- More than 70 participants from around the United States and Canada
participated in a three-day National Indian Youth Leadership Project
at the All Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Participants
were introduced to Project Venture, a model program developed in
the 1980s that targets regional middle schools with large Native
at-risk student populations with alternatives to alcohol, tobacco
and other drug abuse.
participate in a year-long experiential adventure-based activities
that include hiking, backpacking, rafting, snowboarding, rock climbing
and ropes course incorporating traditional American Indian values.
The learning approach incorporates traditional teaching elements
of biology, science, social studies, history and geography in an
outdoor environment. Mount Taylor is home to New Mexico's largest
rope courses and is the home of Project Venture's summer camp and
Acoma Tribal Courts collaborated with NIYLP's Project Venture and
New Sunrise Treatment Center to establish a site at Acoma on Feb.
3. The program is geared to high-risk behavior and are referred
to Project Venture through court order or through the truancy program,"
said Acoma Pueblo Tribal Courts Administrator Janice Garcia.
had our first orientation on Jan. 27. Family members were told about
Project Venture Students meet on-site with trained NIYLP Project
Venture staff. In July Project Venture students will attend a one-week
session that includes hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
We are trying to get our children involved in our traditions, culture
and reconnecting with Mother Earth. We don't really have anything
on the reservation. A lot of our children are listening to their
IPods and don't know their language and culture," said Garcia.
Funding for Project Venture comes from various sources, including
federal grants, private fundraising, community contributions, school
districts or a combination of programs.
Laguna Pueblo's Superintendent of Education Dr. Anthony Fairbanks
confirmed Laguna is an active participant in Project Venture. The
Laguna program uses a multi-disciplinary approach collaborating
between graduate student fellows in the sciences and K-12 teachers
in the school.
Bernalillo Public School District Superintendent Barbara Vigil-Lowder
also confirmed the school district utilizes the Project Venture
model through its Native American liaison department. Tim Martinez,
a Bernalillo school coach, participated in the recent training session
at the All Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Sandoval Pueblo, Farmington
schools, Isleta Pueblo, Pojaque Pueblo, Native American Community
College, Santa Fe Community College, Espanola and Farmington schools
are participants in NIYLP's program.
NIYLP is a non-profit public charity headquartered in Gallup.