First Nation's Focus July 2019

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Tribal News of Nevada and the Eastern Sierra | Vol. 3, No. 6

American Indian Culture and History | July 2019



A Creative


Take a look inside the incredible art display of Jack Malotte (Washoe, Shoshone) at the Nevada Museum of Art | PAGES 6-7




Honoring the Fallen

Memories of the War

A Seat at the Table

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony unveils Veterans Memorial honoring 96 fallen Native American soldiers

Navy veteran, Reno resident Sterling Phillips (Cherokee) recounts his WWII experience

The 2019 Nevada Legislature was a historical session for enacting laws helping Indian Country

2 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus

EVENTS CALENDAR Engage with us: Want to advertise in First Nation’s Focus? Email Bethany Sam at, or give her a call at 775-297-1003. Have questions or ideas about First Nation’s Focus content? Email Kevin MacMillan at, or give him a call at 775-850-2145. Check out First Nation’s Focus online: Want to submit content for an upcoming edition? Email us at with “First Nation’s Focus” in the subject line.

On the cover:

Jack Malotte (Shoshone, Washoe) poses next to a retrospective display of his artworks inside the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. “Sagebrush Heathen: The Art of Jack Malotte” is showing at the museum until Oct. 20. Read more about Malotte and his work on pages 6-7. Photo: Chris Holloman

Publisher & SNMG General Manager Rob Galloway Content Coordinator Kevin MacMillan Contributing Writers Jessica Garcia Kaleb M. Roedel

SPECIAL EVENTS 42nd Annual Duckwater Festival and Powwow — June 21-23, Duckwater, Nevada. Powwow grand entry times are 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 22 and 1 p.m. June 23. Event also includes the annual Adult Games competition, 3-on3 basketball tournament, June 22 pancake breakfast, kid’s games, bingo and much more. Contact Lydia George at 775-777-5042. USDA Rural Development Homeowner Repair Workshop — July 2, Walker River Paiute Tribe Senior Center, Schurz, Nevada. 10 a.m. to noon. USDA staff will present information on the Section 504 program, which provides loans for very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their homes, or grants to elderly very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards. For information, contact the Walker River Housing Department at 775-773-2334. Kids Summer Camp — July 8-August 1, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Gym, Nixon, Nevada. For students who have completed K-6th grade. Transportation provided; camp includes snacks and lunch; various tribal programs are involved. For registration, contact Janet at 775-574-2409. Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Culture — July 13, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada. The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony comes together with the Nevada Museum of Art at Hands ON! on Second Saturday to celebrate Native American art, culture, community, and tradition. During this free Artown event, the public is invited to meet several established and emerging Native American visual artists from across the region. Go to to learn more. 2019 Ely Shoshone Powwow & Fandango — July 2628, Shoshone Education Center, Ely, Nevada. The event includes a celebration of Native heritage with traditional dancing and music. There will be Gourd dancers, tournaments of Hand Games, Archery, Corn Hole, Horseshoes, and Volleyball. Other activities include a parade, BBQ, craft and food Booths, a raffle, fun run walk, veteran’s recognition, bounce house, Karoke, and much more! For information, contact Karen Gonzales at kggoct@outlook. com or 775-289-3013. 29th Annual Wa She Shu It’Deh Arts Festival — July 27-28, Tallac Historic Site, South Lake Tahoe, California. Featuring cultural events ranging from a Washoe basket competition (with weavers from Nevada and California) to traditional dancing, music, stories, plays, basketry and clothing, plus traditional games, presented by the Washoe Tribe. This year’s theme is “reclaiming our stewardship practices (of the land),” a continuation of last year’s theme, emphasizing the impacts of climate change as a threat to the Washoe Tribe’s cultural traditions. Go to to learn more. 33rd annual Numaga Indian Days Pow Wow — August

Contributing Photographer Alejandra Rubio

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Graphic Design Lauren Solinger SNMG Editorial Director Adam Trumble

First Nation’s Focus is a product of the Sierra Nevada Media Group (SNMG) and its affiliated media organizations: Nevada Appeal, The Record-Courier, Lahontan Valley News and Northern Nevada Business View. All content is copyrighted July 2019. First Nation’s Focus strives for accuracy and is not responsible if event details or other information changes after publication. Unless otherwise indicated, all photography in this publication is property of Swift Communications, the parent company of SNMG and First Nation’s Focus. 580 Mallory Way, Carson City, NV 89701

Send it to with “First Nation’s Focus” in the subject line. Please note that some events, locations and details are subject to change after publication; some events may also not be free — contact each respective agency for full details.

30-September 1, Hungry Valley, Reno, Nevada. This free annual event is held over Labor Day weekend and features some of the best Native American dancers, singers and drummers in the country. Plus, more than 25 vendors will sell traditional native foods and stunning handcrafted silverwork, beadwork, baskets and other American Indian art. Contact Toby Stump at 775-4701100 or Lydia Bonta at 775-842-6388, or go to www.rsic. org, for information.

RECURRING EVENTS Paiute Language Class — 6-8 p.m., Tuesdays, Wadsworth Community Building, 320 Pyramid St., Wadsworth. Yoga — 12:10-12:50 p.m., Tuesdays, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Clinic, 1715 Kuenzli St., Reno. Registration isn’t required and all levels are welcome. Substance Abuse Support Group —6-7 p.m., Tuesdays, Sumunumu Resource Center, 460 W. Main St., Fernley. Topics discussed include narcotics abuse, alcohol abuse and anger management. Elder Aquacise — 10-11 a.m. Tuesdays, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Gym, 34 Reservation Road, Reno. Line Dancing — 5:15-6:15 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Clinic, 1715 Kuenzli St., Reno. For information, call Vanessa at 775-329-5162, ext. 1946. Women’s Circle Craft Night and Potluck — 5-6:30 p.m., Wednesdays, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, 101 Big Bend Ranch Road, Wadsworth. Language Classes for Seniors — 1:30-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Senior Center, 34 Reservation Road, Building F. Victim Services Program Women’s Advisory Committee — 5-6:30 p.m., second Wednesday of the month, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, 101 Big Bend Ranch Road, Wadsworth. Scrapbooking for Beginners — 5-6:30 p.m., first Wednesday of the month, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, 101 Big Bend Ranch Road, Wadsworth. Call 775-575-9444. Teen Dating Violence Support Group — 5:45-6:30 p.m., third Wednesday of the month, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, 101 Big Bend Ranch Road, Wadsworth. Suicide Prevention Network – Suicide Loss Support Group — 6-7:30 p.m. every first Thursday of the month, 1625 Highway 88, Suite 203, Minden. For information, call 775-783-1510. Weekly Teen Parenting Class — 6-7:30 p.m., Thursdays, Sumunumu Resource Center, 460 W. Main St., Fernley. Nuumu Yadoha Language Classes — 5:30-6:30 p.m., Thursdays. Sponsored by the Bishop Paiute Tribe, the classes are held weekly. Contact the tribal office for location and other details: 760-873-3584. Art Classes —10-11 a.m. Fridays, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Health Clinic, 1715 Kuenzli St., Reno. Talking Circle — 5:30-6:30 p.m., second Friday of the month, Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center, 2300 W. Line St., Bishop, Calif. Sexual Assault Support Group — 5-6:30 p.m., fourth Friday of the month, 101 Big Bend Ranch Road, Wadsworth. Freedom to Be You — 1-2 p.m., Saturdays, 101 Big Bend Ranch Road, Wadsworth. The women’s educational support group meets weekly to discuss a different topic each session. Childcare is available on site. Tai Chi Classes — 1 p.m. Fridays, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Gym, 34 Reservation Road, Reno.

Have you been affected by the MMIW epidemic? First Nation’s Focus If the answer to that question is “yes,” then we would like to hear from you. First Nation’s Focus contributor Alejandra Rubio, who is originally from Camp Verde, Arizona, and is a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, is

currently a graduate student at Sierra Nevada College at Lake Tahoe. As part of a project she’s working on in an effort to obtain her Master of Fine Arts degree, Rubio is looking to bring more awareness to Northern Nevada about the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic.

