Salt River Indian tribe member fights to keep traditions alive

Christopher Leslie is a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Mayo Clinic calls his recovery remarkable.
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 5:10 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member is fighting to keep his tribe’s tradition alive. Christopher Leslie says his tribe has been slowly diminishing. “It gets smaller and smaller each generation,” Leslie said.

Leslie was born into the Salt River tribe but was adopted from the reservation at a young age. Years later, he learned about the tribe and has been dedicated to learning more about his roots. Now, he hopes to share the history and traditions of the Native American community with his daughter. “It feels good to teach her things and just get to come in here and learn about our people,” Leslie said.

It’s the love for his culture and the need to keep traditions alive that fueled him at his lowest. In 2019, Leslie almost lost his life to kidney disease. “I had stage 3 and when I left the hospital a week later, it was stage 4,” he said. After waiting for more than four years, in October, he finally received a kidney transplant. Leslie made an incredible recovery after waiting more than 40 hours to get his new kidney.

Leslie is now happy and healthy and can continue to teach his daughter about her roots to carry on the tradition. “It almost sounds like someday there won’t be any of us so it’s important to me to put up groundwork so people after can read about us,” Leslie said.

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