ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) unanimously passed Resolution No. APCG 2022-18, “Supporting the Establishment of Tribal Education Trust Fund for the Maintenance and Preservation of Our Precious Languages and Traditions.” With the resolution, the Pueblo Governors call on the Executive and Legislature of the State of New Mexico to create and invest in a Tribal Education Trust Fund to provide consistent and sustainable education funding for New Mexico’s nations, tribes, and Pueblos and support Native American public school students in tribal communities.
The Tribal Education Trust Fund will allow tribal communities to build capacity within their education departments, provide much needed services, and design and develop infrastructure to ensure Native American public school student success, making them college, career, and civic ready.
The resolution underscores the failure of the state’s education system to provide an equitable, sufficient education to Native students and lacks Native American educators and Native language and culture programming. Native students remain geographically and culturally disconnected from many school-based programs, especially after-school programs and services. Unfortunately, despite prolonged and tireless efforts, tribal communities have not been able to meaningfully influence public school policy, budgets, and programs.
The resolution states that New Mexico’s Indian Education Act of 2003 has yet to be fully funded and implemented, reflecting a key finding in the landmark Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico court ruling. The court ruled that the state is in violation of the Act and noted that short-term grants are unsuitable for sustaining education programs year-after-year.
APCG, along with other tribal nations in New Mexico, has repeatedly called on the state to comply with the court ruling and fully fund Indian education in a way that enables sovereign tribes to assume a shared responsibility for their children’s education. APCG has repeatedly endorsed the Tribal Remedy Framework, a comprehensive plan for meeting the educational needs of Native students developed by tribal advocates in response to the court ruling. The Tribal Fund proposal has emerged from the Tribal Remedy Framework and will become a major cornerstone in the education of Native children.
“It is APCG’s purpose and obligation to protect the languages, cultures, and traditions of our 20 sovereign Pueblo Nations,” said APCG Chairman Mark Mitchell. “For many years, we have requested that the State of New Mexico provide a culturally and linguistically relevant education to our children, most of whom attend public schools. However, after more than 130 years of deliberate efforts to erase Native languages and cultures, the state has yet to remedy these injustices. We call on state leaders to redouble their efforts and ensure that our Native students receive the resources they need to thrive, both within their tribal communities and in the world at large. A Tribal Education Trust Fund would become the hope chest for supporting the well-being of our future generations, upon which our cultural survival depends.”