Rubio wants to interview Native Americans in Northern Nevada who may have been impacted by this issue. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please contact Rubio via email at — you can also email First Nation’s Focus at for more information. O

First Nation’s Focus

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 3

Stewart Indian Cemetery veteran monument restored Jessica Garcia | First Nation’s Focus


upporters of the efforts to revitalize the monument and flagpole at the Stewart Indian Cemetery in Carson City gathered May 27 for a cloudy Memorial Day ceremony to celebrate the project’s completion. Business owner Ed Byrne of Ed’s Doghouse Sports Lounge in Carson City and friend Wally Ilzcyszyn had attended previous services at the cemetery. They led the effort this year to collect about $3,000 from business patrons, along with contributions from Rupert’s Auto Body and customers of the Lounge, to restore the stone pillar monument and provide new hardware and rope for the flagpole. Ed’s Dog House provided much of the base. “It needed a facelift,” Byrne said, adding that the monument will receive some final touches. “…We’ll give it a nicer shine to protect it from the environment. We’ll try to make it stay like this for quite a long time.” The pillar originally was established to honor local veterans but has deteriorated with age and weather. James Chandler, a retired stone worker in Carson City, focused on replacing the central stone elements and remounting and reframing the original plaque. He placed a canopy above the structure to keep it dry in the rain as he worked late into the evenings to finish it on time. Stewart Community vice chairman Darrel Kizer (Washoe Tribe) said not even Nevada’s unpredictable climate would deter them from finishing, noting that volunteers stayed until nearly

Local veterans replace a flag newly presented to the Washoe Tribe and prepare it to be raised on a newly refurbished flag pole as part of the 2019 Memorial Day ceremony at the Stewart Indian Cemetery in Carson City.

midnight working. “They were on the clock to get this thing done,” Kizer said at the ceremony. Don Tucker also refurbished the pole and laid the stone patio, and former Western Nevada Agency superintendent Bob Hunter and Kizer also contributed to the project. A new flag was raised on the pole by local Native American veterans to honor those who have been interred in the cemetery, and participants performed the national anthem and spent a few moments in prayer and remembrance. Other participating organizations included the Marine Corps League Silver State Detachment 630, and members of Carson High School’s Naval Junior ROTC presented the colors. Commandant Gary Armstrong of the MCL Silver State Detachment gave a few words honoring military members killed

ABOVE: The monument at Stewart Indian Cemetery has been refurbished thanks to the donations and efforts of several local businesses, and the flagpole erected behind it was restored, painted and provided with new rope and hardware. BELOW: The original plaque for the Stewart Indian Cemetery monument was remounted with the structure’s revitalization. The stone work was completed by retired Carson City resident James Chandler. Photos: Jessica Garcia

in action at the presentation, which, Armstrong noted, has occurred annually for 36 years now. “This day is set aside to remember the dedication and patriotism of those who have departed and to honor their military service,” Armstrong said. “It is a yearly occasion where we can come together to recognize their sacrifices and to never forget their valor.” O


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4 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus

RSIC Veterans Memorial honors 96 fallen soldiers Special to First Nation’s Focus


he names of the 96 deceased Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Native warriors were unveiled on Memorial Day in the Hungry Valley Cemetery. Displayed on a custom-constructed, 8-foothigh, adobe wall, the memorial includes eternal recognition for American Indian soldiers who served in the armed forces, and it can now can be seen by all visitors to the cemetery. “The RSIC Veterans Memorial has been in the works for some time now,” RSIC Chairman Arlan D. Melendez told the crowd of about 100 on May 27. “Our Native American soldiers, all soldiers, made a great sacrifice, so today is a day to stop, reflect, and remember all veterans, and particularly, those soldiers who gave the ultimate price to protect our freedom.” In addition to the wall of names, the RSIC Veterans Memorial entrance opens with a Fallen Soldier Display statue. According to the official website of the U.S. Marines, the helmet and

identification tags signal the fallen soldier. The inverted rifle with bayonet signals a time for prayer to pay tribute to the comrade. The combat boots represent the final march of the last battle. The helmet reminds us that the soldier has taken part in his/her final jump. Chairman Melendez explained that what has become a federal holiday for honoring people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, was once called Decoration Day. “It began as a memorial to Civil War soldiers who had died in the war, both Union and Confederate,” Chairman Melendez said. “Now we call it Memorial Day, and this holiday has special meaning and a tremendous presence in our community.” The day began at the Mountain View Cemetery in west Reno where six members of the Colony rest. About 25 people decorated graves and placed American flags not just on RSIC Veterans markers, but at any burial site of a veteran. The RSIC Color Guard initiated the formal ceremony with a call to

The entrance to the RSIC Veterans Memorial — which was unveiled on Memorial Day this year — opens with a Fallen Soldier Display statue. Photos: Courtesy RSIC

attention. After the Star Spangled Banner, Natalia Chacon played her hand drum and sang the Flag Song — or as it is also known, the Native American National Anthem.

Reverend Augustin Jorquez of the Hungry Valley Christian Fellowship provided an invocation. In Hungry Valley, seven Native veterans are buried, including World War II veteran Cpl. Thomas Evan McGinty, who was laid to rest on June 1. Again, serving as the emcee, Chairman Melendez told the larger group about the role Native Americans have played in the duration of the U.S. military since even before the founding of the country. “Native Americans have served and died for the U.S., from the beginning, with almost 3,600 American Indians who served in the Union Army during the Civil War,” Chairman Melendez said. “Even though American Indians were not considered U.S. citizens when World War I broke out, 12,000 of them volunteered to serve the country in the Great War, including 14 women who joined the Army Nurse Corps.” Currently, the RSIC has 46 living veterans and four soldiers on active duty. Chairman Melendez went on to explain that by the end of the second World War, 44,500 Native Americans had taken up arms for the country, or about one-third of all able-bodied Indian men of service age. As the holiday calls for, much of the day’s focusing was on those who gave the ultimate price for our freedom, specifically veterans who died during battle. “John (Ira) Aleck was one of those who went to war in Vietnam. He lost his life in combat and he was only 22 years old,” Chairman

ABOVE: Native American veterans who are members of the RSIC helped unveil the memorial. BELOW: The RSIC Veterans Memorial includes eternal recognition for 96 American Indian soldiers who served in the armed forces.

Melendez said. “His entire family and generations to come have been affected by his loss.” In fact, of the 58,320 soldiers who died during the Vietnam Conflict, Aleck is one of 232 Native warriors who lost their lives during the war. “Let us remember their families who were wounded in spirit, when they heard the sad news that their loved one had died defending this country,” Chairman Melendez said. During the observance in Hungry Valley, the Eagle Wing Pageant Dancers along with several members

of UNITY (United National Indian Tribal Youth) sang, the Flag Song. Vincent Stewart provided a closing prayer in both English and Paiute. “Maybe peace will come someday…,” Chairman Melendez said. “People’s hearts aren’t right yet, so we will always have soldiers going into the military.” At both cemeteries, the observances concluded with the playing of Taps. O This article was provided to First Nation’s Focus by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and is republished with permission.

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S A T U R D A Y, J U LY 1 3 , 2 0 1 9 · 1 0 A M — 5 P M AT T H E N E VA D A M U S E U M O F A R T 1 6 0 W E S T L I B E R T Y I N D O W N T O W N R E N O

N AT I V E A M E R I C A N A R T I S T S M A R K E T P L A C E . H A N D S - O N A R T P R O J E C T S G R E AT B A S I N YO U T H S T O R Y T E L L E R S . M U S I C A L P E R F O R M A N C E S B A S K E T W E AV I N G . T R A D I T I O N A L DA N C E S . I N D I A N TA C O S T U L E D U C K D E C O Y S . N AT I V E A M E R I C A N R O YA LT Y

Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts E.L. Wiegand Gallery SPONSORS: WELLS FARGO; THE CITY OF RENO ARTS & CULTURE COMMISSION


6 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus


SAGEBRUSH HEATHEN Art of Jack Malotte (Shoshone, Washoe) honors connection between Great Basin, Native Americans

Kaleb M. Roedel | First Nation’s Focus


ack Malotte walks slowly as he scans the walls filled with vibrant drawings and paintings. His daughter, Cora, a few steps behind, cups her hand over her mouth, covering the kind of smile that precedes tears. “Oh, my gosh, dad,” Cora says, her eyes glistening. “I remember those…” It’s the evening of Thursday, June 6, inside the Nevada Museum of Art’s Robert Z. Hawkins Gallery, and Malotte and his daughter are getting the first look at the museum’s newest exhibition, “Sagebrush Heathen: The Art of Jack Malotte.” The exhibition, planned through Oct. 20 at the Reno art museum, includes hundreds of pieces spanning four decades of Malotte’s career — from his teenage years at Wooster High School to his college days in Oakland, California, to his most recent works produced at his home studio in Duckwater, Nevada, a dot of a village in central Nevada. The exhibition’s opening celebration on June 6 was the first time Malotte — a Shoshone and Washoe visual artist who was born in Reno and raised on the Walker River Indian Reservation in nearby Schurz, Nevada — has seen a career-spanning display of his artwork in one gallery. “I was kind of overwhelmed because there were a lot of things that I forgot about,” Malotte told First Nation’s Focus. “When Cora and I walked through looking at it all, I just thought, ‘I did a lot of work … I can’t believe I did this many things.’” A prolific visual artist, Malotte said he creates art that connects and celebrates “the power of the land and the power of the spirituality” of Native Americans. “It’s landscapes — the moon, lightning, the wind — it’s always been about nature with me,” said Malotte, an enrolled member of the South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone. “And when I put people in there, it’s about the spirituality of Indians with the land, connecting the two.” An example is Malotte’s untitled profile of a Shoshone

TOP: Jack Malotte, left, gets a kiss planted on his cheek by his daughter, Cora, inside the Nevada Museum of Art. Photo: Chris Holloman BOTTOM: Jack Malotte signs an autograph during the grand opening celebration of a retrospective exhibition of his artworks on Thursday, June 6, at the Nevada Museum of Art. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel

Indian — wrapped in a hawk-adorned shawl, his hair blowing in the wind, feathers floating around him — standing amid mountains and a sky glowing orange, red and blue (colors that call to mind a brilliant Nevada sunset). The work, which Malotte created in 1995, comes from his private collection. Other works are politically charged. Take Malotte’s 1983 piece titled, “Don’t Dump On Us,” of a Native American protesting the dumping of toxic waste in the Mojave Desert. In the background, lightning flashes behind a mountain range, a military jet streaks through the clouds, and a

black hawk soars above the sunset-colored scene.


