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People: Talas, Zwierlein appointed to first tribal affairs VA panel


Eugene “Geno” Talas, Hopi, and James Zwierlein, director of the Navajo Veterans Administration, are among 15 tribal representatives appointed to the first-ever Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Oct. 7.

Talas, an Air Force veteran from Kykotsmovi Village, is from the Phoenix Area and Zwierlein, from Crownpoint, is from the Navajo Area.

The committee will provide advice and guidance to the VA secretary on all matters relating to tribes, tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations and Native American veterans.

American Indians, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives have a rich legacy of service in the U.S. Armed Forces and have served with distinction in every major conflict for more than 200 years.

There are approximately 160,000 AI/NH/AN veterans across the country.

Sephanie Birdwell, director of the Office of Tribal Government Relations, said, “This committee gives tribal leaders as well as American Indian, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Native Veterans a place at the table with the highest levels of leadership within the VA.”

Committee members are appointed to two- to three-year terms. Other initial members include: Adam Archuleta (Albuquerque Area); Jack Austin Jr. (member at large); Jestin Dupree (Billings Area); Manaja Hill (Great Plains Area); Reyn Kaupiko (Native Hawaiian Organization); Nickolaus Lewis (Portland Area); Kevin Meeks (Oklahoma City Area); Galyn Minkel (Bemidji Area); Angela Pratt (Nashville Area); Chief William Smith (Alaska Area); Tewa “Ted” Tenorio (California Area); Sonya M. Tetnowski (Urban Indian Health Organization); and Alfred “Fred” Urbina (Tucson Area).

Lowe nominated to be first Native chair for National Endowment for the Humanities

WASHINGTON –Shelly Lowe and Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson were nominated to lead the national endowments for humanities and arts.

Lowe, a citizen of the Navajo Nation who grew up in Ganado, currently serves as member of the National Council on the Humanities.

Her higher education career includes executive director of the Harvard University Native American Program, assistant dean in the Yale College Deans Office, and director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University.

Previously, Lowe served for six years as Graduate Education Program facilitator for the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona.

If confirmed, Lowe would be the nation’s first Native American to serve as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jackson was nominated to be chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jackson, a tenured institute professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, has served as an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments at national, regional, and local foundations.

If confirmed, Jackson would be the first African American and Mexican American to serve as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The U.S. Senate will consider the confirmation of their nominations.


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