Layha Spoonhunter has been named one of the top 25 under 25 by the National UNITY Group. (File photo)

(Mesa, Ariz.) – United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) has announced the 2014 inaugural class of its new national youth leadership recognition program, the “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards”. A Fort Washakie man is one of those selected. The awards program is designed to celebrate the achievements of Native American and Alaskan Native youth ages 14 to 24 who embody UNITY’s core mission and exude living a balanced life developing their spiritual, mental, physical and social well-being. Layha Spoonhunter was named in the first class to receive the honor. 

Honorees will be recognized at a ceremony during the UNITY National Conference taking place June 28 – July 3 in Portland, Oregon, with each receiving a hand-made beaded “25 Under 25″ medallion. There, they will join more than 1,300 Native youth who are converging at the National Conference for a full week of youth leadership development, featuring Tribal leaders, expert trainers, and Native youth peers from throughout the country.

“We are thrilled to announce and congratulate our first class of the UNITY 25 Under 25 awards program” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. She added, “Our regional voting panelists had a major task, vetting each candidate and narrowing the field to those who stood-out and exemplified what the UNITY organization has stood for, for the past 38 years. We look forward to seeing the honorees in Portland, and I encourage everyone to congratulate these outstanding individuals for putting their best foot forward in representing our Tribal communities and Native youth leadership.”

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.

Biographies of each individual will be published in the official UNITY National Conference program, as well as on the UNITY website, www.unityinc.org. Name, photograph, tribal affiliation, hometown and age of each of the 25 Under 25 can be found below.

Nominations for the next 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards will open in Spring of 2015. For additional information about UNITY, and how you can get involved, please contact the UNITY headquarters at (480) 718-9793.

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United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc.


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 www.unityinc.org

2014 INAUGURAL CLASS
UNITY “25 UNDER 25 NATIVE YOUTH LEADERSHIP AWARDS” HONOREES
Teressa Baldwin
(Inupiaq Eskimo)
Kotzebue, AK
Age: 20 Years Old
Dahkota Brown
(Wilton Rancheria)
Jackson, CA
Age: 15 Years Old
Taylor Ann Charlie
(Navajo/Sandia Pueblo)
Phoenix, AZ
Age: 17 Years Old
SuSun Fisher
(Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians)
Grand Ronde, OR
Age: 15 Years Old
Jewel Honga
(Hualapai)
Flagstaff, AZ
Age: 24 Years Old
Megan LaRose
(Navajo)
Scottsdale, AZ
Age: 16 Years Old
Lauren McLester-Davis
(Oneida)
De Pere, WI
Age: 16 Years Old
Keturah Peters
(Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe)
Mashpee, MA
Age: 18 Years Old
Dallas Pinkham
(Yakama)
Seattle, WA
Age: 23 Years Old
TaNeel Real Bird
(White Clay Tribes/Ft. Belknap, Nakoda and Apsaalooke) 
Harlem, MT
Age: 19 Years Old
Layha Spoonhunter
(Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho and Oglala Lakota)
Fort Washakie, WY
Age: 24 Years Old
Haley Trefon
(Dena’ina Athabascan Indian)
Sterling, AK
Age: 16 Years Old
Chelsea Wilson
(Cherokee)
Alexandria, VA
Age: 24 Years Old
Maria Bartlett
(Pascua Yaqui)
Phoenix, AZ
Age: 19 Years Old
Kelly Charley
(Navajo)
Teec Nos Pos, AZ
Age: 15 Years Old
Collin Church
(Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians)
Allegan, MI
Age: 19 Years Old
Nataanii Bahozhonii Hatathlie
(Navajo)
Kirtland, NM
Age: 20 Years Old
Savannah Ingram
(Kalapuya, Umpqua, Chinook and Rogue River)
Gresham, OR
Age: 18 Years Old
Leslie Locklear
(Lumbee and Waccamaw Siouan) 
Red Springs, NC
Age: 23 Years Old
Dyan Melvin
(Hopi)
Lincoln, NE
Age: 24 Years Old
Drew Phillips
(Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi)
Battle Creek, MI
Age: 22 Years Old
Desirae Rambler
(San Carlos Apache)
Bylas, AZ
Age: 22 Years Old
Sarah Jo Schilling
(Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians)
Petoskey, MI
Age: 20 Years Old
Nathalie Tomasik
(Cherokee)
Tahlequah, OK
Age: 19 Years Old
W. Alex Wesaw
(Pokagon Band Potawatomi)
Athens, OH
Age: 24 Years Old