The Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs (ACIA) will hold the first in a series of post-Arizona Indian Town Hall meetings on Friday, September 21, 2001 at 8:30 am at the Sycamore Room, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. This meeting is open to the public, and ACIA encourages all in the community to attend.
This year’s Indian Town Hall (ITH) focused on bringing the New Economy to tribal and rural communities in Arizona. Communities using the concepts of the “New Economy” are developing a comprehensive approach to economic development, bringing together education, communications, leadership and communities to build sustainable economies. However, as former Arizona Department of Commerce Director Jackie Norton noted, communities lacking the necessary infrastructure will be “unable to compete” in the New Economy. High-speed Internet capability is a rare commodity in rural and reservation areas, and even basic telephone service is nearly impossible to obtain in remote reservation communities. The Navajo Nation reports that nearly 80 percent of its homes lack basic phone service.
ITH participants found that the tribes and state should work together to resolve taxation issues, lobby the FCC to adhere to the rural and tribal provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and create strong collaborations between business and government to enhance economic development. The complete Indian Town Hall Report is available via mail or on our Web site, www.indianaffairs.state.az.us.
Featured speakers include Rep. Sylvia Laughter (D-Kayenta), who has made the enhancement of tribal communities her priority during her legislative terms, and Flagstaff attorney Steve Smith, who represents tribal communities on a variety of issues.
The Indian Town Hall, established in 1963, brings together tribal, state, and private representatives for intensive discussion on issues vital to Arizona communities. In the past three years, several bills incorporating ITH recommendations have been passed by the Legislature, including greater access to Greater Arizona Development Authority (GADA) technical assistance by tribal sub-governmental entities; increased transit funding for tribal community members; and the establishment of the House Native American Affairs Committee.
Since 1953, ACIA has served as the legislative liaison between the 21 Arizona Tribes/Nations and the State of Arizona. ACIA’s mission is to “build partnerships to enhance government-to-government relations, community and economic prosperity for the 21 Indian Tribes/Nations in Arizona.”
For more information, call Debra Krol, Project Specialist, at (602) 542-3123, or email Krol_Debra@pop.state.az.us.