GRIC youth attend work session during Tribes Legislative Day at Capitol
Gila River Indian News
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the 25th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day was held at the Arizona State Capitol. Tribal leaders from around the state converged to Phoenix for a day of listening and learning with state leaders in attendance.
As part of the days programming, Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA) hosts an annual work session called Native Youth Know for all the youth in attendance. Native Youth Know is a planning session that captures new and innovative ideas for future planning and youth programming from the youth. A report from the information collected will be distributed to tribal leaders PWNA works with as well as posting on their website.
Every year a delegation attends from the Akimel O’odham/ Pee-Posh Youth Council (AOPPYC) to provide a better understanding of how state and tribal governments work together. And members also participate in the Native Youth Know work sessions.
This year Alexis Valenzuela and Hunter Nish attended on behalf of the AOPPYC.
Alexis Valenzuela was in a diverse breakout group with youth from Ft. Mohave, White Mountain Apache, and Navajo. The conversations were productive, and she said, “the session was interesting because we all come from different communities, but we all deal with the same struggles.” She enjoyed the day and encourages more youth to be a part of it next year.
Though focused for youth, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis and Lt. Gov. Robert Stone attended the sessions. Both were allowed to introduce themselves and offer words of inspiration for the youth.
Gov. Lewis encouraged all the youth in attendance, stating, “all our ancestors that came before us instilled the engineering and ingenuity to thrive into the future. Take every opportunity to better yourselves and honor their legacy.”
Lt. Gov. Stone also offered words for the youth, telling them to “learn as much as you can, ask questions, and grasp the opportunities that challenge you to rise as a leader because you’re all the future of your communities.”
PWNA Vice President of Programs, Rafael Tapia, was honored to have GRIC leadership in attendance as their presence and words were well received.
Hunter Nish, AOPPYC President, encourages any interested youth to attend the legislative day in the future along with the Native You Know portion of the day. Nish said, “If you’re active in your community or would like to understand better how to make big changes, than you should really attend next year.”