Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Native American Caucus reviews the Northern Arizona Water Rights Settlement

Native American Caucus reviews the Northern Arizona Water Rights Settlement

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Recently the Arizona Native American Caucus reviewed the complexities of the Northern Arizona Water Rights Settlement to gain a better understanding of water issues facing the state and Indian nations.

“Things happening on reservations will have an impact here and now,” Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), said. “Water is a central issue here in the desert. As the Navajo saying goes, ‘water is life.’ We must be mindful of this resource, especially in light of our growing populations.”

Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (District 7), said she is pleased that the Arizona Legislature is taking an interest in the water rights settlement.

Water is a precious resource,” she said. “Educating the Legislature about the history of water rights and water use in our state is of the utmost importance."

The following experts presented at the caucus meeting on April 25:

  • Stanley Pollack, assistant attorney general, Water Rights Unit, Navajo Nation Department of Justice
  • George Mase, council representative, chair of the Water and Energy Task Team, Hopi Tribal Council.
 “We have to continue to discuss water rights at the Legislature,” Hale said. “It is important that the elected officials understand these issues and are able to inform people in their own communities.”

The Native American Caucus meets regularly during the legislative session to discuss topics of importance to Native American communities but this was the final scheduled meeting for 2013.

“This legislative session, the Native American Caucus had meaningful discussions about a variety of topics,” Hale said.  “I greatly appreciate the efforts of the legislators who attended, the experts who presented and the lunch sponsors and staff for their support. I look forward to next year’s caucus meetings.”

Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9), said the level of participation and interest in the caucus impressed her.

“It is a sign of respect that our fellow legislators and the staff have continually attended the Native American Caucus meetings to learn more about issues affecting Native American people in Arizona,” she said.

Copies of the presentation materials are attached. More specific information about what was discussed at the caucus meeting on April 25, including presentations and other documents, is available upon request.


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