MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Hello everyone, I hope this message finds you all in good spirits as the year begins to wind down. I cannot believe it is already going to be December! The year certainly did fly by. As the Executive Director for the Chamiza Foundation, I have been busy helping with several initiatives. The first one I would like to mention is the Native American Relief Fund, I am still participating as an Advisory Committee Member for this group. We are currently still fundraising for this initiative. This fund is housed at the New Mexico Foundation. We are planning to do a “Round 4” distribution early next year. If you are able to donate to NARF please visit: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1441157?uniqueID=634466775676697665
Secondly, I am now part of the Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant (NARFZG). The NARFZG is also housed at the New Mexico Foundation. This funding opportunity seeks to support twelve Native-led recovery projects in the following areas: Family Economic Security, Health Systems, Local Food Systems, Opportunity Youth, and Water Resilience. Each focus area will be driven by a “Strategy Table”. Each table consists of at least 2 grassroots community leaders, representatives from funders interested in the programmatic area, and Tribal representatives. I am part of the Local Food Systems Strategy Table and the Water Resilience Strategy Table. Up to $5.7 million of pooled funding is intended to build capacity of these organizations and connect them as directly as possible to larger funding sources to help these projects achieve their development goals. At this time only $3.5 million has been raised. If you are able to make a donation to this fund, please visit: https://www.newmexicofoundation.org/native-american-recovery-fund-zone-grant/
In addition to those two groups, I have been assisting the New Mexico Broadband Collective (NMBC). The NMBC was established in March 2021 and is committed to ensuring access to the Internet in “hard to connect communities” in the state of New Mexico. The NMBC is managed by a steering committee and includes representation from foundations, nonprofits, government, and private providers. The goal is to support a statewide approach to ensuring broadband services for all New Mexicans, especially in our rural communities, Native communities, and other “hard-to-connect” communities most impacted by the lack of broadband connectivity. There are four workgroups that have been developed: Coordination group, Regional Projects/Advocacy group, Grantmaking group, and Digital Literacy & Inclusion group. I am part of the Steering Committee and the Regional Projects/Advocacy group. I joined this group to ensure that Tribal Communities were included in the list of Regional Projects. The NM Broadband Collective has established a fund to support these communities so that they are able to compete for and take advantage of these larger federal and state funds before they are fully allocated. If you would like to make a donation, please visit: https://www.newmexicofoundation.org/new-mexico-broadband-collective-fund/
I have been keeping busy helping to move these initiatives forward to help better our Pueblo communities. I enjoy the work that I do and all that I learn from those who are involved in these efforts. So, I have been busy this fall and so have our grantees from this 2021 year. Below you will find final report information from three organizations that wrapped up their projects. We are so proud of them and the work they are doing.
As cases continue to rise, I implore you to continue to be safe and follow safety precautions, especially in heavily populated areas. Wishing you all happiness and strength as we navigate our way through these tumultuous times.
Dr. Amanda J. Montoya
Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute
Flowering Tree Youth Project
In the summer of 2021, the Chamiza Foundation provided funding to the Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute, which is in Santa Clara Pueblo. Their project was called, “Flowering Tree Youth Project”. The youth project focused on the food security of the community from a Pueblo perspective. They created opportunities for youth to work on projects that were taught through hands-on activities. Throughout the summer they were able to work with young adults building a greenhouse out of adobes. The youth learned traditional building skills, while helping to care for crops at their farm site. They also hosted a basket weaving workshop for the community youth and a beginners pottery class.
Community Farm & Language Preservation: Fruits of Health Preservation” Program
In the Spring of 2020, we provided funding to the Nambe Pueblo Community Farm. The project goal was for the community to have access to healthy and culturally relevant food through the implementation of traditional agriculture. The community farm used this funding to support their “Fruits of Health Preservation” program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many of the proposed activities in their original proposal could not take place due to the lockdown of the Pueblo. However, their farm was still able to plant veggies in their hoop house, purchase a cider press, harvest fruit, dehydrate apples, make juices, harvest veggies, raffle 4-raised beds, and distribute produce, dried fruit and juices, and take care of their bison herd! This program has proven to be successful given the obstacles of the pandemic. We were delighted to hear of their success and hope that we can their farm next year!
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Summer Camp
In the summer of 2021, we provided funding to the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Summer Camp. The ZYEP has been in place since 2009. The ZYEP was founded by Tom Faber, who was a pediatrician in Zuni Pueblo. The camp currently serves 200 youth annually. ZYEP integrates Zuni culture into physical activity, nutrition, and art activities. By doing this, they enhance the youth’s health while deepening their connection to Zuni traditions. The Chamiza Foundation supported their 2021 camp which was held in person with strict safety mitigations in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They offered course in fetish carving, traditional dance, cultural education, gardening, contemporary art, biking, and solar/lunar themed STEM activity. At the end of camp, they held a Community Celebration, each camper was able to invite two guests to watch their traditional dance. Campers also exhibited their camp projects like fetishes, paint canvases, solar ovens, plants, and handmade traditional regalia. The ZYEP is such an incredible and inspiring program, we are have been honored to support this program and look forward to seeing this program continue to be provided to Zuni Pueblo Youth for many more years.