International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples - August 9th

Submitted by George Garnett, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

Indigenous Peoples-1

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed August 9th each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is a day when people recognize the contributions of the world’s Indigenous population for their heritage and culture.

The Apache Sitgreaves National Forests would like to recognize Quesa Muñoz, who was born in the United States and is of Apache origin. Quesa works at Show Low Interagency Dispatch Office as a Dispatcher. Dispatchers are communications personnel responsible for receiving and transmitting important information; usually regarding wildfires, tracking resources and recording other important information. Interagency means this office represents more than one government agency. Show Low Dispatch represents the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Fort Apache Agency, Forestry, and the National Park Service.

The word Indigenous generally means: originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; or native to an area. Quesa’s mother originated from the Apache Tribe and was born in the United States. Her father’s parents migrated to the states from Mexico. Quesa was born in Phoenix and shortly after, both her parents moved to Fort Apache Reservation where she was raised.

Indigenous Peoples- Quesa

Quesa began working with Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Fort Apache Agency, Forestry in 1978, right out of high school as a crew member of Apache-7 with Mary Harvey as her Crew Boss. Mary trained Quesa and 20 other women in thinning forest land on the Fort Apache Reservation. After Mary left, Quesa was placed on the Apache-8 Crew with Cheryl Bones as Crew Boss who also supervised 20 young women. Apache-6 was the third Apache female forestry crew with Renata Lupe as their Crew Boss.  Recognizing the achievements of women working with federal agencies has an enormous impact on the development and self-respect of women everywhere.

Quesa stayed with BIA Forestry for more than 20 years before she transferred to Interagency Dispatch. Many of the supervisors were retiring from Interagency Dispatch around the year 2000 which added opportunities for Quesa where she’s been employed for close to 19 years. When Quesa started she trained under Rita Booth, LaNette Estes, Raymond Vigil, and Darcy Boyle.

Now, after more than 40 years working with the US Department of Interior (BIA), Quesa thinks about retiring but, she loves working with Interagency Dispatch. What she enjoys most about her job is that it is challenging, fast paced, and she’s always learning something new.  She has opportunities to work with many people and enjoys seeing projects through from beginning to end. Fire season adds to her busy schedule.

In closing, Quesa has four daughters and says that her family is the most important thing in her life. She’s also active volunteering with the Hope Center, where volunteers assist and aid the homeless on the Fort Apache Reservation. Homeless on the reservation are in need of food, clothing and encouragement. Volunteering to help the homeless daily adds joy to her life.