Native American Leadership Conference March 5 — 6 at HU
The first Miss Native American Leadership Conference at New Mexico Highlands University will be March 5 — 6.
The conference will be from 9 a.m. — 3 p.m. both days in the Student Center ballroom, 903 Baca Ave.
Latasha Burbank, who was crowned in November as the 2010 -2011 Highlands University Miss Native American Queen, is organizing the conference along with her sister, Latayna Burbank.
The Navajo sisters were born in Ft. Defiance, Ariz. and raised on the Navajo Nation reservation. Their mother is Christine Begay of Window Rock, Ariz.
Latasha is a freshman majoring in criminal justice and is also a student ambassador at Highlands. Latayna will graduate in May with a degree in political science. They are both active in the Native American Club on campus.
Latasha, 18, said: “I want to encourage Native American students to get more involved in campus life, and gain more leadership skills for a successful life after college. I want this to become an annual conference.”
Burbank said all Highlands University students are welcome at the conference, and the public is invited to hear Miss Navajo Nation Winifred Bessie Jumbo speak March 5 at 10 a.m.
“I heard Winifred Bessie Jumbo talk when she was crowned in 2010, and she’s very inspirational,” Burbank said. “As a Navajo, I want our culture and language to continue to the next generation. I also want all our Native American students to keep their culture close to their hearts.”
Burbank said another motivational speaker scheduled for March 5 is Miss Indian New Mexico Monique Garcia. She is of the Pueblo of Acoma in western New Mexico.
Burbank said the second day of the conference will be devoted to sports activities like volleyball and relay races.
“We want it to be a fun day to bond and build teamwork,” Burbank said.
Burbank is making Navajo tacos for lunch both days of the conference. There will also be burritos for breakfast.
Participants who attend both days get a free conference T-shirt, thanks to a donation from the Bank of Las Vegas.
Burbank asks Highlands University students to let her know if they’re interested in attending, and their shirt size. The best way to reach her is at 928-206-7653. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org