UNITY Announces 2023 Native American Youth Earth Ambassadors

MESA, AZ – In celebration of Earth Day, United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) announced the 2023-2024 class of UNITY Earth Ambassadors. The environmental stewardship and leadership program, which began in the 1990’s, provides Native American youth with training sessions and informational workshops to increase their knowledge of environmental issues affecting Indian country.

The 2023-2024 Earth Ambassadors are:

  • Bronson Kainoa Azama, 22, Kānaka Maoli, HI
  • Derek Capitan, 24, Laguna Pueblo, NM
  • Spencer Watson, 20, Confederated Tribes Of Siletz Indians, OR
  • Jovi Williams, 18, White Mountain Apache, AZ
  • Evelyn Enos, 18, Akimel O’odham, Gila River Indian Community, AZ
  • Tia Butler, 19, Confederated Tribes Of Siletz Indians, OR
  • Anagali (Shace) Duncan, 20, Cherokee, RI
  • Sumaya Quitugua, 18, Acoma Pueblo, Chamorro, AZ
  • Liliana Mars, 17, Narragansett Indian Tribe, RI
  • Sareya Taylor, 21, White Mountain Apache, AZ

Through the program, the ambassadors will learn practical methods to raise awareness and engagement about the issues affecting the environmental quality of Native lands. The group also promotes efforts to address environmental concerns within the nation’s Native communities. Topics covered by previous cohorts have included recycling, conservation, regeneration, and restoration.

UNITY Earth Ambassadors will also have unique opportunities, coordinated through UNITY, to take their message to tribal and governmental agency representatives and lawmakers and others committed to environmental stewardship. Native youth from across the nation will learn from the Earth Ambassadors’ environmental platforms through a series of workshops offered at the upcoming National Conference. These opportunities, in addition to others, will amplify their advocacy efforts and help foster community engagement with their peers.

“Our newest class of Earth Ambassadors shares a commitment to protecting Mother Earth and implementing ideas to sustain our natural environment for future generations,” said Mary Kim Titla, UNITY Executive Director. “While we make this important announcement on Earth Day, it is important to remember that conservation should be a year-round commitment. These young people are up to the challenge of making that happen.”

The newly selected ambassadors were nominated by a community member, meeting criteria that included demonstrating leadership potential, showing an interest in protecting the environment, and experience and participation in community service projects. They will receive leadership training and recognition during the National UNITY Conference in Washington, D.C., from June 30 to July 4, 2023.