APCG

We are the 20 Governors of the sovereign Pueblo nations of New Mexico and Texas, vested in making life better for all our Pueblo people and ensuring that those yet to be born have the same opportunity to experience our customs and traditions just as previous generations have been blessed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Call to Action Leads to Gudgel Resignation

Albuquerque, NM – After months of exasperating calls for her resignation, Rachel Gudgel, Director of the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC), finally decided to step down from one of the most influential positions in the legislative process. She admitted to making disparaging comments about Native Americans, losing the trust of New Mexico’s Pueblo Governors and Presidents of the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache, and Mescalero Apache nations.

“Now, it’s time to find a new person to lead the LESC on policy issues, someone who has the lived experience, who values the linguistic and cultural diversity in our state, and who can help shape education policies and programs that respond to the needs and rights of our Native children. New Mexico’s legislature and its staff have an obligation to create an equitable education system. Native children don’t have the luxury of waiting for another lawsuit to be filed,” said All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr.
The drawn-out process surrounding Ms. Gudgel’s resignation shows just how far New Mexico is from achieving equity for all students. The groundbreaking Yazzie/Martinez court ruling highlighted the unacceptable conditions of education for Native Americans. Yet, three years later, state leaders have not made substantive and meaningful improvements, including targeted funding for the Tribal Remedy Framework, an in-depth set of recommendations prepared by the NM Tribes. Many tribal leaders believe their legislative priorities on education were stifled under the now former LESC director.

“A large part of the job description of the new LESC director should be addressing the court’s mandates. But, most importantly, the committee and its new director must work to rebuild trust between Tribes and the legislature. State and tribal relations have been seriously weakened by what has occurred in the past three months. The legislature must work on regaining the confidence of tribal leaders. It’s time for a fresh start,” said Pueblo of Acoma Governor Brian Vallo.

APCG leadership looks forward to working with the legislature and the LESC in the selection of a new director for the LESC. In the spirit of the State Tribal Collaboration Act and tribal consultation, the APCG calls on legislative leadership of the LESC to consult with tribal leaders and tribal educational directors in the nomination and selection of a new LESC director.

In addition, the APCG calls on the LESC and the Legislative Finance Committee to develop a racial equity plan for their respective operations, staffing, and programmatic and policy work.

The former LESC director’s racist attitudes indicate the continuing existence of institutional racism in New Mexico’s political and education systems. Tribal leaders were dismayed at legislators’ refusal to tackle explicit and implicit racial bias as a systemic issue, further perpetuating the status quo.

“The resignation of Ms. Gudgel is nothing to celebrate. But rather, it is a demonstration of collective action by Native American leaders and allies who have repeatedly fought against educational and racial injustices for decades,” said Chairman Herrera.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

Protecting Sacred Trust – A Gathering of Tribal and Community Voices

Albuquerque NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) calls upon the State of New Mexico to end systemic racism for Native students in the state’s public schools. In a resounding voice, the Pueblo Governors say Native children are the key to maintaining our Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditional ways of life both now and into the future. Tribal leaders believe that systemic racism in public schools today is tied to the history of boarding schools established across the country to intentionally kill the cultural identity of Native children. They contend that public education policies of forced assimilation have been used historically to that end and still affects tribal communities and their children today.

“The New Mexico legislature and public education policymakers need to know that a strong cultural identity is important for our children’s academic progress. In addition to math, reading, science and the arts, our children need to know about their history, traditions, Native languages, and tribal laws,” said APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera. “The Legislative Education Study Committee has a responsibility to shift the paradigm and that begins by removing its
controversial Director.”

To improve the educational outcomes for Native children, the tribes insist the state must invest in the Tribal Remedy Framework, a comprehensive set of recommendations and solutions developed by tribal advocates and education experts in response to the historic Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit. Democratic Representative Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo has led the way by persistently introducing legislation the past three sessions using the Tribal Remedy Framework
as the basis.

“My constituents, who come from communities of color, are demanding nothing less than excellence in education,” said Rep. Lente. “They are tired of seeing their children at the bottom on state and national rankings. It’s time for a change because our children deserve it.”

Tribal leaders say they have an inherent obligation to protect their children and communities– that Sacred Trust must be upheld. Acoma Pueblo Governor Brian Vallo said, “We have a chance to bend history, to make it different, to create change, so that our future generations of Native children have it better than we do. It will take acts of courage and a collective belief that the history of Native People will be shaped by what we do today.”

The All Pueblo Council of Governors invites members of the media to a press conference on Friday July 30th at 10 am at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on 12th St. in
Albuquerque, NM. This gathering is an unprecedented coming together of tribal leaders, legislators, education advocates, leaders of major organizations, advocacy groups, and
community members who will be attending this event.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 30, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

Pueblo Governors Overwhelmingly Support DOI Secretary Haaland’s Probe Into the Shameful Legacy of Federal Boarding School Policies

Albuquerque, NM – Interior Secretary Deb Haaland of Laguna and Jemez Pueblos recently announced her Indian Boarding School initiative, an investigation into the loss of human life and lasting consequences of residential Indian boarding schools in the United States. The Pueblo Governors have long advocated for accountability and justice given the forced assimilation and cultural suppression conducted by the federal government over the centuries. Historically, Pueblo children have been subjected to repressive federal education policies. The result has had a long lasting generational impact.

In a Memorandum, Secretary Haaland acknowledges the past actions of the federal government to carry out its forced assimilation policies and practices on tribal nations stating, “Beginning with the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 and running through the 1960s, the United States enacted laws and implemented policies – to culturally assimilate Indigenous children by forcibly relocating them from their families and communities to distant residential facilities where their American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian identities, languages, and beliefs were to be forcibly suppressed.”

