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Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington

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Chairwoman Colleen Cawston and Margie Hutchinson of the Tribal Business Council, were chosen to join other Native Americans and prominent women political leaders from across the country early this month for two days of meetings with cabinet officials, administration leaders and policy experts in the nation's capitol. The event, sponsored by the National Foundation for Women Legislators, featured a variety of seminars and networking opportunities to better serve all Americans and help establish contacts essential to Native American interests. The women were selected to participate in a leadership analysis sponsored by the Gallup Organization that will be of assistance in preparing and promoting a legislative agenda in the weeks ahead. Cawston presented her position on health policy issues before the chief of staff of the secretary of Health and Human Services. Hutchinson spoke on agricultural policy before the National Agriculture Committee. They met one on one with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and with senior staff at HHS. Four of the 14 members of the Colville Business, governing body of the tribes, are women. "Being involved in the political and national decision making process creates opportunity" and "gives us a further voice on a national level," Cawston said.