By Carnell Chosa
What is Pueblog?
Pueblog is a sharing space where our community members will contribute short written pieces on issues, reflections and innovative ideas related to New Mexico Pueblos and the larger Native American population. Pueblog is still in the development and design stages. As it evolves, its website will include short, rotating features on art, photography and poetry. I am looking forward to publishing these pieces monthly in Green Fire Times.
Where did the concept come from?
The concept came from years of collaborating with individuals and Native communities and recognizing the wealth of dedicated, talented, service-hearted people who are interested in sharing positive reflections and successful programs. As a result of a recent event, it became clearer to me that this sort of sharing space needed to be developed. In July 2018, the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute organized the Pueblo Convocation on Education, a gathering of over 650 Pueblo people. We spent three days examining the state of Pueblo education. The convocation included educators, tribal leaders, elders, program directors, cultural leaders, youth, attorneys and artists, to name a few. Many of them made valuable contributions to the conversation and planning to collectively move education forward. Our people are doing incredible work in multiple areas. It only seems right to highlight these initiatives and the people bringing them to life. I will use Pueblog as a vehicle to do this.
Examples of this work in Pueblo communities
One example is the work of Trisha Moquino (Cochiti/Santo Domingo) and her
team at the Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC) in Cochiti Pueblo. A not-for-profit, KCLC supports Cochiti children and families who are working to maintain, strengthen and revitalize their heritage language. On the school’s website Trisha states, “We are a Montessori school that uses Cochiti Keres language for daily instruction across all areas of learning, beginning with children ages 3 to 6 years old.” Like many in our community, she is a strong proponent for our language and culture serving as the foundation for education in Native communities.
There are many other incredible initiatives, like Dr. Corrine Sanchez’s advocacy work with Tewa Women United, Laurie Weahkee’s efforts to increase voter participation through the Native American Voters Alliance, Kaylah Begaye’s founding of Dził Ditł’ooí School in Navajo, New Mexico, and Kevin Shendo’s work in Jemez Pueblo to redefine education for his community.
A few more thoughts about the project
Pueblog is a component to a larger initiative that I’ve wanted to create since my sophomore year at Dartmouth College—the Attach Your Heart Foundation. AYH has recently been set up as a fund at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. Its focus is to provide mentorship and sponsorship for Pueblo communities by: 1) Providing support to facilitate the realization of young people’s visions for developing successful programs, by mentoring them from concept to full implementation; 2) Providing emergency aid on a case-by-case basis to help cover expenses to enable students to continue their post-secondary education; and 3) Working with a team of “invisible” community members to identify and recognize, yearly, committed youth and their efforts to make our communities better places to live.
The Attach Your Heart concept is a deeply rooted philosophy in my community, which values commitment to community service, philanthropy and a sense of belongingness. The concept has also been inspired by the unwavering support system exemplified by my family, by Pueblo communities and by long-time mentorship from the Santa Fe philanthropic community. The AYH Foundation is dedicated to all mentors who take on their role with their “hearts attached.”
Along with the Green Fire Times collaboration, Pueblog will be featured monthly on the AYH Foundation’s website, which is currently under development.
Carnell Chosa (Jemez Pueblo) is co-founder and co-director of the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute. He received a B.A. from Dartmouth College, Ed.M. from Harvard University and Ph.D. from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation. He serves on the boards of Chamiza Foundation, Three Sisters Kitchen, Cornerstones Community Partnerships and the New Mexico State Library Foundation.