The following platforms were submitted to the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ Enrollment Office for publication before the Dec. 1 CRIT general election. The position of Tribal Vice-Chairperson is up for election, as are three seats on the Tribal Council.

The Enrollment Office said these candidates did not submit platforms:  Teddy Goodman and Keith Moses for Vice-Chairperson and Jennifer Corona, Loriann Knighton and Timothy Stevens-Welsh for Tribal Council.

Tribal Council

Amanda Barrera

Hello to my fellow CRIT Tribal Members. My name is Amanda Barrera and I have submitted my application for one of the upcoming Tribal Council seats in the 2018 election.

I am a Chemehuevi and the mother of three children, Mark Sanchez Jr., Kristina Soliz and the late Irene Soliz. As is our traditional way, I am parent for my sister Audrey’s children. Presently, I am raising Lailah and she’s in the 8th Grade at Wallace Junior High. Altogether, through marriage, I have eight children, 20 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I am the daughter of the late Ernestine Paddock Sharpe and Fred Sharpe. My father is the late John Leivas.

I attended locally and graduated from Parker High School and have a Bachelor’s of Art Degree from Ottawa University. I bring to the table a wide array of work experience from law enforcement, the courts, Legal Aid, and a number of years in Behavioral Health field of Mental Health and Alcohol. I also have years of working with various grants.

I have lived here on the CRIT Reservation for the past 30 years and have been an active community members, serving and volunteering in various organizations, committees, etc. I am a prior committee members of Johnson O’Malley, Parker Indian Rodeo Association, Irataba Society, Parker Area Alliance for Community Empowerment, a founding board member of the Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter, CRIT Pageant Committee, Miss Indian Arizona Pageant Committee, CRIT Youth Council (Advisor), Education Board member and Past Chair, Health Board Member, Vice and Chairperson, represented CRIT and the river tribes as a Commitment to Excellence Board Member, and served as CRIT Representative on the River Tribes Health Board.

I have represented CRIT at various levels in regards to local, state and federal participation, such as Health, Education, Environmental, etc. Participating at these various levels has ensured that the input of CRIT is presented and documented to its fullest level and that areas being discussed are addressed at the local level for CRIT.

I have had the greatest of opportunities of representing the tribal members of CRIT by serving as past Tribal Council Member and Tribal Secretary. While serving in this capacity, I have been actively involved in addressing areas regarding environmental issues, and have been instrumental in establishing and assuring that our footprint is recognized when it comes to the lands of our people. Actively involved in assuring that the voice of CRIT was at the table and that our unique areas were addressed and discussed.

I am open to constructive discussion in regards to the needs and new ideas in our community. As a community person and more so while on Tribal Council, I will have an open-door policy to meet and discuss with you in regards to issues and concerns that you may have. I have always made point to learn our resources, not just at the tribal level, but also at the town, county and state level.

I respectfully come before my membership asking for your vote for Amanda Barrera for Tribal Council on Dec. 1.

Amber Van Fleet

Save our Water.

Save our Tribe.

Save our People.

Charles “Nobahe” Miller, Jr.

I’ve upheld and taught the gaming ordinances of the Tribal Compact with the State of Arizona to incoming tribal gaming inspectors/regulators. This is to ensure the integrity of the gaming agency and the tribal endeavor to provide to the public a safe and honest place to gamble and enjoy the amenities of that place. I will pursue the same value of promoting integrity in all tribal endeavors.

Erin Yava

Hello, my name is Erin Nicole Yava, daughter of Edward Yava Sr. and Allison Robertson. I have worked for the Colorado River Indian Tribes for 12 years in different departments. My first few years was working for Colorado River Residential Housing as a renovation crew member. I assisted with finishing lot of the housing units in Mo-Chem, Desert Sun and Poston.

In May 2011, I moved to the CRIT Probation Department and worked with Juvenile Probation. I worked in the Probation Department for four years and found it rewarding, but my need to learn the Tribal Justice System was more important to me. I made a transfer to the CRIT Tribal Courts as a traffic clerk.

I learned what all happens with all departments coming through the Tribal Justice System and how broken and outdated some of the tribal justice codes are written. They’re not helping with our juveniles and their families.

In 2013, I applied to the CRIT Department of Health and Social Services as a Child in Need of Care Caseworker. I found this position rewarding in ways for me, helping families being reunited and/or helping other families adopt their children. But, in 2014, I returned back to CRIT Probation and worked as an adult probation officer. I found there was a need for help with our Male Probationers with rehabilitation.

I worked for the Probation Office for four years and found that the justice system was still broken. In 2018, I applied back to the Social Services Department as an Adult Case Worker and found out our elders were suffering abuse by families. Our Tribal children were falling through the tribal justice system and the DHSS Case Workers are being overworked and underpaid.

