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Native American woman offers hope to NM GOP

By   /   December 14, 2012  /   News  /   No Comments

By Rob Nikolewski | Capitol Report New Mexico


SANTA FE — The gentleman from Albuquerque was not being rude. He simply wanted to get it right.

“Now how is it pronounced,” long-time New Mexico House veteran Edward Sandoval, D-Albuquerque, politely asked.

“Claw-chiss-chillage,” the new member of the Roundhouse said.

“Rhymes with village,” a reporter offered.

Like all other new members of the New Mexico House and Senate, Sharon Clahchischilliage won’t be formally sworn in until next month, but as she was taking part in orientation meetings on Thursday (Dec. 13), the 63-year-old from the Four Corners area with an Ivy League education stands out from the rest of the freshmen entering the upcoming 60-day legislative session.

“I definitely feel like I’m under the microscope,” Clahchischilliage, a former special education teacher and member of the Navajo Nation, told Capitol Report New Mexico.

But it’s not just her name that draws attention but also the fact that Clahchischilliage (which means “the one who’s lefthanded with curly hair ” in her native language) will become only the sixth Native American to represent the Republican Party in the history of the New Mexico Legislature.

Read the entire story at www.capitolreportnewmexico.com