August 2015

Indigenous as a Way of Life


Stephen Wall



I think that when we talk about re-indigenization we need a much larger, bigger umbrella to understand it. It’s not necessarily about the Indigenous people of a specific place; it’s about re-indigenizing the peoples of the planet to the planet.


John Mohawk, Original Instructions, p. 259. (Emphasis in original article)



Defining “Indigenous”


The word indigenous is defined as “originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country” ( While this definition applies to almost anything, in today’s world the word indigenous is often used to describe a people; that is, the people who originally lived and still live in a particular region More >

Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School


Carnell Chosa


The Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School (LI) was established in 1997 to create opportunities for discourse on a wide range of public policy and tribal community issues that were challenging the vitality and spirit of New Mexico’s tribal nations. Through 15 programs designed and implemented by LI co-founders Regis Pecos, Carnell Chosa and staff, the LI uses a Pueblo community core values-based lens to strengthen four themes that run throughout the institute’s programs: community service, leadership, public policy and critical thinking.

From the beginning, two programs have provided a foundation for the LI: Community Institutes, a More >

Summer Policy Academy

Voices of Our Indigenous Youth


Christian White


The SPA gave me a new outlook and perspective on policies and brought multiple indigenous representatives together, giving me a sense of how many of us have similarities in government and in the traditional ways of life.” – Tyrell Westika (Zuni Pueblo, SPA Fellow)


My experience at SPA was great! It helped me broaden my mind and gain knowledge I can use to help my community. It was also fun meeting new people and learning why they were here.”

Sunny Rose Eaton (Tesuque Pueblo, SPA Fellow)


There has been a lot said about the sacredness More >

Tribal Infrastructure Challenges in New Mexico


Harlan McKosato


Some of the poorer tribal communities in New Mexico have been compared to third world countries because of their economic struggles and their lack of modern water and energy systems. Most of the state’s Pueblo villages, Navajo chapter houses and Apache tribal communities are isolated and have little or no access to the already poor infrastructure in the Land of Enchantment.

A decade into the 21st century, the White Rock chapter of the Navajo Nation in the western part of the state was in desperate need of basic electrical power lines. The pueblo of Santa Clara in northern New Mexico More >

Red Power 3.0

Dave Castillo

During colonial times, Native warriors—men and women—defended and advocated for their peoples and homelands. Although today the number of American Indians and homelands to defend are much smaller, we are, nonetheless, visible and potent. From the 1950s through the Civil Rights era, intrepid and inspired Native people coined the term Red Power and fought to remind Washington, D.C., policymakers that we were still here and that a seat at the table was an inherent right for Native peoples and Native nations. Today, recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples informs global policy, along with popular notions of our shared More >

UPDATE: The Santo Domingo Heritage Trail Arts Project

The First ArtPlace America/NEA Grant in Indian Country


Aliyah Chavez


Santo Domingo Pueblo, sometimes known by its traditional name, Kewa, will, by the spring of 2016, be home to a 1.5-mile “Kewa Art Trail” connecting two new affordable-housing developments to the Rail Runner station. That will allow pedestrians to safely walk to commute on the train to surrounding cities such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe for employment, education, groceries, medical appointments, etc.


On eight nodes along the trail, Santo Domingo Pueblo artists such as Thomas Tenorio will showcase their work in the form of larger-than-life sculptures of traditional jewelry and pottery. More >

EVERYDAY GREEN – Paths of Beauty: An Exhibit at the Poeh Center – Aug. 20 – Nov. 14

Mountains, Water and Clouds: Nature Connections in Pueblo Embroidery


Susan Guyette


Bi’po-wa-ve. You are invited to an exceptional, interpretive glimpse of nature symbolism, as reflected in Pueblo ritual embroidery. A new exhibit opening at the Poeh Cultural Center and Museum this month, “Paths of Beauty,” honors the work of two renowned artists: Shawn Tafoya (Santa Clara and Pojoaque pueblos) and Isabel Gonzales (Jemez Pueblo).


