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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New Director Joins Indian Resource Development at NMSU

LAS CRUCES - Joe Graham, new director of Indian Resource Development at New Mexico State University, brings to the position eight years of teaching experience in New Mexico and seven years working with the tribes and tribal students at the University of Arizona.


His plans include generating and maintaining tribal students' interest in pursuing degrees in agriculture, natural resources, science, engineering and business. He wants the IRD office to work with American Indian students on campus and develop connections with tribal communities throughout the state. New Mexico is home to more than 173,000 American Indian tribal members, who make up 9.5 percent of the state's population. The state surrounds or borders at least 22 tribal entities.

"I look forward to focusing our program and building relationships between the state institutions and the tribal communities," said Graham, a member of Laguna Pueblo and an NMSU alumnus. "We need to develop strong, mutually beneficial connections so the tribal communities can feel they have a comfortable access point to the state's university system."

Graham said he's glad to return to New Mexico and looks forward to spending more time with his son.

Since coming on the job in January, Graham has been getting acclimated by setting up his work station in Jacobs Hall and trying to meet with leaders of the colleges, administration, faculty and campus groups. In his first week of work, he was on the road to Laughlin, Nev., for the Southwest Indian Agriculture Association's annual conference.

From 1995 to 2002, Graham served as coordinator for Native American activities in the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is completing his doctorate in the arid lands resource science program at the University of Arizona, focusing on agriculture and natural resources issues on tribal lands. His master's degree in American Indian studies is also from the University of Arizona.

At NMSU, Graham earned bachelor's degrees in history and anthropology in 1984 and teacher certification in 1986. He taught social sciences classes and coached football and baseball for one year at Grants High School and for seven years at Gadsden High School.

"My operating philosophy is based in true relationships. Supportive relationships form the foundation on which self-confidence and motivation are built," Graham said. "It is important for students and community members to feel there are people in the institutions who are genuinely concerned about their issues. Relationships are built on that kind of trust."