My reason for running for the Tribal Council is to change things that can only be changed by being on the Tribal Council, especially the treatment of our Tribal Elders and children. My hope for my time on Tribal Council is to accomplish a better social situation for tribal members, especially elders and children. I also want to revamp outdated tribal departments and advance opportunities for hard-working tribal employees.

Granthum Stevens

I’m Granthum Stevens, and I graduated from Parker High School. I graduated for Haskell Indian Nations University with an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree. I continued my educational endeavors at the University of Kansas.

I started my working career with the Colorado River Indian Tribes as the Johnson-O’Malley Coordinator. Over time, while in college, I became the Gaming Commission Director of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. I remained as Director for approximately seven years.

I returned home to the position of Tribal Gaming Agency Executive Director. I decided to run for Tribal Council to help with developing a government based on policies, procedures and standards of operations. This will help CRIT move into the future and have a foundation to build upon.

Herman “T.J.” Laffoon

I am the son of the late Triny and Herman Laffoon Sr. I was born and raised on our reservation. I am Mohave and a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. I served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968 and was stationed overseas in the Vietnam Conflict. I have worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (29 years, retired) and presently am the Commercial Manager (21 years) for the Colorado River Indian Tribes. For the past 29 years, I have served on numerous committees for both the Parker community and our Tribal community. I am a member of the American Legion, serving as Adjutant and have served as Commander and District 1 Commander for the Department of Arizona. I have been married to Vicki Homer Laffoon for 50 years, and have a family of eight children, 16 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.

I am a candidate for a Tribal Council position. As a former Tribal Council member and present Commercial Manager, I am oriented on the constitution requirements, ordinances, policies and procedures and administrative functions of our Tribal Government as well as to our responsibility in working with the local Community, Federal, State and other Tribal Governments.

As we move forward, we are faced with many Government changes, both local and nationwide. We must be prepared to work with all levels of government, local Community, Federal, State and other Tribal Governments. Whatever issues and changes are brought forward on all levels of government, we must keep our Tribal Government aware of, to ensure that we have input and take advantage of opportunities to participate on the issues that will be profitable to our progress.

One important issue facing our Tribal Government is our WATER allocations in Arizona and California. We are not receiving any credit for our water allocations that are being utilized by other entities. Throughout our Tribal history, our water issues and management have been top priority. Today, water issues facing Arizona Native Reservations have reached a point where we need to implement strategies to work with other entities to resolve and cultivate our lands to strengthen usage of our water allocations to benefit our reservation for our future. We work with two Tribal Associations, the Ten Tribes Partnership and Colorado River Water Users Association to keep current on water issues and protect our water allocations.

We must keep updated on Indian Health Services in providing health services to our Tribal members. There have been many changes and constant input needs to be made on our health needs, both locally and nationally.

SOLAR projects have been discussed. It is vital that all phases are dealt with on a step-by-step basis so future implementation involving funding, location, access and structures are in conformance to regulations and following Tribal procedures to protect our ancestral groups. We also need further development of Commercial Enterprises; educational opportunities for our youth and young adults, both academic and vocational; substance abuse and domestic abuse prevention programs; Federally funded grant programs; motivational youth groups and athletic programs; and housing opportunities for all levels of income.

If elected, I will continue my dedicated personal commitment to the Tribal Membership to work in unity with the Tribal Council, abide by the Constitution and Ordinances, and to keep an open mind and positive attitude on all issues to ensure all actions are in the best interest of the Tribe and reservation. I will strive to improve our working administration to make a stronger, credible Tribal Government that works together and represents all four Tribes and to expand its revenue resources and development to secure the future of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

Johnny Hill Jr.

Greetings.

My name is Johnny Hill Jr. My parents are the late John S. Hiller Sr. and the Lyda L. Paddock. I was raised by my grandmother, the late Mary S. Hill, from infancy at three months old. My Grandma lived a Christian life and lived to the age of 102 years old. She raised me in church. During that time, she taught me to be honest and truthful.

My very first job was washing dishes at Bluewater at the age of 14. Shortly after that I started working on a farm for a man named Joe Hernandez. He put me on my first tractor, which I drove into a ditch. He got it out and told me to try again. I got very good at it and later got into heavy equipment.

In 1974, after Grandma passed, I went to the big city to learn a trade. I got into welding, hydraulics, painting and working on big tractor trucks. Eventually, I got into earth moving, which I enjoyed doing. With all that experience, I applied with the BIA and got the job. I worked with the Road Department and later moved to operations and maintenance. Then, in 2009, I got elected to the Tribal Council. It’s been nine years there.

I’d like to serve one more term because the Tribal Council needs all the support they can get. If reelected, I want to continue helping our Tribal members, young and old. I know what it’s like to struggle. I lived that life growing up. I will always be there, 24 hours a day. I will never cheat, steal or lie to you, nor will I let anyone steal from you, the membership. Love one another.

