On a day that highlighted the inauguration of Frederick Chino Sr. as the president of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly shared a message of improving unity throughout Indian country on January 13.
“Unity is heard often especially during inaugurations, but what ends up happening is divide and conquer. We need to unite together for our people,” Shelly said in front of the crowd of nearly 200 people in attendance.
In Chino’s inaugural speech, the Mescalero Apache president stressed the importance of culture for the youth. “Don’t ever forget where you come from. Don’t forget who you are and don’t forget your language and culture,” Chino said.
Master of ceremony Freddie Kaydahzinne read letters addressed to Chino from fifth grade students addressing improvements to be made in the Mescalero community. Domestic violence, alcohol and hunger were the main topics.
Shelly responded to the letter readings by saying, “As he read those letters, it made me emotional. I don’t want our children to feel that way or go through those situations. Our young ones are looking for love. Our words are powerful. The positive spoken word is what the children want.”
Joining Shelly in attendance were leaders from Jicarilla, Fort Sill and San Carlos bands along with other Apache leaders.
Other inaugurations on the day were Sandra Platero as Mescalero Vice President, and four council members.