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NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN YOUTH LEADERSHIP AWARDS PROGRAM NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS

UNITY’S 25 Under 25 Designed to Celebrate and Mentor Youth Leaders

Mesa, AZ – The United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (known as UNITY) is one of the nation’s largest Native American youth organizations in North America. At its recent annual midyear conference in Washington DC, UNITY officially launched a new awards program that honors and recognizes Native American and Alaska Native youth. The 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards program is designed to celebrate the achievements of young Native people between the ages of 14 and 25 who embody UNITY’s core mission and exudes living a balanced life developing their spiritual, mental, physical and social well-being.

In addition to being recognized, each awardee will receive special training by UNITY over the period of one year that is designed to build on their individual achievements. The inaugural class will be recognized as UNITY ambassadors, serving as stellar examples of Native youth leadership in Indian Country today.

Nearly 200 Native youth were in attendance at the official announcement, which included national leadership who came to show and voice their support of the new program. “Twenty-five of you will be the top tiers we put forward as the aspiration for everybody…my family always says…it’s your choice! Make good choices…honor these individuals who have made good choices” said Loretta Tuell, UNITY trustee and chairperson.

Distinguished guest speakers also included Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Raina Thiele, Associate Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Joe Dukepoo, Vice-President of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in California, and John English, CEO of Heartland Energy Partners and son of long-time UNITY supporter, former Congressman Glenn English of Oklahoma.

Representative Kirkpatrick, who represents a congressional district with twelve Arizona tribes, shared that she grew up on tribal land and spoke Apache as her first language. With encouraging words and advice for Native youth, she shared her support for the new program, “I just want to congratulate (UNITY) on your 25 Under 25 program honoring those top 25 leaders.”

Also showing support of UNITY’s announcement was Raina Thiele, Associate Director at the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Theile offered her congratulations to UNITY on behalf of the White House stating, “the Obama administration strongly supports any efforts to empower our youth and to engage our Native youth and that is why I am here today.”

The UNITY 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards program application is now available on UNITY’s website, http://www.unityinc.org. The call for nominations will close on May 1, with the announcement of the inaugural 25 Under 25 class being formally announced in mid-May. Honorees will officially be recognized at the 2014 UNITY National Convention at the Portland Convention Center on June 28, 2014 in front of more than 1,500 peers.

“UNITY will nurture a new train, expanding the opportunity for youth to build a stronger foundation in their quest to be successful in both the Native and non-Native worlds. With everyday threats to tribal sovereignty, and to our very existence, the timeliness of this announcement cannot have been better. I raise my hands to the UNITY organization for the design and implementation of this program” said Vice President Joe Dukepoo. He further stated, “I am very proud to support a program that will give the youth knowledge and wisdom to be strong leaders. Strong leaders that can address issues we face throughout Indian country, while continuing to make our ancestors proud and assuring a sustainable future for our tribes.”

Those interested in nominating an individual for the recognition program are encouraged to visit the UNITY website at http://www.unityinc.org or call UNITY headquarters at (480) 718-9793 for information.

About UNITY, Inc.

United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering 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. UNITY has impacted more than 150,000 Native Americans through its programs since 1976. For information about UNITY, Inc. please visit http://www.unityinc.org.

 

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