American Indian Student Center At Northern New Mexico College Reopens Thursday

Nathana Bird, M.A. will serve as the director of the AISC. She hopes the center can be a space for American Indian students to gather, study and organize with one another. Photo Courtesy NNMC


Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) is proud to announce the grand reopening of the American Indian Student Center in the Española Campus Administration Building Rotunda at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.

The American Indian Student Center (AISC) addresses the unique educational needs of Native American students, providing academic and personal support to enter and be successful in college. The AISC works with the Northern community to ensure cultural sensitivity, promote partnerships with the tribes to meet the educational needs of their communities, seek outside resources for the benefit of students and ensure that American Indian students receive services on campus that will help them be successful in college and in their career.

“With our partners across north New Mexico, we respectfully celebrate reopening the American Indian Student Center at Northern New Mexico College,” said Kurt Steinhaus, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Public Education Department. “This is a particularly important partnership given the school’s proximity to the eight northern Pueblos and for our Indigenous students. We recognize the significance of creating a welcoming and culturally relevant space for students.”  

Students are encouraged to utilize the center for a variety of services and resources, which services include academic support, advisement and career services. The AISC will hold a variety of workshops and activities throughout the semester to support students in their educational journey. 

The AISC will also serve as the gathering space for the American Indian Student Organization (AISO) on campus, providing support and guidance to AISO students. The Northern community is proud to build on AISC’s decades of service to Native students at Northern and its partnership with the Northern Pueblos Institute at the Center on campus.

“The American Indian Student Center at Northern New Mexico College will provide students with the critical support they need for a meaningful higher education experience in the heart of the eight northern Pueblos,” said Nathan Moquino, tribal liaison and director of the Higher Education Department Indian Education Division. “The multitude of resources provided by American Indian Centers support retention and propel students toward their academic goals. The New Mexico Higher Education Department congratulates Northern New Mexico College for the grand reopening of their American Indian Student Center and we thank them for renewing their commitment to Indigenous students!”

Nathana Bird, M.A., who will serve as the director of the AISC, hopes the center can be a space for American Indian students to gather, study and organize with one another. Bird is from Ohkay Owingeh and Kewa Pueblo. She has been serving as a community organizer focused on education, environmental and reproductive justice in Northern New Mexico for more than 20 years. Bird comes to Northern New Mexico College with experience in project management and organizational capacity building from serving as the Associate Director and in other capacities with Tewa Women United. Her educational background includes a Master of Arts in Language, Literacy & Socio-Cultural Studies with a concentration in American Indian Education from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies in Psychology from Northern New Mexico College.

“By continuing to provide a center for our Indigenous populations on campus, this makes a statement that we are invested in their future and higher educational experiences. Being in the heart of Pueblo Country, here in Española, we must continuously show up for our Indigenous students. This center is a resource for them.” Bird said.

“We are here to advocate and encourage them along the way, even when things get challenging. At times, Native students are first generation college students and it can be a daunting task to go through this journey on your own. The AISC is here to help through it all. We want to see our Native students walking across that commencement stage and pursuing their callings in life.” 

NNMC American Indian Student Center Grand Reopening schedule of events:

Opening Ceremony


Northern New Mexico College

September 22, 2022


Regent Porter Swentzell, PhD


Governor J. Michael Chavarria

Santa Clara Pueblo


Dr. Bárbara M. Medina

President, NNMC

Nathana Bird, Director

American Indian Student Center

Recognition of Native students, faculty and staff


Master Hoop Dancer, ShanDien LaRance

Singer/drummer, Edwin Felter


Catering by Manko

Native American Fusion

About Northern:

Northern New Mexico College has served the rural communities of Northern New Mexico for over a century. Since opening in 1909 as the Spanish American Normal School in El Rito, NM, the College has provided affordable access to quality academic programs that meet the changing educational, economic and cultural needs of the region.

Northern is an open-admissions institution offering the most affordable bachelor’s programs in the Southwest. Now one of the state’s four regional comprehensive institutions, with its main campus in Española, Northern offers more than 50 bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs in arts & human sciences, film & digital media, STEM programs, business, education, liberal arts, and nursing. The College has reintroduced technical trades in partnership with two local unions and five public school districts through its new co-located Branch Community College, the first of its kind in the state’s history.  Northern is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and has earned prestigious national accreditations for its engineering, nursing, education, and business programs.Learn more at