SIPI Hosts DOI Race Initiative PanelAug 15th, 1998 | By tcj | Category: 10-1: Teaching Math and Science, Tribal College News
The Department of the Interior held its Race Initiative Panel on natural resource usage in the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) gymnasium April 16 in Albuquerque, N.M. It was modeled after President Clinton’s Initiative on Race, which is designed “to help educate the nation about the facts surrounding the issue of race” and to “promote constructive dialogue.” The Interior panel at SIPI was one of several held around the nation at Interior sites this year. The Interior Department utilized the latest in satellite broadcast equipment and production experience at SIPI in order to create a professional presentation of the New Mexico Dialogue on Race and Natural Resources. Gary Garrison was the satellite broadcast expert.
The dialogue featured a panel of experts interacting with a “studio audience” of representatives from key ethnic and natural resource groups. It was available live through satellite downlink to over 100 colleges and high schools in the New Mexico region. “Those watching the discussion found it germane to the critical racial issues in the future of the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, and there was a commitment to carry forward the message resulting from the dialogue,” said David Montoya, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Workforce Diversity.
Issues included water and land use in connection to urban development, tribal responsibility in perpetuating Native languages, the need for minority representation in the Department of the Interior’s permanent memorials, and ethnic and cultural interactions throughout the long history of New Mexico.
Several students from SIPI, a Bureau of Indian Affairs’ national Indian community college, participated from the “studio audience”, as did representatives of New Mexico’s Hispanic organizations and Albuquerque’s community activists. The Department of Interior was represented by Montoya; Sylvia Baca, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals; Eluid Martinez, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation; and Ken Paquin, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs.