MISSION, Ore. — The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation’s (CTUIR) Youth Councils concluded their annual summit and elections for the Senior and Junior Youth Leadership last week. During the event, held at Wildhorse Resort & Casino Nov. 21-22, the councils elected Weptas Brockie, junior at Nixyaawii Community School (NCS), as the Senior Youth Council Chair. Joining him in leadership, Awna’ee Najera, a newcomer from Helix Middle School, was elected as the Junior Youth Council Chair.
The summit featured esteemed speakers, notably Indigenous motivational speaker, DJ, and actor Chance Rush, known for his recent appearance in the film “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Rush, accompanied by DJ Rudy Indigenous, delivered inspiring talks to the assembled youth. The event also welcomed influential figures like jingle dress dancer Acosia Red Elk, a multi-titled champion at the Gathering of Nations, Family Engagement Program Manager Dionne Bronson and Umatilla General Council Chair Lindsey Watchman.
Lindsey Pasena-Littlesky, a sophomore at Whitman College and Youth Council advisor, provided guidance for the two day-election process. Pasena-Littlesky served as chair for the council for several years before graduating high school and becoming an advisor for the group. Advisors also include Terri Carnes, Wynema Thurman, Brittney Eickstaedt, and Jory Spencer among others.
The two-day summit was a blend of education and celebration, incorporating activities like a bowling party to wrap up the first day and a deep dive into the history and contemporary growth of powwow culture on day two. Red Elk led a dance demonstration, engaging the youth and fostering a deeper understanding of the culture’s vibrancy.
The councils, comprising various officers and members from local area schools, embraced the democratic process by delivering campaign speeches before casting their ballots. Positions including Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Publicist, Cultural Ambassador, and Members-at-Large were contested, showcasing the dedication and enthusiasm of the youth toward leadership roles within their communities.
Brockie initially tied for the Chair position with fellow NCS student Penelope Gavin, freshman. Brockie, Gavin, Sunhawk Thomas, and former Jr. Youth Council Chair Garian McDonald were the other Chair candidates on the ballot. In the end, Brockie was successful in winning his seat via a run-off election.
The newly elected council members are set to be officially sworn in alongside the CTUIR Board of Trustees at the Nixyaawii Governance Center on Nov. 29 at 9 a.m.
-CTUIR Youth Council submission
Junior Youth Council:
Chair: Awna’ee “Katty” Najera
Vice Chair: Luka Worden
Secretary: Eagle Edmiston
Treasurer: Brooklyn Jones
Cultural Ambassador: Kateri Jones
Publicist: Dymond Say
Members at Large:
Brees Van Pelt
Senior Youth Council:
Chair: Weptis Brockie
Vice Chair: Malaeloa Malumaleumu
Treasurer: Ava Jackson
Secretary: Meadow Morris
Cultural Ambassador: Hiyuum Nowland
Publicist: Miracle Edmiston
Members at Large: