Youth Councils of Distinction
This category features youth councils and other Native American youth groups who distinguish themselves by taking the initiative to serve their communities and make a difference through their work, example and leadership. Use the Contact form to let the Web editors know about deserving youth councils or youth groups to consider for future updates.
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, AZ - On November 15, UNITY Youth Councils gathered to participate in the 33rd Anniversary of the Orme Dam Victory Days Parade, an annual celebration of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Representing UNITY were Mesa Strength Youth Council, Mountain View Native American Club, AK Chin Youth Council, San Carlos Apache Youth Council, and Yavapai Apache Youth Council.
The Orm Dam was proposed project in the 1970's that would have flooded the Fort McDowell Yavapai reservation and forced the community from what remained of its ancestral homeland.
Individuals from the community spearheaded an opposition movement that rallied the support of fellow tribal members. By referendum in 1976, the community members voted 144 to 57 against selling their land to the federal government for the dam site. Then on November 12, 1981, after consulting with the Fort McDowell Tribal Council and the Governor’s Advisory Committee, Interior Secretary James Watt announced that Orme Dam would not be built. Each year a tribal fair, parade, rodeo and other events are held to commemorate the tribe's victory.
Source: Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Website
St. Paul Island, AK - - UNITY welcomes its newest affiliate, the Aleut UNITY Youth Tribal Council, representing the Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island, one of five volcanic islands located in the Bering Sea.
The group joined UNITY last September after the resolution was unanimously passed by the Aleut Community of St. Paul Tribal Government to establish this new youth council. The council will support the youth by providing leadership training, guidance, and experience opportunities to better prepare them for the important roles as the tribe’s future leaders.
The youth council Bylaws outlines its objectives, which are to:
- provide a collective voice and represent the tribal youth in all matters that concern them
- serve as a means of mobilizing and coordinating the actions of youth, other community members and organizations toward positive goals
- promote the development of future tribal leaders
- help solve problems facing tribal youth
- coordinate school and community service projects, and
- provide opportunities for the youth to interact for fun and fellowship.
Phoenix—UNITY welcomes its newest affiliate - the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD)! The group recently held a UNITY Youth Council Training to learn about the organization and receive assistance in starting its youth council. Nearly 40 people attended the training, which was sponsored by the PUHSD Native American Education Program, including students, parents, advisors, and UNITY staff.
The event began with ice-breakers and team-building activities provided by members of the Mesa Strength Youth Council and the Morning Star Leaders Youth Council. Participants enjoyed a spaghetti dinner thanks to the PUHSD NEA Program. Lynnann Yazzie, Project Coordinator of UNITY’s Today’s Native Leaders project, provided guidance for establishing a UNITY youth council. The Morning Star Leaders Youth Council and Mesa Strength Youth Council shared information regarding meetings, activities, and community involvement.
The White Mountain Apache Youth Council held its annual inauguration of newly elected officers on September 4 at Hon-Dah Resort & Casino.
The inauguration event included the swearing in of fourteen (14) new officers including Co-Presidents Rashaan Stover and Mandy Dazen, Vice President Jade Cosay, Secretary/Treasurer D'Marco Slick, Public Relations Chance Hill, District I Reps Robinson Foster and AnDru Henry, District II Reps Shasta Dazen and Manuel Dazen, Jr., District III Reps Maria Walker and Shania Opah and District IV Reps Ignatius Lupe, Jr., Eric Mitchell, and Leona Tate.
Phoenix, Arizona—UNITY youth were selected this year as the distinguished Grand Marshals for the Native American Connections Parade, part of the annual Native American Recognition Days (NARD) celebrated in the Phoenix-metro area every October and November. The parade, which took place on Saturday, October 11 and is sponsored and organized by Native American Connections - a Native American service and development organization in the Phoenix area, is a highlighted event of the more than 25 NARD events that will take place this year.
UNITY youth councils from around the state and surrounding communities showed up in force to represent and celebrate Native youth. Members of the Morning Star Leaders Youth Council, Yavapai-Apache Nation Youth Council, White Mountain Apache Youth Council, San Carlos Apache Youth Council, Hualapai Nation Youth Council, Cesar Chavez High School Youth Council, Mesa Strength Youth Council, and Mountain View High School Native American Club took part in the special day. Several hundred parade watchers cheered from the streets of downtown Phoenix as the parade grand marshals, float entries, bands and tribal royalty entertained and waved to the crowd.