Isabel Gonzales lives in San Ildefonso Pueblo (through marriage). Her Jemez Pueblo designs emphasize red, green and black associated with the seasons, cardinal directions and cosmos. Gonzales receives embroidered textile orders from Pueblo members throughout the villages. Shawn Tafoya has More >

Keres Children’s Learning Center at Cochiti Pueblo


Trisha Moquino, Tracey Cordero, Mara Matteson


On July 14, St. Bonaventure Day, Cochiti Pueblo celebrated its annual feast day, dancing in the ancient tradition to songs sung in the Keres language. This annual celebration supports the Cochiti people and strengthens humanity’s cultural and linguistic diversity, which, like biodiversity, is important for sustaining life on this planet.


Located in northern New Mexico along the Río Grande, Cochiti Pueblo is home to a tribe of more than 900 indigenous Americans. Full participation in community life requires knowledge of Cochiti’s original language, Keres. Future leaders of the tribe must know Keres in order to continue More >

The Cochiti Youth Experience: Project Hii Hii’ Kah (Laughing Corn)

Kenneth T. Romero


The Cochiti Youth Experience (CYE) incorporated as a nonprofit in 2008 and reorganized in 2010 as a way to promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices, create opportunities for youth and address health-related issues at the pueblo of Cochiti. Diets high in refined sugars and processed and fast foods have taken their toll. As in many Native communities, obesity, diabetes and other problems are common, due in part to the lack of local fresh fruits and vegetables and consumption patterns that have diverged from traditional ways. Over 50 percent of tribal members living at Cochiti make a daily More >

The Chamiza Foundation: 26 Years of Support for Pueblo Communities


Brian Vallo


Established in 1989 by the late Gifford Phillips and his wife, Joann, the Santa Fe-based Chamiza Foundation continues to operate in the spirit in which it was envisioned; that is, to assist in the continuity and living preservation of New Mexico’s Pueblo Indian communities. With a passion for the evolving arts and cultural traditions of the (then) 19 pueblos, the Phillips family enlisted the guidance of their close friend, Dr. Alfonso Ortiz, a scholar from Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo), who would help them develop a framework for long-term engagement with the pueblos.


Seeking to establish a foundation More >

A:ho’ A:wan Doyenkakya Dehwanne • A ‘People’s Garden’ at Zuni Pueblo


Dolores E. Roybal In the northwest area of New Mexico, Zuni Pueblo residents are gaining more access to healthy fresh food through the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP), which, in combination with existing school and community garden programs, is helping revitalize gardening and, in the process, connecting tribal members to cultural and spiritual traditions of Zuni agriculture. Zuni is the largest of 19 pueblos in New Mexico and home to about 10,000 people in an area considered a food desert. The closest city is Gallup, 40 miles away.


Con Alma Health Foundation, New Mexico’s largest private foundation dedicated solely to health, More >

The Journey of Becoming a Man


Scott Davis


For 25 years, Tewa Women United (TWU) has been serving all women within Río Arriba County. Starting as a collective of Tewa women looking to heal their own lives, families and communities from the traumas of sexual violence, domestic violence and substance abuse, the group expanded to embrace the larger community and developed a commitment to serve all families in need.


For many years, the organization struggled with how to reach out to men and boys in the community. In 2014, an opportunity arose through a grant from First Nations Development Institute to further the scope of TWU’s engagement by More >

Tribal Green Reentry Youth Programs Incorporate Culture


Ada Pecos Melton, Rita Martinez and David J. Melton The incorporation of hands-on “green” activities into traditional, juvenile-justice rehabilitation programs is a novel approach that is proving to have several benefits for tribal youth. These programs are designed to help youth successfully reintegrate into their communities upon release from confinement, as well as address problems that have instigated at-risk-youth referrals to the program.

Since October 2009, three tribes—Hualapai in Arizona, Mississippi Band of Choctaw and Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota—have implemented community-based Green Reentry initiatives through the Tribal Juvenile Detention and Reentry Green Demonstration Program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice More >

Homemade Solar Ovens in Navajo Country

TEDx talk presented at Popejoy Hall, Albuquerque, New Mexico


Raquel Redshirt


Take a journey with me. You are 9 years old, giving up a traditional Christmas family gathering. You are driving down dusty dirt roads, delivering baked goods to relatives who live in rural areas of the Navajo Nation. While visiting, you notice that basic necessities are missing among a majority of the families, including running water and electricity.

