600 students at the Santa Fe Indian School applauded when Nambé
Pueblo Gov. Tom Talache told them about plans for a meeting center
that would empower tribes.
for the United First Nations Assembly building in Santa Fe are under
way, he said. Three hundred tribes that are represented in the National
Congress of American Indians would be served by the facility, through
which tribes can broker business deals, hold conferences and document
new facility will give Native Americans a chance to be heard,"
said 16-year-old Victoria Garcia of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Garcia
acknowledged that tribes are plagued with problems such as teenage
pregnancy and drug abuse.
speech -- which spanned his teenage years on the pueblo when he
drove his mother's yellow Pinto station wagon to his governorship
today -- made Kathleen Aguilar, 16, of Santo Domingo Pueblo feel
as though she could make a difference, she said.
35-year-old governor also discussed business ventures his tribe
might embark on soon, such as a dry cleaning business and a gas
station. "We haven't ruled out going into the gaming business,"
one time, Talache was addicted to marijuana, he told the students.
"I started going to arroyo parties and cornfield parties --
we'd light a bonfire and drink," he said. But Talache eventually
stopped partying because he got tired of being a loser, he said.
Instead of taking drugs, Talache began break dancing. He also worked
at McDonald's and Wendy's.
he was 19, one of Talache's classmates drove up to the drive-up
window at Wendy's. "He was in his sophomore year of college,"
Talache said. Seeing the friend made the 19-year-old think he was
in a dead-end job. He soon joined the U.S. Navy. Aboard the U.S.S..
Independence, Talache traveled to many foreign locales, including
Japan, Singapore and South Korea. He also served during Desert Storm.
went though a lot of experiences around the world -- and discussed
other cultures," said Deborah Aguilar, 16, of Santo Domingo
Pueblo. Deborah Aguilar and Kathleen Aguilar, who are not related,
were among students sitting on bleachers listening to the governor
and watching a slide show presentation of his experiences. One of
the slides showed the governor's red Chevrolet Camaro.
he was in the operations and communications division of the U.S.
Navy, Talache had a dream of Nambé Pueblo's flag flying next
to other flags near a building, he said. Later, the governor said
he realized his dream reflected the flags of Indian nations flying
over a U.N. building for Americans Indians.
he was in the Navy, Talache had no interest in moving back to New
Mexico, he said. But years later, when the Talache's brother died,
he and his wife, Mai, settled in Nambé Pueblo.
a short time, Talache was a cashier. Later he helped a solid-waste
company obtain contracts to collect garbage in New Mexico. Talache
also worked for the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council.
was appointed lieutenant governor of Nambé Pueblo in 1999.
In 2002, he was elected governor. Talache is now in his second term
he was away from New Mexico, Talache received an associate's degree
in computer-aided design from ITT Technical Institute in Sacramento,
Calif., and attended the International Networking Association, a
school for entrepreneurs. Talache read magazines that told the stories
of successful businessmen such as Donald Trump. "You have to
dress for success," Talache said. The governor said he was
interested in people who were successful and weren't afraid to try
seemingly impossible things.
who was dressed in a suit during his speech, later changed into
a white sweat suit and white cap. He began break dancing with the
Rez Crew, a group of Indian break dancers from Pojoaque and Nambé
pueblos. Talache started the group, which has 10 core dancers, in
who has a vision for Nambé Pueblo, wants to bring his ideas
to fruition, he said. You are the future generation, he told the
crowd: "Where will you take us?"