Malotte started drawing as a young child — “I don’t remember starting, it’s just always been there,” he said. As he grew, both as a person and artist, the Reno native narrowed his focus on two areas: the Great Basin landscapes and the political issues faced by the Native people trying to protect those lands. This artistic evolution was cultivated in the late 1970s when he got heavily involved with activists and grassroots

First Nation’s Focus

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 7

LEFT: Jack Malotte, Untitled, 1995. Private Collection. RIGHT: Jack Malotte, Untitled, 2018. Photos: Courtesy Nevada Museum of Art

foundations striving for environmental justice for Native Americans. Wielding pencils, paints and a greater purpose, Malotte produced graphics and illustrations for the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the Western Shoshone Sacred Lands Association and the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice. “They were all people who wanted to make a difference and they were all working for a better future for their kids,” Malotte said. “And so that’s what I want to do — to make a difference in this world.” “I just didn’t want to do ‘couch art,’” he adds with wry smile. “I want to make a difference.” Whether it’s protesting nuclear testing in Nye County or advocating for the preservation of Pyramid Lake, Malotte’s artwork relays powerful messages on important issues, many still relevant today, facing indigenous peoples throughout the region. “It’s mining and water and nuclear testing and toxic waste,” he said. “We fought these things a long time ago, but they’re still here. Still here. It never ends. They keep pushing, we keep pushing.” Cora Burchett, Malotte’s daughter, said she’s proud that her father uses his talents as a vessel for drawing attention to

injustices facing Native Americans, rather than only creating beautiful landscapes. “I think a lot of the time, when you’re a Native artist,” Burchett said, “you’re expected to do ‘couch art’ — stuff that makes people feel comfortable; things white people would put in their houses. Dad’s art isn’t always comfortable; people don’t always want it in their house.” “But it’s important,” she continued. “Because a lot of the time Native history and Native art is commodified and used for just ‘pretties.’ And it’s not that. Native people are so much more than that, and I think that’s what dad’s art stands for.” To that end, Amanda Horn, —Jack Malotte senior VP of communications at the Nevada Museum of Art, said Malotte is probably “the most significant artist” working in the Great Basin today. “The Nevada Museum of Art prides itself on being a public square, a place that brings together diverse voices, brings people from communities that maybe don’t have other places to intersect,” Horn told FNF. “This exhibition does that in spades. It celebrates an important artist in the Great Basin — and important artist, period. And what we can do is elevate that Nevada story to participate in a global conversation.”

“It’s always been about nature with me. And when I put people in there, it’s about the spirituality of Indians with the land, connecting the two.”

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A wall of some of Jack Malotte’s political drawings inside the Nevada Museum of Art. Jack is an enrolled member of the South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel


After walking through his retrospective exhibit for the first time on June 6, Malotte appears dazed and slightly amused. Truth is, many of his early pieces, he’s either forgotten about entirely or vaguely remembers like a far-off memory. “When I look at the old stuff, I remember where I was, what I was doing, how I was feeling, what I was going through,” he recalled. But he has plenty of new memories and pieces to make. After his daily morning coffee, Malotte said he heads over to his trailer-turned-studio and sifts through his endless stack of projects — everything from

sketches to watercolors to acrylics. “Sometimes I just start putting paint down and just keep hoping something’ll happen,” he smiled. O

If you go

What: Sagebrush Heathen: The Art of Jack Malotte Where: Nevada Museum of Art, Reno When: June 8 to Oct. 20 More info: exhibitions/jack-malotte

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8 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus

The Art of Jack Malotte

JUNE 8 — OCTOBER 20, 2019

A lifetime of artwork by this Native American artist of the Great Basin

Opening Night Celebration at First Thursday THURSDAY, JUNE 6 | 5 — 8 PM Hands ON! Second Saturday SATURDAY, JUNE 8 | 10 AM — 4 PM | FREE admission all day Sagebrush Heathen: Jack Malotte in Conversation with Ann M. Wolfe All events are FREE for Museum Members | FREE with Tribal ID

MAJOR SPONSOR: The Satre Family Fund at the

Community Foundation of Western Nevada SPONSORS: Nevada Arts Council, Sandy Raffealli | Bill Pearce Motors SUPPORTING SPONSORS: Anonymous, Kathie Bartlett,

National Endowment for the Arts MEDIA SPONSORS: KUNR Reno Public Radio, Sierra Nevada Media Group

IMAGE CREDIT: Jack Malotte, Untitled (detail), 1982, ink,

acrylic and colored pencil, 22 x 30 inches.


First Nation’s Focus






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10 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus

‘I wanted to fight for my country’ Navy veteran, Reno resident Sterling Phillips (Cherokee) recounts WWII experience

Kaleb M. Roedel | First Nation’s Focus


terling Phillips’ voice catches as tears well up in his eyes. The 93-year-old U.S. Navy veteran is overcome with emotion as he talks about his first day back home in El Paso, Texas, after Japan surrendered and brought the hostilities of World War II to a close on Aug. 15, 1945. Soon after fighting for his country for two years on the USS Savo Island aircraft carrier, where he saw brave men fall in battle, Phillips unexpectedly lost the man he looked up to more than anyone: his father. “I got to see him alive for about 10 minutes (after the war),” says Phillips, his voice shaking, the memory still close. “He had just gotten out of the shower and walked over to me and hugged me and told me that he was happy to see me home again.” Minutes later, while visiting with a friend in the yard, Phillips heard his mother’s scream pierce the air. His father, Ben Phillips, 41, had collapsed. “I ran in the house and my dad was

already on the floor. I said, ‘what’s a matter with him? I was just talking to him!’” recalls Phillips, wiping a tear from his cheek. “And that was it … my dad was gone.” Nearly 75 years later, Phillips is recounting that heart-wrenching moment from a recliner is his north Reno home on a sunny afternoon in early June. Phillips and his wife, Amelia, recently moved from Lincoln, California, to Northern Nevada to be near their youngest daughter, Mia, and her family. Phillips, who served as a fireman 2nd Class on the Savo Island (CVE-78), was one of 50 Nevada veterans who took a trip to Washington D.C. June 6-9 through Honor Flight Nevada. The organization transports local veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials honoring their service and sacrifices. Prior to the flight, Phillips — a mem—Sterling Phillips ber of the Cherokee Nation — told First Nation’s Focus he was appreciative of the opportunity, adding: “It’s good to know I’m considered a person that would be eligible for an honor flight.”

“I wanted to go fight for my country. All my buddies were going in, so I had to go in ... I enlisted as soon as I could get in.”


Years before his father passed, Phillips begged his dad to take him to a U.S. Navy recruitment office in El Paso. His father obliged. Like many young Americans, Phillips — who was born Dec. 18, 1926, in Oklahoma

TOP: U.S. Navy veteran Sterling Phillips talks about his experience fighting in World War II from his home in North Reno on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel BOTTOM: Sterling Phillips meets 1996 presidential candidate and retired U.S. Sen. Robert Dole at the World War II Memorial during the Honor Flight Nevada trip this month. Dole served as a second lieutenant in the war and also received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for injuries that occurred in the last few months of the war. Photo: Steve Ranson

but grew up in El Paso — was motivated to enlist in the military following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. And also like many young Americans, Phillips lied about his age to get in. Despite having to be either 18 or 17 with parental consent, Phillips enlisted as a 16-year-old. “I wanted to go fight for my country,” Phillips shrugs. “All my buddies were going in, so I had to go in. I remember that everyone like myself was trying to get into the service. I enlisted as soon as I could get in.” Before he knew it, Phillips was 800 miles

west of home, stationed at the San Diego Naval Training Center. He was given shots, a buzzcut and, eventually, a uniform. When asked what his emotions were heading into boot camp, Phillips, without hesitation, used one word. “Excited,” he states. “I was excited. I really didn’t have time to be afraid.” Phillips noted that his platoon won first place for marching at the graduation ceremony, a fact that still gives him a boost of pride to this day. “You should’ve seen it,” says Phillips,

First Nation’s Focus

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 11

grinning as the moment floods back to him. “When we were marching, it almost looked like one man. All in a straight line, a perfect line.” Days later, Phillips, officially a Navy sailor, was shipped off to war. He stepped onto the USS Savo Island — a near 10,000-ton aircraft carrier with roughly 1,000 men aboard — which set out for the North Pacific Ocean. His job was in the engine room, where he made sure all the pumps — fuel and water — were working. Save for brief windows of time on leave, Phillips would be on the ship for the next two years.


It’s Jan. 5, 1945, and the Savo Island is providing support to U.S. troops on the beaches of the Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines. Gunfire and explosions and screaming planes echo across the Pacific in a cacophony of hellish sounds. In the midst of battle, Phillips and fellow comrades were aware the Japanese, at any moment, could send a suicide bomber at their ship. After all, a day earlier, a kamikaze plane sunk their sister ship, the USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79), which had been a part of the Lingayen Gulf mission. Phillips was in the clipping room, loading the ammunition of the ship’s artillery, when he heard a crash. Indeed, a kamikaze pilot hit their ship — but just barely. The bomber sheared off the carrier’s airsearch radar antenna with its wing tip and splashed into the ocean. The ship’s artillery unloaded on the Japanese plane. “I was trying to shell out as much of the shells out there … and just trying to keep busy,” Phillips says.


