Gov. Lewis joins panel with state and tribal leaders at congressional conference
Gila River Indian News
Arizona State University hosted the 2019 Congressional Conference on Water for Resilient and Healthy Arid Communities on Aug. 26. The conference brought many stakeholders, policymakers, government officials, congressional delegates, and tribal leaders who focused on integrating water resilience and security into infrastructure and economic development across the Valley and the broader Southwestern region.
Gov. Steven Roe Lewis served on the conference’s Tribal Leaders Water Panel. The panel also consisted of Kristine Fire Thunder, Governor's Office of Tribal Relations, Jane Russell-Winiecki, Chairwoman of the Yavapai Apache Tribe, and Dennis Patch, Chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.
"We must all be vigilant, especially in regards to our "shudug" or water," said Gov. Lewis in his remarks.
The discussions on water at the state level are vital to the state's health and the economy as Russell-Winiecki shared, "People can survive a long time without food, but you can't go long without water."
One attendee was Community Member Mikhail Sundust, Communications Policy Program Coordinator for ASU's American Indian Policy Institute. Sundust was glad to see this panel as part of the conference stating, "I think it's important that tribes are present in state discussions on water issues. And it's good that we have a voice and platform to talk about their perspectives on water issues."
Gov. Lewis highlighted the importance of sharing the history of the Community's role in the state's water policies and management. "Since our history, back to the Huhugam, we've been using innovative water management practices, not only for Arizona tribes but throughout Indian Country," said Gov. Lewis.
Gov. Lewis also cited GRIC’s implementation of water delivery systems and management and the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) sites.