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Colorado River Indian Tribes chair speaks at Mesa food and agriculture forum

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

Amelia Flores traveled some 170 miles to attend this year’s Arizona Good Food Forum and Expo at the Mesa Convention Center on Tuesday.

Flores is chairwoman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, or CRIT. 

Speaking on behalf of her constituents, Flores expressed that tribal farmers aren’t always respected.

“We see them out there working and we wonder why aren’t they in other fields, but that’s their calling, is to be farmers,” she said. 

Flores sat on a panel beside Arnott Duncan, board chair and agronomist at Duncan Family Farms, and Paul Brierley, director of the state’s Department of Agriculture. They discussed how water policies affect local agriculture, an ongoing issue that Flores and her community have focused on, especially since CRIT touches 90 miles along the Colorado River. 

“The challenges of water issues created by the climate change impacts us all,” she added, “and farmers on CRIT are limited in meeting these challenges.” 

Roughly a fourth of CRIT’s 300,000-acre reservation contains arable lands for farming. 

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Gabriel Pietrorazio is a correspondent who reports on tribal natural resources for KJZZ.