An interview with Opal Boyer, YAN Member living in Washington, D.C. and Gahnavah-Yati’ news
by Don Decker, YAN News 01/28/19
What department are you working for? I work for a federal contracting company as a Program Specialist
Would you be willing to share some of the information with our readers?
In my position I support federal grantees (Tribes, Tribal Colleges, and Non-Profits), with their community based projects. I manage a portfolio of grantees with projects focused on native language revitalization/preservation, economic development, and youth leadership development.
How long have you been in Washington? I have been in DC for over 4 years.
Do you like living there and do you have a lot of Indian friends there that you visit with when you are not working? I do have a few Native friends here. The community organizes various events in the area where Natives can come together and get to know one another. My work place is also majority Native. I really enjoy living here an exploring museums, going to the comedy shows, taking trips to NYC and learning more about the government and the political process.
When was the last time you were home for a visit? I was home over the holiday break.
What did you do before you went to Washington, D.C.? Before moving to Washington I attended Arizona State University and studied economics. After graduating I spent a year working for the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I would like to go to graduate school and am considering what it is exactly that I would like to pursue.
What year did you graduate from high school? I graduated from Camp Verde High School in 2004.
What is your favorite pastime about living in D.C. such as weekends? Community organizing and volunteering for political campaigns.
Do you miss your homeland? I miss home and family often.
Do you think you will stay in D.C. for a long time? I’m not sure. It has become my second home, but I never stop missing home and my family.
How did you like the march there for Indigenous People’s March? Who came from here to there to see you? The Indigenous People’s March was an amazing experience. It was very powerful to see the gathering of Indigenous People from not only North America but around the world unitin to bring awareness to our shared struggles and celebrating the beauty of our people.
How many people were there for the march? I believe there were over a thousand people.
Did you meet any new people? I did meet a few people from Whiteriver, the Navajo Nation and Tohono O’odham.
Editor’s note: Opal Boyer is the daughter of Veronica Smith Boyer, sister to Vivian (Smith) Stevens and Vonda Smith of Middle Verde. Opal’s grandfather was the late Victor Smith. Opal’s cousin are all of the Smiths. (Submitted photo).