Despite being on a ship targeted by a kamikaze pilot, Phillips said the scariest time on the Savo Island was when they traveled through the Bering Strait, the treacherous stretch of sea separating Russia and Alaska. The ship was sailing for the Aleutian Islands at the time. “That’s a bad area, it’s some of the roughest weather in the ocean,” recalls Phillips, noting that giant ocean waves violently rocked their giant carrier. “We were expecting the ship to go down.” After a scare in the Bering Straight, the Savo Island pushed on, heading toward Japan. Days later, in early August 1945, the U.S. swiftly put an end to the war, dropping two atomic bombs on Japanese soil — Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 8. The surrender of Japan was announced a week later, Aug. 15, 1945. It was made official on Sept. 2, when Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on board the USS Missouri off the coast of Tokyo, Japan. Phillips and his comrades on the Savo Island were there to see the signing of the peace treaty. “We were there watching, standing at attention,” Phillips says. “That was something to witness.” “Everybody had a tear in their eye,” Phillips says.


Nearly 75 years later, that time during the war, and thinking of the time missed with his father, can bring tears to Phillips just the same. Yet, immediately following the war, and even to this day, he doesn’t let those wartime experiences impact his life. After his father passed, he moved to East Los Angeles with his mother and siblings. He opened up a record shop. He joined a rock band (The Nightdreamers) as a guitarist and toured the country. He lived life. Later, he got a blue-collar job at Mobil Oil, bought acres of land in Northern California, made a home with his wife, Amelia, and had kids. “He’s always had a really positive outlook on life, which I’m pretty impressed by,” his daughter Mia told First Nation’s Focus. “I think that’s what keeps him going for as long as he’s been going for.” It’s an attitude Phillips has maintained despite losing his vision four years ago. Phillips feels the strong gunpowder getting into his eyes and the bright flashes from nighttime combat during WWII contributed to his blindness. “I don’t feel old. I feel good. Like the (James Brown) song, I feel good…,” he sings, cheerily. “I’ve got children who I love dearly and my wife. And I’ve got a lot of friends.” O

Active-duty Navy personnel greet World War II veteran Sterling Phillips at the Baltimore Washington International Airport on June 6 — the diamond anniversary of the D-Day invasion — as part of this month’s Honor Flight Nevada trip. Photo: Steve Ranson

Sterling Phillips, right, along with his grandson Cory Fleck pushing the wheelchair, visit the Korean War Memorial and Vietnam Wall during the June 6-9 Honor Flight Nevada trip to Washington, D.C. Photo: Steve Ranson

The USS Savo Island (CVE-78), the aircraft carrier Phillips was on during World War II. Courtesy photo

Sterling Phillips, a U.S. Navy sailor at age 16. Courtesy photo

Sterling Phillips holds his honorable discharge certificate inside his Reno home on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel

12 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus

Great Basin Tribes celebrate important new laws Tribal leaders reflect on historic Nevada Legislative session after approval of 8 bills that impact Indian Country Special to First Nation’s Focus


Beneath a statue of revered Native American educator Sarah Winnemucca, regional tribal leaders, elders and military veterans attended the June 8 bill-signing ceremony at the Capitol building in Carson City. Pictured are: Chairman Arlan D. Melendez (Reno-Sparks Indian Colony), Chairman Serrell Smokey (Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California), Donna Brown (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe), Chairman Tildon Smart (Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe), Ralph Burns (Stewart Indian School Alum), Josey Becerra (Stewart Indian School Alum), Gloria McDonald (Stewart Indian School Alum), Vonnie Curtis (Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe), Chairwoman Laurie A. Thom (Yerington Paiute Tribe), Elisa Dave (Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe), Marla McDade Williams (South Fork Band & Strategies 360), Jennie Burns (Reno-Sparks Indian Colony), Chairwoman Amber Torres (Walker River Paiute Nations) and Vice Chairman Allan Mandell (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe). Photo: Stacey Montooth

eventeen Native leaders, elders and military veterans from throughout the Great Basin recently witnessed a Nevada bill become a law that will strengthen Tribal sovereignty and create policies that promote collaboration and positive government-to-government relations between state agencies and Tribes. Signed on June 8 by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, Assembly Bill 264 — the Collaboration Act — is patterned after a New Mexico consultation bill that Native Americans enjoy with state officials and agencies. At least one representative from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, the Yerington Paiute Tribe, the Walker River Paiute Nation, the South Fork Band, the Ft. McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, and the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribe, as well as Stewart Indian School alumni and staff, plus Nevada lawmakers, gathered in the governor’s office for the June 8 bill-signing ceremony. “We look forward to building a partnership with the state, and collaborating on ideas that will help sustain our Tribes and pave the way for the next seven generations,” said Amber Torres, Chairwoman of the Walker River Paiute Nation. “I cannot wait to see what

SAVE THE DATE! The Nevada Tribal Summit on Brain Health & Dementia

Thursday, August 22, 2019 • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Nixon, NV Hosted by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s Pesa Sooname Advisory Group: A member of Dementia Friendly Nevada All Nevada ib Tr al Members Invited! Lunch Provided.


Promoting P Healthy Brain Aging & Preventing Dementia. All Communities, One Mission.

For more information, please contact: Carla Eben, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Numaga Senior Services Director Telephone: (775) 574-1064 Email:

Jennifer Carson, Co-Facilitator, Pesa Sooname Advisory Group Telephone: (775) 682-7072 Email:

This project was supported in part, by grant number 90ALGG0011, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their fndings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent ofcial Administration for Community Living policy.

First Nation’s Focus

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 13


Head Start is a federally finded program designed to promote school readiness for children 3-5 years old from low-income families through education, health, social and other services. From left, Chairman Arlan D. Melendez (Reno-Sparks Indian Colony), Chairman Serrell Smokey (Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California), Vice Chairman Allan Mandell (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe), Chairwoman Amber Torres (Walker River Paiute Nations) and Chairwoman Laurie A. Thom (Yerington Paiute Tribe). Photo: Stacey Montooth

we achieve with Governor Steve Sisolak’s administration.” Nevada Assemblywoman Sarah Peters, D-Reno, and Sen. Melanie Scheible, D-Las Vegas, sponsored AB264. “AB264 creates transparency and accountability, and it enables the Nevada Indian Commission to take steps to ensure that there is appropriate training and mechanisms for maintaining these relationships,” Peters said during hearings this spring on the bill. Laurie Thom, Chairwoman of the Yerington Paiute Tribe, expanded on the meaning of the new law. “To pass unanimously out of every committee, in both the Senate and Assembly, and with 17 sponsors, states loud and clear that the emerging partnerships between the State and Tribes are getting stronger,” Thom said at the June 8 ceremony. “As generations reflect, they will look to this 80th legislative session as a turning point at which Tribes took back their power.” AB264 was just one of eight Tribal-related bills that have either been signed into law this session, or were adopted by the Legislature and await Sisolak’s approval, highlighting one of the most successful legislative sessions in the history of Nevada in terms of Native American affairs. “I can’t remember a session of the Nevada Legislature that has been so supportive of Tribal interests,” said RSIC Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, who has held office for nearly 27 years. “During this 80th session, we have had senators and assemblymen and women of their own volition incorporate language into various measures to include Tribal representation. “All these important bills would not have made it to Governor Sisolak’s desk without the strong vision and leadership of our Tribal and elected state leaders,” Melendez said. Other new laws that will resonate through Indian Country in the Great Basin include: AB44, which officially creates the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum; AB393, which creates protection for Tribes during a Federal Government shutdown; SB182, which confers powers of a peace officer for some law enforcement relating to Tribes; AB137, which revises provisions for state and county election activities on Tribal Lands, so that once established, Tribes do not have to re-request reservation polling stations; AB71, which allows the state attorney general to develop agreements with Tribes for grants and loan disaster relief; SB67, which establishes the Nevada Tribal Emergency Coordinating Council; AB152, which protects cultural properties and increases penalties for destroying cultural resources; and SB366, which establishes provisions relating to dental therapy across Indian Country. “The need for more sustainable access to dental care in Tribal Nevada is great, and the potential cost saving realized by utilizing a dental therapist services will be an important component in providing better dental services to our community,” said Alan Mandell, Vice Chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.


