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|Home City: Cameron
Member Since: 2013
Jamescita Mae Peshlakai is currently serving her second term in the Arizona Senate as the state's first Native American woman senator, representing legislative district 7. She formerly served in the state House of Representatives in the Fifty-first Legislature from 2013 to 2015.
Sen. Peshlakai is Diné — Navajo, of the Tangle People clan, born for the Red House clan. Her maternal grandfathers are the Bitter Water clan, and her paternal grandfathers are the Cliff Dweller clan.
Sen. Peshlakai comes from a line of tribal headmen and officials and values her family's legacy of public service. In 1902, in efforts to protect their Navajo homeland from settlers, two of her great-grandfathers, Chíshí Nééz and Béésh Łigaii Atsidii, traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt to negotiate the annexation of the western part of the Navajo Nation. Born, raised, and living in the district, her constituents are family and LD7 is home.
She holds a Bachelor's degree in History and a Master's degree in Educational Psychology from Northern Arizona University. As a young woman, she served in the U.S. Army and is a Persian Gulf War veteran. A veterans' advocate, she spearheaded an initiative to create an independent veterans' affairs agency for the Navajo Nation and succeeded. She was recently awarded the "Copper Star Award" by the Unified Arizona Veterans of Arizona for her advocacy.
Over the years in her professional career, she served as director of policy and programs for several organizations, such as the Arizona Foundation for Women and Native Americans for Community Action. In previous endeavors, she co-founded the Peshlakai Cultural Foundation and founded the Western Navajo Agency Food Policy Council.
Sen. Peshlakai's culturally diverse district spans the seven counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Mohave, Navajo, and Pinal — including the communities of Fredonia, Page, Winslow, Show Low, Eager, and St. Johns. Nine tribes comprise most of the district's constituents — Hualapai, Havasupai, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Southern Paiute, Navajo, Hopi, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache and a small portion of Zuni Pueblo. The district is the largest legislative district in the contiguous United States, stretching from near Lake Mead to the Four Corners National Monument and south beyond Globe. It contains some of the most beautiful parks and natural wonders in the world — the Grand Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks, Monument Valley, the White Mountains, and the Colorado River.
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