Youth Across the Nation Gather for Historic Events in Washington D.C. in 2015
Over 800 youth leaders accepted the Generation I (“Gen-I”) Challenge from across the nation to attend the White House Tribal Youth Gathering initiated by President Obama. This day long gathering on July 9th was hosted by the White House and brought young voices to the largest venue for potential change, Washington D.C.
Youth were greeted by First Lady Michelle Obama during her gathering. The group felt her sincerity as she spoke to initiatives the oval office have begun. She appeared chocked up and invoked watery eyes as she spoke frankly about the atrocities that Native people continue to suffer.
The day following the White House gathering, nearly 2,000 Native American youth from across Indian Country attended The UNITY (United National Indian Tribal Youth) National Conference in Washing D.C. from July 10-14. The conference featured a five day agenda, more then 30 workshops, including one from Intertribal Youth on the launching of Native Like Water. The evenings lent itself to cultural exchanges, a talent show, banquet and of course song, prayer around the UNITY fire.
Many conference youth represent the 145 UNITY affiliated youth councils from 35 states, the largest Native American youth network of its kind in the nation.
Keynote address at UNITY Conference was delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Minister Farrakhan spoke on the importance of being the "U" in UNITY and shared the importance of beginning with ourselves, and recognition of first nations as one with the creator. He professed, that this knowledge is a power that will make you afraid of no man and give one the confidence to succeed at anything. Farrakhan was awarded a standing ovation and gifts from the youth of UNITY. He also answered questions and held a special morning talking circle with UNITY leaders and medicine people.
“I am so excited to be selected to represent the youth of my tribe and nation at the White House Gathering. As a Kumeyaay Youth, I know our voice needs to be heard on a national level.” says 17 year old Cheyenne Bactdad of Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Intertribal Youth Alum. Those interested in knowing more about UNITY may visit www.unityinc.org.
See full Photo Gallery, below, and read ITY's report and participation at "Justice or Else" 10.10.15. An all star group of people gathering in UNITY.
InterTribal Youth Participates in Justice or Else!, on 10.10.15, The 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.
In an incredible show of unity and familyhood, a million folks gathered on the Washington D.C. Capital steps in the name of justice and equality. Marking the 20th Anniversary of the historic Million Man March, Minister Louis Farrakhan made a special call for African American, Native Americans and Latinos to unite on and around the need to implement justice or else. At 82 years young, Minister Farrakhan speaks with strength and the power of truth as he inspires millions around the world. The Minister is often given a bad image and untruths by the press, however, his words and organization, Nation of Islam, showed all love during the gathering. No one man or organization has been credited in bringing people together and empowering a people like Farrakhan.
Farrakhan's Gran-daughter Yonasda Hill Lonewolf (Lakota/African American), led the nationwide coalition of Native Americans and toured the country leading up to the event on October 10, 2015. A long list of known supporters and speakers joined the movement to peacefully demand justice for underserved and violated community. The staggering statistics of police abuse, sex trade, environmental desecration, suicide and pre-mature death are disproportionally shared by the black, red, and brown people. The call for unity, decency, justice and equality was the cry on the U.S. Capitol Steps.
A national boycott of black Friday and Christmas shopping was called. Just prior to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King called for a unified national boycott. Black, Brown and Red people make up trillions of purchasing dollars annually. The way to be heard, and "distribute the pain" is to withhold Christmas shopping. The call for the boycott was to celebrate the family during Christmas and return the meaning of love and equality.
The gathering concluded with an agreement that the peaceful demand for "Justice or Else" needs to be followed up by an economic boycott of "Black Friday" and Christmas shopping. Our Native American brothers and elders from Oklahoma closed the program with unified prayer and song. ITY Alum Eshtakaba and father Sleepy Eye Laframboise brought the ceremonial tipi from Oklahoma. Used for Traditional medicine ceremony, the intention was to give strong prayer for the nation and human family. Unfortunately for all, the federal capital police did not allow for burning of sacred herbs or fire on the premises.
Regardless of not being able to hold ceremony, sacred words were shared by the elders, and the day was finished with a prayer for peace, unity and equity for all. Of course, we all joined hands in prayer, song and even did a few round dances in celebration of our unity. A truly historical event.