Before a packed house of over 400 guests, newly elected Ak-Chin Indian Community Tribal Council members took their oaths of office during the 2017 Inauguration Celebration on Saturday, January 21.
A red carpet led to the front doors and set the stage for a regal presentation. Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel welcomed everyone to the ceremony held at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Recreation Center gymnasium.
The Ak-Chin Indian Community Police Department posted colors to start the opening processional, with the Ak-Chin Indian Community Youth Council and Magdalena walkers carrying staffs. Tohono O’odham Nation elder Joseph Enos gave a blessing over the event and the newly elected Tribal Council Members. Community Operations Manager Bart Smith served as emcee for the evening. The Youth Council shared a social dance right before the swearing-in ceremony portion of the evening.
Chief Judge Brian Burke then administered individual oaths to the Council Members. Council Member Alvin Antone was the first to take his oath and was accompanied by his parents. Ak-Chin Indian Community Council Member Ann Marie Antone was accompanied by her son. Council Member Delia Carlyle placed a photo of her late daughter on the Bible before receiving her oath. Vice Chairman Gabriel Lopez took his oath next, with his sister. The final oath was administered to Chairman Miguel, accompanied by his wife.
Each of them shared comments with the crowd, with mention of goals of teamwork and economic self-sufficiency while preserving the Ak-Chin Indian Community culture and language. Immediately following the oaths, the Ak-Chin Indian Community Language Program performed a song in honor of the newly elected Tribal Council Members.
After the ceremony, honorees and attendees enjoyed a traditional meal. Guests also enjoyed music provided by the Ak-Chin Band and Gertie and the TO Boyz, with performances from the Ak-Chin Ba’ban dancers and the San Juan Kwaliya groups. After cutting the cake, Gertie dedicated a song to Chairman Miguel and his wife, who celebrated their eighth anniversary the same evening.
Visiting dignitaries included officials and representatives from the sister tribes, Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community and the Tohono O’odham Nation. Local city officials showed their support as well traveling from Chandler, Casa Grande, Florence and Maricopa.
The Ak-Chin Indian Community would like to thank everyone who attended this historic event.