Chastity Bedonie, Navajo, walked on September 15.

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Chastity Bedonie, Navajo, walked on September 15.

Navajo Woman, Committed to Improving Lives of Natives, Walks On at 39

Chastity Bedonie was committed to improving the lives of Native Americans. She walked on Sunday, September 15 at the age of 39.

A member of the Navajo Nation and a native of Farmington, New Mexico, she received her law degree from UCLA before serving on the staff of Rep. Brad Carson, the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. She also previously served as an attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld where she represented tribal governments.

“I came to know Chastity when, as an attorney-advisor for the Office of Congressional Legislative Affairs, she advised me on tribal affairs during my confirmation hearing and later when I testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in a statement. “I saw in her a passion for ensuring the Interior Department meets its trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations and accomplishes our mission of helping to build stronger, more prosperous Native American communities.”

Jewell went on to say that Bedonie “played an important role in the settlement of the historic Cobell case, resolution of water rights cases involving tribal nations, and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.”

Bedonie was also memorialized by Bryn Mawr College and a GoFundMe page that was set up by Sher Bedonie to raise funds to cover funeral costs—as of September 18, $2,580 had been raised.

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