RSIC Chairman Melendez named to Nevada Governor-Elect’s transition team

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Chairman Arlan D. Melendez will be part of Governor-elect Steve Sisolak’s 28-member transition advisory committeePhoto courtesy: Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

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Reno-Sparks Indian Colony leader brings unique, historical perspective

News Release

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Chairman Arlan D. Melendez will be part of Governor-elect Steve Sisolak’s 28-member transition advisory committee.

“I am honored to have been asked to participate in this important formal transfer of authority from one great leader--Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to another--Governor-Elect Steve Sisolak,” Chairman Melendez said.

The transition team includes many regional leaders very familiar to the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Chairman Melendez.

“I am looking forward to working with Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, U.S. Rep Dina Titus, and Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley,” Melendez said. “For the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, this is a unique opportunity to be part of the process which examines broad-based issues—from health care, to housing, to education, and economic development—with agency and industry experts.

Chairman Melendez said that often the issues impacting Indian Country are the very same in rural and urban Nevada.

“Every member of this team brings a unique experience and view to the table and together, they will help me as I build an administration,” Sisolak said in a statement. “By bringing people together from day one, we can deliver real solutions for Nevada families."

Furthermore, Chairman Melendez also has been tapped by Senator Aaron Ford to assist him as he takes over the Nevada Attorney General post.

Melendez has held the highest elected office for the Colony, for over 26 years. A United States Armed Forces veteran, Melendez graduated from Truckee Meadows Community College and attended the University of Nevada.

First elected to the Tribal Council in 1987, the Colony has maintained a strong and fiscally sound government and is recognized as a very progressive tribe.

Nationally, in 2005, Melendez was appointed to a six-year-term on the United States Commission on Civil Rights by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Established as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, the Civil Rights Commission’s mission is to champion the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws. This body plays a vital role in advancing civil rights for all Americans.

Chairman Melendez received two life-time achievement awards from the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and the National Indian Health Service, respectively, which publicly honored Chairman Melendez for his significant contributions to these national organizations.

In July of 2015, he was appointed to serve as treasurer for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) which is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. Chairman Melendez currently chairs the taxation subcommittee for the NCAI.

In 2010, he was appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee. Chairman Melendez’s term as a volunteer on the local selective service board expired in June of 2016, after a 20-year commitment.

Chairman Melendez also served on the U.S. Health and Human Services’ National Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC), directed by Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and currently serves on the Phoenix Area Tribal Health Steering Committee.

In addition, Chairman Melendez is the past president of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada (ITCN) and has been Western Region Vice-President of NCAI, for three different terms.

Chairman Melendez lives on the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony with his wife Joyce. They have four grown children.

For more information about Chairman Melendez’s appointment or the RSIC community, culture, departments, economic developments, business opportunities and services, please contact Montooth at 775/842-2902 or by email at .

About the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony

The RSIC was established in 1917 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs purchase of 20 acres which became the core of Colony. In 1926, the addition of a contiguous parcel increased the land base to 28.8 acres. The first formal council of the RSIC was organized in 1934, and the election for the adoption of the Constitution was held on December 16, 1935. Located in Reno, Nev., the RSIC consists of over 1,150 members from three Great Basin Tribes - the Paiute, the Shoshone, and the Washoe and provides essential services to over 7,000 Natives. Today, the reservation lands consist of the original twenty-eight-acre Colony located in central west Reno and another 15,263 acres in Hungry Valley, which is nineteen miles north of the Colony and west of Spanish Springs, Nev., nestled in scenic Eagle Canyon. Learn more at


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