By Hannah Lewis
O’odham Action News
On Saturday, January 4, a notable inauguration was held at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Justice Building. Acting Chief Judge Darayne Achin had the important role of swearing in this year’s members of the Young River People’s Council, along with the newly elected executive members who fulfill specific duties within the youth council.
This year’s executive members include Kerstin Johnson, clerical secretary; this is her first year as an executive member of the YRPC. Erica Schurz is the correspondent secretary. The newly elected treasurer is Eric Schurz; he is the youngest executive member, at age 13. Nalani Lopez was elected vice-president; this is her first time in that office. Lastly, Sommer Lopez was re-elected president of the YRPC for her third term.
“My goals this year [as] YRPC president will always be to move us in a positive and innovative direction. Whether it’s educating the youth, keeping our elders’ teachings alive or preserving our lands, our goal is to take care of our Community and ensure that the future is bright,” said Sommer Lopez. She added that there’s always something new to learn during each term.
Youth Council Coordinator and Youth Development Specialist Christine Porter expressed her admiration for this year’s YRPC.
“We have a good group of kids … they are very young, eager to learn and [willing to] help out wherever [help is needed],” said Porter.
The YRPC is always looking for new members. “In order to be the voice of the youth in the Community, we want as many [members] as possible from different areas of the Community,” Porter explained.