribal leaders present. They made us feel comfortable and welcome. I enjoyed networking in the youth track facilitated by the NCAI youth commission. I’m looking forward to future collaborations with the newly elected officers of the youth commission. Thank you NCAI for your service to Indian country and for allowing us to share the opportunities UNITY has to offer and how tribal leaders can invest in Native youth,” said Fisher.
UNITY Co-Presidents and attending Executive Committee members assisted trainer LorenAshley Buford, UNITY Program Manager, in her presentation kicking off the 2018 Youth Track with the NCAI youth commission leadership. In true UNITY spirit, the Executive Committee broke the youth participants up into small groups to assist them in creating their own community campaigns to address Native youth Challenges. The Executive Committee thrives in their peer-leadership roles, helping break youth out of their comfort zones and empower them to be future change agents. UNITY also participated as an exhibitor in the NCAI Marketplace. The National Congress of American Indians, founded in 1944, is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.