Female leaders gather to find solutions for issues faced by Natives

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyí Bureau

FARMINGTON, Oct. 11, 2013

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A group of Navajo and Latina women leaders who gathered for a roundtable discussion last Friday found the discussion so productive they have formed an organization that will function as a sort of think tank on the problems faced by Native Americans and other minorities in the Four Corners.

The group, gathered by New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, was supposed to discuss issues important to them, but by the time the women finished telling sharing their personal stories, it was time to leave.

The Women of Navajo Land and Minority Women Roundtable will reconvene the last week of February in Sanostee, New Mexico.

Becenti-Aguilar was pleased with the forum and hopes it will evolve into an organization that can make contributions to society.

"I think it's important we have a goal in place," she said.

Becenti-Aguilar said she got the idea of gathering powerful women while touring the northwestern New Mexico as a regulator. She thought about the roundtable idea for about a year and a half before actually putting it together, she said.

"I've met so many impressive women, I couldn't help wondering what it would be like to get them all together," she said. "Just think what we could do!"

The forum included politicos like San Juan County Commissioner GloJean Todacheene and state representative Sharon Clahchischilliage as well as industry representatives like Cathy Newby of PNM and Rhonda Ray of Fire Rock Navajo Casino.

Navajo storyteller Sunny Dooley was invited to give the keynote address and entertainment, but she had so many good ideas the women invited her to join the group.

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