MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Greetings everyone, I hope this message finds you well. The Chamiza Foundation board met on June 9, 2023, for the second board meeting of the year. The board met to discuss applications and determine awards. We received 9 applications, 4 were awarded grants. The awarded grants were focused on youth education & development, agriculture, intercultural youth exchange and environmental stewardship. We look forward to witnessing the success of these programs and projects. These projects are listed below.
On July 27, 2023, I was invited to attend an Expert Convening at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The convening was focused on community planning and capacity building. The question that was posed to us was, “How can we strengthen Pueblos’ community capacity to determine their own future and meet their economic, social, and cultural needs?”. For those of you that do not know me, I have a background in community planning. I have served as a community planner in 3 of our Pueblo communities. Additionally, I serve as a senior faculty member for the Summer Policy Academy (II) where I teach students about community development. Furthermore, my PhD dissertation focused on “Brain Drain”. Brain Drain occurs when your educated community members who are not living or working in their home community. And lastly, I serve as Vice-chair for the Taos Pueblo Business Development Corporation for my home community of Taos Pueblo. So, as you can imagine, I found this question very interesting.
I looked at this question from several different perspectives, first from a community planner perspective, then as a funder, next as a researcher and then from a community member viewpoint. Given the nature of this newsletter, I will let you know my thoughts as a funder. As a funder it made me think deeply about the mission of the Chamiza Foundation. Our mission is to ensure the continuity and living preservation of Pueblo Indian culture and traditions. The foundation is in its 34th year of existence. The foundations mission is as relevant today as it was 34 years ago when the foundation was created. Our Pueblos are still in need of explicit funding that is set aside for programs and projects that preserve our Pueblo culture and traditions as these areas, unfortunately, are not prioritized. It became clear that the support that the foundation provides, even in modest amounts, is very important to our Pueblo people.
One of the goals of this convening was to “Examine the problems that external investments, trainings, and development projects may pose for Pueblo communities, and the consequences of these problems.” This of course made me think about non-native funders who come into indigenous communities with their own agendas and community plans. They typically offer restricted funding that requires communities to meet their goals and to adhere to their spending regulations. These types of investments don’t allow indigenous communities to determine how the funding should be used. This often changes the direction in which communities want and need to go. This needs to change. If funders really want to help Pueblo communities, they need to provide unrestricted funding to our Pueblos for programs and projects that the Pueblo controls. That is where the biggest impact can be made by funders.
I say all this to say that I am proud of the Chamiza Foundation funding model and hope that others will one day adopt our way of funding, as this has been truly beneficial to our Pueblos for over 34 years.
Dr. Amanda J. Montoya
Across the Americas: A youth-led cultural exchange for Indigenous (re)connections
This past June we received a proposal to support a youth cultural exchange program. Our board was extremely enthusiastic to support this group who was planning to come to New Mexico for the whole month of July. Across the Americas is a youth led cultural exchange that was created to “inspire a global youth movement to elevate and reignite Indigenous wisdom, amplify youth identities and reconnect Indigenous peoples across the North and South.” This is the first year of an ongoing annual program. This year’s exchange will bring together Taos and thirteen Quechua youth and three Amaru weavers to set the foundation of a permanent youth led cultural exchange. The Quechua group arrived in early July and performed at several locations in New Mexico to share their dances, songs, and weaving talents. One of the places they visited was the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, NM. Our Executive Director, Dr. Montoya, was able to meet the Quechua visitors. While she was there, each of the youth said thank you to her, as a representative of the Chamiza Foundation for their support.
June 2023 Awardees
- Pueblo of Santa Ana- Santa Ana Youth Hands-on Hydrology Outreach (SAY H2O) Summer Program: “Learning the Pathway of the Tamayame”
- Pueblo of Zuni-Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Summer Camp
- Across the Americas-Across the Americas: A youth-led cultural exchange for Indigenous (re)connections
- Trees Water People-Rebuilding Pueblo Food Sovereignty Through Rangeland Workshops