Sylvia "Cindy" Homer

I previously served on the Tribal Council from 1995 to 1998, from 2001 to 2005, and from 2011 to 2014. I have been employed with Tribes for a total of 28 years as Diabetes Prevention Program Recruiter/Coordinator, Tribal Council liaison at the BlueWater Resort & Casino, and CRIT Air Office Administrator. Before working for the Tribes, I worked for my father as manager of his smoke shop for 10 years.

I will represent my people to the best of my ability.

Tribal Vice Chairperson

Estelle “Teddy” Fisher

Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening, all my fellow tribal members. My name is Estelle Theora Allen Fisher and I am campaigning to become your next Vice-Chairman. I am 38 years old I am ready to step up and use my time in this role to help our tribal government in a positive manner. I am a member of the Green Party, which means that I believe in protecting this Earth so that the next generations can enjoy clean air and good foods produced through farming. This is very important to our tribe being that we are a farming community.

My employment history is vast. My first job was at a KFC in San Diego. At that time, I was 16, and I held a job and attended high school. Upon turning 18, I relocated back here to Parker, Ariz. I began working at the BlueWater Casino as a change girl for a couple of years.

In Parker, I have held many jobs, including being a day care provider at Wee Care and a cook/cashier at 49er Pizza. I helped plant the flowers and shrubs at the casino as a construction worker. I enrolled in the ED&T Program and was hired by CRIT Realty, where I worked as the Secretary. I decided to pursue higher education, so I moved back to San Diego and began attending San Diego City College to receive a degree in Business Management.

Making the decision to return to my family, I left without obtaining a degree. However, I have started back in the process to obtain this goal.

I am a proud single mother of a beautiful young lady. When my daughter was born, I relocated back to San Diego to raise her so that she would be cultured, growing up around different ethnicities while maintaining her own identity. That move blessed me with so much opportunity and allowed me to gain experience and growth.

Starting out, I became a telemarketer refinancing loans, but I quit when I found out I was actually hurting people be helping them get into more debt. I moved to Community HousingWorks and started on my non-profit career, staying with the company for four years. I enjoyed that work tremendously, as I as able to help low-income families attain home ownership.

On the weekends I would administer a HUD approved Home Buyer Education program. Within my details, I also learned how to build and monitor a database, worked on a national level of grant funding, coordinated events and meetings, built reports and handled the outreach to increase community participation.

After hearing of an open position at the Indian Human Resource Center of San Diego, I applied for this position. I wanted to work for and with my people (fellow Native Americans). I became the coordinator of the Community Service Block Grant. This allowed me to become familiar with grants and how reporting is done to comply with grants. While I administered this program, I started a food pantry allowing families in need to come and get a food package as they needed. In that position, I also started a clothing closet for families in need.

While working on building a resource bank, I became a member of the Emergency Resource Group, which is a collaboration of non-profit groups. Working with the American Red Cross, I was able to become certified to offer Rental Assistance within the program. Another aspect of the program was to provide transportation assistance in the form of paying for gas for clients or providing bus passes. Budgeting was a big part of this position as well, so the funds were able to cover needs:  housing, transportation, food and clothing.

After a new director was hired, I was placed in the position of Job Developer, with the duties of assessing clients’ needs and skills to find the suitable employment. Part of this job was to meet with possible employers and introduce myself and the Indian Human Resources Center to the community.

As with many Native centers and programs, the Indian Human Resources Center had to close. This is when I took a part-time job at Little Caesar’s cashiering, cooking and preparing ingredients for production. During my time at Little Caesar’s, I had proven to be a stellar employee and was given the duty of opening the store. I was offered the job of manager, but declined it to return home to Parker in 2016.

I was hired by the Tribes and started working at one of our Tribal enterprises. It was during this time that I experienced first-hand what type of improvement our system can use. There are many employable Tribal members who have not been given an opportunity and this needs to change. There are plenty of young, well-bodied and able tribal members who need to be given a chance. This, in turn, will help them show our younger generation what self-sufficiency is.

It would be nice to see something put in place like regular job fairs four times a year, or workshops aiding those that need help in filling out applications, learning how to dress appropriately for interviews, mock interviews and a pat on the back for all their efforts.

I myself have grown up on three reservations and have lived in adobe homes without running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. I have had to haul water. I am proud of this as it has shown me there isn’t much we need to live well and be happy. I have resided on this beautiful Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, the Gila River Indian Reservation prior to the new redeveloped community and in the village of Hano (Tewa Village) on First Mesa, Polacca, Ariz.

While I was living in Gila River, there was no authority, no police, and it was rough. There were many murders and much violence that I witnessed first-hand. This is why law enforcement is important to me. However, we do need to make sure our own law enforcement is culturally respectful so that our community can feel truly safe and not targeted on our own land.

