June 21, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Meeting to be Held in Albuquerque on Native American Language and Culture Certification

(Santa Fe, NM)-- A symposium on Native Languages will be conducted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the TVI Work Force Center, located at 5600 Eagle Rock, Ave., NE, in Albuquerque. The symposium, sponsored by the Public Education Department's (PED) Indian Education Division, is being conducted to focus on issues that have arisen over the implementation of the Native American Language and Culture Teacher Certification legislation, passed by the Legislature in 2003.

Tribes that are considering a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the PED, under the provisions of the certification, are especially encouraged to attend this symposium. New information will be shared regarding the scope of work and the intended purposes of the legislation. The intent is to continue the discussion on next steps and identify the strategies and resources needed by tribes to develop the MOAs, which will allow persons seeking certification in Native Language and Culture to teach in K-12 schools throughout the state.

Featured speakers include Melody McCoy, attorney for the Native American Rights Funds (NARF), in Boulder, Colorado, who will present information on the issues and action being taken at the national level for sustaining and revitalizing languages. Penny Bird, assistant secretary of education for Indian Education, will share a revised format for tribes to utilize as they develop their MOAs with the PED. Also presenting will be Dr. Gladys Herrera-Gurule, director of Bilingual Education at the PED, who will present information on the funding available to schools that implement bilingual programs for Native American languages and how the state programs support sustaining the Native languages. Senator Leonard Tsosie and Representative Ray Begaye will discuss the intent of the legislation they were successful in getting through the 2004 legislative session to support the efforts of the tribes in New Mexico who are working on maintaining their Native languages and cultures.

Currently, two tribes in New Mexico have signed MOAs with the PED: the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Santa Clara Pueblo. The Pueblo of Zuni and the Navajo Nation are near completion in the development of their MOAs with the PED. For more information or registration, please contact the Indian Education Division at the PED at (505) 827-6679.