Governor, Tribal Leaders Hold Semi-Annual Government-To-Government Summit


Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, state education leaders, and dozens of Native American leaders came together for the two-day Government-to-Government Summit this week. 

“Meeting face-to-face with sovereign tribal governments is a commitment that my administration takes seriously,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Historically, our state has not done enough to ensure that Native students have equitable access to a robust public education. This administration will not stop pursuing every available avenue to make sure that every child receives a high quality and culturally relevant education. Real and meaningful government-to-government discussions are a vital part of our efforts.” 

The Government-to-Government and Indian Education Summit was held Wednesday and Thursday at the Pueblo of Isleta.

“The Indian Affairs Department remains dedicated to fostering productive and innovative partnerships with tribal leadership, tribal education experts, families and state agencies as we work to strengthen efforts toward improving education for New Mexico’s Native American students,” said Cabinet Secretary Lynn Trujillo.

Dozens of tribal leaders, including 12 governors, six lieutenant governors and many tribal council members, school board members, administrators and education leaders were among the 133 people registered for the meetings. Together they represented 20 of New Mexico’s 23 Native American communities.

“The Pueblo de San Ildefonso appreciates the support of Gov. Lujan Grisham and her administration in efforts to improve education for our Native American students and government communication,” Gov. Christopher Moquino said. “However, such commitment must be lasting and not dependent on changing political priorities or administrations. The state has much more work to do in the area of improving Native American education. We must ensure that the strong words of support heard today by state officials result in real action that enhances opportunities and improves outcomes for our students.” 

“It was a good summit,” said Gov. Vernon Abeita of the Pueblo of Isleta. “I feel that our concerns were heard. We need to continue consistent collaboration with the state. The state needs to include the tribes in the beginning of all policies and strategic plans involving Native American students. As mentioned at the summit, the state has funding for education specifically for Native American students, and we tribal leaders need to be assured that the state and school districts utilize that funding for Native American students.”

 The other governors in attendance were:

  • Gov. Gabriel Galvan, Zia Pueblo
  • Gov. Martin Kowemy Jr., Laguna Pueblo
  • Gov. Raymond Loretto, Jemez Pueblo
  • Gov. Val Panteah, Zuni Pueblo
  • Gov. Nathaniel Porter, Nambe Pueblo
  • Gov. Craig Quanchello, Picuris Pueblo
  • Gov. Phillip Quintana, Cochiti Pueblo
  • Gov. Earl Samuel, Tesuque Pueblo
  • Gov. Joey Sanchez, Santa Ana Pueblo
  • Gov. Randall Vicente, Acoma Pueblo

The Early Childhood Education and Care, Public Education and Higher Education departments also participated in the meetings, presentations and panel discussions.

“Through their regular feedback, New Mexico’s 23 tribal communities are helping us recreate our public education system to equitably serve every child,” Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus said. “We don’t just appreciate their partnership – we depend on it.” “We at the Higher Education Department value collaboration with New Mexico’s Pueblos, Tribes and Nations in creating meaningful and lasting change for Indigenous students, families and communities,” said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez. “Tribal leaders are essential partners in making transformational programs like the Opportunity Scholarship a reality, and we look forward to continuing our work together to meet the needs of every Native American student and family in New Mexico.” 

“ECECD is committed to strengthening positive collaboration and ongoing consultation with our state’s 23 Tribes, Pueblos and Nations. ECECD recognizes and respects educational sovereignty. We are working to foster mutual trust, understanding, and partnerships that improve outcomes for Native American families and young children,” said Early Childhood Education and Care Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky.