Saturday, September 01, 2012

Pro-Custer RNC Official Resigns Firm Post, Under Pressure

The following update regarding the Republican leader Pat Rogers is provided by our friends at ProgressNow NM. Resignation comes after week of pressure from ProgressNow NM and Activists.

ImagesCASDRP58  A01_jd_21aug_rogers
Custer above                       Rogers above
(Remarkable resemblance above in facial features.)

Pat Rogers, the embattled lawyer, lobbyist, and state Republican National Committeeman, has resigned his position as Vice President of Modrall Sperling law firm following public pressure from ProgressNow New Mexico, as well as Native, Hispanic, and LGBT communities.

The controversy began last week after ProgressNow NM publicized a June 8, 2012 email Rogers sent to senior members of Governor Susana Martinez's staff. In the email, Rogers says that "The state is going to hell" and claims that Governor Martinez "dishonored" the memory of George Armstrong Custer - the notorious U.S. Army commander who killed scores of Native peoples during the Indian Wars of the mid-19th Century - by meeting with New Mexico's tribal leaders at the annual state-tribal leaders summit.

Rogers' controversial remarks set off a frenzy of state, national, and international news coverage.

Last Friday, ProgressNow New Mexico began a petition signing campaign calling for the Republican National Committee to denounce Rogers' remarks and dismiss him from his post. Yesterday, ProgressNow New Mexico organized a press conference and protest outside of Rogers' law firm, Modrall Sperling, where concerned citizens from a diverse array of communities delivered more than 700 petitions calling for Rogers' resignation. "Here in New Mexico...we cherish all of our communities and to be so contemptuous toward Native Americans is inappropriate," said Laurie Weahkee of the Native American Voters Alliance after the press conference.

"As the face of New Mexico's Republican Party and a lobbyist for a number of corporations that do business on tribal lands, Mr. Rogers' derogatory remarks are particularly insulting and have no place in modern discussions of politics and policy. We wish Mr. Rogers the best in his future endeavors and hope that he will also see fit to step aside from his postition representing New Mexico to the nation through his Republican Party post," said Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico.

In July, Rogers also resigned from his board position at the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government after the Independent Source PAC discovered Rogers had been using a private email address to conduct what should have been public communications.

Read the official announcement of Pat Rogers' Modrall Sperling resignation here.

September 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM in Independent Source PAC, Native Americans, ProgressNow New Mexico | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Native American Democratic Caucus Fundraiser for the Delegates

Great cause! Please help our Native American Dem Caucus get their delegates to North Carolina.

Nadc 001

July 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM in Democrat, Events, Native Americans | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Luján Bill to Strengthen Santa Fe Indian School Passes in the U.S. House

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 1556, his legislation to encourage educational sovereignty by providing Santa Fe Indian School with the tools to generate income for its own academic and cultural programs. The bill passed the House with unanimous support and will now move to the Senate to await further action. Below are Luján remarks as prepared. Click below to watch his speech.

“Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Hastings, Chairman Young, Ranking Member Markey, and Ranking Member Boren for working with me in the Natural Resources Committee to help address the many issues impacting Indian Country and the tribes I represent in New Mexico.

“I also want to recognize the hard work of the Superintendent of Santa Fe Indian School and Former Governor of Kewa Pueblo, Everett Chavez, and former AIPC President and former NCAI President Joe Garcia on this bill. They worked with the Pueblos and the All Indian Pueblo Council to support this legislation which will help Santa Fe Indian School and New Mexico’s 19 Pueblo’s achieve educational sovereignty for Native American students across New Mexico.

“Santa Fe Indian School and the 19 Pueblos approached my office early last year seeking the introduction of a technical change to the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act to allow certain lands designated to the school to be used to generate income to provide funding for academic and cultural programs at the Indian School. Knowing the importance of what Santa Fe Indian School provides to Native American students in New Mexico, I was very interested in this approach to move toward true financial independence and educational sovereignty for Santa Fe Indian School and its students.

“I want to point out the importance of sovereignty and what it means for our tribal brothers and sisters to be able to provide a quality education for their own children. Education is truly empowering – especially when Native American students are able to get an education that embraces their cultural and traditional identities – and that is the type of education Santa Fe Indian School provides.

