UNITY’s “25 Under 25” Youth Leaders in Indian Country Announced

For Immediate Release

Contact: Mary Kim Titla, (480) 718-9793


Honorees to be recognized at the 2016 National UNITY Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mesa, Arizona (May 3, 2016) – The United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (better known as UNITY) has announced the second class of its “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leaders” national recognition program that honors Native American and Alaska Native youth. The program, which launched in 2014 and is awarded every other year, recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Native youth leaders under the age of 25, who embody UNITY’s core mission and exudes living a balanced life developing their spiritual, mental, physical and social well-being.

“UNITY is very excited to announce our newest members of our ’25 Under 25′ family,” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director for UNITY. “We had an overwhelming amount of applications this year, with so many outstanding Native youths doing phenomenal work in their communities and across the Nation,” added Titla.

The 2016 Class of “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leaders” are:

Birk Albert, 17, Athabascan – Lake Placid, New York
Caitlin Bordeaux, 24, Rosebud Sioux – St. Francis, South Dakota
Seth Cooper, 19, Walker River Paiute – Glendale, Arizona
Michele Danner, 18, Inupiaq – Anchorage, Alaska
Sarah DeHerrera, 21, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – Santa Clarita, California
Cierra Fields, 16, Cherokee Nation – Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Anissa Garcia, 21, Akimel O’odham – Sacaton, Arizona
Mariah Gladstone, 22, Blackfeet – Kalispell, Montana
Shandiin Gorman, 17, Navajo – Mesa, Arizona
Vance Home Gun, 22, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – Arlee, Montana
Sarah Jones, 22, Chickasaw Nation – Ada, Oklahoma
Rebecca Kirk, 24, Klamath – Seattle, Washington
JoRee LaFrance, 20, Crow Nation – Crow Agency, Montana
William Lucero, 19, Lummi – Ferndale, Washington
Jessica McCool, 18, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians – Solvang, California
Lakota Pochedley, 24, Citizen Potawatomi – Shawnee, Oklahoma
Hamilton Seymour, 16, Nooksack – Bellingham, Washington
Dyami Thomas, 22, Klamath/Leech Lake Ojibway – Seattle, Washington
Tatiana Ticknor, 17, Dena’ina/Tlingit – Anchorage, Alaska
Claullen Tillman, 20, Eastern Shoshone – Lander, Wyoming
DeLesslin George-Warren, 24, Catawba – Washington, DC
Rory Wheeler, 18, Seneca Nation – Irving, New York
Brayden White, 21, St. Regis Mohawk – Hogansburg, New York
Christie Wildcat, 17, Northern Arapaho – Riverton, Wyoming
Eric Woody, 17, Navajo – Kirtland, New Mexico

The honorees will receive hands-on learning experiences, provided by UNITY, over the period of nine months, designed to build on their individual achievements. Applicants were judged by an independent committee who scored applications based on strength of application, strength of nomination form, strength of resume, strength of supplemental information, and potential to impact Native America. The official recognition will take place in front of peer youth leaders at the National UNITY Conference, happening July 22-26, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The National UNITY Conference, which will also celebrate UNITY’s 40th anniversary, is expected to attract nearly 2,000 attendees from across the country, representing Tribal and urban communities. The 5-day conference will focus on Native American and Alaska Native youth leadership development, and feature renowned keynote speakers, youth trainers, more than 40 workshops, fitness activities, exhibitors and Native American vendors, a Career & College Expo, the UNITY 40th Anniversary Gala, and much more. A discounted registration rate is now offered through May 31 through the UNITY website at www.unityinc.org.



Established 40 years ago, UNITY—United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc.—is a national organization promoting personal development, citizenship, and leadership among tribal youth. UNITY is composed of 160 affiliated youth councils in 36 states, sponsored by tribes, Alaska Native villages, high schools, colleges, and urban Native centers.