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Tribal Education Could Get a Trust Fund

Buffalo Tail 2015, Oreland Joe 1958, Kirkland New Mexico, Statue outside the Roundhouse
S. Baxter Clinton
Buffalo Tail 2015, Oreland Joe 1958, Kirkland New Mexico, Statue outside the Roundhouse

House Bill 134 was able to pass through the House of Representatives with unanimous support.

The Tribal Education Trust Fund bill would strengthen the right of New Mexico’s tribes, nations, and pueblos to further empower their children.

Bill Sponsor Representative Derrick J. Lente Introduced the bill to the chamber.

“This bill is to establish a Tribal Education Trust Fund to strengthen the capacity of New Mexico's tribes, nations and pueblos, to support their native students in education. This long term investment would generate stable and consistent funding for tribal education for years to come, House Bill 2 currently sits in the Senate and includes an appropriation of $50 million to establish said Tribal Education Trust Fund.”

The fund would make an annual 5% distribution to the Public Education Department that would then be disbursed to New Mexico’s 23 tribes, nations, and pueblos.

Representative Anthony Allison spoke of the historical inequities with government education and indigenous people and believes this is a turning point.

“This legislation is the beginning of that change. More important than the money of $50 million is the idea that a trust fund be established and our sovereign nations being named as the beneficiaries on behalf of their children. This action speaks volumes that we could and can be that change in New Mexico, this is historic and monumental. This will be the first of its kind in the nation. This legislation will be one of my proudest moments in my service here as a legislator.”

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.