We R Native Ambassadors

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Tashoni Morales

Tashoni, Tachi Yokut/ Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone, loves what We R Native promotes and represents!

I didn't know how to be apart of it until this last Unity in OKC. I became a We R Native\ Ambassador because I want to introduce We R Native to my tribe. No one knows about it, only those who have been to Unity. I live a drug and alcohol free lifestyle and being a We R Native Ambassador is a perfect opportunity to promote living a healthy lifestyle and a perfect way to get the youth excited and involved! One thing I am passionate about sharing in my community is "Respect." Respect for ourselves and others. Being drug and alcohol free falls under respect, because we are respecting our bodies by not poisoning it. A large number of our people are consumed by drugs and alcohol and it's sad. If I can promote the importance of being drug and alcohol free in a unique approach I truly feel that more Youth will see the importance of being drug and alcohol free. My strongest skills that I will bring to this position is my ability to network, my positivity, and my willingness to want to learn more while helping others.

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Taylor Fant

Taylor, Choctaw, has always been interested in helping the youth.

I was bullied, and was an addict at a young age so I can relate well to youth. I am passionate about anti bullying, kindness, and love. Taking care of the earth as well. I am compassionate, empathetic, and understanding. No judgment.

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Tracie Benally

Tracie, Diné Nation (Navajo), was interested in becoming a We R Native Youth Ambassador for three specific reasons, which include being a part of a team committed to healthy, positive, and sustainable change in Indian Country; having the opportunity to further learn about effective leadership and collaboration across communities and state lines; and having the support and direction necessary to organize and lead projects within my community.

The voice of the younger generation has not always been well-represented in major decisions. Having the opportunity to become a Youth Ambassador will offer me a unique opportunity to lead community change through collaboration with other Ambassadors across my reservation, and is a powerful platform to contribute to the overall voice of Native youth-driven across the country. One thing I am particularly passionate about sharing in my community is the power of education through reading and writing. As a product of the public school system on the Navajo reservation, I learned very early in my education that one of the most powerful and effective tools in creating change came through not only being able to clearly articulate my views in the written word, but also being able to critically analyze words that could either harm or benefit my well-being or that of others around me. While reading and writing are educational tools that are very important to my identity as an Indigenous activist, they are not subjects that are pushed in ways well-received by younger generations. So, as an aspiring educator, I have made it my personal goal to share my love for reading and writing in ways that are receptive to learners of all ages, but particularly the youth. In recent months, I started a social media account titled "Navajo In A Bookstore," which is dedicated to spotlighting works written by Indigenous authors in order to encourage engaging with culturally responsive materials, and reinforcing the notion that education can be a tool to preserve and strengthen cultural pride in times where it is threatened. Using this social media platform, I hope to appeal to the youth in order to raise awareness around critical issues such as reproductive justice, physical and mental health and safety, tribal sovereignty and politics, and cultural pride. In the coming months, I hope to further my presence within my community and across my reservation by hosting book drives, family literacy evenings, and plays put on by children based on culturally responsive texts such as "The Goat In the Rug." Leading this change in my community and reservation is extremely important to me because it is an example of educational investment I wish was available to me while I was in school. I sincerely believe that with exposure to reading and writing, upcoming generations will also understand just how powerful education is in an ever-changing political and social climate and that in which we live.Prior to this year, I often used the word "passion" to describe how I felt about my work in the field of education. Up until a few months ago, this word seemed to encompass the levels of love, care, and commitment I felt for the students, and communities I served. But as my roots in this field and within my own community grew deeper, I realized this word was not nearly enough - it failed to describe the love I felt for the students I taught or engaged with.

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Trinity Olsen-Benton

Trinity, Ouzinkie and Suniaq, Tribe of Kodiak, would like to build relationships with youth around her community in a positive setting.

