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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news December 17, 2014

5/16/2013 2:15:00 PM
Yavapai-Apache tribal leaders meet congresional delegation in D.C.
Courtesy photoYavapai-Apache Nation tribal leaders meet with Congressman Paul Gosar.
Courtesy photo

Yavapai-Apache Nation tribal leaders meet with Congressman Paul Gosar.

CAMP VERDE - Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Leaders participated in the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona's Congressional Impact Week April 22-26 in Washington, D.C. Each year, the ITCA coordinates the Impact Week as an opportunity for Arizona Tribal Leaders to meet in D.C. and lobby Congressional leaders on issues that impact Arizona tribal communities.

While participating in the ITCA agenda was important to preserving the Nation's relationship with the ITCA and other Arizona tribes, the Nation's delegation conducted a rigorous schedule of meetings independent of the ITCA, to provide the Nation's Tribal Leaders with the opportunity to discuss and meet with Congressional leaders and federal agencies, addressing issues and concerns that were specific to the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

"I am proud of the Nation's delegation that attended Congressional Impact Week. As the Nation's leadership team, we met with the Arizona Congressional delegation and federal agencies, discussing and resolving issues with the Nation's water rights negotiations, management of Fossil Creek and the develop of the Nation's proposed juvenile detention center. We made significant progress, identified resolution to the issues concerning the Nation and accomplished a great deal in the lobbying effort. This opportunity to meet in Washington, D.C., was one of the most productive lobbying efforts the Nation has seen in years and produced real results for the Nation and its communities," said Tribal Councilwoman Nancy Guzman.

Throughout the week, Tribal Leaders had the opportunity to meet and discuss the Nation's water rights negotiations, challenges with the negotiations, and procurement of funding through technical assistance funds to ensure the negotiations continue. The Nation's Tribal Leaders met with the offices of Congressman Paul Gosar, Congressman Matt Salmon, Congressman Ed Pastor, Congressman David Schweikert, Congressman Trent Franks, Congressman Ron Barber, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake and Senator Brian Schatz. Additionally, the Tribal Leaders met with the U.S. Department of Interior and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to resolve water rights negotiations issues. Tribal Leaders also met with the U.S. Forest Service discussing the management of Fossil Creek, which is a place of importance to the Yavapai and Apache people, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs discussing the Nation's proposed juvenile detention center.

The Nation has faced recent challenges in negotiating its federal water rights, which required the Nation to work with the Department of Interior to resolve the negotiation challenges in order to move forward with settlement and further discussion with the Federal Water Rights Negotiation Team.

Meeting with Congressional leaders is an important component of the government-to-government relationship between the Nation and federal agencies. The government-to-government relationship is part of the federal trust responsibility obligated to tribal communities. Additionally, the meetings were a critical opportunity for Tribal Leaders to advocate for water, land, Indian gaming and other issues that the Nation needs to develop a sustainable future.

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