Published on Tuesday, September 1, 2015
On the United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) website


The voices of Native youth were heard loud and clear this past year when the National UNITY Council passed the National Suicide Prevention Initiative resolution, later renamed the “I Will Live” Initiative. In an effort to further bring attention to the suicide epidemic among Native youth in Indian Country, UNITY Inc is sponsoring a Social Media Contest titled “I Will Live” with the winner receiving a Registration Scholarship to the 2016 National UNITY Conference. Simply post and share photos of life, family, friends, hobbies – anything you care about – to show your celebration of life. Post on any of UNITY’s social media pages (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and include the hashtag #IwillLive.

UNITY Inc is also promoting the 2nd Annual “Moment Of Silence” on September 10, 2015. On this day, UNITY encourages youth councils and others to plan a Moment of Silence remembering those who have passed on and offering prayers for those who suffer from depression or are considered high risk. In addition, UNITY has created a “I Will Live” page on its website, which includes resources for suicide prevention and events bringing awareness to events held during Suicide Prevention Week, September 7-13, 2015. CLICK HERE to view the UNITY “I WILL LIVE” page.

To learn more about warning signs please go to http://www.suicidology.org/resources/warning-signs. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or you can visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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Welcome to Our Land

Welcome to Our Land

It is odd to think that a city named after a Native Chief would be holding their sixtieth SeaFair festival, and had never invited natives to participate in a position of honor. Well, times have changed and the 2015 version featured a “Welcome to Our Lands” segment of Native tribes in full regalia, canoes, drummers and singers, and great spirit. The Native segment drew loud and boisterous cheers throughout the two-and-a-half mile trek.

Council FIRE was in full view as the lead vehicle displayed our banner and carried Erich Bourgault (C-FIRE Exec VP), Anna Holla, Andy James and Jay Hollingsworth. We were extremely proud and humbled to be part of the event.

Special thanks to Kim Camara for her tireless good work in making it happen.

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Implementing UNDRIP – Key Actions and Dates for Tribal Leaders

From the Indian Law Resource Center
published on-line March 19, 2015

Follow-up work on key commitments made by the United Nations to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is progressing quickly. In the World Conference Outcome Document, the General Assembly agreed to (1) address the idea of an implementing/monitoring body for the UN Declaration; (2) consider ways to enable the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in the UN; (3) address violence against indigenous women; and (4) respect sacred places.

The following information should be used as a roadmap/schedule for important events in the next several months.

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#IdleNoMore Launches Grassroots Newsletter

The Council for First Inhabitants Rights and Equality congratulates Idle No More for their tremendous work and leadership.  Check out what they are up to now.

From their website

Idle No More Announcement

We are welcoming the third year of the Idle No More movement by creating a bi-weekly newsletter.  This goal of the newsletter is to lift up the voices of Indigenous peoples and struggles around the world.  It will tell our stories, share our actions, and honor our resistance while celebrating the world that we are protecting. We are all invited to add our voices, our stories, our events, and our actions to this newsletter.  Post your story now!  Deadline for the first newsletter is Sunday January 18th. We will accept all submissions that are connected to indigenous issues as long as they do not condone lateral violence or include hate speech. The first Newsletter will be published on January 26th, so check your inboxes! Last year, we asked that you submit your Idle No More story for Dec 10th to help celebrate and reflect on the 2nd anniversary of the movement.  Here are some of our favourite stories and we will continue posting other stories on the website.

Wanda’s Story                                 Ryan’s Story                                  Brittany’s Story

                                                             SEE MORE

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Veterans find peace, purification at American Lake Sweat Lodge in Lakewood

To all of the supporters of Council FIRE, you each have a piece of this good work, your prayers, encouragement, and donations have been put to good use.  We have previously posted stories of our wood runs, and given special thanks to Wayne and Kris Thompson, and to the Weyerhaeuser Company for generously providing the logs that ultimately become the fuel for the sweat lodge ceremonies.

Warren Gohl, Secretary Treasurer of Council FIRE, is the Chief Elder and Cultural Liaison for the V.A. Sweat Lodge Elders Circle.  We have stepped up to take on the enormous task of providing firewood – free of charge – to them.  Previously the elders had to harvest or pay for the wood themselves, a not insignificant amount of hard work (cutting, bucking, splitting, stacking, …) or precious resources (thousands of dollars out of their own pockets!).

With your help, we can continue to support this good work.



Carrying ceremonial medicines and artifacts used during a sweat lodge, veterans hoped to help
heal the invisible wounds of war Sunday 11/9/14 at American Lake Veteran’s Hospital in Lakewood.
PHOTOS BY DEAN J. KOEPFLER — Staff photographer

Marty Martinez drank too much and carried a grudge when he retired from the Army almost 20 years ago. He wasn’t about to open up to a therapist about it.

“I’ve been angry my whole life, and my PTSD just made it worse,” said Martinez, 62.

But, slowly, something changed. Martinez has been reconnecting with the Native American ceremonies he set aside when he was a young man. Earlier this year, the former Special Forces soldier from Olympia felt a burden lift.

In the dark and the heat of a sweat lodge, surrounded by other veterans seeking to heal their own wounds of war, Martinez “was able to let go of 60 years’ worth of anger.”

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