Gevene Savala

Areas of Achievement: 
Higher Education
Home Making
Culture & Traditional language preservation

Honored By

Honored by: Native American Women of Arizona Arch, UA
Date submitted: October 04, 2011
Gift: General Gift

Honored on the Native American Women's Arch by the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians.

Gevene Savala was born on a small Southern Paiute Indian Reservation called the Shivwits near St. George, Utah, in 1928. Though she was a member of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians from Northern Arizona, her family often traveled around Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, which made her birth on another reservation not particularly out of the ordinary.

Growing up with her extended family raising her and her cousins, Gevene's grandparents played an especially significant role in her upbringing and were the stability of the family. At age 9, Gevene began boarding school in Riverside, California. Instead of being fearful as most young children would be, she enjoyed the excitement of the city and the opportunities it presented. She often wondered why others at boarding school would cry and want to go home. Her adventurous spirit found her time away from the reservation exciting. Her most memorable experience was as a member of the Riverside Institute Marching Band involvement in the 1946 Rose Parade. She continues to excel in playing the clarinet, harmonica, and piano.

Throughout her adulthood, travel adventures and exploring her artistic abilities led her to pursue many interests. Gevene learned cake decorating and, later, made all four of her children's wedding cakes; she took many find art classes and eventually received an Associate's Degree in Fine Art; she belonged to a hiking club, and was a member of an artist's association that traveled the world. Presently, she aids her tribe in cultural and traditional language preservation.

As a tribal elder, Gevene leads her people with grace, dignity, and perseverance. She worked for the Kaibab people as the sole Community Health Representative for many years, and sat on the Tribal Council as the Vice-Chairperson. In the mid-1980's, Gevene relocated to Phoenix with her family and became an integral part of the family-owned road construction company.

Upon retirement, Gevene became a Fine Arts instructor at Mohave Community College and lent her artistic skills to aspiring artists. Because of her fine art background, Gevene was chosen to depict the Pipe Spring National Monument Christmas Tree Ornament in 2007. The ornament hung on the White House Christmas Tree, commemorating the National Park Service 100 year anniversary.

Gevene is a role model for healthy living, and has truly demonstrated a life filled with adventure, family, and ambition. She and David, her husband of 64 years, have traveled the world and live life as an inspiration to many. To her four children, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, she has made it clear through example that working hard has its rewards. Today, Gevene and David manage a family livestock ranch, raise chickens, and continue to stay active in the community.