Governor Susana Martinez and Tribal Leaders from New Mexico's 22
tribes, nations and pueblos met today for the Annual State-Tribal Leaders Summit in Mescalero. The fourth annual summit, and Governor Martinez's second while in office, was welcomed by tribal and state leaders alike.
"Today was a truly beneficial and cooperative opportunity to engage in our common challenges and strengthen the relationships between state and tribal leaders," said Governor Susana Martinez. "We will continue our work together to provide the best possible education for our children, promote a positive business environment that allows our communities to thrive, and ensure that New Mexicans of all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed."
The State Tribal Collaboration Act provides the framework for the state and tribes to work together to develop successful solutions to the many challenges that face New Mexico's Native American citizens. In addition it also mandates a yearly Summit. The Act requires cabinet-level agencies to develop policies that promote beneficial collaboration between the state and tribal governments; designate agency tribal liaisons; provide for culturally appropriate training to state agency employees who work with tribes; and, provide annual reporting that accounts for each agency's accomplishments pursuant to the Act.
"There is no doubt that today's agenda covered a multitude of concerns from the tribes," added Department of Indian Affairs Secretary Arthur Allison. "While there is still work left to do, we have the framework in place and partnerships, both old and new, to tackle these concerns in a productive manner that strengthens the government-to-government relations."
Topics discussed at the Summit included Indian education, water rights and natural resources, tribal infrastructure and economic development, and State-Tribal relations. The Mescalero Apache Tribe hosted this year's Summit.