Arizona Tribal Legislative Day 2023
January 20, 2023
On Jan. 11, dozens of tribal leaders and their constituents gathered at the Arizona state capitol for the 28th Annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day. The annual gathering provides a forum for state leaders to hear about some of the most pressing issues facing Arizona tribes. The event also serves as a way to celebrate the rich culture and history of Arizona’s Tribes and Nations and address issues of mutual interest.
The Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations hosted the morning joint protocol session, a resource fair, a breakout session for youth, and another session for parents and guardians.
Lt. Gov. Monica Antone, Jr. Miss Gila River Eliana Rhodes, Miss Gila River First Attendant Gabrielle Garcia, and members of the Akimel O’odham/ Pee-Posh Youth Council attended this year. Each also had the opportunity to sit on the Senate floor during the morning session.
“It feels really good to be back in-person for this meeting, the atmosphere is so welcoming as you see everyone smiling, shaking hands, and even embracing as we come together with other tribal leaders after the pandemic,” said Lt. Gov. Antone.
Arizona Senate President Warren Peterson opened the joint protocol session by welcoming everyone back for the annual meeting. The Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations hosts the yearly event on a Wednesday during the first week of each regular legislative session.
Like previous years, the morning session allowed for several tribal leaders to address the Arizona Senate.
This year Chairman Terry Rambler of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Chairwoman Tanya Lewis of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, and Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma of the Hopi Tribe shared the honor of providing addresses.
Each shared the state of their tribes while highlighting the needs of the state to support them. The state’s water issues and settlement, or lack thereof, were top of mind for each leader. In addition, each address instilled the need for Arizona’s legislative and senate to always consider tribes, as constitutions, and as one of the most significant contributors to Arizona’s economy.
“Hearing Gov. Hobbs pledge a commitment to respect our sovereignty and to recognize our contributions to Arizona’s past and future were most welcomed,” said Chairwomen Lewis’, alluding to Gov. Hobbs’ statements during her inauguration. “I look forward to building a robust and mutual partnership with the state of Arizona…to the assembled members of the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate, I wish to remind you of our shared commitment to the people of Arizona.”
Earlier that day, Lt. Gov. Antone attended a meeting before the joint protocol session with newly elected Gov. Katie Hobbs. The meeting allowed tribal leaders to share some of the most important matters with Gov. Hobbs, including gaming, economic development, and the state’s water issues.
Lt. Gov. Antone said, “It feels really good to have been there to hear from Gov. Hobbs and the commitments she has for Arizona’s tribes, we’re learning more about how we can work together to create new and better opportunities for all tribes.”