Eight northern New Mexico schools are getting extra state funding to better serve Native American students. The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has awarded $800,000 dollars for indigenous education initiatives that districts will develop with tribes and community partners over a three-year period.
Cuba Independent School District is partnering with the local Navajo chapter and an environmental justice organization to develop a program that incorporates Diné culture and language across K-12 curriculum.
Students there kicked off the initiative this fall by helping build a traditional Navajo structure called a hogan, says PED Deputy Secretary Kara Bobroff, who visited Cuba this month.
"It’s a beautiful, beautiful building," Bobroff said. "If you ever have the opportunity to sit in a hogan and listen to somebody who carries a lot of cultural knowledge, it’s just a very profound way of understanding the life of any one individual through a Navajo perspective. So that’s a great example of what is yet to come."
Last year, a judge ruled that New Mexico violated the constitutional rights of Native American students by failing to provide culturally relevant schooling, and this grant program is part of the state’s response.
The other schools recieving this round of funding are Santo Domingo Elementary and Middle Schools in Bernalillo Public Schools, Amy Biehl Community School and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe Public Schools, and Vista Grande High School in Taos Municipal Schools.
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