The Fort Hall Youth Council held a fundraiser earlier this month so they can attend the National UNITY Conference in Oklahoma City this summer. The youth Council held a Powwow on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation where are they set up a concession stand and held cake walks and other fun contests. Dozens of community members showed up to support the youth. The reservation is home to the Shoshone-Bannock tribes.
UNITY’s Executive Director Mary Kim Titla surprised the youth council by unexpectedly showing up at the pow wow. “I was in Pocatello for a speaking engagement at Idaho State University. I learned about the fundraising powwow and decided to show up and support the Fort Hall Youth Council. I was asked to say a few words. I thanked everyone for being there. I also encouraged community members to continue to support their youth. I encouraged the youth in attendance to get involved with the youth council and I commended the youth council for the great work they are doing,” said Titla.
An advisor for the Youth Council had this to say. “We are thankful Mary Kim visited our community! We were honored she said a few words of encouragement about our youth’s future. We all appreciate UNITY’s work with Native youth,” said Taylor Thomas, advisor to the Fort Hall Youth Council. Thomas is also a former Miss Indian World.
Later that evening, Titla spoke at the Native American Heritage Night event sponsored by Native Americans United at Idaho State University and the Diversity Resource Center.
“When people ask me how they can help Native youth, I tell them it’s very simple. All you have to do is care. It may mean greeting a young person with a handshake or simply asking them how they’re doing and how their day is going. There’s a saying, people won’t remember you for what you said, they will remember you for how you made them feel. Our young people need to know that they are loved, that they are special, and that they have a purpose in life,” said Titla in her keynote speech.
Students from Fort Hall performed that evening with singing provided by the Medicine Thunder drum group. Titla thanks Layha Spoonhunter, part of UNITY’s Inaugural 25 Under 25 Class, for inviting her to the event at ISU.