December 2013

2013 Luminarias

Celebrating the Best of New Mexico



Carnell Chosa, Jémez Pueblo, NM

After four years as a planner for the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs, Carnell Chosa, of Jémez Pueblo, assisted a friend with a business to create educational programs for Indian elders across the country. He co-founded and co-directs The Leadership Institute, housed at the Santa Fe Indian School. Created to serve as a convener think tank, the LI’s projects include the Summer Policy Academy, Brave Girls, Community Institutes, and the Pueblo Ph.D. Cohort.


Chosa was a founding board member of the Walatowa Charter High School in Jémez Pueblo. He currently serves on the board of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Chamiza Foundation, and as an advisory member on the Native American Advised Fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Through the Pueblo Ph.D. Cohort project, he is currently in his second year of doctoral work in Justice Studies at Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation.


Matt & Jeanette deKay and the Four Corners Foundation, Farmington, NM
Matt and Jeanette deKay grew up in the small community of Ignacio, Colo. Compelled by the words of Matt deKay’s father’s evening prayer, “Let us not forget those less fortunate than ourselves,” the deKays established the Four Corners Foundation in 2010 to effectively address critical social issues in Farmington, NM. The Four Corners Foundation serves as a unique not-for-profit organization that receives and administers community resources and improves facilities and services to meet the physical and emotional needs of people who desire to achieve self-reliant productive lifestyles and contribute to society. A Path Home is a $3.3 million capital improvement campaign, which has garnered impressive community-wide support through the Four Corners Foundation. The Foundation stands ready to assist other organizations and programs that will change their community for good.


Don Usner, Chimayó, NM
Born in Embudo, New Mexico, Don Usner spent his youth in Los Alamos and Chimayó. Growing up in these places fostered in him a love for the natural landscape and a deep appreciation of his cultural roots in the Río Grande Valley—subjects that have remained a focus of his work throughout his life. His book credits include The Natural History of Big Sur (University of California Press), Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza (Museum of New Mexico Press) and Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s National Preserve. Usner’s distinctive style emphasizes clearly stated, evocative writing combined with striking black-and-white portraits and color landscapes. Ongoing work includes documentation of the Lannan Foundation’s Readings and Conversations series, teaching at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and writing and photography projects focusing primarily on northern New Mexico’s natural and cultural history.


Estévan Arellano, Embudo, NM
Estévan Arellano is a journalist, writer, researcher, mayordomo and a Fellow of the Washington Journalism Center. He is author of numerous books and articles including La Acequia de Juan del Oso, John the Bear and the Water of Life (UNM Press), a bilingual children’s book written with Dr. Enrique Lamadrid, with royalties going to the New Mexico Acequia Association. In 2011 he was recognized by the New Mexico Acequia Association for his literary contributions to the “movimiento en defense del agua.” His forthcoming book, The Wisdom of the Land; The Knowledge of Water (UNM Press) explores community irrigation systems. He lives on land that he farms with water from the acequia in Embudo, NM.


Fran Levine, Santa Fe, NM
Dr. Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum since 2002, oversaw the development and construction of that museum, the newest in the Museum of New Mexico system. The museum’s campus now includes the Palace of the Governors, the oldest museum in the Museum of New Mexico system, the Fray Angélico Chavéz History Library and Photo Archives, The Palace Print Shop, and the Native American Portal Artisans Program.

Dr. Levine attended the prestigious Getty Museum Leadership Institute, and she is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Mountain-Plains Museum Association and the New Mexico Association of Museums, as well as the American Society for Ethno-history, and the Santa Fe Trail Association. She is the author, co-editor or contributor to several award-winning books including Our Prayers Are in This Place: Pecos Pueblo Identity over the Centuries (1999, UNM Press) and Telling New Mexico: A New History; (2009 UNM Press, with Marta Weigle and Louise Stiver). A new publication, Frontier Battles and Massacres: Historical and Archaeological Perspective (with Dr. Ronald Wetherington), will be published in early 2014 by the University of Oklahoma Press.


Hayes Lewis, Zuni, NM
Hayes Lewis, a member of the Zuni Tribe, is of the Corn and Coyote clans. He is the superintendent of the Zuni Public School District and formerly served as the director for the Center for Lifelong Education at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Lewis has a strong education and community development background that includes co-developing a tribally controlled secondary school and leading the Zuni tribal planning process that created the tribally governed Zuni Public School District (K-12). He participates in his traditional Kiva society and has served the Zuni people in a variety of high-level positions that include: tribal administrator, special assistant to the Tribal Council, director of planning & development and Zuni team leader on the Ft. Wingate Base Closure Project.


Jill Cooper Udall, Santa Fe, NM
Jill Cooper Udall is an educator, lawyer, former deputy attorney general for the state of New Mexico, long-time arts advocate, and former officer of Cultural Affairs for the state of New Mexico. She was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Ms. Udall also sits on the board of visitors and governors for St. John’s College and the boards of directors for the Washington National Opera, Ford’s Theatre, Santa Fe Conservation Trust, SITE Santa Fe, Southwest Care Center and the Meridian International Center. She has been engaged as a consultant on museum issues for the President’s Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States and for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where, among other things, she worked with the State Department’s Arts in Embassies Program to commission work by Native American artists to hang in diplomatic residences around the world. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University Law School and is currently finishing her first novel.


Lisa Jennings, Albuquerque, NM
Lisa Jennings is executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) and Animal Protection Voters (APV), statewide animal advocacy organizations working to change historic and widespread animal cruelty in New Mexico for 34 years. APNM/APV has helped introduce animal protection issues into broader discussions about overall social welfare. Recognizing that animal cruelty and neglect are inextricably linked to other forms of family violence, the group offers holistic, solutions-oriented approaches that aim to benefit entire communities. Their approach has been to forge broad-based coalitions and build a critical mass for change. Through Ms. Jennings’ leadership, New Mexico has become a land where cruelty to animals is taken seriously, and where positive initiatives for animals and the people who care about them are embraced and supported. The most recent program, the Equine Protection Fund, is a partnership between APNM and the NMCF, offering affordable, statewide humane options for horses in need.


Lynda Taylor and Robert Haspel, Santa Fe, NM

Lynda Taylor and Robert Haspel are known for their work in environmental justice, education and statewide philanthropy. In addition to their environmental support, for the last four years, they have responded to the needs of students with learning differences such as dyslexia, putting in motion a comprehensive initiative based on multi-sensory methods perfected at The Shelton School in Dallas, the largest school for students with language-based learning differences in the world. Taylor and Haspel have invested in teacher training in Santa Fe, where one in seven students has a learning difference. Their funding led to multi-sensory language programs at Desert Montessori School and Los Alamos High School. Their funding has also helped create the May Center for Learning, a school and outreach center in Santa Fe dedicated exclusively to students with language-based learning differences. The May Center continues to offer the Shelton training to teachers from the northern New Mexico community and beyond, in addition to community seminars, tutoring programs, and summer programs designed to foster academic and social-emotional skills for students who learn differently.


Mary Carter, Anthony, NM
Mary Carter recently celebrated her fifth-year anniversary as the executive director of Women’s Intercultural Center in Anthony, NM. Through her leadership, the center—“a place for women to learn and work together to develop their personal, spiritual, economic and political potential”—has increased the number of participants it serves throughout southern NM and West Texas from 700 to over 3,400 and has launched successful initiatives with emphasis on increasing economic self-sufficiency and the creation of future entrepreneurs. During her tenure, the center has received numerous national awards and recognition for work in educating, empowering and engaging women, with the most recent being a 2013 “Top-Rated Nonprofit” Award presented by



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Articles

Check Also