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Native leader Celina Reyes an inspiration for her community

By Waylon Pahona

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I would like to highlight Cellina Reyes for all her amazing work and dedication to her community Please learn more about her by reading her own words below.

I was raised on the Fort Mojave Tribal Reservation by my grandparents David and Basil Fass as well as my mother who were all very supportive in education. My grandmother did attend boarding school and told me, "Go get educated as that is one thing that will never be stripped away from you as a Native person."

I graduated from River Valley High School in 2001 where I played on the varsity basketball team all four years. I got accepted to Rocky Mountain College located in Billings, MT on an academic and basketball scholarship. I served as the Vice President of our Native American Club, sat on the American Indian Science & Engineering Society club, played for two years on the Women's basketball team and graduated from there in 2005 with a BS in Psychology.

I began my career with the Fort Mojave Social Services Department as a support worker, moved up within two weeks as a human services worker (HSW). I was a HSW for one year then became the Foster Care Coordinator and parenting instructor. By age 25 I started a family and married my husband and am a proud mother of three adorable children. In 2011, I graduated from Northern Arizona University with my Masters of Education in Counseling-Human Relations. Once I obtained my Masters I moved up to be the supervisor for the social services department.

In March 2013 I was elected by Tribal Council to sit on the Health Board for our Health Clinic. In September of 2013 I was appointed by the Fort Mojave Tribal Council to be the Director for the Tribes Vocational Rehabilitation Department as I was the only tribal member with the degree to be able to do so as the program is funded by a grant under the Department of Education and had strict requirements in order for the program to operate. I then was asked by several tribal members in February 2017 if I would accept the nomination to run for Tribal Council in June for our tribe. At the time I really did not see myself in that capacity however with a lot of self-reflection, meetings with my family and those who were supporting me, I agreed to accept and begin campaigning to be on Tribal Council.

On June 3, 2017, I was elected by our Tribal membership to serve on our Tribal Council. I am currently active in CrossFit, which helps keep me physically, psychologically and emotionally grounded as well as with our cultural department learning how to bead and sew. I have beaded two capes so far for my daughters and working on a necklace for my son. I am proud to be able to work with our tribal community to help break the cycle and make our tribe rise up from all the adversities we each face. And as of today I begin my doctoral degree in Special Education.

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