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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU, San Juan Pueblo combine efforts for the success of Native American students

New Mexico State University and the San Juan Pueblo agreed to combine their efforts to improve the academic performance of Native American students.

President/Provost William Flores and Gov. Earl N. Salazar of the San Juan Pueblo formalized the relationship by signing a memorandum of understanding today, Nov. 19, at the San Juan Tribal Administration Building. This is the sixth tribe that has signed an agreement with NMSU.

"The updated MOU continues collaboration between the San Juan Pueblo and NMSU to work together on several issues, including tuition waivers, an American Indian on the Board of Regents, and seeking and hiring American Indian faculty and professional staff," said Don Pepion, director of NMSU's American Indian Program.

The collaboration between the university and the tribe will help address retention and recruitment issues, and ensure the academic success of Native American students.

"It is very important for us to try to serve the educational needs of our tribal members by working with an institution like NMSU," said Salazar, an alumnus of New Mexico State. "The ultimate objective is to get our tribal members into college, provide them with facilities and resources to become skilled, and eventually obtain their degrees."

NMSU is working with American Indian tribes to attain several goals including conducting education workshops and other appropriate events at NMSU and in tribal communities for tribal members; collaborating on increasing the number of Native American students enrolling at NMSU as either new, transfer or distance education students; and developing an American Indian student tracking system that provides an annual report of data and findings.

"Signing the MOU with the San Juan Pueblo is just another step in building a stronger relationship with the pueblo," Flores said. "We want to be able to provide a variety of services to help meet the needs of the San Juan Pueblo. This is part of our effort to increase the number of Native American students on our campus and the services New Mexico State provides to the pueblos."

There are more than 470 Native American students enrolled at New Mexico State. Students are able to participate in a variety of activities including the United Native American Organization (UNAO), the Native American Business Student Association (NABSA) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

The Pueblo of San Juan has a membership of more than 2,200. It is the largest of the Tewa speaking tribes and is located north of Espanola. In 1996, the San Juan Pueblo Tribal Council established the Pueblo of San Juan Department of Education and passed a tribal resolution making education a number-one priority for the San Juan Pueblo community.

For more information, contact Don Pepion, director of NMSU's American Indian Program, at (505) 646-4207 or Maxine Abeyta, executive director of the Pueblo of San Juan Department of Education, at (505) 852-3477.