The State of New Mexico is home to 23 Native American Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations – each with a unique language, history, and culture. Equity is a core value that drives ECECD’s vision and mission, and ECECD seeks relationships with Tribal governments and Tribal education programs that are respectful, collaborative, and supportive of each community’s unique educational goals.
About the Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Education and Care
The Early Childhood Education and Care Department Act of 2019 mandated the appointment of an Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Education and Care, making ECECD the first early childhood department in the nation to have a dedicated position to strengthen government-to-government relationships related to prenatal to age five programs and services NMSA 1978, § 9-29-3(B).
Key Duties of the Assistant Secretary
- Provide administration, coordination, and oversight of Indian early childhood education
- Collaborate with state and federal partners and agencies, Tribal governments, eligible providers, and community partners.
- Consult with Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations to support culturally, linguistically, and historically relevant curricula and learning guidelines for Tribal and non-Tribal students.
- Assist school districts and educational agencies to expand appropriate Indian education programs for infants, toddlers, children, youth, and families pursuant to Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
- Seek funding to establish and strengthen programs related to infants, toddlers, children, youth, and families.
- Ensure that language and cultural considerations are included in programs administered through the department.
Click here to learn more about ECECD’s Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Education and Care, Cotillion Sneddy.
ECECD'S 2023 State Tribal Collaboration Act (STCA) Annual Report
Annual Reports on State-Tribal Collaboration and Services to Native Americans are created by 31 cabinet-level agencies and compiled by the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department.
The Annual Reports on State-Tribal Collaboration and Services to Native Americans include a detailed overview of the services and programs offered by each agency, as well as important information regarding agency progress in furthering state-tribal relations.
Click here to view all STCA reports.
2022-2023 Tribal Goals and Objectives
ECECD has integrated Native American early education and care into the core of its strategic plan. As outlined in Goal 3 of ECECD’s five year strategic plan for years 2022-2027: ECECD will expand and deepen government-to-government relationships and agreements with all Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations with a focus on consultation, culture, language, data sharing, and facility improvements to improve outcomes for Native American families and young children.
- Objective 3.1 – An active and engaged ECECD Early Childhood Tribal Advisory Coalition works with ECECD to support desired outcomes of each Tribal community.
- Objective 3.2 – Tribal communities are supported by ECECD to address early childhood facilities needs.
- Objective 3.3 – The Tribal investment strategy grows to support the defined outcomes of Tribal communities.
- Objective 3.4 – Tribal communities are supported in the development of a culturally and linguistically relevant early childhood workforce.
- Objective 3.5 – Tribal communities and ECECD collaboration is supported.
Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs)
ECECD recognizes the national and educational sovereignty of Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations within New Mexico. In respect for this sovereignty, ECECD formalizes educational partnerships with Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations through Intergovernmental Agreements.
In 2023, New Mexico passed House Bill 148 (HB 148), the Early Childhood Department Tribal Agreements Act, which amends the duties of the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) by requiring ECECD to enter into Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with Indian Nations, Tribes, Pueblos, or Tribal organizations to plan, conduct, administer, and reimburse early childhood education and care programs. Although ECECD standardized the practice of entering into IGAs with tribal communities since 2021 under its Tribal Investment Strategy funding stream, HB 148 continues that future executive administrations are required to honor IGAs made with Tribal communities. HB 148 provides a stable foundation for collaboration between the State of New Mexico and Tribal communities so early childhood education and care continue to expand and flourish.
Government-to-Government Press Releases
New Mexico executes historic expansion of New Mexico PreK partnership with tribes, pueblos, and nations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 27, 2023CONTACT Office of the Governor - Michelle Lujan Grisham...
Gov. Lujan Grisham announces historic expansion of PreK programs in New Mexico – Funding includes more than 550 new PreK slots for tribes, nations and pueblos
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 19, 2023CONTACT Office of Gov. Lujan GrishamOffice of the Governor -...
Cotillion Sneddy of Navajo Nation appointed as new ECECD Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Education and Care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 5, 2022CONTACT Jessica PrestonPR Specialist...
Statewide Early Childhood Tribal Advisory Coalition (TAC)
In FY23, ECECD, in partnership with the 23 Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations of our state, founded the Statewide Early Childhood Tribal Advisory Coalition to create a channel for regular communication and engagement with New Mexico’s tribal communities.