UNITY youth were selected this year as the distinguished Grand Marshals for the Native American Connections Parade, part of the annual Native American Recognition Days (NARD) celebrated in the Phoenix-metro area every October and November. The parade, which took place on Saturday, October 11 and is sponsored and organized by Native American Connections—a Native American service and development organization in the Phoenix area, is a highlighted event of the more than 25 NARD events that will take place this year.
UNITY youth councils from around the state and surrounding communities showed up in force to represent and celebrate Native youth. Members of the Morning Star Leaders Youth Council, Yavapai-Apache Nation Youth Council, White Mountain Apache Youth Council, San Carlos Apache Youth Council, Hualapai Nation Youth Council, Cesar Chavez High School Youth Council, Mesa Strength Youth Council, and Mountain View High School Native American Club took part in the special day. Several hundred parade watchers cheered from the streets of downtown Phoenix as the parade grand marshals, float entries, bands and tribal royalty entertained and waved to the crowd.
UNITY councils from around the state were represented at the parade.
UNITY youth participants prepped for the big day with a two-day float building gathering at the UNITY headquarters, with construction going late into the evenings. The entry promoted the parade theme message of “Body, Mind and Spirit—Healthy in our Communities.”
UNITY participants built this float.
“It was an honor for our youth at UNITY to be asked to lead the parade this year. What a warm welcome we have received from the Phoenix community since relocating our headquarters to Arizona last year,” said Mary Kim Titla, executive director of UNITY. “It was a great experience and wonderful to see the support lining the streets at the parade for our Native youth.”
For more on UNITY and to read about upcoming events UNITY is producing and participating in across the country, visit UNITYInc.org.