(Income Guidelines Apply)


Eligibility Requirements: • Complete Application • Birth Certificate • Current Immunization Record • 12 month Family Income Verification Josey Becerra, an alumna of the Stewart Indian School, looks on during the June 8 ceremony in Carson City. Photo: Stacey Montooth

“Our leadership is confident that the new legislation will empower Tribes to tackle our own oral health challenges, plus put our own people to work in areas that habitually have been difficult to recruit and retain quality, culturally competent staff.” The state of Nevada includes 20 federally recognized Tribes composed of 27 tribal communities. Nevada’s Indian Territory is home to four major Tribes: Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe. Early in his campaign to become the Silver State’s first Democrat governor in two decades, Sisolak committed to respect Tribes’ sovereignty and to empower Tribes by respecting Tribal-Federal communication and decision-making without intervention, yet with the collaboration and support of state government when that is beneficial to the Tribes’ objectives. “Many of these bills were crafted to include the needs and values of our communities,” Chairman Melendez said. “Notably, these provisions were offered by the legislators of their own accord.” Assemblywoman Peters also recognized that changing dynamic as she authored an opinion piece published in the Reno-Gazette Journal. “One of the things we have seen over the last five or so years is a resurgence of power from our Tribal governments, and it is appropriate,” Peters wrote. “It is necessary that Tribes engage and take their power back in a way that ensures their members and their culture exists in perpetuity.” O This article was provided to First Nation’s Focus by the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. For more information, contact RSIC Community Information Officer Stacey Montooth at or 775-842-2902.

Center Locations: 1755 Silver Eagle Dr Elko, NV 775-738-3631 8951 Mission Rd Fallon, NV 775-423-6351 111 N Reservation Rd McDermitt, NV 775-532-8724 755 Dartmouth Ave Lovelock, NV 775-273-4911 5 Lincoln Street Moapa, NV 702-865-2753 191 Pyramid Lake Rd Nixon, NV 775-574-1032 State Rte Hwy 225 Newtown Subdivision Owyhee, NV 775-757-3036 380 Pyramid St Wadsworth, NV 775-575-7910 4048 Hwy 95 South Schurz, NV 775-773-2583 311 Virginia St Yerington, NV 775-463-1690

CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS... ITCN Head Start Administrative Office: 680 Greenbrae Drive Suite 265 Sparks, Nevada 89431 Post Office Box 7440 Reno, Nv 89510

Phone: 775-355-0600 Toll Free: 1-800-757-3516 Fax:775-355-5206

14 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus

Opinion:We must prioritize tribes in the climate debate Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto Special to First Nation’s Focus


or thousands of years, the Washoe Tribe has spent their summers in Lake Tahoe. Washoe language and culture are inextricably linked to their homeland. The willows by Lake Tahoe are woven into their baskets. The flora and fauna around the shoreline play a vital role in traditional meals and ceremonies. But the average temperature of the Tahoe Basin is reaching record levels. In July of 2017, the surface water temperature reached 68.4 degrees, a whopping 6.1 degrees higher than surface temperatures in 2016. New reports indicate climate change is fueling these rising temperatures, putting pressure on the lake’s ecosystem and threatening the Washoe Tribe’s way of life. Farther north, climate change is also threatening the Summit Lake and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes, who have cultivated deep cultural, physical and spiritual ties to the Truckee River and surrounding lakes. Over several decades, climate change has forced the Paiute tribes to dramatically reduce fishing of the Lahontan cutthroat trout, a traditional food source and cultural centerpiece for the Paiute tribes. Drilling of the nearby McGee Mountain also infects downstream water sources like Summit Lake, killing wildlife and polluting the drinking water and ceremonial lands. Climate change harms indigenous communities in Nevada, and across the nation, in disproportionately intimate and intense ways by threatening not only the environment around them, but also their traditions, cultural heritage and way of life. The

crisis is so dire that some communities are making the impossible decision to uproot and relocate their families, businesses and entire towns to escape harm. But indigenous communities are also spearheading solutions to the climate crisis. In response, Nevada’s Native American communities are collaborating to study climate change. Funded through the National Science Foundation, these communities recently completed groundbreaking research on the impacts of climate change with vulnerable stakeholders like tribes at the forefront. In addition, the Nevada’s Great Basin LCC has also formed meaningful partnerships with organizations like the Desert Research Institute to host workshops in Reno with tribal professionals on climate adaptation. I’m confident these partnerships will lead to innovative and comprehensive solutions that respect and prioritize the will of indigenous communities like the Washoe and Paiute Tribes, whose contributions and history are intimately woven into Nevada. After centuries of exploitation and marginalization, I’m working at the federal level to repair the government’s trust-responsibility with indigenous communities and ensure they have a seat at the table. I recently hosted a roundtable to discuss how communities of color are uniquely impacted by climate change. I was struck by stories shared by Barbara Hartzell of Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of Lake Havasu, who lamented that indigenous communities have often been excluded and sidelined from conversations on environmental justice. Tribal communities belong at the

forefront, which is why I’m using my new appointment to the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis to amplify the voices of our most vulnerable populations. This committee is the first of its kind, and the only body in the Senate dedicated solely to investigating and resolving the far-reaching consequences of climate change on jobs, public health and America’s economy. Just this month, I leveraged my seat on two committees, the Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and the Indian Affairs Committee, to send a letter to tribal leaders asking for their input and experience to guide national solutions to climate change. I also recently cosponsored the Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act. This legislation would enable state and local health departments to conduct research and develop preparedness plans, arming communities with the knowledge and resources to handle the health impacts of climate change. I’m doing everything in my power to listen to affected communities, bring stakeholders together and fight for policies that protect our people and planet. I’m also grateful to see meaningful legislation being discussed in Nevada to investigate the intersection of environmental justice and indigenous communities’ way of life. Governor Sisolak just signed into law a bill that requires state agencies to consult Nevada’s tribal nations and communities in decision-making processes. From mining clean ups and groundwater rights to reclamation processes, tribal communities deserve a seat at the table as policies with

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto

far-reaching consequences are deliberated. In this debate over climate change, we must all remember that there is no Planet B. It takes all of us working together, using our voices, to ensure that we find solutions to the crisis confronting us. As your Senator, I’ll make sure sacred knowledge is respected and prioritized, not exploited. The climate crisis we face is severe, but I’m confident that collaboration, trust and our shared commitment to our planet’s health are the key ingredients to combating this crisis and keeping all Nevadans safe. O U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) submitted this opinion column to First Nation’s Focus for publication. Go to to learn more and to contact the senator.

We’ve been searching for you! Chief Financial Officer

Grants and Contracts Manager

Salary $85,000 to $100,000 DOE

Salary $50,000 to $65,000 DOE

open until filed

open until filed

The Grants/Contract Manager is responsible for all aspects of grant writing, grant and P.L. 93-638 contracts (under the Indian Self-Determination and education Assistance Act) applications and proposal development, Vocational Rehabilitation Grant and other grants, grant and PL 93-638 contract compliance and reporting management, researching and identifying potential funding sources, and responding to federal, state, public and private grant, P.L. 93-638, Vocational Rehabilitation and other grant contracting opportunities. The Grants/Contracting Manager will provide support for Tribal programs by reviewing and editing departmental and/or governmental grants and PL93-638 contract proposals, monitoring progress reports and the submission of reports, and new requests for funding; performs other duties as needed to support the Moapa Band of Paiutes. Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or related field from an accredited college or university, or at least three years of experience relevant to this position. Must have demonstrated experience as a grant writer with PL 93-638, Vocational Rehabilitation and other grants contract management. Must have knowledge of effective grant writing techniques and proposal and program development. Must have demonstrated skills in preparing competitive grant proposals to the federal government. Must be detail oriented and have experience in office organization, management, and processes. Must be flexible and willing to work some evenings and weekends as needed. Must be willing to travel as necessary. Must possess a valid Driver license Must be insurable through Tribal insurance. Must pass a pre-employment background check. Must pass a pre-employment alcohol and drug screening. Preferences: Prefer knowledge and experience working within a Tribal government organizational structure. Five years of experience in the development and management of federal grants and/or PL 93-638 contracts. Certifications in grant writing and/or grant evaluation

Apply Today Send your resume to: mbophr@ Moapa Band of Paiutes 702-865-2787 PO Box 340, 1 Lincoln Street Moapa, NV 89025-0340

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Moapa Band of Paiutes oversees daily Financial activities and operations of the tribal government and provides direction and supervision over the Tribe’s Finance Department. The CFO develops policies and procedures relating to financial and budget activities, establishes and enforces internal financial controls, maintains tribal books of record and cash balances, and ensures compliance with all applicable legal requirements and generally accepted accounting principles. The CFO is responsible for keeping the Tribal Council apprised of the ongoing financial position of the Tribe, its economic development projects, its governmental programs, and for providing strategic leadership for the company by working with the Administration to develop and establish long-range goals, strategies, financial plans and policies to ensure the Tribe’s finances. The CFO balances the bank statements monthly and prepares reports for each department on a monthly basis. Requirements: Must possess proven management and supervisory skills. Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Business Administration or Finance; CPA preferred. 10 years financial and accounting experience, working as an accountant in controller or CFO positions Experience with Grants Management required. Must be willing to work some evenings and weekends. Must be willing to travel as required (minimal.) Must possess a valid Driver license Must be insurable through Tribal insurance. Must pass a pre-employment background check. Must pass a pre-employment alcohol and drug screening. Preferences: Three years of experience working with fund accounting, MIP fund accounting preferred. Experience in BIA P.L. 93-638 programs preferred. Experience with grants management. Knowledge of casino gaming industry preferred.

