The Seventh Annual Red Lake Youth Leadership Conference theme this year is “Warriors Don’t Quit” and will feature a special appearance by Chaske Spencer, known for his portrayal of alpha wolf Sam in The Twilight Saga.
The event will be held May 1-2 at Red Lake High School in Red Lake Minnesota and is dedicated to the memory of Eddie Wadda, a frequent presenter at the conference in the past who walked on in May 2012 in a car accident near Buffalo, Wyoming.
Wadda, Eastern Shoshone, shared his vision for Native youth in the areas of history, leadership, culture, family, school, spirituality, and friendship.
“There will also be family and youth from Eddie’s home town there, it’s going to be very touching,” said conference organizer Candy Lynch.
Spencer, a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, will give a motivational speech from 2 to 3:15 p.m. on Thursday and key-note the youth conference banquet at 5 p.m. Last year, actor Adam Beach was featured.
Spencer travels all over the country to universities and other venues speaking to youth about a number of topics including speaking out against the addictions that nearly took his life.
“I know a higher power led me to where I am now,” he said, describing the Red Road way of life as “the way I try to center myself” after years of drinking and abusing drugs. He talked about this on January 30 during a presentation in Denver. (Related story: “Chaske Spencer: A Native Actor Who Left Addiction Behind”
Workshops and presentations at the youth conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. May 1 and 2. Topics typically include suicide prevention, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy.
In addition to the workshops, there is a banquet, door prizes and entertainment including the Native Pride Dancers.
Several schools in addition to Red Lake are invited to participate. Last year included youth from Leech Lake, White Earth, the Bug School, Bemidji, Voyageurs Charter, and other schools participated in the days of activities.
This is the seventh year that the Red Lake Tribal Council, tribal programs and other organizations have sponsored this event for the youth of Red Lake Nation and others A host of Red Lake member professionals, and well-known guest speakers from across Indian country, will share their knowledge in leadership skills to motivate youth, and to promote Native values, tradition, and language.
For more conference information and registration, call Marilyn Mountain: 218-679-3321 or Salena Branchaud: 218-679-3995.