Dear Relatives, Friends, and Allies of Cultural Survival,
After deep and serious consideration, I have decided to leave my position as the Executive Director of Cultural Survival. As a Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa person, I am passionately committed to honoring the rights of Indigenous Peoples and sustaining our cultures, spiritual traditions, and ways of life. I have dedicated my life to this work. The mission and work of Cultural Survival with Indigenous Peoples and local communities advocating in partnership for their rights, cultures, languages, lands, and territories has been fulfilling and rewarding. I recognize that as Indigenous Peoples we have much more work to do on these fronts and for this reason, my decision was difficult to make. However, I am confident that new leadership and the staff at Cultural Survival will continue the work with the same passion and dedication.
It was my honor and opportunity to step into the leadership of Cultural Survival as the first Indigenous executive director in 2011. I commend the Board of Directors for their commitment to promoting Indigenous leadership. The staff and I worked diligently through our programs to amplify the voices of Indigenous Peoples, build an international Indigenous media platform, advocate for the right to freedom of expression in national and international court systems, provide grants and resources to Indigenous communities to support their self-determination, and to support cultural and community-based economic enterprises. We have been especially committed to providing youth fellowships and opportunities for emerging future leaders and supporting the leadership of Indigenous women. As an NGO, we are committed to Indigenous Peoples' self-determination and the principle and process of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in all of our work—we honor the very principles for which we advocate. I am proud of what we have achieved together. Cultural Survival has been a significant part of my life and as I return to my home community and turn my attention to family obligations, I will continue the advocacy work locally.
I will continue to support Cultural Survival through my departure and beyond. Moreover, I will stay committed and involved in the rights-based work of Indigenous Peoples. To all my relatives, our friends, and allies around the world Ahe̒hee' (Navajo for “in appreciation”) for the opportunity to serve you.
Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa