By Benny Shendo
PUEBLO OF JEMEZ Tribal Administrator
Governor Joseph A. Toya, Tribal Administrator Benny Shendo Jr. , Councilman Dr. Raymond Loretto and Grants and Contracts Coordinator Jeri Loretto attended the quarterly meeting of the Self-Governance Tribes Advisory committee in Washington, DC on Oct. 23-27. The Pueblo of Jemez is the only tribe in New Mexico that has exercised its authority to take control of its programs from Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In addition to the self-Governance meeting, they had an opportunity to visit with Commissioner Michael O’Reilly of the Federal Communications Commission as well as staff members of the other four commissioners. This meeting was a follow-up from Governor Toya’s visit with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in Twin Arrows, AZ in August for the Tribal consultation hosted by the FCC.
In June 2017, the tribal consortium of Jemez and Zia Pueblos were awarded $3.9 million in E-rate dollars to bring fiber (high speed internet) to our communities. This project will benefit San Diego Riverside Charter School, Jemez Day School, Walatowa High Charter School, Jemez Community Library, T’siya Day School and T’siya Community Library. Because the award was made towards the end of the grant period, we are requesting the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) commissioners to extend the deadline to June 30, 2018 so we can complete the project in a timely fashion.
While in Washington, Governor Toya and Administrator Shendo also visited with Patricia Hirami, Associate Deputy Chief of State, Private and Tribal Forestry, and some US Forest Service staff to discuss partnerships with the USFS, in particular work that is available on our ancestral lands