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Tribal Leaders Battle COVID and Honoring Native American Heritage

This week on New Mexico in Focus… honoring Native American Heritage month with a celebration of native resilience and innovation.

Correspondent Antonia Gonzales interviews tribal leaders and the Secretary of Indian Affairs about the surge of COVID-19 cases across New Mexico. The pandemic has hit Indigenous communities especially hard, and more recently the situation has become especially challenging for Acoma Pueblo, where Indian Health Services has closed a key facility. The group talks about upholding sovereignty while also working to keep citizens safe.

Native Americans have always had a deep and vibrant connection to the land, and that includes the sustainability of our food sources. There is a recent movement to return to these Indigenous food systems and best practices for individual health benefits and the overall

wellness of tribal communities and Mother Earth. Correspondent Antonia Gonzales visits Jemez Pueblo to meet with Tina Archuleta, a Native business owner who is focused on helping us all decolonize our diets.

This week, we also celebrate the country’s first Native American Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. She went to school here in New Mexico at the Institute of American Indian Arts as well as UNM. Earlier this month, she was appointed to a rare third term as Poet Laureate, starting in September of 2021. She held a discussion and reading from her new book of poetry “An American Sunrise” at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe in the fall of 2019. Harjo reads selections from that book, including the works “For Those Who Would Govern” and “Indian School Night Song Blues.”

Host: Gene Grant

In Focus Interviews:
New Mexico Tribal Leaders Battle COVID Surges
Correspondent: Antonia Gonzales
Lynn Trujillo, New Mexico Indian Affairs Secretary
Brian Vallo, Acoma Pueblo Governor
Gabe Aguilar, Mescalero Apache Tribal President

Decolonizing Our Diets: Plant Based Wellness & ItalityNM
Correspondent: Antonia Gonzales
Tina Archuleta, founder, ItalityNM

Contradictions of NM’s Colonial Past
Correspondent: Russell Contreras
Guest: Vanessa Fonseca Chávez, assistant professor of Hispanic and Indigenous studies, Arizona State University

National Poet Laureate Joy Harjo Poetry Readings*:
For Those Who Would Govern
The Fight
Indian School Night Song Blues
First Morning (For Shan)

*Recording at IAIA’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (October 2019)