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Celebrating International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022

International Women’s Day (IWD) is held annually to recognize the achievements, challenges, and struggles of women around the world. This global day of celebration is themed ‘breaking the bias.’ Grand Canyon Resort Corporation wants to recognize the Indigenous women of the Hualapai Nation and across Arizona who are making a difference in our communities as we all work together to create a world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

RUBY STEELE
GCRC Interim CEO

  1. What impact do you want to leave behind as your legacy?

As a leader, it is my responsibility to recognize and use the strength of others, so our team succeeds. At a young age, I was taught that my actions speak louder than words. I need to be visible so that others can see me give of myself, hold myself accountable and move in a decisive manner so they in turn, will be driven to strive for greatness. After all, it is greatness that I want for them. Throughout our journey, they must know they can approach me with good news and bad, and that I expect them to come to the table with solutions, not complaints, as I will. I act with a sense of humility, recognizing and appreciating the efforts and achievements of others. When we are successful, our Hualapai People can provide for our community. This is the foundation of our existence, and a reassurance that our Hualapai Legacy will live on for future generations.

  1. What is one piece of advice you would share to young women?

Be proud of who you are and where you come from. As an Indigenous Leader, we must educate our young Native American women to always be proud of who you are and where you come from and that it is acceptable to be “modernized”. We are not trying to be something we’re not in slacks, blazers, and high heels. We can be modern and traditional, when need be, and still show who we are as strong Indigenous women by how we chose to carry ourselves. We must continue to hold our heads up high, treat others the way we want to be treated, and respect ourselves. Do not let anything hold you back from venturing into the unknown. Yet, find your edge, sharpen it, and then craft a life you love. Also remember to laugh at yourself and travel often.

  1. What makes you proud to be an Indigenous woman? 

I am proud to be a member of the Hualapai Tribe with acknowledgement of my Goshute and Shoshone roots as well. I carry the teachings of my ancestors in my spirit and ask for guidance and wisdom whenever faced with a difficult decision. As a female Indigenous Leader, I have the responsibility to ensure long-term sustainability for my Hualapai People. If my people grow, then they are prepared, encouraged, and permitted to take on new growth opportunities.  It is my responsibility to challenge them to grow and let them know they are expected to enable the growth of others. When we are successful, our Hualapai People can provide for our community. That to me is success and we must never forget why we exist. If it weren’t for the perseverance of our ancestors, we would not be here today. We must honor them by being proud of who we are as Indigenous People!

MICHELLE ZEPHIER
GCRC Board of Directors
Board Chairwoman

  1. What impact do you want to leave behind as your legacy?

I want to be known as an encourager, passion chaser, teacher, and difference-maker. All of those verbs require action, and that’s the legacy I want to leave. If you want to see change, you must pursue it. It’s not going to fall in your lap. I never settle for the path of least resistance, but champion others to chase their dreams wholeheartedly and break barriers.

  1. What is one piece of advice you would share to young women?

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.  Inspire yourself that you are not limited by your gender and can achieve and be anything.  Never follow others unless it’s your passion.

  1. What makes you proud to be an Indigenous woman? 

Starts with being unapologetically proud of being a Hualapai Indigenous woman.  Celebrating and sharing our stories, WHO WE ARE.

CANDIDA HUNTER
GCRC Board Of Directors
Vice Chairwoman

  1. What impact do you want to leave behind as your legacy?

I was taught to go away to school, come back and serve my people. I have done that to the best of my abilities in my personal and professional life. I raise my daughter, nephews and nieces to know who their family and their responsibilities to our communities. I hope that they, as well as other youth I have worked with, continue to believe in our Creator, never forget who they are, know their worth and give back to our communities in positive ways. 

  1. What’s one piece of advice you would share to young women?

As women, we are born nurturers and leaders. It is easy to put others before ourselves. Know and be comfortable with who you are. Before you can take care of or lead others, you must be able to take care of yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).  

  1. What makes you proud to be an Indigenous woman? 

I am proud to be a Hualapai and Mexican woman. I understand how the federal policy of assimilation and genocide was meant to break down our families, communities, and future generations. Despite those attempts, we are still here and thriving. The strength and resiliency of my ancestors run through me.

JUNE SHORTHAIR
GCRC Board Of Directors
Board Member

  1. What Impact do you want to leave behind as your legacy?

My actions and behaviors reflect my heart, soul, and mind.  Introspection (self-reflection) is very important to keep one’s life balanced and focused on how to make positive impacts in your personal and work life.  Since I can remember, I was instilled with three main philosophies, which is to lead a life of service, learn when you must be the “driver” by pushing forward to make change to get things done, and when you need to step back to allow others time to gather their thoughts and to gain an understanding and the confidence to move forward.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you would share to young women?

