At Indian Day, Nez pushes for Native-centered curriculum
By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times
Navajo Middle School students, from Navajo, New Mexico, have lots to report about their field trip to the state capital on American Indian Day on Feb 1.
As they toured the Roundhouse, President Jonathan Nez, who was coming out of a meeting with Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, stopped to talk to them.
Crowding around him in the circular hallway, the students listened closely as Nez encouraged them to work hard, stay in school and achieve their dreams.
“Don’t give up because we have some strong lineage,” Nez said. “Your grandmas and grandpas fought for each and every one of us. On the Long Walk, they came all the way back to the Navajo Nation from Ft. Sumner, because they wanted something great for us.
“So, when you get in a bind, or feel like quitting, always remember them,” he said.
Moments earlier, Nez had spoken to them and hundreds of other tribal members from Diné, Apache and Pueblo lands, who sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the rotunda and listened from the balcony above.
“Young people in the rotunda, I want you to know your tribal leaders are engaged in efforts to get better quality education for you in the future,” Nez said.
One of the educational reforms Nez is advocating for is a curriculum that includes the history and culture of New Mexico’s indigenous people.