I myself have been blessed enough to have a strong family connection, but, growing up, I had friends that did not have that connection and were in jail, running away from home, and having to grow up in the system. This is why the youth hold such a special place in my heart. I feel that there is much that can be done to improve in this area. We need more youth-involved programs that every tribal child can benefit from.

Rather than putting money into a youth jail, it could be spent on a youth center where the youth can learn about their culture or that of one of the four tribes. In doing this, they will preserve culture and be confident in their identity, no matter where this life takes them.

While living in Tewa Village, I was blessed enough to learn my traditions from my aunt, Juanita Healing. In everything, she showed me, there was a lesson or learning happening. For this, I will forever hold my elders close to my heart, whether they are my family or yours. This is something else we need to focus on.

I recently had an uncle at the Caring House in Sacaton and it was hard to visit him as we had to travel so far. Our elders need a place to rest and be cared for should the family not be equipped to do so. We also need to reconnect the younger generations with the elders. From them, their knowledge will grow.

Part of my time is also spent fighting against Monsanto through my daily living and sharing of information to others. I am passionate about the Murdered Missing Indigenous Women. I have fought the Dakota Access Pipeline through the NoDAPL movement.

In closing, I would encourage everyone to stop and talk to me and ask me any questions you may have.

I would like to leave this thought with you:

See it, be it, fix it!

See it by seeing the problem or issue, be it by putting yourself in the situation, and fix it by being part of the solution.

James “Jimmy” Alcaida

Worked on the reservation most of my life. I want to be able to help tribal members enjoy a better quality of life. I will also work with the Tribal Council for the betterment of the reservation.

Valerie Welsh-Tahbo

Greetings, fellow members of the great Colorado River Indian Tribes.

I, Valerie Welsh-Tahbo, come to you for support of my candidacy, this time for the Vice-Chairman/Woman of our Nation. I’ve come to a crossroads where I have been oriented in just about every government scenario a tribal member would have to address to sufficiently operate a government, Improving upon my ability to be ever so sensitive to our beautiful cultures of our Tribes, to keeping an open mind to opinions and issues, all the while refining my skill to multi-task and delegating duties so as not to become overwhelmed.

I’ve familiarized myself in the areas to prosper efficiently financially, economically, legally, environmentally, agriculturally, educationally, socially, and, in the realm of health care, while maintaining a moral code of selflessness. I bring a good heart, a clear conscience, professionalism and great communications strengths to do this job.

I am profoundly fond of the work that I have participated in over the past 17 consecutive years, and would continue to work with the utmost respect, vigilance and compassion for members both on and off the reservation. May I say, in the area of environment and our natural resources, that my mission has and always will be to keep our lands safe and protected by using what laws are in place as I did while supporting the No Pipeline at Standing Rock. Those very atrocities are constantly threatening our lands and waterways, and having knowledge and experiences for continued safeguards is a must.

With this in mind, there has never been a sale of our water on my watch, nor will there ever be. Constant oversight of the issues of our water must be held steadfast and understood to the fullest. This, too, I have done and will continue to do. My editorial, during my recall, I was asked if I had sold the water. My answer was, “Do you honestly think, having 23 tribal member grandchildren, that I would forsake their future?”

The questioner said, “Enough said.”

Over the years, I have vied for the Council seat finding great pleasure in learning all I need to learn to keep our Nation great, certainly not single-handedly, but with great employees, colleagues, and our shared commitment. No one person can do this job alone! I recognize that with all the local, state and national issues that could be detrimental to our fate, it takes all of us and the ability to be a team player.

I am a team player where I’ve gone to bat for many members over the years, which also included community/tribal volunteering a majority of my life, forging positive impacts for the greater good and not just the few. I’ve been able to uphold our constitution, using the best practices and processes our government possesses. At times introducing new concepts for policy change as the world changes around us to meet the needs of our children, elders and families.

In closing, I believe in our democracy, one that allows for options, for fairness, for equality, and perseverance. I believe in the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ people and that we will continue to thrive and that the candidates receive respect and to be heard because they, too, are part of this community, my community. I stood down when it was time to do so, I knew that day was to come. It is now time to once again stand up to avail myself, so I will stand with you, so please help ensure our democratic process by coming out to vote!

My sentiments, plans and concerns mirror the same from the previous special elections which were noted in my past literature and social media, of which I can make available during the campaign period. My ideals explain and explore matter that would allow us to continue to grow together and grow positive, creating a robust and cohesive council. Thank you for your time and God bless!

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(1) comment

Constitution defender

Where is the Statutes at Large for the existence of U.S.C. Title 25-INDIANS? No Statutes. No Title 25-INDIANS!

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