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Jicarilla Apache Tribe, New Mexico

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The first woman to head the 3,000-member tribe, President Claudia Vigil-Munoz said, "A leader is someone that gets out in front of people but doesn't get so far out ahead so that he doesn't hear their footsteps." On taking office last month, she said, "The message I want to send to the Jicarilla people today is to work together." The new vice president, Lamavaya Caramillo, is the second woman to serve in that position. Voters not only turned the incumbent president and vice president out of office, but also four tribal councilors who were defeated by challengers who promised to make more information available about tribal finances and decisions. Four members of the previous council remain. That council twice voted former president Arnold Cassador out of office. Voters also approved a constitutional amendment that sets term limits for councilors and new election procedures. Vigil Munoz was born and raised in the Jicarilla capital of Dulce. After graduating from Dulce High School, she earned a bachelor's in public administration from The College of Santa Fe. Upon her election, she resigned her position at the Jicarilla Apache Department of Education, which administers federal grants to local schools.

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