First Nation’s Focus

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 15

Recovering the Sacred: June is National Safety Month Rebecca Chavez

Special to First Nation’s Focus


ummer is finally here in the Great Basin and powwow season is in full swing. With more people spending time outdoors and on the road, safety becomes a real issue. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 1 to 44 in the U.S. This year, 8% of the overall population will die from accidents resulting in injury. The top 3 causes of injury-related death include motor vehicle accidents, poisoning and falls. Poisoning deaths are caused by exposure or ingestion of gases, chemicals or other toxic substances, but prescription drug overdose is by far the leading cause of death by poisoning. Suffocation is the leading cause of fatal unintentional injury among infants. Drowning and fire are also rank high among the leading causes of injury leading to death. Falls are the number one cause for injury-related death among older people 65 and above. Most unintentional injury-related deaths occur off the job, often when least expected: at home, on vacation or while driving.

safety enforcement. There is also a greater proportion of young adults within native communities as compared to other racial groups.


According to the National Safety Council, 97% of injuries are preventable. It only takes a few moments to prevent injuries and make our lives, our family, our workplace and our communities safer places. Here are some simple things we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones:

At home: ■ Make sure your home is equipped with proper lighting, functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and covered electrical outlets. ■ Prevent trips and falls by clearing your floor: remove clutter, throw rugs, electrical cords and toys. Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room for walking. ■ Check your hot water heater regularly to make sure it is less than 120 degrees F. ■ Check and clean your furnace regularly and replace any filters. ■ If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, have it inspected and cleaned once a year to prevent creosote build up. Never leave a fire unattended. ■ Make sure your outside

On the move: ■ Wear a seatbelt no matter how short the trip and make sure all your passengers are buckled in as well. ■ Make sure infants and toddlers are buckled into a car seat or booster. ■ Don’t drive impaired by alcohol or drugs. Designate a driver if you plan on drinking. Better yet, be the designated driver. Never get into a car with an impaired driver. ■ Avoid texting, talking on the phone, eating or any other distraction while driving. ■ Keep up the maintenance of your vehicle-check head and brake lights, replace threadbare tires. ■ Maintain speed limits

walkways are well lit with smooth surfaces and are free of puddles, ice or snow. If you have children: ■ Be sure to store medicines and cleaning supplies out of the reach. ■ Invest in safety latches on cupboard doors. ■ Whenever cooking, keep hot surfaces attended and all times and turn handles inward. ■ Be mindful of choking hazards and keep small objects away from little hands and mouths. If you care for elders, or if you are an elder: ■ Have grab bars installed in the bathroom next to the shower or bathtub and next to the toilet. ■ Have railings installed on both sides of any stairs used. ■ Place essential items within easy reach so as not to overextend. ■ Have a ramp installed leading to the entrance of your home if someone in the family has to use a wheelchair or walker. At work: ■ Wear all personal protective equipment required for your occupation (i.e.,



Among indigenous populations, the rates are staggering compared to non-native populations. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Health Service, the rate of death by injury among native people is greater than 2.3 times the rate for non-natives. That means that about 18% of the native population between the ages of 1 and 44 will die from an injury-related death. In some areas of the country the number is close to 25%. That equates to 1 in 4 native people not seeing their 45th birthday! According to the US Department of Human Services and the Indian Health Service, factors contributing to the higher injury rate among indigenous people include poverty, substandard housing and low seat belt usage. Motor vehicle accidents account for 45% of injury-related deaths among indigenous people. Alcohol abuse is associated with injury. The rate of alcohol-related deaths among native people have risen 26% since 1985. Many reservations are located in isolated rural areas and there is limited access to emergency medical services and limited law and traffic

and obey traffic laws. ■ Ensure you have had enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. ■ If on foot: be mindful of your surroundings and take care crossing the road. Always walk facing traffic and avoid jaywalking. ■ Make yourself visible and wear reflective gear when out running or walking in the early morning and evening. ■ Walk and/or run on a sidewalk, whenever possible.


gloves, protective clothing, eyewear, masks, hardhats). ■ Participate in workplace safety training and follow all safety rules. At play: ■ Wear a helmet and reflective gear when on a bike, skateboard, ATV or scooter. ■ Wear a life jacket when boating or water skiing. ■ Learn how to swim and teach your children as well. ■ Keep a close eye on children while they are at play. ■ If participating in any close contact sports or if your children do, become familiar with the signs and symptoms of concussion. If you are suspicious that a concussion has occurred, check with a medical provider before returning to play. Locally, the American Red Cross, American Heart

FT Regular - $14.11/Hour DOE

Antiques & Native Crafts Paintings by Carlos Warner Ceramics by Eric Woods Photography by Vivian Olds

Desert Light Arts 369 Main Street Wadsworth, Nevada

(3.2 Miles from Fernley, NV)

Full Time Exempt - DOE


Fort McDermitt

Wage: $17.79 to $19.61 (FT)




Wage: $11.47hr to $13.27 (FT)

Full Time - Contractual



Full Time - $28.95/Hour



EMS MANAGER FT Regular - $23.93/Hour DOE

AMBULANCE DRIVER On Call - Stipend $100/Day

EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHS On-Call - Stipend $100/Day



Painting by Carlos Warner


On Call - $10.25/Hour


Rebecca Chavez (Western Shoshone) is a certified nursemidwife, women’s healthcare provider and a mother of two. If you have any questions or ideas for future topics, email her at

Art in the Yurt


Full Time Exempt - $23.93/Hour DOE

Association and REMSA have classes for basic CPR, first aid and lifeguarding. A little knowledge and prevention can go a long way in keeping ourselves and our families safe this summer. O

Yerington Paiute Tribe

FT Regular - $12.57/Hour DOE



Rebecca Chavez

Application process: Applicant must complete a Fort McDermitt Wellness Center employment application. A resume detailing professional experience, education and letters of reference may be included. A resume will not be accepted in lieu of an employment application. Applications may be obtained from:

Fort McDermitt Wellness Center PO Box 315 McDermitt, Nevada 89421 Phone (775) 532-8522 Fax (775) 532-8024 Preference in filling vacancies is given to qualified Native American candidates.We are an equal opportunity employer and all applicants will be considered in accordance with the provision in Section 703(1) of title VI of the civil Rights Code of 1964, amended in 1994.

Wage: $14.63 to $16.13 (FT)


Wage: $23.84 to $25.03 (FT)


To Inquire, contact HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR TERI BRENNEIS DIRECT # 775-783-0265 FAX: 775-627-9022


All positions open until filled

16 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 |

Northern Nevada Native American elders are pictured recently at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. Front row, from left: Marlyn Melendez, Vincent Stewart, Janice Stump, Linda Jones and James Thomas. Back Row, from left: Gene Evans, Edith Eben, Juanita Sampson, Brenda Stewart, Kevin Andrews, Angela Reid, Mary Lou Shorthorn and Steve Sewell. PHOTO: Bethany Sam

Wisdom Whisperers: Elders share stories, advice and knowledge Bethany Sam First Nation’s Focus


ne of the greatest lessons a child can learn is to honor his or her Elders. Our Elders have paid attention, gained knowledge and wisdom from life. During their childhood, they carefully watched

and listened to ceremonies and traditions, and paid attention to the way their elders in their communities behaved. Our Elders are libraries of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, history and tradition. Learning and receiving advice from our Wisdom Keepers, Elders, is a priceless gift. Our Native American/American Indian Elders and Ancestors

persevered & prevailed through the toughest, roughest times in our history, so we, the younger generations, can live the way we do today. Go back in time, 100 years or less or more. Imagine not being able to powwow and wear your regalia. Imagine secretively praying to Creator and speaking your traditional language in fear that

you might be killed or imprisoned for doing so. Imagine being forcibly removed from your family/community to attend Indian Boarding Schools to learn a new language, religion, and way of life. Imagine drinking from a segregated water fountain that was specified for “Indians Only.” Imagine not being able to eat

at a restaurant. Imagine running from the Calvary for your life, starving, having no rights until 1924, etc. Our elders and ancestors endured, fought and survived for our future. They deserve to be respected and honored. Read words of Wisdom from local Native American elders on the next page.

Now Hiring Housing Executive Director Salary Range: Negotiable DOE

The Duck Valley Housing Authority Executive Director is responsible to the DVHA’s Board of Commissioners for the overall managerial functions of the housing authority. This responsibility is met by systematically monitoring all phases of the DVHA’s low-income housing assistance programs by maintaining compliance with current operating policies, HUD regulations and statutory requirements of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA). DVHA is located in Owyhee, Nevada; which is 97 miles north of Elko, Nevada & 97 miles south of Mountain Home, Idaho. • • • •

Minimum Qualifications & Experience: Bachelors or Associates degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the following areas of study, Public or Business Administration, preferred. 5 to 8 years of experience employed with a Tribally Designated Housing Entity of which 3 consecutive years is at the executive administrator level. Must have working knowledge of NAHASDA & its implementing regulations & other required regulations Applicant must be bondable & pass a thorough background check.

How to Apply: Contact Ms. Valentina Horn for application and instructions by calling 775-757-3589 or email at Duck Valley Housing Authority 1794 Horsehoe Bend, PO Box 129, Owyhee, NV 89832.

