New Washington Office director inspired by daughter, parents

New Washington Office director inspired by daughter, parents


During her first week as the executive director for the Navajo Nation Washington Office, Santee Lewis was one of three people invited on a Capitol dome tour by U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

“It was so amazing to be standing on top of the Capitol looking outside at DC,” Lewis said.

The tours are open only to members of Congress and their guests. Lewis, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer climbed 300 stairs to the very top of the Capitol building.

It was here that Lewis realized she had made the right decision to leave her family and move across the country to serve as the executive director for the office.

“I felt really grateful and humbled in that moment,” she said. “Recognizing that I was so far away from home but to be on top of our nation’s Capitol as an Indigenous women who is leading this office, I felt really proud and happy and humbled.”

This moment also reminded Lewis, 38, who is from Pinedale, New Mexico, of being at home on the Navajo Nation.

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About The Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah