Leaders attend the 25th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day
Gila River Indian News
Tribal leaders from across the State of Arizona attended the 25th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day at the Arizona State Capitol on Jan. 15.
The day-long event, was an opportunity for Arizona tribal communities to get to know their state legislature and show how meetings are held concerning important matters to tribes.
It also included breakout sessions on a variety of topics, such as missing and murdered Indigenous people, a discussion involving Native elders and a forum with Native youth.
“A lot of us share the same issues, which we need to straighten and enforce from our various locations,” said Lt. Gov. Robert Stone. He said all tribes need to work together to push solutions to issues, like water conservation, crime in Indian Country and other important topics.
Stone said, “We are doing things like agriculture, water conservation, things that make [us] unique, but we know there are other tribes, trying to gain their water rights, we have to help them, too.”
He said all tribes will have to face these challenges together, to find solutions at the state and federal level.
“Other things factor into what affects tribes, we have climate change, population growth, and a changing world. These are things we can get through with the same mindset,” said Stone.
The day included speakers from the Navajo Nation, Havasupai and Tohono O’odham Nation.
“The possibilities for economic growth, working to combat issues like poverty, drug and alcohol are things we all need to do together,” said Jonathan Nez, President of the Navajo Nation.
Nez emphasized building ties with the state and federal government so both sides can address issues, while exploring opportunities for economic growth.
“Water is an important part of our livelihood, we rely on it for many things to survive,” said Matthew Putesoy, Vice Chairman of the Havasupai Tribe. He said recent uranium mine drilling operations, south of the Grand Canyon rim, threaten the safety of the water going into Havasupai Creek.
Among these issues, is also introducing broadband internet to places like Supai, which sits within Havasu Canyon, and reliable transportation for community members for day-to-day use or emergency situations.