Preference for filling vacancies will be given to qualified Indian Applicants in accordance with Indian Preference Act (Title 25 U.S. Code, Section 472 and 473). However, the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will be considered in accordance with the provisions of Section 703 (I) of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 17

EDITH EBEN (MITCHELL) Tribal Affiliation: Yerington Paiute From: Yerington, Nevada Age: 80+ years Parents: Dowdy Mitchell & Rosie Williams What have you been taught about respecting/listening to your elders? “I didn’t know anything but to respect your elders. My parents instilled that in me from the time I was born. Nowadays, it’s rare parents teach the youth about respecting elders.” Do you have any stories or advice you’d like to share with our youth? “It’s your home life that teaches you about respect and the old ways, especially language. All tribes have different dialects depending on where you’re from, like Northern and Southern Paiutes. But it still comes down, again, to where your family is specifically from. Learn your Tribe’s language wherever you come from.” What can the youth do better? “It starts with your home life. Monkey see, monkey do. Teach your children the old ways and ask your elders questions if you don’t know where to start. Work hard, show respect, give love and be yourself. Learn your language and traditions.”



Tribal Affiliation: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony & Great Basin Nations From: Bishop, California Age: Between 50 & 100 years Parents: N/A What have you been taught about respecting/listening to your elders? “When Elders speak you look them in the eyes and listen. If you do not, you will miss a name of a relative or a special place where your family(s) meet and gather; like a pinenut picking spot, powwow, ceremony place, etc…” Do you have any stories or advice you’d like to share with our youth? “Our stories of the past are not written down. As a youth myself, my ears were dead to my elders and they stopped talking to me. I lost a lot of family news and stories about my family’s history. So open your ears to elders. In my day, everyday was an event of survival. Protect our females in the tribe. Our females are our nation’s future.” What can the youth do better? “Stay strong, be proud. When we speak, you listen. We do not put our stories in black and white. We have tried only to have other people change our words. We are not a boring Nation. We excite other Nations and people around the World.”

Tribal Affiliation: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony From: Born in Schurz hospital 7/2/47. Grew up in Mina, Nevada, until age 3, then moved to Reno Age: 71 Parents: Eddie Thomas (Berlin, Nevada) & Helen Thomas (Mina, Nevada) Grandparents: Charles Bell (Bishop, California) & Mamie Robinson (Shurz, Nevada) What have you been taught about respecting/listening to your elders? “Treat with respect and be good to them. Help them and listen to their stories so you will know about Indians and the old ways and where they or you came from.” Do you have any stories or advice you’d like to share with our youth? “Stay in school and especially learn American History and if there’s a class available in American Indian History take that class too. You will be very proud of being an American in this country and proud of being an American Indian in this great country that was build by the people who come on the boats from Europe. My ancestors seen the First Europeans that traveled to what is now Nevada. I’m very proud of this fact, as told by my grandparents.” What can the youth do better? “Respect elders, help them, take care of them. Stay in school, make something good out of your life to make your elders proud of you. Don’t drink or do drugs. They will destroy your life and make you very unhappy because no one will want to be around you when you act in ways that are not respecting yourself. Nothing makes us elders more proud of our people when we see the young folks doing good things in their life. And that makes us elders strong and proud knowing we may have had some influence.” O


Beginning this month, First Nation’s Focus is now publishing a regular section called “Wisdom Whisperers,” wherein all elders are encouraged to share stories, traditional and cultural knowledge, advice, and more. If you’re an elder and would like to share your wisdom, contact First Nation’s Focus Business Development Manager Bethany Sam (Hunkpapa Dakota Sioux, Kuiza-tika-ah Lee Vining Paiute, Washoe) at 775-297-1003 or email

Three Tribes, One Nation Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Open Positions Education Department:

Language Program Assistant Washoe Language Instructor Headstart Bus Driver/ Classroom Assistant Headstart Teacher Headstart Teacher Assistant

Tribal Health Center

Physician Physician-Family Physician Pediatrician Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant (1 Position) Medical Director Case Manager (Seasonal) Substance Abuse Counselor Family/Marriage Therapist Behavioral Health Division Manager (Seasonal)

Miscellaneous Departments:

Tribal Officer Ranger IT Technician I (IT Dept.) General Ledger Accountant (Finance) Landscape Specialist Fund Development Coordinator (Tribal Administrator-Budget) HR Director Information Technology Manager (IT Dept) Tribal Court Clerk (Tribal Court) Accounting Clerk (Finance) Social Worker I (Human Services) Retail Clerk (Smoke Shop 4) Maintenance Worker II Police Officer (Tribal Police) Social Worker I

FOR PAY RATES, MORE INFO, & APPLICATION: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, 34 Reservation Road, Reno, NV HR Dept: 775-785-1303 PLEASE NOTE: HIRING PREFERENCE WILL BE PROVIDED TO QUALIFIED MEMBERS OF THE RENO-SPARKS INDIAN COLONY FOLLOWED BY MEMBERS OF OTHER FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES. Preference in filling vacancies is given to qualified Indian candidates in accordance with the Indian Preference Act (Title 25 U.S. Code Section 472 and 473). However, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony is an Equal Opportunity Employer and qualified candidates will be considered in accordance with the provisions of Section 703 (I) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, amended in 1991.

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18 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 |

Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation celebrates 2019 grads Special to First Nation’s Focus


he Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation (WSSF) and Barrick hosted its annual Graduate Reception on May 31 honoring 2019 college graduates at the Red Lion Casino and Conference Center. Barrick signed collaborative agreements with the Tribal and Band Councils of the Western Shoshone in 2008, establishing the WSSF and outlining Barrick’s commitment to longterm higher education funding for tribal members. Since its inaugural year, the Foundation has funded more than 1,600 higher education scholarships for Western Shoshone tribal members totaling more than $3,492,000.00. In 2019, the WSSF recognized more than 30 Western Shoshone college graduates. “The WSSF scholarship program is an example of how we are investing in education to develop future workforce — not just for Barrick but for our community and our state. It was an honor to celebrate the 2019 graduates and induct them into the WSSF Alumni Association,” said Joseph Mike Native American Affairs Specialist for Barrick. During the reception, Barrick recognized 2019 graduates, highlighted Western Shoshone culture and featured keynote speaker Idaho State Representative Paulette Jordan. The event also demonstrated sustainability to the relationship between scholarship recipients, the Foundation and Barrick. “Our goal is to provide long-term and sustainable access to higher education for our Western Shoshone youth. We

The Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation and Barrick Gold honored 2019 Native college graduates, while featuring Idaho State Representative Paulette Jordan as a keynote speaker, on May 31 and Red Lion Casino and Conference Center in Elko, Nevada. Photo: Courtesy WSSF

appreciate Barrick’s additional 10-year commitment. Education is the key to a strong future for our Western Shoshone and Northern Nevada communities,” said Alice Tybo, Vice President of the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation Board.

On June 1, the WSSF Alumni Association hosted the Alumni Professional Development Conference at the Red Lion Casino and Conference Center. The Conference featured networking opportunities, presentations on Time Management,

Financial Literacy, Preparing for Employment and Interviews, and highlighted the purpose and vision of the WSSF Alumni Association.

WSSF, 19

Owyhee Community Health Facility

1036 Idaho State Highway 51, Owyhee County, ID 83604

Clinical Application Coordinator/IT Specialist Responsible for the installation, daily operation, and maintenance including problem resolution for multi-user and personal computer systems. Includes coordination and consultation on all ADP/MIS issues such as office automation, telecommunication and security, including PC user support, Resource Patient Management System (RPMS), Electronic Health Record (EHR), all network connections, servers and necessary data and voice lines. Requires specific related training and experience in support of healthcare IT, preferably with BS degree and experience with RPMS/EHR. Quality Assurance/Risk Manager/Director Serves as Quality Assurance/Accreditation leader. Creates and applies effective quality assurance programs, policies & procedures that promote and support high quality and continuous improvement in OCHF’s complete health care, behavioral health, dental, clinical and administrative support services, consistent with industry and accreditation standards and best practices. Bachelor’s Degree in a health related field and three to five years of experience in quality assurance/improvement, risk management, and/or accreditation such as AAAHC, TJC, etc. preferred. Substance Abuse Counselor/Clinical Supervisor Full-time, Part-time, Must be Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP), Must be billable under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Relocation Assistance and Tuition Repayment Available Provides substance abuse counseling and clinical supervision, education, after-care and prevention services to at-risk population. Collaborates with other Behavioral Health staff and medical providers in outpatient setting to provide integrated, whole person care. Monitors program services and administers policies and procedures for the substance abuse program. May contribute to grants, program evaluation, and collaboration with other organizations. Billing Manager This position is responsible for the direction, administration, planning, supervision and evaluation of the Billing Department. The incumbent will ensure that the Billing Department works in conjunction with the OCHF organization to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives. The function of the Billing Department is to facilitate an efficient billing process, ensure timely billing with revenue resources and keep updated with national policies and billing practices. Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree preferred, and medical billing and supervisory experience required. Public/Community Health Nurse Relocation Assistance, and Tuition Repayment Available Provides nursing services to individuals, families, groups and the community at large. Nursing interventions are directed towards the goals of prevention, assessment, risk reduction and health improvement. Under the general direction of the Nursing Administrator, utilizes the nursing process to assess and identify community needs, analyze data, plan interventions, implement, and then evaluate the outcome. Provided direct patient nursing care. Supervises another nurse and two nursing assistants. Requires RN, with BSN and/or MPH preferred.

