As a Senior Director of Tribal Affairs for First Things First, Arizona’s public funding source dedicated to early childhood, Candida Hunter serves as the liaison between First Things First and Arizona’s federally recognized tribes. First Things First partners with tribes to develop comprehensive early childhood systems.
In her role with the organization, Ms. Hunter works to build strong government-to-government relationships. She consults with tribal governments to ensure concerns and impacts are carefully considered before First Things First takes action or makes decisions affecting tribal communities.
Ms. Hunter comes to this role with personal experience representing an Arizona tribal nation, when she served as a Hualapai Tribal Council member from 2008-2013. Her tribe runs the Grand Canyon Skywalk and she serves on the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation Board of Directors.
Ms. Hunter is also a fellow of the BUILD Equity Leaders Action Network, a national initiative focusing on building an early childhood system. Arizona is one of eleven partnering states.
As part of her work with First Things First, Ms. Hunter must seek approval from tribes for data collection, publication and dissemination. The interdisciplinary course offered during the Johns Hopkins Winter Institute helped as a refresher on qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.
And she says the Early Childhood Research with Tribal Communities course helped her better understand how to engage tribal council members on equity and evidence-based programs.
Ms. Hunter is currently in the process of applying to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in pursuit of a Masters in Public Health degree.
“I don’t know where the creator will put me, but my life has been interesting and I want to keep going where I am needed,” she said.