I have lived in Kodiak, Alaska my entire life and seen many people get involved with negative activities such as drugs, drinking, or having a lot of sex. I believe it is important for people to be productive and work on themselves in any way they can. I would like to not only keep people busy, but show them support and the true value of productivity. I'm interested in finding a supportive way I can be a part of my community. I have always been passionate about art. My long term goals are to get a degree in psychology and art to become an art therapist. Art therapists have a lot to offer, especially to youth. I would like to do some native art with kids and young adults in my community. To do this I would need other people involved because I have no funding myself to supply the community art supplies. I've made paper bent wood hats and Eskimo yo-yo's in my Native Alaskan studies. I think those would be good projects to do with people. I also enjoy crocheting and writing poetry and would like to do poetry with other people. I believe I'm a good teacher, I taught my little cousin how to crochet. I have experience painting murals and doing labor work around my community fixing roofs painting houses and decks and landscaping. Every year I paint windows with Christmas decorations and have made money doing so under my own employment. It would be fun to spend the next year doing several activities with fellow community members. I feel like I have what it takes to be a leader. I attended the Afognak Youth Leadership Program in 2011 when I was a senior in high school. I was taught how to be a leader in my own life and in my community. I also feel like Leadership is a strength for me because I am an honor student and I carve my own path with my passions. I spent many classes in high school with a schedule filled up by art because it is my passion. I worked independently and diligently, and my mixed media pieces were in the state art show twice. I'm always ready for a challenge, as any leader should be and I like teamwork a lot because without support, all ballasts are bound to fall.

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Tyana Sam

Tyana, Navajo (Diné), wants to make a change in her community as an individual.

I was raised with my culture and language all around me. Now a days the Navajo culture and traditions are slowly fading. That's what's I want to bring back into my generation. Sharing the stories, teachings, language, and traditions into the next generation. It may take a lot to do but I'm willing to give it my hardest and to hopefully one day help my community in this way. Also being a role model to younger generation to encourage them into this program as well. Building this puzzle one piece at a time. I'm passionate about my language (Diné). I want to bring Navajo language back into my community. I live in a diverse area. I personally know people who want to learn Navajo the problem is that they don't get as much help and guidance to that challenge. That's what I want to be able to help with as well. Also bringing Navajo classes into other school districts where they don't currently provide Navajo classes.I have one talent that I can tie into this position. That would be singing. I'm a local singer in my town. I can share my language through the words in the songs. Also there always a history and background behind those songs. I would slowly explain each rhythm, beat, pace, and word about the song. Encouraging others not to be afraid to share what you know with the world as well.

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Vonica LaPlante

Vonica, MHA Nation, has taken language classes and wants to encourage her fellow youth to preserve our Native languages.

I want to make sure we have programs for the youth to help them stay off the streets, with the idea of keeping them away from the drugs and alcohol around our community. I am passionate about education and dancing because, they are both something important and are apart of our lives.

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Wyatt Wilson

Wyatt, Navajo, waned to become a WRN Ambassador to gain experience with blogging and social media and to provide a voice for those who feel as if they don't have one.

I want to advocate and empower Native American youth on a larger scale, to share with people the success stories that come out of reservations. To do that, to showcase these individuals and groups of individuals, who inflict and create change - would be amazing. Who knows maybe I can start my own change. I am very passionate about advocating and empowering Native American youth, whether that be through educational endeavors or health endeavors pertaining to mental health, in whatever form that may take (social media posts, videos, photos, writing). From a personal standpoint, I've always had the aspiration to run and facilitate my own blog. I enjoy writing and taking pictures. It's something about a personal blog entry and photos that carry with them memories, that peeks my interest.

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Zunneh-bah Martin

Zunneh-bah, Navajo and Modoc, applied to be a We R Native Ambassador before and has enjoyed serving in this ambassador role.

I want to continue to help our Native people and continue to inspire our youth. We R Native has helped me and I want to be able to provide the same help to others. I am passionate about sharing the knowledge that I have about revitalizing not only my Indigenous cultures, but all Indigenous cultures from around the world. We have so much sacred and special knowledge that needs to continue to be passed down so that future generations can have this knowledge. Revitalizing our cultures also helps us to strengthen who we are, including our languages, prayers, songs, dances, ceremonies, and so much more. One personal attribute that I will bring is my background in activism. I've actively participated in social justice, human/civil rights, Indigenous rights, animal rights, and environmental rights activist movements all my life. I have experience and I am always willing to learn more and improve my skills.