The 2018 Pueblo Convocation at Tamaya Resort at Santa Ana Pueblo from July 8–10 was convened in the spirit of educational self-determination and Pueblo sovereignty. Along with Leadership Institute staff and a consultant team, it was envisioned and organized by co-founders/co-directors Regis Pecos, former governor of the Pueblo of Cochiti and a graduate of Princeton University, and Dr. Carnell Chosa of Jemez Pueblo, a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard. Funding for the Convocation came from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, with additional support from partner organizations and local foundations.
Modeled after the 2012 Pueblo Convocation that addressed 10 critical issue areas in Pueblo communities, this gathering on education assembled over 600 Pueblo people to address Indian Education. Their objective was to impact programming, policies, budgets and development of community education blueprints.
With the assistance of a planning committee, the Convocation was developed within parameters of Pueblo values and with the support of the All Pueblo Council of Governors. It was strategically assembled to address Indian educational issues that have caused Native people and their allies to file a court case against the State of New Mexico. Specific subject matter pertaining to issues in Indian education were identified, and tribal expertise was tapped to explain the content and help develop policy and budget recommendations. The group worked tirelessly to make sure they were able to bring informed recommendation to the governors and communities.
Knowing that litigation is not always the answer, the Pueblo governors were among the first to support the recent Yazzie v New Mexico lawsuit, which made the state confront allegations that, in violation of the New Mexico Constitution, the quality of education provided to Native American children has been poor. The pueblos, in an unprecedented manner, supported this issue and provided qualified expert witnesses. The Convocation’s policy and budget recommendations, endorsed by the Pueblo governors, will be the foundational principles as the tribes and pueblos work in concert to address Indian educational reforms in New Mexico mandated by Yazzie.