Medical Laboratory Technologist Performs a wide range of clinical laboratory tests per requests by medical staff for use in clinical diagnosis, patient screening, monitoring and other purposes. Includes standardized procedures in accordance with established methodology and protocols. Makes minor adjustments to adapt or modify established guides to specific situations. Coordinates with laboratory consultant and provides periodic reviews for quality assurance. Maintains proper service and calibration of instruments, administers service agreements, and orders supplies. Prepares annual budget and manages to laboratory budget. Communicates well with medical providers, patients and administrators to provide excellent customer service. Maintains knowledge of laboratory standards and best practices. Supervises phlebotomist/ lab tech.

Contracts/Grants Representative I The Contract/Grants Representative is responsible for all grants and contracts operated by the Tribes, this includes the necessary reporting and securing funds when they need to be drawn. The position requires a working knowledge of each grant/contracts’ specific requirements, how to file the reports and how to draw the funds from the granting agencies. In the budget coordinator capacity, this position is responsible for ensuring the funds are available before expenditures are incurred and that programs do not exceed their respective budget amounts. This position will coordinate with the program directors on establishing their annual budgets, work with the program managers on presenting their budgets to Council and be responsible for entering their initial budgets and/or budget modifications into the MIP accounting system.

Emergency Medical Technician Responding to call from the dispatcher, drives or rides with ambulance to emergency site using most expeditious route and ensuring safety. Positions ambulance in a safe location, performs scene size-up, determines mechanism of injury or illness and number of patients, performing triage and extrication as needed. Calls for additional response, air or ground, if needed. Assessing patient(s)’ status, establishes priority and provides appropriate emergency care; may administer intravenous drugs or fluid replacement as directed by physician. Determines facility and transports patient to higher level of care while continuing care as medically indicated or directed and teaming with partner. Maintains proper condition of ambulance units and EMS department at facility. Engages in continuing professional development. Must have current Nevada EMT and a valid driver’s license.

Director of Operations Provides leadership, guidance & direction to subordinate program managers and supervisors in planning, development, maintenance, execution and evaluation of personnel and services in the administrative areas such as fiscal management, Billing, Health Information, Clinical Applications, Purchased Referred Care, and Facilities. The incumbent may be assigned special administrative functions and projects as deemed necessary. The DO is ultimately responsible for the administration and implementation of administrative operations within the OCHF in support of providing quality patient care and is a key member of OCHF leadership. Master’s Degree: Public Health, Business Administration or Health Care Finance. 3 years of health care/operations administrative experience. Experience in Quality Assurance & Compliance Management.

Health Information Manager Manages systems for acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and paper medical information vital to providing quality patient care. Ensures patients’ health information and records are complete, accurate, and accessible to responsible patient care staff, and protected for patient privacy. Performs or assists in performing analysis of data for community and population health. Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Management with supervisory and related experience required, RHIT or RHIA certification preferred or must obtain within one year.

Registered Nurse or IV Certified LPN The RN incumbent is a member of the health care team, and serves as a clinical RN performing professional nursing duties in the Out-patient Clinic. Under the general direction of the Nursing Administrator, the RN will plan, implement, and evaluate nursing care plans, supervise day to day activities of subordinate staff; and provide for the coordination of services as specified in the patient plan of care. The LPN performs a variety of nursing care tasks involving standardized procedures requiring knowledge and consideration of specific patient conditions and treatments. The incumbent screens and assesses patients prioritizing by established protocols and guidelines. The LPN reports directly to the Nursing Administrator or designee for emergent or high priority cases. The RN or LPN incumbent is competency tested prior to providing direct patient care.

Chief Financial Officer As a key member of the Executive Management Team, the Chief Financial Officer will report to the Chief Executive Officer and Business Council and assume a strategic role in the overall management of the Tribe. The Chief Financial Officer will have primary day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities of the Tribe. This will include direct responsibility for: Accounting, Finance, Forecasting, Strategic Planning, Legal, Property Management, Contract Analysis and Negotiations, Banking, investing and Grant/Contract Management. Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or equivalent required. MBA and/or CPA desirable.

FOR APPLICATION, GO TO: Please Include: Cover Letter, Salary History and/or Expectations, Resume, ShoPai Tribe’s Application and Copy of Any License/Certification email: Ph: 208.759.3100 Ext.1224 or 1236 Fx: 888.476.7269

Preference for filling vacancies will be given to qualified Indian Applicants in accordance with Indian Preference Act (Title 25 U.S. Code, Section 472 and 473). However, the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will be considered in accordance with the provisions of Section 703 (I) of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

| Saturday, June 22, 2019 | 19

A message to our Indian youth Justin Zuniga

Special to First Nation’s Focus

I On June 1, the WSSF Alumni Association hosted the Alumni Professional Development Conference at the Red Lion Casino and Conference Center in Elko, Nevada. Photo: Courtesy WSSF


From page 18 “Anytime we can bring our WSSF Alumni together, it helps strengthen the longterm efforts and vision of the Foundation and its work to strengthen the future of Western Shoshone professionals. The Alumni Association provides opportunity for those who have benefited from the WSSF scholarship to give back to the Foundation and their communities,” stated Davanna Hooper, WSSF Alumni Task Force member. During both events, Idaho State Representative Paulette Jordan provided the keynote addresses. Jordan was the first Native American woman to win a primary election and

DO YOU NEED MORE ROOM? We have exactly what you are looking for!

appear in a general election for Governor during the 2016 election cycle. Jordan shared her experience and personal story and challenged both groups to dream, set goals and work toward a promising and sustainable future. The WSSF announced its application process for the Fall 2019 semester, with a deadline of June 25 for application submissions. For more information on the WSSF Fall 2019 Scholarship visit www. westernshoshone. For more information about the Western Shoshone Scholarship Foundation or the WSSF Alumni Association please email Joseph Mike, Native American Affairs Specialist at O

f you are our Indian youth, this article is meant for you. To the rest of our community — our aunties and uncles, our grannies and grandpas, feel free to check out any of the other high-quality articles in this month’s publication. I’ll wait until all adults have flipped past this piece... OK, to the Indian youth, I want to talk to you about the importance of understanding how others see you. Specifically, you have to know how adults perceive you. How many times in your life have you heard an adult, perhaps someone you love, say, “you won’t understand because you are just a kid,” or, “you’ll understand when you’re older.” Do you remember how it made you feel? I understand it may be difficult to describe how you feel, when you have been silenced. Everyone has endured this transgression, and nobody deserves to be demeaned in this way. This is a common attack on kids because it is a lazy auto-response. The adult who responds in such a way is either: 1. Unable to give an actual informed response, or 2. They believe this child is not mature enough to comprehend the matter. So, the next time this happens to you — and unfortunately it most

likely will happen again before you reach adulthood — you should retort, “excuse me,” and in the most respectful tone you could muster, apply pressure by saying, “I’m not that young. I’m sure I will understand if you could put it in terms that make sense to me.” This is key, because you are demanding respect, but you being respectful about it. Actually, as a universal truth for kids, you should conduct yourself in a respectful manner AT ALL TIMES when dealing with adults, because you do not want to give them anything credible to hold against you to discredit your voice. That will be the first card they use against you — they will make you be accountable for your actions. Hence, if you are acting like a mindless child, then be prepared for adults to treat you as such. Furthermore, whenever an adult silences you like this, the transgression is compounded further because you’re Native. “You won’t understand, because you’re just an Indian kid,” is what they saying at a deeper level. As a Native individual, you are already coming from a marginalized position, and this exchange is not increasing your sensibilities of self-worth. As our Indian youth, you have the right to empower yourself. That’s just it — we can treat everyone this way because all people have the right to empower

Justin Zuniga

themselves. Everyone, adults and kids alike, should empower all others in how we interact and dialogue together. In conclusion, hopefully you find this helpful tip for the next time an adult comes at you with that noise and tries to silence your voice. Challenge them, prove to them your self-worth, as long as you remain respectful. *If you are the rogue adult and you got to the end of this article, please never utter, “You’ll understand when you’re older” ever again. It’s just not a constructive comment at very teachable moment. O Justin Zuniga works as an RSIC Education Advisor at the Hungry Valley Center in Sparks. Email him at with questions.


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11th Annual Sacred Vision’s Powwow Te Nanumu Magodyuku~ Bringing the People Home

Free Admission, Free Parking. Camping Available

June 28th, 29th, & 30th @ Big Bend Ranch, Wadsworth, NV Powwow Info, Call Collette 775-842-2007. Camping Info, Call 775-575-2185

Permits Available for Fireworks, Boating, Jet Skis & Camping @ 3 locations

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Pyramid Lake Marina & RV Campground

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20 | Saturday, June 22, 2019 | First Nation’s Focus





JUNE 24 - 27 | NUGGET CASINO RESORT SPARKS, NV #NCAIMY2019 The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony consists of members from three Great Basin Tribes – the Paiute, the Shoshone and the Washoe. Our vision is for a strong community that promotes and encourages individual spiritual, physical and emotional health to foster a long, abundant and prosperous life, which will lead to personal, family and community responsibility and prosperity.

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony 34 Reservation Road, Reno, NV 89502 Phone: 775-329-2936

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