REPORT: Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day is best attended in history
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
The Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations — in cooperation with representatives from the state’s 22 tribal nations — hosted its 29th annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day at the Arizona capitol recently.
This annual state-tribal summit saw its largest attendance in its history, with over 1,000 tribal leaders, representatives, and community members coming together to discuss goals for the new year, according to a press release.
The annual event started with a joint protocol session hosted by the Arizona House of Representatives, with floor privileges extended to tribal leaders to join their representative(s) during the session.
It opened with a traditional song by Chi’Chino Spirit O’odham Singing Group and the presentation of colors by American Legion Post #114, “Bushmasters” of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Laney Lupe, Miss Indian Arizona, delivered the Pledge of Allegiance.
Vice President Paul Russell from Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, provided the invocation; with opening remarks by Hon. Ben Toma, Speaker of the House; and Hon. Warren Petersen, Senate President. President Martin Harvier, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community; Chairwoman Sherry Parker, Hualapai Tribe; and Chairman Robert Miguel, Ak-Chin Indian Community; delivered the Tribal Nations Address, sharing the collective perspectives of Tribal leadership.
“For our community we share the common border with the fast growing cities of the East Valley; the cities of Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and we also share common issues,” said President Martin Harvier, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
“Whether it’s transportation, economic development, public safety, human services, cultural resources and others, we know that we must work together to build a region where there will be opportunities in the years to come.”
After the session, a community luncheon was held on the Senate lawn. Then, attendees were offered to join two breakout sessions, which were Arizona State Agencies Information Panel, an opportunity to meet leadership from various state agencies and learn about the work they do with Tribal communities; and the Youth Workshop, Lighting the Fire: Bringing light to your Community through Advocacy, presented by United National Indian Tribal Youth.
“This is an important event for leaders from all over the state to come together and discuss their mutual interests as it relates to the state of Arizona and the 22 tribes that reside here,” said Jason Chavez, director of the Governor’s Office on Tribal Relations.
“Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day acknowledges and pays tribute to the rich culture and history of Native people and their abundant contributions to our government and society.”