CAMP VERDE - On Dec. 2, President Barack Obama hosted the sixth annual Tribal Nations Conference, an exclusive meeting at the White House for 12 leaders representing the different U. S. tribal regions. Among the tribal leaders in attendance was Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairman Thomas Beauty, who represented the western region. Beauty discussed issues important to the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
Since taking office in 2009, President Obama made tribal issues a priority of his administration as he launched the Tribal Nations Conference to bring together tribal leaders from throughout the United States. The one-day conference featured a diverse panel of cabinet level speakers, the discussion of tribal priorities, accomplishments in Indian country and an opportunity for leaders to ask questions about the administration's priorities and to bring awareness to key issues such as federal trust responsibility, Indian education, immigration reform, the Keystone Pipeline and other tribal issues.
"As chairman, I always speak from my heart and for my people," said Chairman Beauty. "Having the opportunity to meet directly with the President of the United States was a tremendous honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"When I was given the opportunity to speak, I was proud to tell the President that as Indian people, we are the invisible minority, often times forgotten and only seen when the federal government wants to infringe on our sovereignty or to take things that do not belong to them."
In addition to meeting with President Obama and attending the conference, Chairman Beauty also met with members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation, including Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Congressman Paul Gosar, Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake.
During congressional meetings, Chairman Beauty discussed Yavapai-Apache issues including land, water and natural resources.
"Chairman Beauty's opportunity to meet with President Obama, coupled with his fellow Apache leader, San Carlos Chairman Terry Rambler's introduction of President Obama, is reflective of the degree of Federal involvement that the Arizona Tribes consistently seek to engage in," stated Valerie Spicer, Executive Director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.
"Chairman Beauty's involvement advocating on behalf of tribal issues is a voice we count on as a leader with Arizonans for Tribal Government Gaming, and recently with the Arizona Indian Gaming Association. "We are proud that Chairman Beauty was one of the voices for Arizona Tribal Gaming at the White House Tribal Nations Conference." Chairman Beauty was first elected to Yavapai-Apache Nation tribal leadership in 2002, serving as a Tribal Councilmember. In 2007, Beauty was elected to his first term as Chairman, serving until 2010, when he left office to obtain his Financial Planning License with the State of Arizona and to join the reputable investment firm Taylor & Padgett, located in the Sedona-Verde Valley.
In 2013, Beauty was elected to serve a second term as Chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Since taking office, Chairman Beauty has also been elected by his colleagues and peers to serve as the Executive Vice President of the Executive Board of Directors for the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona and as Vice Chairman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.