UNITY Concludes 2022 National Conference

UNITY 2022 Conference
The 2022-2023 National UNITY Council Executive Committee swearing in during the UNITY Gala.

MESA, AZ – Nearly 2,000 Native youth from around the country listened to powerful messages for five days at the National UNITY Conference in Minneapolis, MN, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation July 8-12, 2022. Keynote speakers included Chef Stephanie “Pyet” DeSpain (Prairie Band Potawatomi), winner of Gordon Ramsay’s “Next Level Chef,” and James Anderson (Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe), co-founder of the Lifeskills Center for Leadership.

“This year’s conference was an outstanding success,” said Mary Kim Titla, UNITY Executive Director. “To see nearly 2,000 Native youth come together for celebration and learning was a beautiful experience. Everyone who attended came away with not only wonderful memories, but also new skills and knowledge that will help them to develop as leaders.”

Native American and Alaska Native youth and advisors from rural and urban tribal communities participated in educational workshops that emphasized Native American storytelling, culture, and skillsets as well as listened to impactful panels and guest speakers. Speaking to attendees, Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan said, “You have given me tremendous hope for the future of Indian Country, because when Indigenous young people show up, anything is possible and that is why you are here and in this space.”
The 25 under 25 awardees were presented with medallions during an honor ceremony, and winners of the J.R. Cook Advisor of the Year, Eddie Wadda Alumni of the Year, and Youth Council of the Year awards were also honored at the annual UNITY Gala that takes place during the conference. The National UNITY Council also elected its new 2022-2023 Executive Committee Members.


J.R. Cook Advisor of the Year Award
Carrie Brown, Advisor, Bishop Tribal Youth Council, California
Eddie Wadda Alumni of the Year Award
Chairman Brian Weeden, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Massachusetts
Youth Council of the Year
Penobscot Nation Youth Council, Maine

2022-23 National UNITY Council Executive Committee

  • Co-President – Colby White Thunder (Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas)
  • Co-President – Chenoa Scippio (Santa Clara Pueblo/Navajo of New Mexico)
  • Vice President and Southeast Region Representative – Evynn Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi Nation of North Carolina)
  • Secretary and Northwest Region Representative – Jonathan Arakawa (Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe of Washington)
  • Great Plains Region Representative – Justice Fox (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota)
  • Midwest Region Representative – Angelina Serna (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians/Oneida Nation of Illinois)
  • Northeast Region Representative – Nathan Solorio (Brokenhead Ojibway Nation of Pennsylvania)
  • Pacific Region Representative – Kaytlynn Johnston (Bishop Paiute Tribe of California)
  • Rocky Mountain Region Representative – Watson Whitford (Chippewa Cree/Navajo of Montana) Southern Plains Region Representative – Elwood McClellan, Jr. (Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma)
  • Southwest Region Representative – Derek Captain (Laguna Pueblo/Navajo of New Mexico
  • Western Region Representative – Steve Harvey (San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona)