first Native American appointed to the Arizona Board of Regents
said shes honored to serve on the board, but it comes with
a great challenge.
being a part of history, but its also a great responsibility
to represent not only Native Americans but also rural Arizona,
said LuAnn Leonard, a member of the Hopi Tribe.
Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day OConnor College of
Law hosted a reception Wednesday to honor Leonard, who joined the
board in March.
Janet Napolitano chose to nominate Leonard in a push to find experienced
leaders in education from counties with fewer than 800,000 people,
I got the call from the governors office
I knew that
if I didnt try and say yes to going forward with the nomination
that we might miss an opportunity for Native Americans, she
knew there had never been a Native American regent, and she wanted
to change it.
said she has made it her goal to increase awareness of Native communities
at the state universities. She said she has invited President Michael
Crow to visit her community next summer. NAU President John Haeger
and UA President Robert Shelton have already visited.
was really eye-opening to them, she said. Our way of
life in rural communities is very different.
Zah, former president of the Navajo Nation, said Leonard is an important
addition to the board because of her experience in unique Native
are not doing very well retention wise, said Zah, who also
works at ASU as an adviser on American Indian affairs. They
have a significant problem. They have unique problems only someone
like Regent Leonard can identify.
said Leonard would be able to show her experience at the ABOR meeting
Thursday, when regents are set to vote on a tribal consultation
policy would require each university to designate tribal liaisons
and submit annual reports regarding relations with Native American
Leonard would be able to bring the regents attention to that
[relationship], he said.
Tsosie, executive director of the Indian Legal Program, told Leonard
her appointment is a great step forward for Native American education.
was like a dream that someone like you could be able to represent
our people, she said. We are in a time of transformation,
but your leadership will lead us through.
Meyer, a student regent from ASU, said Leonard adds to the diverse
spectrum of ABOR, which helps ensure accessibility to education
and financial aid.
great to get that perspective on the board, said Meyer, a
second-year law student. Shes a great addition.
said she is looking forward to being a part of shaping the future
of the university system at Thursdays ABOR meeting, but she
would not comment on how she will vote on the tuition proposals.
conclude the ceremony, members of the Indian Legal Program gave
Leonard an ASU stationery set. Leonard said anyone attending the
ASU-UA football game can expect to see her showing it off.
be flashing the ASU pen, she said.
the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.