Tue Jul 2nd, 2019
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
LaLena Weasel proudly holds a certificate of appreciation, on Friday, June 21, recognizing 15 years of service with the Government of the United States of America. She got her start in the field when construction of the Animas La Plata (ALP) project finally started in the spring of 2003. Weasel was able to use that opportunity to get a full-time position on the large-scale water project, working with the Bureau of Reclamation. The project opened up four positions, which were available to tribal members from the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes; Weasel has ties to each tribe. She excelled in her years working with ALP, garnering numerous safety awards during her years on the project — including Safety Employee of the Year in 2009.
When the project reached completion in 2011, Weasel accepted a position as the Materials Engineer Technician with the Navajo-Gallup water supply line in New Mexico through the Bureau of Reclamation. This ambitious infrastructure project is set be completed by 2024. The project, once complete, will deliver water to the communities in the eastern section of the Navajo Nation, southwestern portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and the city of Gallup, N.M., by way of 280 miles of pipeline — transporting water from the San Juan River to those communities. The project is based out of Farmington, N.M., where crews work long hours in the field and are often away from home to meet the expectations of the project timeline.
When asked about her greatest challenges that she has had to overcome in her 15 years of field work, she stated, “Proving myself time and time again as a Native woman working in a male industry.” Weasel adds that her strong work ethic has played a large part in her success as a longtime employee for the U.S. Government.