The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s Tribal Chairman Arlan D. Melendez will be presented with two lifetime achievement awards by two different organizations this week. The Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) will each publically honor Chairman Melendez for his significant contributions to their respective national organizations.
During its 9th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, the NAFOA recognized the distinguished achievements of Chairman Melendez. The prestigious NAFOA Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an Indian Country leader who has made significant contributions to tribal economic development throughout the span of his or her career.
During the 6th Annual Heroes in Native Health Awards Gala on Wednesday, the NIHB will honor and recognize Chairman Melendez for his dedication to advancing the delivery of health care to Tribal communities.
Chairman Melendez holds the highest elected office at the RSIC, a position he has had for over 25-years. His uninterrupted leadership is unprecedented in Indian Country as are his appointments to federal, state, and tribal government posts.
A U.S. Armed Forces veteran, Melendez served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam Era. Under his direction, the Colony has developed and maintained a strong and fiscally sound government. The RSIC has taken advantage of its strategic location within a metropolitan area to create a viable economic tax base which has helped the tribe attract business development to the reservation.
With Chairman Melendez’s leadership, the RSIC has partnered with the State of Nevada, Washoe County, the cities of Reno and Sparks, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to put 108 acres into Trust Land. This remarkable collaboration has expanded the RSIC’s total land base to over 2,000 acres.
The reservation lands consist of the original 28 acre residential Colony located in central west Reno and another 1,920 acres in Hungry Valley, which is 19 miles north of the Colony and west of Spanish Springs, Nev., nestled in scenic Eagle Canyon.
Nationally, in 2005, Chairman Melendez was appointed to a six-year-term on the United States Commission on Civil Rights by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. An independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, the Civil Rights Commission’s mission champions the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws.
In 2010, he was appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee.
Last year, Chairman Melendez was appointed to serve as treasurer for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). NCAI is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. Today, he chairs the taxation subcommittee for the NCAI.
Chairman Melendez’s term as a volunteer on the local Selective Service Board expired in June, after a 20-year commitment.
Though Chairman Melendez works on a number of issues, he has a passion for quality health care and has been a strong advocate and voice on the local and national level for improved health care for Native people. Of the many accomplishments, the most rewarding is the RSIC’s state-of-the art tribal health care center, which serves thousands of Native Americans in the Reno-Sparks area.
Currently, Chairman Melendez serves on the U.S. Health and Human Services’ National Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC), directed by Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell as well as the Phoenix Area Tribal Health Steering Committee.
Today, Chairman Melendez is a current Board Member of CHIEF, the Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship, which is a Native Christian outreach organization located in Phoenix. He was also a founding member of the Colony Christian Fellowship Church located on the Reno-Sparks Colony.
In addition, Chairman Melendez is the past president of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada (ITCN) and has been Western Region Vice-President of NCAI, for three different terms. Chairman Melendez lives on the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony with his wife Joyce. They have four grown children.
What other leaders are saying about Chairman Melendez:
“Chairman Melendez has provided over 25 years of stability and leadership for his tribe. His leadership at the local level has transcended across this nation with his participation on national boards and commissions, bringing awareness to critical tribal issues. I congratulate Chairman Melendez on this richly deserved recognition.”
–Sherry Rupert, Executive Director of the Nevada Indian Commission
“Arlan Melendez has been a transformational leader not just for Reno Sparks, but for all of Indian Country. His work embodies NCAI’s mission, and we have benefitted from his steadfast and visionary leadership for many years. Arlan has been a strong friend and mentor, and his passion for advancing the rights of his tribe and all of Indian Country has been a model for me personally.”
–Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
“Chairman Melendez has been an important figure in the Reno community for a quarter century. His legacy will be marked by his important work in the legislature and advocacy for Indian people and tribal communities across the U.S., in particular our region. On behalf of the Reno City Council, I congratulate him on this impressive, well-deserved achievement.”
–Hillary Schieve, Mayor of the City of Reno
“I want to congratulate Chairman Arlan Melendez on his prestigious recognitions, as they are truly well deserved. Chairman Melendez is truly a lifetime leader for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony having served for 25-years, and has made a difference in the quality of life for our Native American community. I am proud to call him a friend and grateful for his leadership and service to our state and tribe.”
–Geno Martini, Mayor of the City of Sparks
“The City of Reno is fortunate to have Chairman Melendez as a friend and neighbor. Chairman Melendez’s leadership has been paramount for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. His voice and dedication has led the way for many in the community and I am privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with him to better serve the region.”
–Oscar Delgado, Vice-Mayor of the City of Reno
“Chairman Melendez serves as an example of how Native leaders can protect the future of Indian Country by investing in the most precious resource we have- our youth. By being a strong and constant advocate, and providing support to Native organizations and Native communities, Chairman Melendez has been working for over 25 years to ensure Native communities have control over the lives and destiny of their people.”
–Ahniwake Rose, National Indian Education Association Executive Director
“As I am a young leader, Chairman Melendez goes out of his way to make me feel comfortable in any situation. He always knows the right things to say, and I could call on him today and he would always steer me in the right direction. He is definitely a leader and visionary. I admire him for the dedication and the hard work he does for the RSIC, Nevada Tribes and Tribes around the United States.”
–Chairman Len George, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
“Chairman Melendez is humble, with consistent fair leadership and is on point with discussion or action items in the best interest of tribal people and operations. He is a longtime friend and inspiration for tribal leadership.”
– Chairman Lindsey Manning, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley
“I am honored to have known Chairman Melendez for many years. I have witnessed first-hand his dedication not just to his community, but to all Americans via his military service and his many national appointments including on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. These lifetime achievement awards are well-deserved.”
–John Oceguera, Senior Vice-President of Strategies 360, Nevada Operations and Former Nevada State Assembly Speaker of the House