SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M. - Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. on Dec. 4 joined other tribal leaders at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya to express appreciation to former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Regina B. Schofield for her work on behalf of Native children and tribes.
Ms. Schofield was responsible for the management and oversight of the Office of Justice Programs, and fought to ensure tribes and Alaskan bands received federal funding and meaningful consultation involving a wide range of programs.
"Certainly we're here to honor a lady who's helped out Native America," President Shirley said at a reception in Ms. Schofield's honor last week. "Through her work she's helped out the Navajo Nation big time."
Among those to honor her for her work were Ohkay Owingey Governor Earl Salazar, Acoma Pueblo Governor Jason Johnson, Mescalero Apache Tribal President Mark Chino, Pojoaque Pueblo Lt. Governor Linda Diaz, Pauma Band of Mission Indians Councilwoman Juana Majel-Dixon, and Suquamish Indian Tribal Councilwoman Linda Holt.
Also commending Ms. Schofield was Dr. Eric Broderick, deputy administrator for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Andrew Knapp of Magellan Health Services, and Robbie Callaway, chairman of the Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation, formerly vice president of governmental relations for Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Among dozens of her accomplishments, the President noted that Schofield worked to ensure that Boys and Girls Clubs of America received $80 million per year from the federal government. He said eight Boys and Girls Clubs are now operating on the Navajo Nation and the ninth will soon open in Chinle.
The President presented Schofield with a Pendleton robe with the Navajo Nation seal that represents the Navajo way of life as a gift of appreciation for her work, care and concern toward tribes.
"She's looked out for Native America," he said. "Many of them are my children, my grandchildren, my people. All of these programs are programs that help tribes and Native nations help their young, and we really appreciate that."
In November in 2005, Schofield established the Justice Programs Council on Native American Affairs within the Office of Justice Programs. The council is composed of Department of Justice and OJP programs and works to address Native American initiatives, issues and policy concerns. Among its priorities under her leadership are:
Tribal Justice & Safety Web Team with tribal consultation, education and outreach;
Research, Evaluation, Data Collection and Technical Assistance Workshop;
Tribal Grant Policy/Training and Technical Assistance Workshop;
Tribal Youth Initiatives Workshop;
Tribal Economic/Code Development Workshop;
OJP Federal Workforce Education Program on American Indian and Alaska Natives Workshop.
In August 2006, Schofield implemented OJP's five-year strategic plan that includes tribal governments in addition to state and local government goals.
In September 2007 following consultation with tribal leaders, she signed a new OJP Tribal Grants Policy.
Also in September, Schofield announced that 10 tribal sites - including the Navajo Nation - had been selected to serve as demonstration sites to help expand the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative to support the recovery of missing and abducted children. These sites will serve as models for other tribal communities.
Also this year, Schofield oversaw OJP's three consultation sessions to receive information on the proposed Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act guidelines.
Schofield was the President Bush's White House Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs Director for the U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services.
"We're always looking for friends in high places, and we found one in Regina," President Shirley said. "Regina has been there with us, and because she's been, a lot of Navajo students have been helped."