PHOENIX, Ariz. - A group of students from Hopi Jr/Sr High School attended the 16th annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day on Jan. 18 to meet tribal leaders and hear how they plan to work with the state government.
The 10 students attending were Tim Grover, Kevin Honyouti, Brenda Kayquaptewa, Ronelle Lomayaktewa, Brianna Batala, Canicia Weston, Alayne Wadsworth, Sheryce Wadsworth, Morton Koinva and Lewis Nuvayestewa.
Sheryce Wadsworth, a freshman, said she learned about the problems that other tribes face in their communities.
As a reporter for the Hopi High Bruin Times, she was able to go down on the Senate floor to watch the proceedings.
"The best part of tribal legislative day was when I had the privilege to meet the people in the House and Senate," she said.
Arizona State Rep. Jack Jackson Jr. honored the Hopi Code Talkers earlier in the day and mentioned them during the tribal legislative proceedings. Wadsworth said the event would have been improved by letting the Hopi Code Talkers families speak during the main gathering.
Wadsworth said the best speech of the day was given by San Carlos Chairman Terry Rambler.
Wadsworth said the event helped her.
"I always thought about a career in politics or government and the career I really want to go into is public relations officer," she said.
Wadsworth said she met Miss Indian Arizona Sweetie Cody, members of Hopi American Legion Post No. 80, San Carlos Chairman Rambler, Yavapai Apache Chairman David Kwail and Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa,
She said the Senate office was a big building that was nice.
Wadsworth said the gathering was important because it honored the Hopi Codetalkers and their families for their services. She said it was also important because many tribal issues were brought up.
Hopi American Legion Post No. 80 posted the colors.
Nuvayestewa, another freshman, said he learned that there are many problems on the different Arizona reservations.
"Some people need water, others want to expand their source of income for the reservation," he said.
Nuvayestewa said the best part of tribal legislative day was seeing the state capitol.
"It's an experience I won't forget," he said.
Nuvayestewa said the event would have been better if the speeches were shorter.
"I thought the Hopi chairman's speech was a very good one. He touched on topics I thought were important," he said. "I thought the Hopi chairman's speech was the best one. It wasn't too long, but it was very informative."
Nuvayestewa said he wouldn't be suitable for politics because he couldn't sit still through all the speeches. But he was glad to meet Sen. Jackson and Chairman Shingoitewa.
"I think the most important issue was the lack of water in Arizona," he said. "I thought the Senate building was impressive, but I imagined it to be much bigger."
Nuvayestewa said the day was important because it gave the state government a chance to hear from the Native people.
Lomayaktewa, a junior high student, said she learned that when she went inside the Senate building that there was a lot of history and a lot of laws. She noted that three chairmen spoke about the issues important to Indian country
She said the best part of the event was seeing the Senate gallery and when she was listening to the conversations that people were having about issues today.
Lomayaktewa said legislative day doesn't need to be improved because she thought it was just right.
"I was really impressed about the Hopi chairman's speech. He gave so many details and expressed what Hopis are like and how we fit in with everyone of any ethnic group," she said.
Lomayaktewa said attending the event made it more likely that she would be involved with government. She also enjoyed meeting Sen. Jackson, Chairman Shingoitewa and White Mountain Chairman Ronnie Lupe who happens to be the husband of her old fifth grade teacher JoAnn Lupe.
"The main issue I thought was important was the unemployment issue. Many Native Americans, like Hopi, are unemployed and they are struggling to get a job," she said.
Lomayaktewa said the Senate building was fancy.
"It was an awesome experience being in the building," she said.
Lomayaktewa said the event was important because people around the country need to hear all the issues and see what the people can do to make a difference," she said.
Grover, another junior high student, said he learned that all Native Americans in Arizona communicate with each other and they are not enemies.
"The best part was when all the chairmen and presidents introduced each other to everyone," he said. "It could have been improved by having all the royalty from all the different Native tribes in Arizona."
Grover said he liked the Hopi chairman's speech because he introduced the Hopi Code Talkers families and recognized the Hopi people. He said due to this event he would like to be part of the government so he could see other Native Americans that live in other parts of the state.
Grover was happy to meet Sen. Jackson and Miss Indian Arizona.
He said everybody got along and the tribes shared what their reservation had to offer to others.
Grover said the event was important because he had a chance to see the important people that run the different reservations.
"I liked the trip and I think it was a real important day for Native Indians in Arizona," he said.
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