Proposed bill would give tribes more control over language programs

The Legislative Finance Committee’s budget proposal has $50 million set aside for the fund. The proposed bill must pass both chambers and be signed by the governor to become law. (Photo by Jeanette DeDios for Source NM)

Lawmakers are trying once again to create a trust fund that would give New Mexico tribes more money and control to run their own educational programs .

The proposed legislation is sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo). It would create a $100 million Tribal Education Trust Fund that would disburse money directly to tribes over time to help build sustainable programs.

Randall Vicente, governor of the Pueblo of Acoma, said this proposed bill can help sustain the Keres language in his community.

“During COVID, we lost a lot of our elderly, our fluent speakers, and our community members which were teaching the Acoma Keres language,” he said.

Vicente said the funds could help pay community members to teach Keres.

“To teach as an elder or as an uncle or an aunt, or maybe as a mentor into classrooms to the students,” he said.

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