KUNM

Native America

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Acoma Pueblo is considered the oldest continually inhabited community in North America. And only about a hundred people or so still speak the Acoma Keres language. Many of those fluent speakers gathered earlier this month in Acoma to record their voices, saving words, concepts and culture. They’re hoping that someday soon, young people will speak the language, too.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

President Donald Trump signed an executive action on Tuesday approving the Dakota Access Pipeline, which water protectors have been working to stop for months. In Albuquerque on Wednesday, people gathered outside the tall Wells Fargo bank Downtown to try and stanch the flow of money to the project known as DAPL. 

Ed Williams/KUNM

Demonstrators are preparing for winter at their camp in North Dakota, aiming to stop a pipeline that would carry crude oil under the Missouri River from being built. Protesters marched in solidarity Albuquerque on Tuesday, Nov. 15, as part of a national day of action against the pipeline.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Candidates in this year’s presidential election have been tight-lipped about the fight against an oil pipeline in North Dakota and how demonstrators there are being treated by police. That’s weighing on Sharon Chavez, who is Navajo and Hopi-Tewa. She’s a retired educator who’s lived in San Felipe Pueblo for 47 years. She talked with KUNM about what it means for her as a woman to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

Melissa Tso member of the Red Nation and the Party for Socialism and Liberation

Police violence against people of color has been at the forefront of national debate in recent months. And in New Mexico, a group advocating for indigenous concerns called the Red Nation has been active on this issue since the killing of James Boyd two years ago.

In the wake of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike’s death in Shiprock on the Navajo Nation, questions have surfaced about law enforcement resources, a late Amber Alert and legal jurisdiction for the crime that’s being tried in federal court. Hand-in-hand with those concerns is also the high rate of assault on Native women.

Deleana OtherBull, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, says talking about these issues is tough, but it has to happen to support health and wellness in tribal communities. 

Tribal College Students Simulate Mars

Mar 30, 2016
Elaine Baumgartel / KUNM


A small battery operated rover rolls back and forth across a tiled floor. It slowly jerks past foam boulders and a green Martian cutout. A few feet away a student types on a computer, controlling the vehicle. The mini-Mars yard room is in full swing at the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

When Native American people move to Albuquerque from more rural parts of the state, some say the transition can be tough. And a community center that provides basic resources is in danger of shutting its doors. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

A community center that’s helped thousands of urban Native Americans in this region over the last two decades is facing possible closure. 

The Albuquerque Indian Center is known for providing culturally sensitive services tailored to the needs of Native Americans. On an average morning there, people dig through piles of donated clothes in the main room, look over free bread in the kitchen and drop in to check their mail. 

Ed Williams


The Secretary of the Interior met with leaders of Isleta Pueblo Friday to return nearly 90,000 acres of ancestral land to the tribe.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

UPDATE 8/25 at 12:30 p.m.: President Russell Begaye is awaiting soil and sediment samples from the Navajo Nation's Environmental Protection Agency before deciding whether to remove restrictions on irrigation from the San Juan River, according to spokesperson Mihio Manus. Begaye, a farmer himself who's relied on the river, met with farmers in Shiprock on Thursday, Aug. 20. 

*****

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Gold King Mine spill caused the shut down of San Juan River irrigation to farms on the Navajo Nation. Emergency stopgap measures aren’t quite panning out. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Update Aug. 18, 11:30 a.m.: The EPA said the water for the Navajo Nation came from nearby Bloomfield and met state and federal quality standards. The trucks came from a division of an Aztec, N.M.-based company, Triple S Trucking, that moves non-potable water. The company also hauls fluids to and from oil fields. KUNM awaits comment from Triple S. 

Looking Within Report

Residents of McKinley County in northwestern New Mexico have long complained of health problems associated with uranium mining. A new study looks at the health impacts the uranium mining industry may have caused there.

Nearly 100 of the 520 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo land are in McKinley County. That area is also home to the decades-old Church Rock Tailings Spill, one of the worst radioactive disasters in American history.

Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant spilled nearly 6 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Rio Grande last Friday. Public Health New Mexico’s Ed Williams reports there was an equipment failure at one of the plant’s pumping facilities.

Officials with the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant say there was a spike in power during last week’s heavy snowstorm. That power spike disabled a pump station.

Plant Operations Manager Charles Leder says backup systems should have protected the facility from power fluctuations.

Silver Bullet Production

There are 22 Native American tribes in New Mexico and on Thursday 2/19 at 7p, New Mexico PBS will air a documentary that weaves the voices of many women from these communities into one story.

Pamela Pierce is one of the producers of the film called A Thousand Voices. She told KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel that the film grew out of conversations she had after completing another local film project on Pueblo sovereignty.

Oil Industry Creeps Up On Chaco Communities

Feb 9, 2015
Johnny Clark via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 2/12 8a: 

Oil and gas development may be moving closer to Chaco Canyon National Historical Park and the many tribal communities in northwestern New Mexico. Residents there, along with archaeologists and advocates, are questioning the burgeoning development. 

What effect might encroachment have upon these communities? What about nearby ancient sites? How can we strike a balance between modern day energy needs, healthy communities and the preservation of ancient sites?