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Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs

Meeting minutes and agendas for the Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.

Commission Members

  1. At-Large: Mr. Ronald J Solimon
  2. At-Large: Dr. Lloyd L Lee
  3. At-Large: Ms. Laurie A Weahkee
  4. At-Large: Mr. Michael Canfield
  5. Sandia Pueblo: Vacant
  6. Isleta Pueblo: Vacant
  7. Santa Ana Pueblo: Vacant
  8. Laguna Pueblo: Vacant
  9. To'hajiilee Chapter: Vacant
  10. All Pueblo Council of Governors: Vacant
  11. Culture Rep.: Vacant
  12. Education Rep.: Vacant
  13. Health Rep.: Vacant
  14. Workforce/Employment Rep.: Vacant
  15. Government Rep.: Vacant

View Commission Member Biographies

About the Commission

The City of Albuquerque acknowledges and affirms tribal sovereignty and self-determination for tribal governments. It is the purpose of §§ 2-6-6-1 et seq., to recognize and formalize the government-to-government relationship between the City of Albuquerque and its adjacent tribal communities and to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of its citizenry through the creation of a Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. The Commission serves as the forum for government-to-government relations and as an advocate for American Indian/Alaska Native affairs within the City of Albuquerque and the surrounding area, including, but not limited to, matters of employment, education, economy, health, environment, homelessness, government, and access to services in the City.

The Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Council, shall appoint nine (9) members of the Commission. The Mayor shall endeavor to appoint one (1) member representing each of the following sectors of the City: education, health, workforce/employment, environment, government and culture. The remaining three (3) positions shall be at-large positions. If a representative from a sector cannot be identified, then a member shall be appointed from the broadest base of the community at large.

The Commission may create advisory sub-committees from the community to provide input to the Commission to ensure that their issues are being addressed.

Recognizing the sovereignty and self-determination of the adjacent tribal nations, the Commission shall also include one (1) member from each of the following: Sandia Pueblo, Isleta Pueblo, Santa Ana Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, the To’hajiilee chapter of the Navajo Nation, and the All Pueblo Council of Governors, each of whom shall be chosen by the Pueblo, Chapter, or Council and not subject to appointment by the Mayor or the advice and consent of Council. The Mayor may choose to have any one or more of the tribally-selected members serve in a dual role as one of the Mayor's nine appointments.

The term of office of each member of the Commission shall be three years from the date of appointment.

The Commission will interact, collaborate, and engage with the City Native American Liaison on a continuous basis to ensure American Indian/Alaska Native concerns, challenges, and resolutions are being advocated and implemented.

The Board shall:

  1. Consult with tribal governments prior to taking actions that affect federally recognized tribal governments and shall assess the impact of City programs on tribal communities.
  2. Take appropriate steps to remove impediments to working directly and effectively with tribal governments.
  3. Bring American Indian/Alaska Native concerns to the City's attention by educating the City on the challenges, concerns, and resolutions of American Indian/Alaska Native citizens of Albuquerque; and by evaluating the social, economic, environmental, health, educational, and governmental challenges affecting American Indian/Alaska Native peoples.
  4. Encourage employment opportunities of Indians in the City's public and private sectors.
  5. Work with the American Indian/Alaska Native community to increase awareness of and access to services and programs in the City of Albuquerque; and advise the Mayor regarding the number of American Indian/Alaska Native citizens accessing City services.
  6. Support economic development for Indian entrepreneurs.
  7. Make recommendations to the Mayor for placement of American Indian/Alaska Natives on City boards, committees, and commissions.
  8. Provide an opportunity for the presentation and exchange of ideas in respect to American Indian/Alaska Native affairs of the City by all interested persons.
  9. Submit annually a written report of its activities and an evaluation of the effectiveness of §§ 2-6-6-1 et seq. to the Mayor and the City Council with recommendations for changes.

Commission Meeting Information

For more information about the Commission on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, call Dawn Begay at (505) 768-4547.

View commission membership and establishing ordinance.

Commission Member Bios

  • Ronald Solimon, Esq., is the Chair of the Commission. Mr. Solimon is a member of West Mesa High School’s first graduating class. In 1973, he graduated from New Mexico State University, and from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1976. Solimon has specialized in community and economic development at his home pueblo of Laguna as well as the City of Albuquerque. He has served on state and national boards and commissions and has been recognized for his leadership and management roles. Mr. Solimon retired from his Cabinet position with the Institute of American Indian Arts in June of 2015.
  • Laurie Weahkee currently serves as the Executive Director for the Native American Voters Alliance (NAVA) and NAVA Education Project. Over the last 25 years, she has been involved in Native American issues on community empowerment for traditional land based communities. Weahkee received a Cultural Preservation Award from the NM Department of Indian Affairs for her work to protect Native American sacred sites. She also serves on the New Mexico State Advisory Commission for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
  • Michael Canfield has over 35 years of business and leadership experience. He is currently the President and CEO of the All Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and has strong relationships with tribal leaders from the 19 pueblos. Canfield also provides leadership for the Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc., which is responsible for operating tribally-owned organizations located on the Albuquerque Indian School property. Canfield has strong ties to the New Mexico community through his current and past leadership positions.
  • Lloyd Lee is an Associate Professor of Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He is also the Director of the Institute for American Indian Research housed in the College of Arts & Sciences and President of the Board for the American Indian Studies Association. Dr. Lee is the author of the book Dine Masculinities: Conceptualizations and Reflections. He also edited the book "Dine Perspectives: Reclaiming and Revitalizing Navajo Thought." Dr. Lee grew up in Albuquerque and has lived here for over 30 years.