All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr., Former Governor of Laguna Pueblo, reflected on Secretary Haaland’s boarding school initiative, “It’s incredibly painful to recount what Pueblo parents and children experienced during this unbelievable period of forced cultural assimilation. During this time, the federal government’s assimilationist policies literally ripped our Pueblo children – some as young as four years old – from the arms of their mothers, stripping them of tender parental care and compassion; many unable to return home until the completion of their studies. While some of our children endured years of abuse for speaking our languages, practicing our cultures, and maintaining our traditions, the unbearable truth is that many of our young never returned to their Pueblo homelands, ever.”

The federal government relied on the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 for its actions and continued to engage in the practice of forced assimilation throughout the mid to late 20th century in New Mexico. According to historic accounts, Pueblo students attending the Albuquerque and Santa Fe Indian boarding schools perished and are interred in unmarked gravesites near the two school sites. The Pueblo Governors are unanimous in their support for actions taken by Secretary Haaland saying no parent should ever be subjected to such harsh, inhumane treatment at the hands of its government.

APCG Vice Chairman Phillip A. Perez, Governor of Nambe Pueblo said, “This action by Secretary Haaland is long overdue. Much of the American public is either unaware or has willingly overlooked the past actions by the federal government which brought incredible pain and sorrow upon the lives of Indigenous peoples. The APCG applauds Secretary Haaland’s leadership and reminds the general public and our Congressional delegates of the longstanding historic and generational trauma stemming from the Boarding School era.”

The location of student burial sites will require intense investigative effort, researching enrollment records and accompanying documents, painstakingly identifying remains, and relocating them for proper repatriation once they have been sufficiently identified. APCG Secretary David M. Toledo, Former Governor of Jemez Pueblo remarked, “We stand with Secretary Haaland’s decision to call for a report on the federal boarding school era by collecting relevant information and by conducting and carrying out sufficient Tribal consultation sessions. The sad truth is that the Pueblo Governors and tribal leaders know that many of our children never returned home, but no one knows the full extent of the undeniable social and emotional impact of the federal government’s boarding school policies on our Pueblo People. The APCG, as representatives of sovereign governments, stands ready to hold the federal government accountable.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Celebrates Historic Senate Confirmation of Representative Deb Haaland as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Interior

Albuquerque, N.M. – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) celebrates a watershed moment in our country’s history as the United States witnesses Deb Haaland’s historic Senate confirmation to become the first Indigenous person to serve as cabinet secretary in a presidential administration.

In November of 2020, APCG joined Tribal Nations and leaders throughout the country in urging then President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to appoint Representative Haaland as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. APCG knew that Representative Haaland, an Indigenous woman from the Pueblos of Laguna and Jemez, had the qualifications and experience to fulfill their plan to “Build Back Better” and to carry forward their “Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations.”

“We applaud the U.S. Senate for confirming Secretary Deb Haaland to lead the Department of Interior. This confirmation is a defining moment for Indigenous peoples not only in the United States but around the world. Indigenous peoples are the original stewards of our lands, waters, skies, and of all living beings. Secretary Haaland’s leadership of the Interior Department provides a long-overdue opportunity to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship and help our nation swing the pendulum on our most pressing indigenous and environmental justice issues,” shared APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera, Jr., former Governor of Laguna Pueblo.

APCG Secretary David M. Toledo, former Governor of Jemez Pueblo also commented: “Madam Secretary, APCG applauds your leadership, your dedication, your grit, and your courage at this historic moment. All Pueblo people, and women in particular, will find inspiration in your journey and your passion to serve. This moment will be remembered as an example that no glass ceiling is unbreakable.”

The APCG looks forward to celebrating Secretary Haaland’s historic accomplishment through a virtual celebration in the coming weeks. The APCG Youth Committee, led by Pueblo young women will organize the event. We invite the New Mexico Congressional Delegation and Representative Sharice Davids to join other dignitaries and guests for this joyful event.

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The All Pueblo Council of Governors Mission is to advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people. For more information, please visit:https://www.apcg.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Urges Senate Confirmation of Interior Secretary- Nominee Debra Haaland and Election of a Native Candidate for CD 1 Special Election

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) joins Tribal Nations and organizations from across the country in celebrating Congresswoman Debra Haaland’s selection this afternoon as Secretary of the Interior by President-elect Joe Biden.

“The appointment of Deb Haaland, a Pueblo woman with impressive credentials and deep community roots, is long-overdue and incredibly emotional for Pueblo people,” said APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr., “As the leaders of the 20 sovereign Pueblo Nations we respectfully call upon every member of the Senate to confirm Secretary-designate Haaland and usher in a new era in our country’s nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people.”

Last month, the APCG voted to join Tribal Nations throughout the country in supporting Congresswoman Haaland’s appointment to lead a department that was established 150 years ago with one of its responsibilities to maintain the federal government’s trust obligations to tribal nations. As the first Native American to be appointed as a cabinet secretary in the history of our nation, her appointment demonstrates the incoming administration’s commitment to the “Biden-Harris plan for Tribal Nations” and will ensure that the voices of tribal nations are rightfully considered at the highest levels of government.

Our Pueblo Nations are extremely appreciative and grateful for Congresswoman Haaland’s service and leadership during her time in Congress,” said APCG Secretary David Toledo, “we believe that the State of New Mexico and Congressional District 1 would best be served by ensuring that another strong Native American is elected to take Congresswoman Haaland’s seat.”

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The All Pueblo Council of Governors Mission is to advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people. For more information, please visit: https://www.apcg.org/

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

Pueblo Relief Fund

Mission Statement

To advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people.

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