- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - An organization representing most of Arizona’s tribes is searching for a new executive director following the retirement of its longtime leader.

John Lewis left the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona in March after nearly four decades. He was honored recently by the Arizona Board of Regents for his contributions to education, strengthening tribal communities and advancing health research.

Patrick McMullen is serving as the acting executive director.

The group has fought to improve Census counts of American Indians, challenged Arizona’s voter identification laws and helped improve relationships among tribal, state and federal officials. Lewis says none of it came easy. He says the key was in having a unified voice from tribes.

Lewis says one of the biggest challenges for tribes today is securing water rights.

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