This was me 10 years ago, encountering the struggles of some of my people. I noticed that many families’ Christmas dinners consisted of perishable food from the local gas station and tortillas made over More >



New Navajo Leader Russell Begaye’s Priorities

The unemployment rate on the Navajo reservation is around 50 percent. About 42 percent of tribal members live below the poverty line. Just 7 percent have a college degree, significantly affecting their job prospects.

The Navajo Nation’s new president, Russell Begaye, was sworn in on May 12. Begaye, an ordained Southern Baptist minister who served on the Navajo Council, ran on a pro-business platform. He seeks to set up manufacturing plants to create jobs and supports a proposed rail port project that could export agricultural goods and coal. Weeks after Begaye assumed the presidency, an More >

The Warrior Project


Photos by Tailinh Agoyo


The Warrior Project is a collection of images that portray indigenous children in a world where resources are becoming depleted, pollution is high and the Earth is threatened. The children photographed are nurtured in a culture where the importance of honoring and protecting the earth is part of their DNA. They are not passive victims; they are

budding change makers, activists and empowered leaders. They are warriors of strength, knowledge and ancestral power.


Tailinh Agoyo is in the first phase of the project. She has visited the Navajo in Arizona, the Narragansett in Rhode Island and the Mohawk in upstate New York. She has More >




Madelena Rediscovers Ancient Jemez Pueblo Pottery Process

Joshua Madelena, an award-winning potter, self-taught archaeologist and recent governor of Jemez Pueblo, has recaptured an art form dating back 300 years: Jemez Pueblo’s distinctive black-on-white pottery, which thrived from 1300 to 1700 but vanished with the Spanish reconquest.

During 10 years of painstaking research and experimentation, Madelena analyzed broken shards to figure out the original recipe. In the process, he was able to track the Jemez people’s history to before 200 A.D., when the tribe was part of Utah’s Fremont culture. Through analyzing the pottery, along with clues in the Towa More >

NEWSBITES – August 2015


The Coal Industry

The coal-industry downturn shows no signs of letting up. Coal use in the United States fell 21 percent between 2007 and 2014. Coal accounted for 37 percent of the country’s electricity in February 2015—down from 50 percent in 2007—according to the Energy Information Administration. More than one-third of the nation’s coal plants have already closed or announced closures. Most are expected by 2020, when the EPA’s proposal to cut carbon-dioxide emissions could go into effect.


The industry is struggling to cut costs in the face of natural gas made cheaper by the fracking boom and low prices for More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – August 2015


Aug. 3, 11 am

Tesuque Pueblo and the Pueblo Revolt

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. NW

Former Tesuque Gov. Mark Mitchell will provide a historical perspective on the pueblo’s role in the 1680 revolt.


Aug. 5, 5:30-7 pm

Green Drinks

Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second St. NW

Network with people interested in doing business locally, clean energy alternatives and creating sustainable opportunities in our communities. Presented the first Wednesday of each month by the ABQ and Río Rancho Green Chamber.,

Aug. 8, 10 am-4 pm

Summer Wings

Río Grande Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria NW

Speakers, Guided bird walks, hummingbird banding, live birds from wildlife rescue, arts & More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe – August 2015


Aug. 1, 10-10:30 am

USDA National Farmers’ Market Week Kickoff

Water Tower, SF Railyard

The SF Farmers’ Market has been selected by the USDA to host the kickoff ceremony for the 16th annual National Farmers’ Market Week to recognize the role that farmers’ markets play in the agricultural and food economy. Special guest speakers. 505.983.4098, ext. 6,


Aug. 6-9

SF Yoga Festival

Well-known instructors and local yogis lead more than 108 classes and workshops. Daily meditations, dharma talks, hikes, farm to table dinners, musical performances, pool parties and Michael Franti concert (8/8, 7 pm).


Aug. 7, 6-7 pm

Wars, Revolts and Defining Collective Memory re: the More >