OKMULGEE, Okla. – United National Indian Tribal Youth has named its Class of 2018 25 Under 25 Native American Youth Leaders.
This is the third class for UNITY, which is a nationally recognized program honoring Native American and Alaska Native youth who have shown leadership in their communities and tribes.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is being represented by four youth citizens this year: Nancy Deere-Turney, 23, of Okmulgee, Okla.; Jay Fife, 18, of Preston, Okla.; Ashleigh Fixico, 21, of Seminole, Okla.; and Maddie Lamb, 19, of Tahlequah, Okla.
According to the UNITY website, UNITY’s mission is “to foster 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.”
The organization combines more than 160 youth councils across the U.S. representing tribal youth.
The Mvskoke Nation Youth Council has played a prominent role in the Muscogee (Creek) youth and has been involved in the UNITY organization.
Mvskoke Nation Youth Services Director Nancy Mason has worked closely with these youth.
“We are so excited to have members of the Youth Council selected for this honor,” Mason said. “Overall, we can’t believe that four members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation were chosen in this group of 25.”
Mason said one of the things the MCN program tries to do is connect youth with resources and opportunities.
Three of the four award recipients are members of the Mvskoke Nation Youth Council.
“What is exciting for me is that even though these four were selected, I know that there were many other Mvskoke youth who applied,” Mason said. “Sometimes, having the courage to try is half the battle with young people and it makes me really happy to see them try.”
This year’s 25 Under 25 award recipients will be recognized at the National UNITY Conference July 5-9, 2018 in San Diego, Calif.
The event is expected to host more than 2,000 youth and attendees from the U.S. and will include speaking events, trainings and workshops for the tribal youth.