PINETOP — The gathering of the tribes of the Apache Alliance was held last week on the Fort Apache Reservation and hosted by the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

WMAT Chariwoman Gwendena-Lee Gatewood was selected last year as the chair of the Apache Alliance, on organization that focuses on broad issues faced by all of the Apache people.

The Apache Alliance is comprised of nine Apache tribes from the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The other tribes are the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Ft. Sill Apache Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Tribe, Mescalero Apache Tribe, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Tonto Apache Tribe and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

“This alliance works together to get one voice of the Apache people to be heard by the government on legislation that will help our tribes become sustainable,” Lee-Gatewood in a told the Independent last year. “I am extremely honored and humbled the tribes voted me in. My colleagues are esteemed leaders and have already done a lot of ground work to help us meet our goals.”

The two-day Apache Alliance summit was held at Hon-Dah Resort and Casino and featured many speakers. The event closed out with the passing of the rifle ceremony. The rifle is given to the next tribe that will host the event. Lori Gooday Ware of the Ft. Sill Apache Tribe in Oklahoma received the symbolic rifle in a ceremony that included singing and dancing.

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Trudy Balcom is editor of the White Mountain Independent.

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