FE Christine Sims of Acoma Pueblo and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish
were both honored Tuesday for their work with American Indian
children during a Senate committee hearing held as part of Native
American Day at the Legislature.
was honored for her work in preserving native languages.
Indian nation is not going to survive if we dont have our
language and culture," said Carlotta Penny Bird, assistant
secretary for Indian Education, in introducing Sims.
said that of the 300 to 400 native languages once in existence,
only about 175 remain, and only about 20 or 30 of those are still
being taught to children.
hope we have the support of the Legislature, tribal leaders and
people in the community to ensure a new generation of speakers of
these languages," Sims said. "These languages cannot go
on without producing speakers in our communities. We cant
replenish the supply without teaching within our communities. We
have to generate new generations of speakers."
said they are still dealing with the legacy of their elders being
told they could no longer speak their native languages.
hoping to reverse that, but it takes a long time," she said.
was honored for her work in heading the new Mexico Childrens
Cabinet, which is working to deal with several issues involving
children. She said the committee has talked with Native and non-Native
residents throughout the state.
we found was, for the most part, we share common problems and we
share common dreams for our state," she said.
from the Navajo, Zuni and Mescalero Apache nations each addressed
Dayish, Jr., vice president of the Navajo Nation, said the Navajo
were working to stimulate their economy in three areas agriculture,
mining and manufacturing.
we dont have a lot of manufacturing in our area, but we want
to explore those opportunities," he said.
said that health care was a major concern for the nation, and urged
the Legislature not to make cuts in the Medicaid program that have
been suggested by Gov. Bill Richardson.
like to appeal to the Legislature to help us and to not limit the
resources in that area," Dayish said.