“I worked with Superintendent Chavez and Santa Fe Indian School to draft a bill that would make a technical amendment to allow the school to explore economic opportunities so that students at the Indian School can attain the best possible education and to be able to support their mission.

“Santa Fe Indian School provides a challenging, stimulating, and nurturing learning environment that shares educational responsibility with Native communities, parents, and students to develop the students' true potential to meet obligations to themselves and their tribal communities.

“In this time of financial uncertainty and the limitations of the federal government to assist in federal education programs, it is important to give Santa Fe Indian School the tools they need to help their students receive a quality education regardless of the political and financial climate in Washington. H.R. 1556 would achieve that goal.

“I am proud to be able to assist Santa Fe Indian School in amending the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act to allow the school to achieve new heights in educating Native American students. This technical amendment will help make Santa Fe Indian School more self sufficient and create greater opportunities for students attending the Indian School by ensuring the financial capability to maintain and expand the level of academic and cultural education for Native American students.

“This is a common-sense amendment that will help Native Americans students in New Mexico and I urge the support of my colleagues, and I thank the Chairman for his support as well.”

June 19, 2012 at 07:40 PM in Education, Native Americans, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Santa Fe, video | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tell the EPA: No to new uranium mining!

Navajo uranium mining
Photo above from League of Individuals for the Environment, Inc website.

From the SouthWest Organizing Project

An important petition is circulating that we wanted to make sure you saw. Our friends at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center are urging folks to make their voices heard to the EPA, about a proposal to renew uranium mining in Navajo communities in New Mexico.

The Law Center has been working with Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) for many years to stop mining from resuming. As you may know, Navajo communities are still waiting for the clean-up and closure of 100's of toxic uranium mines that litter the landscape in western New Mexico and into Arizona.

Here is a message from the Law Center with a link to the petition created by ENDAUM's Larry King, saying NO to new uranium mining:

Something unprecedented has happened: the EPA agreed to revisit its 1989 decision to sacrifice a portion of the aquifer beneath the Navajo community of Church Rock. Now it is reviewing an "aquifer exemption" that it granted to uranium mining company Hydro Resources, Inc.

If this permit is revoked, it will make it difficult - if not impossible- for the company to commence mining in Church Rock.

Please sign our national: petition and tell the EPA: Don't sacrifice Navajo water
for uranium mining.

A message from Larry J. King:

"I am Diné (Navajo) and live in Church Rock, NM - only yards away from a proposed new uranium mine. As a resident and former miner, I have experienced the effects of uranium exploitation first-hand. This could be our last chance to stop this mine.

Please sign this petition, and help us tell the EPA to revoke this permit."

May 12, 2012 at 01:08 PM in Action Alerts, Environment, Native Americans, Uranium | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Blog: Laura Harris for DNC Committeewoman: Why I want to represent New Mexico at the DNC

Laura harris head shotFollowing is a guest blog from Laura Harris. Laura is running to be the next NM DNC Committeewoman to be elected this weekend in Taos when the Dem Party meets to elect delegates to go to the DNC Convention being held in North Carolina. At this meeting in Taos the Democratic Party will also elect the next Committeeman and Comitteewoman to represent New Mexico. Laura would be NM's first Native American Committeewoman. Check out Laura's facebook page describing her activism for years within the Democratic Party. Go Laura Go!

Dear Fellow Democrat:

I am happy to announce to you that I am a candidate for NM Democratic National Committeewoman from New Mexico, and I need and will greatly appreciate your support and vote—in the meeting of the NM Democratic State Central Committee (SCC) April 21, 2012 in Taos.

I want to represent New Mexico because I have the experience to help turn and keep our state blue in 2012. I have been active in politics and the Democratic Party for more than 30 years, and I am a strong and proven fundraiser.

As I was growing up with my parents, Fred Harris and LaDonna Harris, politics was a part of my everyday life. In 1976, I accompanied my father in a Winnebago camper from Washington, D.C. to California, with hundreds of campaign stops across the country. I know the importance of participating in our political process.

Laura and dean
Laura and Howard Dean

Community organizing is my passion. Through my work as Executive Director of Americans for Indian Opportunity and as an active Democrat, I have helped to create meaningful and positive change. Currently, I head up an award-winning leadership development program, training young Native American professionals in community organizing, lobbying, civic participation and effective governance. In 2006, I helped strengthen the NM Democratic Party by establishing the Native American Democratic Caucus. I’m proud to report that eighty (80) Native Delegates were elected to the Pre-Primary Convention this past Saturday – a record number!

