New Mexico Indian Affairs Department

2016 State-Tribal Leaders Summit Collaborations

The 2016 State Tribal Leaders Summit was a continuation of positive State-Tribal relations in New Mexico. New Mexico Indian Affairs Department once again utilized the newly-restructured format from the 2015 Summit to create an environment where the state and tribes, nations and pueblos could effectively address topics of high concern. The strategies and progress developed throughout the year were presented during the roundtable discussions. This collaborative opportunity between the State of New Mexico and Tribal Nations is of mutual benefit. The Summit consisted of joint presentations from state and tribal speakers in the following four topic areas:

Topic 1: Water Rights and Natural Resources

The dialogue concerning water usage remains crucial. Indian water rights are not only a tribal concern but a concern for the Office of the State Engineer.

Suggested Goals:
1. Educate legislators on importance of Indian water rights and the preference for negotiation over litigation (cost effectiveness)
2. A collaborative workshop on technologies for water delivery and management
3. Request further State-Tribal Water Institute sessions
4. Increase resources to Office of State Engineer to adequately address the water rights issues and management

Topic 2: Education

Native American students are leading the way in closing achievement gaps. The Native American graduation rate increased to 63%. The advanced placement (AP) courses taken by Native American students increased by 40%. Language and multicultural education are key elements to the vital preservation of culture and traditions for future generations. The State of New Mexico has been proactive in funding language and culture programs.

Suggested Goals:
1. Investing in language and culture retention and revitalization projects
2. Cultural competency training, increased funding, and recruitment for native language teachers
3. Implementation of Indian Education Act rules and regulations after consultation with the tribes, nations, and pueblos
4. Increase school’s ability to provide healthier meals to students
5. Further continuance of STEP initiative
6. Federal support for historic school site infrastructure
7. Tribal members on committee that selects textbooks and translation of curriculum
8. Improve bus routes and road infrastructure
9. Continue state-wide broadband connectivity initiative

Topic 3: Economic Development

A strong economy provides the financial resources needed for the perpetuation of cultures and communities. In order to strengthen tribal communities collectively, the state and tribes need to address access to healthcare for workers. The state and tribes also need to manifest concerted efforts to sustain the economy and grow it by forging partnerships.

Suggested Goals:
1. Technical and financial support to promote the marketability of existing properties
2. Identify active tribal, public relations liaisons within each native community, to coordinate and encourage an expanded film industry in New Mexico
3. Resource list highlighting native skills and businesses to promote business development
4. Digital entrepreneurship (telehealth, internet commerce)
5. Strong vocational training in local tribal communities
6. Funding for economic development studies within native communities
7. Consider the viability of tribal credit unions

Topic 4: Health

With the expansion of Medicaid, it was felt strongly that every citizen in New Mexico should have access to healthcare. Leaders recognize the need for a certified community healthcare workers program that would be culturally sensitive to the needs of the native communities. The overall quality of care is improving, and preventative measures and collaboration are essential to sustain the existing health care infrastructure.

Suggested Goals:
1. To recruit medical professionals; the need for housing, job partnerships for spouses, and education for their children
2. Need for jobs for partnership and spouses
3. Improve health education for students
4. Social determinates for health need to be addressed
5. Access to healthcare given the reduction in Medicaid and Medicare providers
6. Guidance to establish certified public health offices
7. Certification of community healthcare workers in tribal communities
8. Strengthening ‘Healthy Kids Healthy Communities’ initiative
9. Adequate access to and recruitment of dental/oral care hygiene professionals
10. Adequate continuum of care for co-occurring disorders
11. Collaboration on developing health emergency preparedness plans in tribal communities
12. Development of a drug and suicide outreach program