UNITY joined efforts with Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Center for Native American Youth to host the Generation Indigenous 2.0 Visioning Session last week in Los Angeles, California, which brought together thought leaders from nonprofits, foundations, other organizations serving Native Youth, as well as Youth Ambassadors for a planning session about the next phase of Generation Indigenous (Gen I). UNITY was represented Male Co-President Hamilton Seymour, Nooksack/Stz’ umimus First Nation, as well as Pacific Region Representative Tashoni Morales, Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi-Yokut Tribe/Western Shoshone, and UNITY’s Executive Director Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache.
During this day and 1/2 session, participants engaged in a series of focused, in-depth conversations to help further the Gen I vision, launched by President Barack Obama in 2014. Gen I is a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed.
“I was blessed to be in attendance. I think I contributed to this event by reminding everyone why this initiative that former President Obama created is so important for Native Youth. I was able to share my testimony on the opportunities this initiative made for me, and how I was able to grow as a person and a leader. Also, how this initiative ultimately helped me spark the youth from my tribe to continue with our traditional sports and culture, and how to live a drug and alcohol free life. All I can say is “thank you” to NAP, UNITY, and CNAY for hosting the event and making this meeting happen,” said Seymour.
“Going into the Gen-I conference I didn’t know what to expect but I immediately found out why I was there. Being able to share my thoughts and ideas with not only youth representatives but adults and the stakeholders was an amazing opportunity. I had the privilege to share how UNITY has helped me find my voice and how because of this organization I was inspired to make change within my community and how I aspire to inspire other youth to do the same. I was blessed to have made many connections that are willing to help the Pacific Region in any way possible and so that for me was a true blessing! Generation Indigenous 2.0 will open many doors for our Native youth by empowering them to use their voice and I think that was my main take away from this conference, was finding new strategies that will be beneficial for today’s youth and our future generations,” said Morales.
Other past UNITY participants also took part in the event including Nataanii Hatathlie of the Navajo Nation, Kaleena Stone, a Bishop Paiute, and Maddie Lamb, enrolled Muscogee Creek, who are all WeRNative Ambassadors.