I know that each of us, working together and participating in the Democratic Party, can and do make a difference. 2012 will mark a historic election, especially for New Mexico. Listening in on the weekly conference calls of the National Native American Domestic Policy Advisory for the Obama Campaign, it is easy to hear from the DNC and national campaign officials that New Mexico is a vital battleground state – for the U.S. House, the Senate and the White House. The country will be counting on us! That’s why it is more important than ever that New Mexico have a strong voice at the Democratic National Committee.

I will proudly represent New Mexico in this important election cycle and beyond. I would be humbled to be the first Native American to represent our state at the national level. I will bring my values to the national Party as a Comanche woman, as a proud New Mexican and as a Democrat. We are the Party of the people. We believe in taking care of our neighbor, in sustainable development, renewable energy and the fierce protection of our environment, and we are the Party that stands for equality for all peoples.

If you elect me to the DNC, I will make sure that New Mexico continues to play an important role in national politics so that the unique voice of New Mexico will be added to the national discussion and that New Mexican values will be a part of our national platform. The diversity and unique political landscape that make New Mexico special is a vital contribution to our national Party.

So, I ask for your support for NM Democratic National Committeewoman. I’ll never forget you, and I’ll never let you down. Please contact me at 505-250-8526 or (And check out my Facebook page:!/harris4dnc) I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Laura Harris

April 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM in Democratic Party, Guest Blogger, Native Americans | |

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pueblos of Zuni, Laguna and the Alamo Chapter endorse Maxine Velasquez for Senate

VelasquezTribes endorse Velasquez in heated Senate District 30 Democratic Primary

LAGUNA PUEBLO, NM, on March 24, 2012; Maxine Velasquez secured three key endorsements in the contested State Senate District 30 Primary race this Saturday. In a first, tribal councils from the Pueblos of Zuni, Acoma, Laguna and the Alamo Chapter of the Navajo Nation convened a joint session to hear from candidates and to make endorsements for the 2012 Democratic Primary.

Velasquez faces incumbent David Ulibarri and two other challengers in the Democratic Primary. For over a decade, Velasquez has been practicing and studying public policy, including working at the local, state, and national level advocating for economic development for rural and traditional communities.

“It’s a great honor to have received the endorsement from Alamo Chapter, Laguna and Zuni. As Senator, I will fight for our rural communities in Santa Fe and always remember my responsibility to all the people of Senate District 30.”

The Senate redistricting plan identifies 24.7% of the district as Native American making Saturday’s official endorsement a big win for Velasquez.

“I am running for State Senate because I care deeply about the needs of our community and am dedicated to improving the lives of working families,” says Velasquez. “Our district deserves leaders we count on to represent our needs first and foremost. I will fight for what matters most: the economy and jobs, improved infrastructure, healthcare and education. I will stand for the interests of our community and home-grown businesses over corporations.”

Velasquez is currently General Counsel for the Pueblo of Tesuque and the guardian to her niece Taylor Rose Lucero who attends the Laguna Middle School.

More information about Maxine can be found at

March 30, 2012 at 04:30 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Democrat, Native Americans | |

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Council Votes Unanimously To Endorse Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate

Heinrich senateThe Pueblo of Laguna announced their endorsement of U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich today. The decision was made official when the tribal council voted unanimously over the weekend to back Heinrich.

"The Pueblo of Laguna proudly endorses Congressman Martin Heinrich for the U.S. Senate,” said Pueblo of Laguna Governor Rick Luarkie. “Congressman Heinrich has consistently supported our Pueblo’s efforts in health care, natural resources and economic development. He has always had an open door and we look forward to his continued support in the senate."

Martin Heinrich has been a leader in Congress on the many issues faced by New Mexico’s tribes, pueblos, and nations. Heinrich was instrumental in passing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and is currently spearheading the Helping to Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (HEARTH Act), a bill to remove bureaucratic red-tape between Native American families and homeownership.

Since announcing his candidacy, Heinrich has received overwhelming support from Indian Country, including the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Taos Pueblo, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Eastern Navajo Agency Council, Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation, and former President of the National Congress of American Indians Joe A. Garcia.

