Members of the CTUIR Youth Council were sworn in Nov. 29 after the CTUIR Board of Trustees and General Council officers took their oaths of office. As Youth Council members, the emerging leaders will sharpen their own leadership skills, advocate on behalf of issues important to them and the CTUIR community and represent CTUIR outside of the community all while helping elevate and promote the perspectives of tribal youth. LISA SNELL | CUJ PHOTO

Umatilla Indian Reservation’s Youth Councils elect new leadership during annual summit

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

Election Results

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:

Mateni Hutchings 

Kelsey Jones 

Brees Van Pelt 

Abigayle McIntosh 

Casey Farrow 

Abraham Shippentower 

Abigayle  Kordatdsky 

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:

Cody Wahl

Penelope Gavin

Sunhawk Thomas

Garian McDonald 

Addison Carey

Sydney Carey

Ayanna Star

Demitri Brockie