On Tuesday, January 21 the 19th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day brought together State and Tribal leaders at the State Capitol in Downtown Phoenix. Various Tribal leaders from across Arizona were given the opportunity to remind the State of the importance of their relationship with Tribal communities.
Representatives from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community were SRPMIC President Diane Enos who was a featured speaker, Councilman Tom Largo, Candace Romero, Media Relations Specialist and members of the Young River People’s Council.
“I’ve attended every year and there was more of trying to get an understanding of all people in Arizona and we have issues just like everybody. I liked what I saw and heard today and President Enos always puts the Community first and the young people, as you probably heard in her speech. She takes a lot of heat, but I’ll tell you this that’s a hard working woman,” said Largo. “Politics are politics.
You got to know what’s going on, what bills are coming forward, figure out whether it’s going to help or hurt us and figure out what the next steps are.”
The event kicked off at 10:30 a.m. where a Joint Protocol Session was held in the Arizona House of Representatives Gallery. The Ira A. Hayes American Legion Post #84 did the posting of colors and Alyssa Garcia (Ak-Chin Indian Community) said the Pledge of Allegiance.
An Invocation was given by Councilman Paul Russell of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and Opening Remarks were given by Representative Andy Tobin, Speaker of the House and Senator Andy Biggs, Senate President.
Featured Speakers included President Ben Shelly, Navajo Nation, President Diane Enos and Chairman Terry Rambler, San Carlos Apache. Each speaker briefly mentioned the major issues within Indian Country and reminded State leaders of their duties and relationships with Native communities. “Let me remind you, this is our territory you’re in and I’m going to keep telling you that,” said Enos while addressing the Arizona House of Representatives. Some of the major topics covered were education, economic development, youth related issues and land and water issues.
“I think that teen pregnancy, loss of culture, graffiti and not taking care of our land are some of the major issues on SRPMIC,” said Joli Lewis, Young River People’s Council member.
“I learned that each reservation has their own problems and we want our Communities to stay and work together,” said Pretty Flower Galindo, Young River People’s Council member.
“I think this was good for us because it’ll help give us experience about what will happen in the near future, if you decide to go into politics,” said Leonard Judge, Young River People’s Council member.
All Tribal representatives in the Arizona House of Representatives Gallery were given recognition. Thereafter, a Community luncheon was served on the Senate lawn for all in attendance and ended with an afternoon workshop covering public safety.
For more information about the Young River People’s Council call Angela Willeford, YRPC Coordinator at (480)362-6654 or visit http://azcia.gov/INTLD.asp for more information about Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day.