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CABQ Native Leaders Host Indigenous Life Celebration

Community comes together to honor Native American Heritage Month

Nov. 13, 2021

The City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion-Office of Native American Affairs teamed up with community-based organizations and indigenous students and faculty from Albuquerque Public Schools to hold the second annual Indigenous Life Celebration event to celebrate native culture and identity in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The celebration brought together over 200 attendees to participate in a prayer walk, seven workshops and guest speakers, including Leroy “Buster” Silva who is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader.

“The students really learned how to set a goal and organize an event by inviting guest speakers, selecting and managing the vendors and recruiting their fellow students and families to come together,” said Dawn Begay, coordinator of Albuquerque’s Office of Native American Affairs. “Their intention was to leave people feeling motivated and inspired to do good within their communities.”

Indigenous students and faculty from Albuquerque Public Schools formed the Native American Leadership Council earlier this school year. The objective of the council focuses on bringing the community together to educate participants through culturally rich events and workshops throughout the city. In addition to the Indigenous Life Celebration, the Council co-organized an Indigenous People’s Day event in October and an Indigenous Youth Fair to help increase access to job opportunities for Native American community members and to create a more diverse workforce.

“With the amount of time we were given, I’m proud of the work we were able to accomplish,” said Aysa Norberto, a student from the Native American Leadership Council. “Not many kids our age have planned events of this scale so learning while we’re young will help us in the future.”

The Native American Leadership Council and Office of Equity and Inclusion are continuing to pursue ways to support native-owned businesses and artists through showcasing local events and providing information that touch on important topics to indigenous communities. For more information on ways to get involved and stay updated about future events, please visit cabq.gov/oei