July 28, 2018
Joseph Austin and Antonio Solorzano traveled to the Mingus Mountains near Prescott Valley Saturday morning to speak to students. About 30 students participated in a camp this year called "Protecting Our Lands," hosted at the James 4-H Camp and Learning Center. Students represented over 10 Native Nations and learned about various topics such as tribal sovereignty, culture, law, policy, and leadership.
Mr. Austin and Mr. Solorzano spoke to students about the realities of working in Indian Country, what it takes to succeed in life, financial literacy, and urged students to embrace who they are.
Mr. Solorzano summed up the talk: "It's great to see kids doing this kind of stuff. If there's one thing I hope to impress upon the minds of these students, it's financial literacy and a view, no matter how dark it is, of the real world. I want to show them that there's a way to deal with the problems in Indian Country, and I think it's through the rule of law, changing it, influencing it, finding the holes. That's our job as attorneys."
Mr. Austin had this to say, "When I was a student, I noticed that most professors taught like they spoke the word of God, expecting all their students to adopt their way of thinking and methods, like zombies. My professors taught me, expecting I'd become one of their zombies, but instead I became a wolf. If there's one method that I did learn from my professors, it's that if you want to make change, your best chance of doing so is by influencing the up and coming students, the future leaders. So when I do these presentations, I stand in front of students, look at their faces, and wonder who be the next one to join my wolf pack? Who will stand with me in the fight to save Indian Country?"
Francisco Olea unfortunately could not participate in the talk due to unforeseen circumstances. We wish him and his family well. Like his partners, Mr. Olea remains dedicated to the empowerment of Native youth.