Pueblo communities view their children as gifts. Each child brings a unique offering to the world, and it is the responsibility of not only the family but also the larger community to cultivate those gifts as children grow. The LANL Foundation’s Early Childhood Pueblo Outreach Project is guided by this philosophy.
Staff from the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council (ENIPC) and LANL Foundation worked collaboratively to build a trusting relationship that strengthened engagement and commitment to the Pueblo Outreach Project. Tribal leadership in Pueblo communities of Nambé, Ohkay, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Taos and Tesuque selected Planning Team members to lead the work. Funding was provided by W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“The Tribal Leadership of ENIPC has guided our collaboration with the LANL Foundation. Mutual commitment to our communities and concern for our children and families is what initiated this work. ENIPC looks forward to the future work and the potential outcomes from the Pueblo Outreach Project, which aligns with our mission to provide quality programs that meet the needs of our families and communities through prevention, training, education, health and support,” said Gil Vigil, Executive Director of the ENIPC, and councilman and former Governor of Tesuque Pueblo.
Each team began by considering a series of questions to understand the stories of early childhood in their community. The mapping process helped to build awareness of the importance of early experiences and relationships in setting the trajectory for children, families and communities. Discussion also centered on how leadership within each community can contribute to creating those positive experiences.
Through continued resource mapping, Early Childhood Plans were developed with defined mission, vision, values and community priorities for each Pueblo. The teams established a common knowledge base from which to improve, promote or change health and development outcomes.
To determine where early childhood (EC) and family support services are offered and where gaps exist for children age 0–5, the LANL Foundation looked at several key areas, including home visiting programs, early intervention and EC special education, Head Start, pre–K, healthcare for mothers and children, education on EC issues and childcare.
Based on the community mapping, program goals and a logic model—a systematic, visual representation of resources, activities, outcomes and impact—Early Childhood Plans were developed to guide future strategy for each community. During the work, Pueblo members were offered trainings by LANL Foundation staff in early childhood education using a family-centered, culturally relevant, infant-mental/behavioral health lens.
Each Pueblo was presented with a comprehensive report detailing the completed work and highlighting a path forward to achieve their community priorities. While each Pueblo is unique in culture, common opportunities and interests emerged in native language development, community and behavioral health, traditional food cultivation, elder engagement and overall empowerment.
Jovanna Archuleta, LANL Foundation Pueblo Outreach Project Coordinator, Nambé Pueblo member and mother to Lily (pictured above), who was born during this work, was pleased by the process and results.
“This is an exciting opportunity to build upon relationships within each Pueblo and learn from one another. Our babies are so sacred and are gifts to each community. It is time we begin building our focus on them, so they continue to be nurtured in love from our community,” Archuleta said.
In December 2018, a culminating end-of-year retreat brought together the Planning Teams as an opportunity for collaboration and bigger partnerships to form for cross-community learning. The group discussed the early impact of the Pueblo Outreach Project.
“I think we valued the opportunity to start these conversations. I personally value the new and continuing friendships I’ve made with co-workers that I didn’t usually work with,” said one participant.
“Collaborating with all the Pueblos, knowing what programs are available, and bringing us together,” were important takeaways for another.
Completion of the first 18-month phase of the Pueblo Outreach Project set the stage for future support of Pueblo communities to achieve their needs for early childhood education, further program development and continued leadership engagement. As the project enters into the second implementation phase of the Early Childhood Plans in each Pueblo, the team looks back at the partnerships that have been formed, each having a positive effect on the way in which thriving children, families and communities are viewed and will continue to grow. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded an additional $1,197,675 grant to the Pueblo Outreach Project, which will be used to implement the Early Childhood Plans and build capacity and sustainable systems of support.
From the eight Pueblo Planning Teams to the Advisory Committee members who provided guidance, these collaborators shared personal stories about healing their people and of the pride they see when their children can converse in Tewa or Tiwa. Pueblos view health—emotional, spiritual, mental, cultural, and physical—as a core strength of their communities.
This wholistic approach and commitment to early childhood will continue to strengthen children and families for generations to come.
A Special Thank You to the Dedicated Advisory Committee Members and Planning Teams from Each Pueblo
This group of representatives from the Pueblos, in addition to key members from the surrounding community, offers project guidance and support that is both culturally respectful and strategic.
- Gil Vigil, Chair, Executive Director of the ENIPC, Councilman and former Governor of Tesuque Pueblo
- Jovanna Archuleta, LANL Foundation Pueblo Outreach Coordinator, Nambé Pueblo member
- Beverly Fierro, Pojoaque Pueblo Early Childhood Center Director
- Anna Marie Garcia, LANL Foundation Early Childhood Program Director
- Veronica Martinez, Principal at Tesuque Day School
- Jeremy Oyenque, Santa Clara Pueblo Director of Youth & Learning
- Jenny Parks, LANL Foundation CEO
- Elmer Torres, former San Ildefonso Pueblo Governor and Tribal Council member, former Tribal Liaison Director for LANL Government Relations, business owner and LANL Foundation board member
- Kenneth Trujillo, Ohkay Owingeh Head Start Director
- Monica Vigil, Community Health Representative for Nambé Pueblo April Winters, Tiwa Babies Home Visitor, Taos Pueblo member
• Julie Bird, Indian Child Welfare Act
• Paige Loretto, Education
• Bernadette Trujillo, Enrollment
• Phillip A. Perez, Governor
• Felicia Rivera, Tribal Administrator
• Monica Vigil, Chair
• Jay Abeyta, Jr., Boys & Girls Club
• Michael Cata, Tribal Sheriff
• Peter Garcia, Jr., Governor
• Aileen Lopez, Higher Education
• Matthew Martinez, Lt. Governor
• Leonard Montoya, Social Services
• Ken Trujillo, Head Start
• Jeffrey Atencio, Tribal Administrator
• Michelle Hamilton, Diabetes Program Coordinator
• Jonette Sam, Community Health Representative
• Deborah Shemayme, Indian Child Welfare Act
• Francine Yazza, Community Wellness
• Karl Duncan, Poeh Cultural Center
• Melodie Fernandez, Social Services
• Beverly Fierro, Early Learning Center
• Kathy Fierro, Tribal Treasurer
• Lori Gutierrez, Tribal Administrator
• Arthur Malone, Social Services
• Jenelle Roybal, Lt. Governor
• Rafaela Sanchez, Tribal Secretary
• Cristal Suazo, Education
San Ildefonso Pueblo
• Martha Cooke, Health & Wellness
• Glenda Fred-Weahkee, Education
• Raelene Gonzales, Health & Wellness
• Thelma Gonzales, Community Health Representative
• Bernice Martinez, Early Childhood
• Dolly Narang, Health & Wellness
• Darren Stand, Tribal Administrator
Santa Clara Pueblo
• Gina Chavarria, Youth and Learning
• Michael Dabrieo, Kha'p'o Community School
• Toni Herrera, Kha'p'o Community School FACE
• Zita Mercure, Head Start
• James Naranjo, Lt. Governor
• Jeremy Oyenque, Youth and Learning Director
• Carmela Roybal, Head Start Director
• John Tafoya, Youth and Learning
• Roman Duran, Lt. Governor
• Daniel Hena, Program Manager
• Veronica Martinez, School Principal
• Francisca Overby, Community Wellness
• Christian Quintana, Education
• Fredrick Vigil, Governor
• Gil Vigil, Tesuque Member
• Travis Vigil, Chief of Police
• Linda Bronson Wood, ENIPC Circle of Life
• Jody Mirabal Coffman, Tiwa Babies
• April Winters, Tiwa Babies