Fourteen Los Alamos High School Students Participate In American Indian Day At State Legislature

Students from Los Alamos High School Native American Culture Club participate in American Indian Day Thursday at the New Mexico Legislature, Courtesy/LAPS

LAHS students from the Native American Culture Club participate in American Indian Day Thursday at the New Mexico Legislature, Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

Fourteen students from the Los Alamos High School Native American Culture Club participated in American Indian Day, “Paving the Way for the Future: Centering and Uplifting Indigenous Voices”, at the New Mexico Legislature.

The day started with a presentation including an honor song, a welcome address by the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, the reading of the American Indian Day Proclamation and remarks from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, remarks from Tribal leadership and a dance performance.

Students toured the Roundhouse and visited the Governor’s office. They had the opportunity to meet with Senators Leo Jaramillo (District 5) and Brenda McKenna (District 9 and Nambe Pueblo). Senator Jaramillo invited students onto the floor and encouraged them to become active in the legislative process. “He encouraged them to become student interns,” said Julie Dare, one of the trip sponsors and the Los Alamos Public Schools Liaison for Native American Students and Families.

Kimberly Engelking, sponsor of the LAHS Native American Culture Club, and Sigrid Wurthman, LAPS Reading Specialist, also accompanied the group.

“I really liked when Senator Jaramillo told us about the power of our voices,” said junior Carlissa Epperson. “It really struck me and made me feel like I had the power to make a difference.”

Following the morning at the Capitol, students were invited to Santa Fe Indian School for the community luncheon and traditional dances and singing. 

“I found the experience enlightening and thoroughly intriguing,” said Gabrielle Mowrer, a senior at LAHS. “As a Native American, I found comfort in witnessing a day in honor of us, in addition to observing others’ happiness.”

“I would say that the trip to the Legislature was eventful,” sophomore Sydney Lujan said. “When we first arrived we got to meet Senator Branda McKenna and Senator Leo Jaramillo, then we toured around the round house, which was interesting. After we left, we went to SIFS (Santa Fe Indian School) where we got to eat lunch with others and watched some traditional performances.” 

“It was really cool,” noted Jared Muzzle, an 11th grader. “I have never done anything like this before, so it was a fun experience. I hope I get to do it again.”

“What I found most interesting about visiting the Roundhouse was how diverse the place was with many different Native communities and tribes,” Hailey Duran noted. “It was nice to see people come together for such an important day.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of this trip. I appreciated the people who contributed to making this trip the best that it could be. I learned the importance of how our voices have an impact on New Mexican lawmaking.”

Other LAHS students who attended were Santiago Duran, David Gonzales, Cameron Medina-Torres, Valerie Olivas, Seneca Tsoodle, Amera Shije, Victoria Babcock, Kaylynn Tapia and Kira Tapia.

The Native American Culture Club is open to students attending Los Alamos High School and meets the first and third Thursdays of the month during lunch.

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