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New Mexico Indian Education Association Records

Identifier: IAIA-MS013

Scope and Content

This collection documents the activities of a non-profit organization that existed for twenty years in New Mexico. New Mexico Indian Education Association's main goal was curriculum development. The organization existed in Albuquerque from 1981 and then in Santa Fe and various locations near and in Santa Fe after 1989. The organization’s board changed over time, but many key people such as Julia Nathanson, Catherine Coulter and Wilson Romero stayed involved. The NMIEA’s original directorship consisted of individuals who were concerned with the quality of New Mexico Student Education and how the students were taught history through only one view.

The NMIEA was very active in obtaining funds not only for its own continuation and projects, but for other local groups focused on similar objectives. The Association was fairly self-sufficient after sales of curriculum volumes started to take place. The Administration Series would be useful to individuals searching for examples on the set-up and organization of a non-profit, as well as good examples of successful grant writing procedures.

Administrative records are represented from 1986 although there is one short memo from 1984. There is a large group of Administration documents missing from NMIEA’s records. When NMIEA was in the process of moving from Albuquerque to the College of Santa Fe’s campus in 1989, their computers and other office equipment were stolen. According to a note written by Julia Nathanson dated October 5, 1993 the equipment was possibly stolen by in-house security persons. This accounts for missing records and reports from 1985 to 1989.

Board activities and Minutes were actively kept from 1992 to 1994 but most years there were no meeting documentation. This doesn’t mean there were no meetings, just that the documentation was not included in this collection. NMIEA documents show that the organization filed Federal as well as State tax forms from 1986 to 1994. IRS form 2758 was filed from 1988 to 1994. In the 1991-1992 tax year, The reason NMIEA gave for filing IRS form 2758, a request for extra time to file taxes was: “No money, no staff, the two volunteers who take care of business were out of state at the time. During the week of the date due, we were presenting at conferences.” No IRS forms were filed in 1999 because John Roberts, the financial Manager said NMIEA did not have enough income.

NMIEA’s focus was to show school children that there were historical perspectives other than the ones usually taught in Public Schools. This was accomplished by producing and publishing eight different volumes of New Mexico History books and teacher guides for distribution to local schools, both Indian and public. The books were approved by the New Mexico State Instructional Materials Division which means they were available to all educators statewide. These volumes are:

"Indian Perspectives in New Mexico History." This publication was developed to address the need expressed by educators and parents for instructional materials that reflect the presence and contributions of the indigenous cultures of the southwest from 1692-present. The text was designed for seventh grade New Mexico History Students.

"Activities For Indian Perspectives." This publication was developed as an accompanying teacher’s guide for Indian Perspectives in New Mexico History.

"Visions and Life Journeys" Vol. I-IV These volumes were developed specifically for Native American Adult Learners. They were written for elementary reading levels with stories that would appeal to adult interest. The volumes contain interviews with contemporary New Mexican Indian leaders in different fields such as tribal administration, education, business, arts sciences, etc. The interviews focus on the challenges and choices each had made as well as their contributions and roles within their communities. Volume I focuses on different professional life stories; Volume II focuses on Leadership concepts, Volume III is about overcoming handicaps or obstacles and Volume IV deals with environmental awareness and understanding

"The Teacher Activity Guide to Visions and Life Journeys." This publication was developed to accompany and expand upon the Visions and Life Journeys volumes.

"Walking the Path to Prevention: The Mysterious Disease." This publication was written by Phil Belone of the Navajo Nation. This small printed booklet was produced while NMIEA was acting as the head of the NMIECE. Its purpose was to help Native people understand how to avoid contracting Hauntavirus.

The collection of publications is particularly strong in biographical information on individuals highlighted in the Visions and Life Journeys Series, including many photographs of each individual. This is unique because many people interviewed in this series had never been interviewed before, and many would never have consented to interviews if not for the connection with NMIEA board members and staff

NMIEA utilized a computer based accounting system and records were kept on a MacIntosh computer using Quicken to keep track of expenditures and income. Pagemaker 1.2, 2.0 and 4.2, Word 6.0 and Works were all used for the production of text for the educational volumes. The Media Series of this collection contains a large group of backup microdisks from these programs.

This collection has a small group of ephemera which includes stationary, envelopes and rubber stamps. The oversized series contains original artwork on paper produced for inclusion in the volumes, original proofs of the volumes and large transparencies mainly for the production of the "Hantavirus" booklet.


  • 1981-2009
  • Majority of material found in 1990-1995

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Access is by appointment only. There may be restrictions to this collection; please contact the archivist for more information. IAIA reserves the right to restrict any or all materials as necessary to protect IAIA, American Indian religious and cultural practices, and individual and financial privacy.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials is allowed for research purposes. It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Institute of American Indian Arts, its board, faculty, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Project History

The New Mexico Indian Education Association (NMIEA) was incorporated on December 10, 1981 under the provisions of the Non-Profit Corporation Act of New Mexico. The Association received an advanced ruling letter from the Internal Revenue Service on June 29, 1988 determining that the Association was exempt from federal income taxes under IRS Code Section 501(c)(3). NMIEA existed in New Mexico until July 2009. The Association was largely funded by five grants from the Federal Office of the Department of Education through the Indian Education Act from 1982 to 1991, and then in part by grants from the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy and the Chamiza Foundation from 1991 to 1995. The majority of the records span from 1990 to 1995 when NMIEA was actually writing and publishing New Mexico History textbooks for Middle School Students and Native American Adult Learners. The publications were used by almost seventy different school districts, independent book sellers and various organizations across New Mexico. Orders for these textbooks came not only from New Mexico but twelve different States and Canada as well. By 1994, NMIEA had received almost $17,000.00 in book orders.

The first president of NMIEA was Jack Hopkins who served from 1981 to 1983. Gerald Brown was president from 1984 to 1986. Julia Nathanson (Navajo) became the president after 1986 and then Leona Zastrow took over at the request of the board in 1999 until the organization ended in 2009. NMIEA was governed by an eight person Board of Directors in accordance to non-profit organizational requirements and extended membership to educators involved in Indian Education and American Indians. Board activities spanned mainly from 1988 to 1995. The Project Directors were full time paid positions and were held by Ellen Perez in 1989, Bonnie Knowshisgun from 1989 to 1990, Dr. Catherine Coulter from 1990 to 1995. Corrine Sanchez replaced Dr Coulter in 1995 and then sometime during 1995, Dolly Naranjo Niekrug became Director.

On January 25, 1994, a contract between NMIEA and the State of New Mexico’s Department of Education was signed and was a result of NMIEA responding to a Request For Proposals, a process initiated in 1993. This contract was in effect until June 30, 1995 and provided that NMIEA would be responsible for operationalizing the New Mexico Indian Education Center for Excellence (NMIECE). According to the contract, NMIEA was required to provide and manage a separate staff, develop a Steering Committee, coordinate meetings, search and apply for grants and funding, develop curriculum and research data needs.

NMIECE was established in 1990 and located at Pojoaque Pueblo. Its mission was to improve educational opportunities for Native American Students and to strengthen partnerships among schools and Tribes as well as to identify tribal perspectives. NMIECE also offered "Local Initiatives" grants to tribes, schools and organizations. Fifty percent of funds received at NMIECE went directly to schools and served 30,473 Native American Students. NMIECE was governed by a Joint Powers Agreement signed by 22 public school superintendents and the NM Department of Education. NMIECE researched and published statistics on Indian Education, showing drop-out rates. Employment and test scores compared to non-indians. NMIEA and NMIECE’s goals were similar and it is not surprising that the two organizations would mesh.

NMIEA disbanded in 2009 after the board and directors could no longer continue the mission of the organization due to other responsibilities.

From 1999, the records for NMIEA were in the possession of Dr. Leona Zastrow and stored in two metal file cabinets. The records were then moved to Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) by Ryan Flahive, IAIA Archivist, on July 27, 2009.


11 Boxes, 1 oversized drawer (10 cu ft). The collection is located on the campus of the Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Archives are located in the Library and Technology Center


MS013 consists of materials originating from the New Mexico Indian Education Association's administrative and publication activities.


The collection was received in original order but was re-arranged at the file level to facilitate researcher use. Most of the documents are in the original order within the files at item level. Paper clips were removed from the files but staples were left in place mainly due to time constraints and the fact that the files are kept in conditions not conducive for rust. The files arrived at IAIA in good but slightly dusty condition. The collection was arranged and described by Dena Lewis Hunt and Ryan Flahive. The collection has been organized into five series:

I. Business Administration

II. Educational Volumes

III. Media

IV. Ephemera

V. Oversized Items
Guide to the New Mexico Indian Education Association Records, 1981-2009
Edited Full Draft
Dena Hunt, Ryan Flahive
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the Institute of American Indian Arts Repository