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Elerina Yazzie, Class of 2008

My name is Elerina Yazzie, I am an alum from the University of Kansas, Class of 2008, National Champions! I am originally from Thoreau, New Mexico and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. I have a son who is born in Lawrence, Kansas and tells people he is a Jayhawk! He is seven years old. I have a daughter I brought into this world on March 7, 2014, she is two years old. I am a single mother, I reside in Gallup, New Mexico and work for our Navajo Nation. 

I am a Department Manager that oversees the General Land Development Department (GLDD) that is established under the Navajo Division of Natural Resources, Executive Branch. The purpose of the (GLDD) is to administratively process applications for land withdrawals, non-mineral leases, permits and rights-of-way on and across Navajo Nation lands. The most significant accomplishment is the GLDD is rapidly working toward exerting the Navajo Nation’s authority to issue our own leases without the Bureau of Indian Affair’s approval, which is outlined under the General Leasing Regulations of 2013. No other tribe has this authority granted to them by BIA. The Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources is the backbone of the Navajo Nation government. It is also the first point of contact and approval for all community and economic development projects on the Navajo Nation. As a young, educated Navajo member, there have been many challenges that I have encountered in terms of transitioning in general, the main challenge was technology. For years, the general notion is that when you submit project packages to the Navajo Nation it may take years to process, this was due to paper manual processing. The new department has opted to switch to an electronic processing of project packages through the Navajo Nation System that was developed by the Land Department and is owned by Navajo Nation. Rather than different departments (Historic Preservation, Fish and Wildlife, Navajo EPA, Water Resources, Dept. of Justice, Legislative, etc.) process individual land-related documents at different times the electronic process sends the documents to all the departments at once, monitoring and ensuring that packets are not pending. 

Most recently I have been elected as the Vice-President for the Smith Lake Chapter (or Local Government) of the Navajo Nation. In this position there are several priorities I have in line that include renovating the Navajo Housing Authority homes, purchasing land for new home development, and extending power and water lines. I want to use my experience in working with GLDD to assist my chapter on the technical details of obtaining rights-of-way, service line agreements, home site leases, etc. It seems that most chapters lack that capacity, in which I do not blame them it is a full time job for me, especially working with other entities such as Minerals, EPA, telecommunication companies, state, county, elected officials, etc. Thank you professors for your dedication and patience with me as a student, I feel like I am a valuable asset to my tribe and other tribes.

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Indigenous Environmental Justice, Knowledge and Law

Deborah McGregor
Associate Professor
Osgoode Hall Law School and Environemental Studies, York University; Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice
Friday Feb. 2 4:00 PM Lindley Hall Room 317.Meet and greet at 3:30 pm in Lindley Hall, room 205. All are welcome to attend.

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Bold Aspirations Visitor and Distinguished Professor Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 24 | 5:30 p.m.
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Free and open to the public

Indian Youth of Lawrence Pageant
Saturday, January 27 | 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
South Middle School Auditorium
2734 Louisiana St., Lawrence, KS
Free and open to the public
Support the contestants as they demonstrate their traditional and contemporary talents, and enjoy refreshments. Titles include Miss Indian Youth of Lawrence (Grades 9-12), Jr. Miss Indian Youth of Lawrence (Grades 5-8), Indian Youth of Lawrence Brave (Grades 9-12) and Jr. Indian Youth of Lawrence Brave (Grades 5-8). To apply or for more information, contact Landri James at landri.james@usd497.org. Application deadline is Monday, January 15.

Haskell Spring Welcome Back Powwow
Saturday, February 3 | Grand entry at 6 p.m.
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Free and open to the public

Open Forum: Careers in the Foreign Service
Tuesday, February 6 | 6:30 p.m.
Pine Room, Kansas Union
Kristin Stewart, Diplomat in Residence, will share information about internships and the Consular Fellows Program. Diverse candidates from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply! The U.S. Department of State offers career opportunities in foreign policy and diplomacy at over 265 Embassies and Consulates globally. The Consular Fellows program recruits Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish speakers. Foreign Service Careers are for all majors!

KU ISP Q&A with Elizabeth Glynn, CEO of Travois
Friday, February 16 | 10 a.m.
Conference Room, 6 Lippincott Hall
ISP students can learn more about Travois, a Kansas City-based consulting firm focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.

KU Law's 22nd Annual Tribal Law & Government Conference: Tribal-State Collaborations: Advantages & Obstacles
Friday, March 9 | 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
KU School of Law, 1535 W. 15th Street, Lawrence, KS
Free and open to the public, but registration is required.
5 hours CLE pending in KS & MO ($50 fee)

Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota Hip-Hop Artist, in Concert
Friday, March 30 | 7:30 p.m.
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$25 adults | $14 students/youth

KU Powwow & Indigenous Culture Festival
Saturday, March 31 | Begins at noon
Lied Center of Kansas, 1600 Stewart Dr.
Free and open to the public
Presented by the KU First Nations Student Association in partnership with the Lied Center of Kansas, Haskell Cultural Center and Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, KU Office of Diversity and Equity and KU Office of Multicultural Affairs.

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