Young tribal members advocate leadership

The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council (SCSYAC) is comprised of young tribal members who advocate for change in their communities through leadership.
Southern Ute Councilman Adam Red speaks about the role of youth council within the community.
The young council members answered questions regarding their role as ambassadors for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
Southern Ute tribal members, Allisianna Baker and Elija Weaver cover last minute details before the formal SCSYAC presentation, Monday, Jan 29.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council (SCSYAC) held an educational presentation for tribal members interested in taking part in the leadership program. The young council members gave an in-depth account of their role as ambassadors for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, but also an overview of their vision as youth with a strong voice in the community. The presentation dinner was held at the Southern Ute Education Department, Monday, Jan. 29.

“I hope our presentation encourages you to join the Sunshine Youth Council,” Larenz Wilborn said, addressing the Southern Ute youth in attendance.

Enrollment is open to tribal members who are between the ages of 11-17, and the current council members are encouraging more of their Southern Ute peers to become active in leadership.

“I like the way they think outside the box — we want to encourage that,” Southern Ute Councilman Adam Red said.

Council members have an important role in project development and initiatives, by way of the Southern Ute Tribal Council. Adam Red and Lorelei Cloud each gave opening remarks, and words of encouragement to the young leaders.

“You have to have the commitment, and you have shown that,” Councilwoman Cloud said. “You’ve held yourself in high regard — these are the qualities we want in our future leaders.”

One of the projects spearheaded by the SCSYAC is the proposed development of a skate park within the Ignacio community. The council’s role has been to evaluate potential building sites, and visit other skate parks venues in order to make strong recommendations on design and implementation. “We see the skate park initiative as a way to combat drugs in our community,” Elijah Weaver said. The council met with the Stronghold Society, a Colorado based non-profit organization, in order to get outside expertise on the project.

“It’s been fun going to different communities,” Christina Herrera said.

The young leaders felt that one of the strengths in their program is the ability to have new experiences, and then share those back home, with their peers in Ignacio. Each of the council members takes time to engage in community events, and regular board meetings to discuss ideas, and have their voices heard.

They often travel together as a council, on behalf of the Tribe; attending large scale conferences across the country as part of their council responsibilities. Upcoming trips include: 2018 National UNITY Conference in San Diego, Calif. and the National Congress of the American Indian (NCAI) in Denver, Colo.

“I’ve learned that all tribes are trying to figure out ways to help their communities,” Allisianna Baker said, adding, “we need to step up and be role models in our community.”


Interested (enrolled) Southern Ute tribal members between the ages of 11-17 and attending school (or an accredited home school or striving to complete GED) would need to fill out a Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Leadership application packet, write a letter stating desire to join, and provide one (1) letter of recommendation. Deadline for Applications is Friday, Feb. 2, before 5p.m.



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