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Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Indians Outline Challenges

By Kate Nash
Journal Capitol Bureau
    SANTA FE American Indian and state government leaders should work together to overcome difficulties facing Indians, members of several New Mexico tribes said Tuesday during a joint session of the House and Senate.
    "We cannot begin to make a dent in the plight of mankind unless we stand together and make war against the plagues of mankind," said Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr.
    Shirley, during a speech at Native American Day in the Roundhouse, outlined challenges facing the Navajo Nation and other tribal members, including affordable housing, better transportation and improved education and health care.
    "Navajo and other native people need to be at the table to give input and make decisions that affect the Navajo Nation and other native people," Shirley said.
    Gov. Bill Richardson has proposed making the state Office of Indian Affairs a Cabinet-level agency.
    Richardson also has appointed a record number of Indian people to state government posts.