Feb. 24, the Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs hosted its annual Indian Tribes and Nations Legislative Day at the Arizona Capitol.
The event brought together a diverse group of Tribal Leaders from Arizona tribes, Gov. Jan Brewer and members of the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives. Indian Tribes and Nations Legislative Day provide Tribal Leaders with an opportunity to discuss current issues that impact tribes with Arizona leaders.
Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairman Thomas Beauty and Tribal Council member's Roberta Quail and Robert Jackson Sr. were in attendance and accompanied by newly crowned Yavapai-Apache royalty and the Nation's UNITY Youth Council.
During the event, Beauty was given the opportunity to address the members of the state Legislature. He began his address by sharing information about his background, challenges and struggles, as well as a history of the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
"Today, we have a duly elected government with a chairman, vice chairman and seven council members. We do not have a two party system. We have a true democracy," Beauty said. "There are no party lines in our government, therefore our council makes decisions, issue by issue and bases its decisions on what is best for the community, not for a party. This is why our council addresses living room and kitchen table issues.
"You will find that our council directly addresses the core issues including ensuring that there is clean water in our homes, food on our plates, gas in our cars, money for education, clothes for our children, and services for our elders. In this bipartisan manner, we address the core issues that impact each and every one of our tribal families. I am confident that in these chambers, each of you addresses these same issues for Arizona families. I hope that our state Legislature will take the appropriate steps needed to get Arizona back on track. I know that this is an overwhelming challenge that will require consensus, bi-partisanship, creativity and more importantly the development of unique relationships between Arizona's leaders, municipalities and tribal governments," he said.
Chairman Beauty took advantage of the opportunity to not only educate Arizona leaders about the history, struggles and efforts of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, but also used the opportunity to address current issues that impact, not only tribal communities, but all of Arizona's communities. The Yavapai-Apache Nation put emphasis on developing partnerships between municipalities, tribal governments and the state, as well as working together to protect the state's natural resources.
Yavapai-Apache tribal leaders provided the Nation's UNITY Youth Council with real-to-life experience and insight on the daily challenges that tribal leaders work to overcome, while still maintaining the services offered to tribal members and the protection of tribal sovereignty.
Lance Lewis-Moore, member of the UNITY Youth Council said, "It was a good experience to travel to Legislative Day with the chairman and tribal council. I think that our Youth Council has a better idea of the things our leaders do when they are traveling and meeting with other leaders. It was exciting to see how the other leaders reacted to our chairman."
Throughout the year, the UNITY Youth Council performs a variety of community service projects including Earth Day clean-ups, holiday decorating for tribal elders and assisting the Chairman's office in a variety of events. Additionally, the Youth Council travels throughout the year, meeting with Congressional leaders and discussing issues that are important to tribal youth.
Chairman Beauty concluded his address in the state Legislature by saying, "I also want to remind us all, that Arizona will be a stronger state, our constituents will be stronger constituents, our families will be enjoy a better quality of life and we will instill longevity into our natural resources if Arizona leaders, municipal leaders and tribal leaders, work together, plan together and serve together. I ask today that we all roll up our sleeves and work together to produce the results that our communities and state deserve and expect from us such as getting our children educated, protecting and sharing our natural resources, taking care of our elderly and veterans, providing well paying jobs for our families, and ensuring that Arizona remains a safe and beautiful destination for our visitors."