​By Philip Reed

On April 17, the Desert Southwest Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Committee hosted Native American Observance: A Celebration of Heritage.

Financial Manager Ethel Redhair emceed the event, which featured special guests and representatives from four different tribes. She was assisted by Supervisory Public Utilities Specialist Patricia Weeks.

Special guests included Grammy-nominated musician Aaron White from the Diné of Arizona and General Manager of Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Walter Haase.

“The representatives of the various tribes did a fantastic job educating us about their cultures and providing their perspectives on the importance of their relationships with WAPA,” said Senior Vice President and DSW Regional Manager Ron Moulton. “These are our neighbors, our customers and our partners.”

Speakers included Vice Chairwoman of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians San Juanita Callaway, Associate General Counsel of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians Breann Nu’uhiwa, Assistant Community Manager of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Kent Andrews, and Executive Assistant to the Office of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation Faith Liston.

“In the past, the Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Committee has held events that focused more on the rich traditions and heritage of the Native American culture,” explained Public Utilities Specialist Ebony Dennis, who also serves on the Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Committee. “This program was intended to expand on those themes by also highlighting current and future initiatives of our tribal customers. We wanted to learn how the services WAPA provides fit into the tribes’ broader energy programs and, beyond that, how it impacts their communities.”

There was also a Q&A session toward the end of the event.

“Based on comments we received from employees after the event, it was an extremely informative and eye-opening program,” said Dennis. “Many folks were surprised to learn, for example, that the Navajo reservation uses a 5G wireless network. This was a sharing and learning event that we hope to repeat in the future.”

“The Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Committee and the DSW Employee Associations did a fantastic job in planning and executing this event,” Moulton concluded. “This was a great opportunity for our staff to learn more about our customers, and the rich and treasured heritage that is represented by the diverse community in which we work.”​

(Photo by Debbie Wilson)

Last modified on September 12th, 2023