Arizona is home to 22 Native nations, many whom are major economic drivers. Panelists will provide an overview of Native nations including their socio-economic challenges, governmental form, authorities, laws, and economic environments. Representatives from two of Tucson’s indigenous communities, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, will also share suggestions for building effective inter-governmental relationships.
Austin is chairman of the San Xavier District, one of the eleven political districts of the Tohono O’odham Nation (formerly known as the Papago Tribe of Arizona). He is currently serving his ninth four-year term, having continuously served since 1987. In his job as chairman, he presides over district council, and community meetings; and is CEO for the district’s governmental operations. Prior to becoming district chairman, Austin worked for four years in Native American community development programs, first serving as assistant director for an international community development organization, serving nineteen Native American nations in Arizona; and secondly for the then Papago Tribe of Arizona, as assistant director for the Community Development Program. He is also board president for the Indian Land Working Group, a national organization dedicated to the restoration and recovery of the Native land base, and the control and use of this land base by indigenous Native American communities. He has held this post since 2001.
He has three adult children and six wonderful grandchildren.