March 24, 2009 by Louie Calderon NMSU News Center
Joe A. Garcia, president of the National Congress of American Indians, will be making his “State of the Indian Nations” address at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, on the lawn west of the pond at New Mexico State University. The NCAI is situated in Washington D.C. and is the foremost American Indian advocacy organization in the U.S. representing the interests of American Indian tribes, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians.
“He is clearly one of the most influential people in Indian country today,” said Joe Graham, director of the Indian Resource Development Program at NMSU.
Garcia also is the current chairman of the All-Indian Pueblo Council. The AIPC is a council comprised of New Mexico’s 19 Pueblo governors.
Graham said Garcia’s visit would be especially beneficial to the American Indian students at NMSU.
“Since most tribal students at NMSU come from the Northern part of the state, this visit will help keep them in the loop regarding national tribal issues,” Graham said.
One of the objectives of the IRD program is to expose tribal students to traditional, wise, novel and innovative concepts by presenting the work of tribal leaders, philosophers and academics.
Garcia also has served as governor of his home pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh (formerly known as San Juan Pueblo) which is part of the All-Indian Pueblo Council.
In his address, Garcia will talk about conditions that tribal nations face today and what steps NCAI is taking to address these issues. Graham said Garcia is a strong advocate of tribal self determination and has a distinguished public career as a strategic planner on tribal issues.
“His heart is with the communities and the people know this through his actions,” Graham said.
Preceding the event, Garcia will be sharing in a picnic with students and their families.
Garcia is the second speaker brought to NMSU to participate in the Distinguished Tribal Leaders Speaker Series developed by the IRD program.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information call (575) 646-1347.