Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Program Returns to Wilson School for Fifth Consecutive Year
During the week of June 18 to June 22, 2012, the Woodrow Wilson School is once again hosting the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute's Summer Policy Academy. The program brings American Indian rising seniors and recent high school graduates to Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School for a week-long program of intensive sessions where they explore the issues facing American Indian communities, including how federal policies affect native tribal communities. Students are nominated to participate in the program each year by their teachers, community leaders, business professionals, and their tribal leaders. This year, 16 American Indian students from pueblos throughout New Mexico are participating in the policy academy.
Through roundtable discussions, case studies and presentations by American Indian leaders and academics, the students examine Indian policy making on the federal level and the current political climate; indigenous rights with regards to language, land and culture; community planning, land, food production and food security; education, health, and violence against native women. Students are divided into groups where they discuss the various issues, conduct research and writing, and, by weeks end, finalize position papers on each of the topics.
“We view the Summer Policy Academy here at the Wilson School as a unique opportunity for young members of the American Indian community to enhance their higher education aspirations, particularly in public policy and international affairs,: says Jose Ochoa, director of Master of Public Policy (MPP) admissions and programs at the Wilson School.
The Summer Policy Academy was the brain-child of Regis Pecos, a 1977 Princeton alumnus who is the director of the leadership program and chief of staff to New Mexico’s Speaker of the House. Says Pecos, “The students participating in the Academy not only get an understanding of public policy and policy-making, but during the week on the Princeton campus recognize that they, too, can help guide the future well-being of their people.”
Among those scheduled to participate in the Princeton discussions are: Kevin Gover ’78, former assistant secretary at the Department of Interior under the Clinton Administration; Corrine Sanchez, co-founder of Tewa Women United, a New Mexico Women’s Advocate Organization; Michele Suina, a health educator at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center; Rebecca Rae, a regional planner from the Anderson School of Management University of New Mexico; Francis Vigil, administrator, early college coordinator, and athletic director at Walatowa High Charter School; and Faith Rosetta, teacher and student coordinator for the Summer Policy Academy through the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School.
The students will then travel to Washington, DC, where they will have the opportunity to present their findings and policy recommendations to members and staff on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, as well as meet with, among others, various federal policy-makers. As part of their visit to DC, they will also meet with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’77.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the Wilson School has hosted the Academy.