This area of the site provides a listing of the UNITY Council of Trustees, staff and associates, and a brief historical overview of UNITY and its activities over the past 37 years of operation.
The UNITY Mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and to help build a strong, unified, and self- reliant Native America through greater youth involvement.
DEFINITION OF UNITY: UNITY is a national network organization promoting personal development, citizenship, and leadership among Native American youth.
UNITY has an impressive track record of empowering and serving American Indian and Alaska Native youth. UNITY has earned the respect of national Native American organizations, tribal leaders, and government officials.
UNITY's mission it to, "foster the spiritual, mental, physical and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth, and to help build a strong, unified and self-reliant Native America through involvement of its youth." In keeping with its mission, UNITY has served the leadership needs of American Indian and Alaska Native youth for 37 years. UNITY is a national organization with over 140 youth councils operating in 35 states and Canada. These youth councils represent thousands of Native American youth.
UNITY began through the efforts of J.R. Cook, a Cherokee from Oklahoma, who has worked with Native youth in leadership development for more than three decades. The organization grew from a small group of interested Indian youth in southwestern Oklahoma in 1976 to a national organization today with affiliated youth councils operating in 35 states and Canada.
UNITY evolved from a series of Indian programs that Cook directed. After a successful basketball coaching stint, Cook devoted a decade of his life to the Upward Bound project at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma. At that time, it seemed to Cook there was more pressure for Indian youth to fail than to succeed.
This four minute video describes some of UNITY's efforts to address important issues of concern to Native youth.
Loretta Tuell, J.D.
Landrum, South Carolina
Gov. Greg Mendoza
Gila River Indian Community
Darrell Mease, M.D.
Mary Kim Titla
San Carlos Apache
Cherry Valley, CA
Morongo Band of Mission Indians
The following story is from an April 9, 2014 UNITY news release.
Mesa, Arizona—UNITY, Inc. has named three individuals with extensive experience in Indian country to spearhead a national leadership initiative in partnership with the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). UNITY, an acronym for United National Indian Tribal Youth, is a national organization that promotes personal development, citizenship, and leadership among American Indian and Alaska Native youth between the ages of 14 - 24. With one of the largest and oldest American Indian youth leadership networks in North America, UNITY has 140 affiliated youth councils in 35 states. Youth councils are sponsored by tribes, Alaska Native villages, high schools, colleges and other community organizations.
Wendy Weston, Navajo, has been hired as the Project Manager for the National Intertribal Youth Leadership Development Initiative also known as “Today’s Native Leaders.” The Initiative is designed to offer regional and national trainings and learning opportunities for American Indian youth to increase positive outcomes in their school, community and family environments. Lynnann Yazzie, Navajo, will serve as Project Coordinator and Tami Patterson as the project’s Bookkeeper.