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|Friday, 29 August, 2014|
Local youth pictured with Louisville player Jude Schimmel. (Robert Stagner photo)
By ALEXANDRIA ALVAREZ
FORT HALL — Thanks to some unexpected funding given to them by the Justice Department, seven participants from the Summer Youth Program traveled to the 4th Annual UNITY Week Conference August 12-15 on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation located in northern Idaho.
Harley and Angel Farmer, Victoria Tindore, Tia Waterhouse, Scarlett Stagner, Kyrie Farmer, and Paul Little attended. Traveling with them was Lynette Fellows, Robert Stagner, Miles Gallardo, Kelly Chattertin, and Jacki Wynn.
The youth were involved in a variety of activities, such as youth skits for healthy relationships, drugs, alcohol, and teen pregnancy. UNITY coordinators also held a group talking circle, and hosted a variety of Ice Breakers so that they youth could become more acquainted with one another.
A number of renowned keynote speakers were present. Some of the speakers were Kimberly Guerrero, a Native American journalist, actor, writer, and director who has produced several Sundance Films, and who works with tribal communities throughout Indian Country. LoVina Louie who spoke on historical trauma, and how it has affected Native American communities. Jude Schimmel, a senior playing on the Louisville Cardinals, sister to WNBA Star Shoni Schimmel. Accompanying Jude was her mother and father Rick Schimmel and CeCe Moses who gave words of advice.
Miss Indian World Taylor Thomas was also invited to give a keynote presentation on the final day.
“I wanted to cover three things that were geared for students of all grade levels. I shared with them the importance of education, preparing for college, and helpful tips to success. I shared with them a little about my life story, and struggles that I’ve faced in college. That was for my first topic. My second topic was to be culturally aware, and to encourage the youth to get involved in their traditions and ceremonies, and the importance of language preservation, and how important these things are to our Indian identities. My last topic was to share with them the importance of women in leadership, and why it’s important today to have women leaders not only in tribal communities, but also around the world,” said Thomas.
Some of the other activities that the youth were involved in were a game night at the Longhouse, a 3 on 3-basketball tournament, a dance held on the Coeur d’Alene Lake.
“I thought the kids learned a lot. At first, the kids didn’t want to participate, and they were hanging toward the back of the longhouse. But as soon as we made them start participating, they began to warm up. Tia played on the 3 on 3-basketball tournament and got to play with one of the Schimmel brothers, and they took first place. That was pretty cool, and made friends at the social dances, but then they started socializing and making friends. They did good, and they learned a lot,” concluded Jacki Wynn.