Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Today's Native Leaders: Report on Spokane Training Session


This past weekend, November 6, 7, 8, the Skyline Ballroom at the Red Lion Hotel in Spokane, Washington was teeming with the bursting energy of Native youth from various parts of the country, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana and Arizona.

The Today’s Native Leaders training, sponsored by a cooperative agreement between UNITY and the OJJDP, brings together tribal youth to provide them with the tools to plan and implement community service projects in their home communities.

More than 140 youth considered options for projects such as culture nights that would include those who are not Native in order to foster greater understanding and acceptance of diversity; a community main street beautification and make over project that would make Main Street in a small tribal community aesthetically appealing; and, a community garden project where youth would learn how to plant and cultivate crops that could be harvested and given to local elders and youth as part of a commitment to healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyles.

On Friday, youth spent time getting to know one another and learning about UNITY. The Museum of Northwest Arts & Culture conducted a hands-on workshop that taught the youth the basics of corn-husk bag weaving while all woman drum group Rose Creek from Couer d’Alene shared songs.

A highlight of the training session was the cultural sharing that took place among the youth at their request. They elected to use several time slots slated for ice breakers and team building exercises to share oral histories, songs and dance. This helped each group to learn from one another and strengthened relationships.

At the Saturday luncheon, TNL welcomed Tommy Ghost Dog (Burns Paiute/Oglala Lakota), from WeRNative. He shared words of encouragement and praise with the youth, conducted ice breakers and games, and gifted WeRNative SWAG to winners of trivia and small games.

The Native Project from the Spokane urban Indian community had a large group in attendance and they are planning a night of cultural sharing with all cultures that reside within the Spokane metro area in order to educate others about diversity and build respect among cultures.

Bright and early Sunday morning, 20 groups presented plans for their community service projects to those in attendance. Along with describing the process and philosophy behind their project selection, they fielded questions and comments about their plans.

To end the event in a strong and supportive way, Yakama elder Patsy Whitefoot spoke to the group and shared blessing songs for safe journeys home and new friendships made.

This training session marked the debut of TNL’s new student trainers. Part of UNITY’s commitment to Native youth is to provide opportunities for those who want to assume roles as trainers or facilitators. Nataanii Hatathlie and Leslie Locklear served as co-trainers for the workshop and were well received and successful in walking the participants through TNL’s Community Service Project curriculum.

TNL and UNITY would like to thank Lead trainer Robert Johnston, Lead facilitator and DJ Emcee One; Co-trainers Nataanii Hatathlie and Leslie Locklear; Peer leaders Tessa Baldwin (UNITY Northwest Region representative), Darien Carley (UNITY Midwest Region representative), Lisa Chavez (UNITY Western Region representative), Leticia Gonzalez (UNITY Pacific Region representative), Caitlyn Barnhill, Dallas Pinkham, and Cheyenne Weston for their enthusiasm, positive energy, mentorship and contributions to an outstanding weekend. We also honor and thank the Native people who call the Spokane area home.


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