Office of Arizona State Representative Jennifer Jermaine (AZ LD18)
Arizona State Representative Jennifer Jermaine (LD18) released a statement today honoring Royce Manuel (Akimel O'odham), an iconic artist, basket-maker, culture keeper, community leader, and retired firefighter from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, who passed away on Tuesday at age 68. Manuel gave the opening blessing to the Legislature's Study Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People that Jermaine leads. His wife, Debbie Nez-Manuel, also served on the committee.
"Royce Manuel put everything he had into making his community safer, wiser, and more connected to its history and traditions," said Jermaine, D-Chandler. "It is absolutely heartbreaking to lose him as a respected and beloved community leader, but also as a mentor and a friend. People are alive today because of Royce's skill and dedication as a firefighter, and his commitment to training the next generation of first responders throughout Arizona. We can be comforted to know that -- because of his artistic brilliance and dedication to traditional O'odham ways -- his work will continue to educate and inspire people for generations to come. Debbie and all his children, grandchildren, and loved ones are in my prayers at this time."