Continually work to gain self-confidence by expanding your knowledge of your work environment and all aspects of your life and truly know your Indigenous community.  This includes taking every opportunity to explore new ideas and experiences.  Through it all, work at being patient with people and getting as much detail of situations so you can provide thoughtful input to help create change.  For young women, your success is up to you, take responsibility for your life and your career.  I would recommend creating a daily mantra, “Be confident, be knowledgeable of your project or task, and be thoughtful when you speak to people.”

  1. What makes you proud to be an Indigenous woman?

As a member of Indigenous tribal nations, I recognize the people I was born to who are the Akimel O’Otham and the Dine, and we have been on our tribal lands from time immemorial. As a tribal member, along with other tribes in Arizona, have a responsibility to ensure we protect our tribal lands, our culture, language, and customs as these elements guide our lives.  I believe Indigenous women have an important role in the survival of tribal communities, including being a leader, an educator, being resourceful and innovative by using what sources are available to make changes to get things accomplished.

It has been an honor over the years to work with my tribal community, as well as other tribes across Arizona. Today, it is my distinct privilege to work with the Hualapai Tribe to offer my best business perspectives, and just as important is to understand and gain insight into who are the Hualapai people, as every Indigenous people have their own language, and unique culture that is ingrained into all aspect of their life.  I have been taught to respect the people you are among and honor the moments they have allowed you to step onto their lands.

JONELL PHOEBE TAPIJA
HUALAPAI TRIBE COUNCIL MEMBER

  1. What Impact do you want to leave behind as your legacy?

The legacy I want to leave behind would be for everyone to live their truth. Being one of the first openly “Free” woman married to the same sex getting elected to the Hualapai Tribal Council wasn’t easy. Getting to this point in my life took resiliency, honesty, and determination. Being in a same-sex relationship comes with the good, the bad, and the ugly but staying true to who you are makes life worth living. You see, living your truth may bring you pain and suffering based on what society puts out there for you to read or hear but it also brings you joy and happiness knowing resting your head at night, you lived your truth according to YOU! Living your truth is the most honest you can be with yourself and that’s what I strive for every day, to live my true self every moment I can.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you would share to young women?

No matter what color, age, sex, height, or weight you are, always know that living your truth will make life worth living. Always smile and be kind because what goes around, comes around! Do better when those around are not. Do better to be the best you and do better when you are at the lowest of your life. No matter the difficulties in your life, there is always someone suffering more than you. Put God first, family second, and friends always! Remember you are a strong resilient Indigenous woman and nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. Continue to educate yourself because an educated, beautiful Indigenous woman is a triple threat to the world!

  1. What makes you proud to be an Indigenous woman?

Always be proud of where you come from. I am proud to come from resilient people who never gave up fighting to save our people. Hualapai comes from strong, proud, and resilient children, women, and men. Although we were taken from our land and forced to encampments, our children, women, and men survived so we can be here today. So take care of yourselves and always remember our people did not escape for us to be fighting amongst each other. Let’s live in harmony and honor their sacrifice as they did that for us. I am proud to come from the Hualapai and Pima blood!

Han kyu!

ROSEMARY SULLIVAN
HUALAPAI TRIBE ELDER

  1. What Impact do you want to leave behind as your legacy?

That my children and grandchildren know the importance of education, family, their culture, and a good work ethic. My natural parents never finished high school. My father was older than my mom and grew up in the early 1920’s. He said he only went to 2nd grade then had to help with family during the Depression. My mom ran away from Boarding School before she finished the 8th grade, but was able to go on Relocation and learn a trade as a Machine Operator for a swimsuit factory in Los Angeles. She worked in that trade all her life. Our ancestors lived on our reservation land and provided this foundation for us. We need to care for this land, so future generations can see the beauty that surrounds us every day.

  1. What’s one piece of advice you would share to young women?

That no one is perfect. You need to be who you are and take care of yourself, so you’ll be able to help others. Don’t be ashamed of something that you have no control over, it’s not worth the time or effort. Also, to find spiritual happiness.  

  1. What makes you proud to be an Indigenous woman?

Times have really changed, as a young girl, I grew up with a lot of racial prejudice, now it’s good to be Indigenous. I’m proud that my mom, Grandmother and Grandfather, Aunts and Uncles, and cousins spent time with me and helped me learn about our family and culture. They taught me how to sew, bead, cook, preserve and harvest our foods, dance, and to always help each other as family or friend. Despite my parents’ lack of education, I graduated from college, had a career with the USPHS Commissioned Corps as a Nurse Officer, attained the rank of Captain, and retired in 2013. I continue to work for my tribe in Diabetes Prevention and Tribal Practices and share my knowledge with my community.  


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