March 28, 2012 at 06:11 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Native Americans, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | |

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

National Congress of American Indians Past President and NM Leader Joe A. Garcia Endorses Heinrich

Heinrich with blue sky"Martin has been a champion for Indian and Pueblo Country in the U.S. House and will continue to be as our next U.S. Senator”

On Monday, the former President of the National Congress of American Indians Joe A. Garcia announced his endorsement of Martin Heinrich in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

“I endorse Martin Heinrich because he is a leader on issues that matter to New Mexico’s tribes and pueblos,” said Garcia. “Martin respects our views and engages in honest communication. Martin has been a champion for Indian and Pueblo Country in the U.S. House and will continue to be as our next U.S. Senator.”

“It’s an honor to have the endorsement of someone who has made so many important contributions for Native pueblos, tribes and nations--having a tremendous impact on the people of New Mexico and across our country,” said Heinrich. “Like me, President Garcia is an engineer. He sees a problem and looks for the most practical solution. Now, more than ever, we need to take this approach to moving our country forward.”

Joe A. Garcia served as President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) from 2005-2009. NCAI is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the United States. Previously, President Garcia served two terms as NCAI Vice President, as Governor of the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh, and as Chairman of the All Indian Pueblo Council. Garcia is currently the Head Councilman at the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh and is an electrical engineer by profession. October 15, 2009 was proclaimed “Joe Garcia Day” in New Mexico to honor Garcia’s service as President of NCAI.

In the U.S. Congress, Martin Heinrich has been a leader on the many issues faced by New Mexico’s tribes, pueblos and nations. Heinrich was instrumental in passing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) and is currently working on the Helping to Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act (HEARTH Act), a bill to remove bureaucratic red-tape between Native American families and homeownership.

March 20, 2012 at 09:39 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Candidates & Races, Native Americans, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | |

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Senator Udall: Contaminated Laguna Mine Proposed for ‘Superfund’ Cleanup Status

Jackpile laguna mine
Jackpile Mine photo above by:

U.S. Senator Tom Udall, issued a statement on Tuesday, March 13th following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to list the Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine in Cibola County to the National List of Priorities of Superfund sites.

Udall, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has been urging the EPA to expedite the cleanup of uranium contamination on Tribal lands in New Mexico.
Udall said:
“Today EPA is getting serious about the uranium contamination cleanup that the Pueblo of Laguna has long recognized as vital.
“I convened a Senate Subcommittee hearing last fall to urge the federal government to move quickly to halt ongoing water and soil contamination at the Jackpile site and other abandoned uranium mines on Tribal lands and elsewhere in our state.
“I trust EPA will work closely with the pueblo, and I will be monitoring these efforts closely in the months and years ahead.”
EPA has been investigating the Jackpile-Paguate mine site on Laguna Pueblo land to determine the extent of the ongoing contamination. Once a site is proposed for listing, EPA solicits community comment and responds to concerns raised. After the comment period is over, and if the site still qualifies for Superfund cleanup, EPA will make its proposed listing final.
Superfund status is given to the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the nation.

March 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM in Environment, Mining, Native Americans, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Statement From Senator Lovejoy Regarding Republican Hurtful Words Said at Water Rights Hearing

LindaLovejoy2Senator Lynda M. Lovejoy (D) (Navajo) from Crownpoint, New Mexico released the following statement.

I am saddened by the comments attributed to State Representative Candy Ezzell (R-Roswell) and Representative Don Bratton (R-Hobbs) regarding Native Americans in this state. Our people have suffered centuries of displacement, isolation, cultural denial and disenfranchisement remedied only through treaty and contract that some seem to deny now.

It disappoints me that in this day and age in a state like New Mexico where we have such diverse groups that some are still uneducated about each other’s cultures. We marked Anti-Racism Day in New Mexico only yesterday, yet comments like those by Representatives Ezzell and Bratton show we still have a long way to go in understanding and respecting each other.

Native American elders paid a heavy price for the consideration and benefits provided by the Federal Government. These are treaty and contract agreements that have been re-affirmed repeatedly by Congress and the courts. Claiming that Native Peoples have no claim to water infrastructure on their own mother lands is a denial of the rights and obligations we have earned and fought for.

Arrangements for supplying water are a small consideration, not an addiction, guaranteed by the Federal Government to Native Americans for our historic displacement and treatment. We need to put a stop to words that keep dividing us.

