Press Release

May 17, 2023


IAD Contact: Sherrie Catanach  

PED Contact: Kelly Pearce  

ECECD Contact: Micah McCoy 

HED Contact: Stephanie J. Montoya 

Discussions centered on improving educational outcomes for Native American students

TAMAYA – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, state education leaders, and dozens of leaders from sovereign Native American tribes, nations, and pueblos in New Mexico came together for the two-day Government-to-Government Summit held last week.

“Meaningful government-to-government relations are paramount in our shared mission to ensure Native American students are receiving the education they deserve,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “These meetings are always incredibly productive, and I’m grateful to tribal leadership for their steadfast partnership in the education space.”

The Semi-Annual Government-to-Government Indian Education Summit was held last week at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel. It explored solutions and opportunities to improve outcomes for Native American students statewide. Last school year, 47,463 Native American students were enrolled in K-12 schools, 13,704 Native American students were enrolled in a New Mexico college, and 6,427 Native American children were enrolled in early childhood care programs and services.

“I am dedicated to listening to tribal leaders to make sure that we are building what is identified as priorities in terms of student educational opportunities and outcomes,” said Public Education Department Secretary Arsenio Romero. “The Governor and all the education leaders are in lockstep on the critical nature of that mission.”

“As we work to strengthen efforts to improve education for New Mexico’s Native American students, the Indian Affairs Department remains committed to fostering productive and innovative partnerships with tribal leadership, tribal education experts, families, and state agencies,” said Cabinet Secretary Designate James R. Mountain.

The Early Childhood Education and Care, Public Education, Higher Education and Indian Affairs departments participated in the meetings, presentations and panel discussions, including updates on this year’s legislative session.

“ECECD is honored to continue its partnership with the 23 pueblos, tribes, and nations and look forward to supporting the unique educational priorities of each community,” said ECECD Cabinet Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky. “We know that culturally and linguistically relevant early education and care is vital to ensuring that Native American families and children are thriving. We are excited about the Legislature’s expanded investments in Tribal early education, and look forward to working in consultation with Tribal education departments to increase access for thousands of Native American families to programs and services, prenatal to age five, that reflect their culture, language, and values.”

“The New Mexico Higher Education Department went into this year’s legislative session with our sights set on measures that directly benefit Native American students, educators, and communities, and with the strong support of Gov. Lujan Grisham and Tribal partners, we delivered,” said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez. “With full, recurring funding for the Opportunity Scholarship, substantial investments in the Tribal College Dual Credit Program, capital outlay dollars at Tribal colleges, and $2.25 million to establish two statewide technical assistance centers, we are empowering Native American students and families to be successful from cradle to career.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham is dedicating $51.6 million to Native American education in FY24, starting from birth to career. The Indian Education Fund received an investment of $20 million, the Early Childhood Education and Care Department received additional funds for the Tribal Investment Strategy, and Native American students will have continued access to tuition-free college through the Opportunity Scholarship. Additionally, the state enacted the Tribal Education Technical Assistance Centers Act with support from Tribal leaders, and the new law will support tribal entities.

Photos from the event are available here.


Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham launched the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) in 2020, making New Mexico among the first states to consolidate all early childhood programs and services under a single cabinet-level agency. Under this administration, ECECD has led the nation by expanding access to free New Mexico PreK, overseeing the largest investment in early childhood infrastructure in state history, and implementing cost-free child care for a majority of New Mexico families. Learn more about how ECECD supports children, families, and the early childhood professionals that serve our communities at On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @NewMexicoECECD.