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Roland Cheeku Papers

Identifier: MSS-2024-02-16

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of professional and personal materials related to Roland Cheeku's long career as a housing advocate and specialist, particularly relating to federal government programs and Indian Housing.

The collection is currently unprocessed. Please consult CSWR reference staff with questions or for access.


  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 2020

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Roland M. Cheeku, Paiute/Zuni, was born in 1940, in Lovelock Indian Colony, Nevada. After graduating from high school in 1958, Cheeku attended auto diesel school in Los Angeles as part of the BIA Indian Relocation Program. Unable to find a job after his training, Cheeku returned to the reservation, married, and started a family. In 1962, Cheeku took a job as a mechanic with a well-drilling company in Logan, Utah, and moved his family there. He became associated with the Utah Migrant Council and served on its Board of Directors. This led to a position as a Housing Coordinator in Salt Lake City, where he became acquainted with a number of Indian organizations. Cheeku received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to attend American University and in 1972 became a Certified Housing Specialist. In this position, he traveled often to Washington, DC to advocate for housing programs. In 1964, Cheeku was recruited to work with the non-Indian Housing Assistance Council, and moved his family to Albuquerque to work in its Western Regional Office. He was later assigned to the Washington, DC office. As a development legislator, Cheeku assisted the staffs of New Mexico Senators Joseph Montoya and Pete Domenici and worked with tribal housing authorities across the United States. In 1976, Cheeku returned to Albuquerque. He worked as a Project Manager for the Diné company Chuska Development Inc., and as instructor in Indian Construction Management. He later worked as housing Director for Jemez Pueblo until his retirement. After retiring, Cheeku worked with the Albuquerque Indian Center through the National Indian Council on Aging and Senior Community Service Employment programs, then transferred to American Indians for Opportunity, where he established a library and research center.


26 boxes

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Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131