January 27, 2012 at 06:17 AM in Native Americans, NM Legislature 2012, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Indians Are On Cocaine: A Republican Perspective

The following is from Guest Blogger; Peter Moulson.

Those eager beavers who attended the hearing on Indian water rights in the House Energy and Agriculture committees may have taken aback by two voices pushing hard against the validity of Indian water rights. Apparently the Cocaine habit that Indians have from their dealer, the Feds, means they have too much of “our” water--so let’s get the water back from the Indians.

Rep. Ezzell (R-Roswell) said that the federal government’s fiduciary duty to honor its treaty obligations to Native Americans is “like a cocaine habit that we Americans just keep paying for no matter what.”  What? Break Federal law to steal water rights for unspecified others?  We asked Rep. Ezzell if she would repeat her comments for us:

Of course anti-Indian language has been used for many, many years. It’s all about the fact that we want whatever land and money that is not yet “ours”. The intriguing linguistic connection here is that the Feds are at fault for feeding cocaine to the Navajo Nation (in this case), and if we white folks don’t take their water (just to make things equitable) the world will be out of balance. The new balance will be provided by our Republican lawmakers if we give them the chance. Here is Rep. Bratton (R-Hobbs):

Of course they were both trying to make a bigger point, which was that the Navajo should not get any special benefit from federal water infrastructure investment in NW New Mexico because they didn’t pay for it, “we did.”

January 25, 2012 at 05:49 PM in Government, Guest Blogger, Native Americans, NM Legislature 2012, Water Issues | |

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Luján Honors the World War II Service of Navajo Code Talkers

152Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District spoke on the House floor last night to honor the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers during World War II.  Below are his remarks as prepared.  Click here to watch his speech.

“I thank my colleague from Arizona, Mr. Gosar, for bringing us together tonight as we get a chance to visit and celebrate heroes that are amongst us, whether it’s in spirit or in body.  We are still so fortunate to have Chester Nez with us, one of the original 29 Code Talkers.

“With me tonight, I have a few excerpts of articles written around the country that capture some stories.  Recently in a Fronteras Desk report, Laurel Morales captured the story of Chester Nez.  It starts like this, ‘Growing up in New Mexico, Chester Nez and many of his fellow Navajo were punished for speaking their language.’  They were sent away to boarding school, so many of the young Navajo across the country.  Yet the importance of what they were able to accomplish during World War II was captured in the words of Major Howard Connor of the Fifth Marine Division when he declared that were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would have never taken Iwo Jima.

“The article goes on to read that, ‘years later, Nez was shocked to learn he’d been recruited by the Marines, specifically to devise a code using the same language the government tried to beat out of him…It was extremely ironic one of the very things they were forbidden to do – speak Navajo – ended up helping us save us during the war.’

“Mr. Nez says that he and his fellow Code Talkers first developed an alphabet using everyday Navajo words to represent letters or words – submarine, iron fish, beshlo, hummingbird to talk about fighter planes.  It's amazing how when we talk about the Japanese and how they were so effective at cracking codes, how they couldn't crack this one.

“The article goes on to say that Mr. Nez is one of the last original Code Talkers, living in Albuquerque with his son as a father of six children, nine grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.  ‘With so many people leaving the reservation, Navajo elders like Nez fear their language is dying.  Nez hopes Navajo children learn the story of the Code Talkers so they understand just how critical it is to learn and use their own language.’

“And bringing us together this evening, Mr. Gosar, to help celebrate the history of our Code Talkers is so important.  It wasn't until Senator Bingaman introduced legislation back in 2000 that we were able to give an honor to the original 29 with gold medals, and silver medals to the others that were also trained to go on as Code Talkers.

“So here we have example of a few stories we will be submitting and sharing this evening as we celebrate the lives and the history of our Code Talkers – especially today as we remember Pearl Harbor – the sacrifice of the families we lost that day and so many brave soldiers as well.

“Thank you, Mr. Gosar, for bringing us here tonight.  I look forward to many stories and continuing to share many of the articles we have been able to find capturing the history and personal stories of our friends, our heroes, the Code Talkers from all throughout New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.”

December 8, 2011 at 07:49 PM in Native Americans, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) | Permalink | Comments (0)