My name is Nathan Balk King. I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and I am an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. We moved to the East Coast in 2009, and I’m currently a senior at Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis, Massachusetts. In September 2017, I joined the Model United Nations (MUN) club at my school, which runs student-led simulations of United Nations’ proceedings. The International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA), organizes these MUN clubs around the world to educate students on the UN process, and to advance the global practice of influencing public policy and promoting human rights.
This project to recruit Native youth to participate in MUN: Indigenous, has been officially endorsed by the IMUNA and Chris Talamo, Executive Director.
MUN conferences are held annually around the globe, and students represent different countries to solve a variety of global issues. Thanks to the school I attend, I had the opportunity to participate in IMUNA’s main conference, the National High School MUN (NHSMUN), near the United Nations global headquarters in Manhattan, New York.
I had the task of acting as the country of Oman, and our group debated how to stop the persecution of “child witches” in sub-saharan Africa.
NHSMUN is the premier conference for MUN. I heard people speaking Italian and Spanish and Chinese in the elevators, and I made friends with people from Colombia, Singapore, India, and overall got to engage with people from a wide range of cultures and nationalities. On average, there are 5000 participants every year between two sessions, from more than 75 countries.
A few days into the conference, I noticed something missing. Where were all the other Native students? This is when I set my goal to encourage indigenous youth involvement in the Model United Nations program.
We have opportunities at our disposal to advocate for indigenous rights at the international level, including the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and we need to prepare our youth to become our representatives. We encourage all Native youth to engage in the MUN program to learn how to utilize this powerful resource for our people.