PHOENIX - The 13th annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislation Day will be held Jan. 22 at the state capital. This annual event is hosted by the Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs (AZCIA).
"Keeping the Promise" was chosen as this year's theme to remind the state and tribal governments of the responsibilities that they have to ensure that the issues across Arizona's Indian country are not forgotten.
Kenneth Poocha, executive director of the AZCIA, said Indian Nations and Tribal Legislation Day is a special and unique opportunity for tribal governments and the Arizona Indian community to be an active participant in the legislative process.
Hopi Chairman Ben Nuvamsa will give the opening prayer and Miss Northern Arizona University Marissa Navakuku will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Speeches will be given by Poocha, Fort Mojave Chairman Timothy Williams, Ak-Chin Chairwoman Delia Carlyle, Zuni Pueblo Governor Norman Cooeyate, Senate President Timothy Bee and House Speaker James Weiers.
The AZCIA is obligated by law to convene this event, including inviting the Arizona legislature, governor and other elected officials to pay tribute to the history and culture of the American Indian peoples and their contributions to the prosperity and cultural diversity of the United States.
Last year, more than 700 tribal/urban Indian community members and tribal leaders participated in Indian Nations and Tribal Legislative Day. The event included a special joint session of the Arizona legislature, a lunch on the House/Senate lawn and more than 30 vendors.
This year more than 800 people are expected to attend the events that will include a tribal leader breakfast, a special joint session of the state legislature, and agency informational sessions.
Participants will have the opportunity to meet with state legislators, attend legislative committee meetings and network with colleagues from throughout Indian country including Tex Hall, former president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Ernie Stevens Jr., current president of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). Hall and Stevens are honorary chairs of the Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI), which is one of the sponsors of this year's Indian Nations and Tribal Legislative Days.
For more information, call the AZCIA at (602) 542-3123 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.