TITLE: Encouraging the President of the United States of America to nominate Dr. Estevan Rael- Gálvez as the 10th Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the President of the United States is poised to nominate the tenth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities; and
WHEREAS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency created in 1965, serves and strengthens our union by promoting excellence in the humanities and supporting research, programming and convenings in communities across the nation; and
WHEREAS, the humanities are essential to American Indian communities—past, present and future—reflecting living histories, cultures and languages; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez has been submitted to the Presidential Personnel Office as the potential nominee; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez’s was born and raised in the rural villages of northern Taos County, New Mexico, with roots in both Hispanic and American Indian communities, including Taos Pueblo, Navajo and Pawnee; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez’s professional research, work and advocacy has reflected a deep understanding, appreciation and tireless dedication to protecting sacred sites, preserving traditions and language and revealing the breadth and depth of American Indian histories and cultures; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his master’s and doctoral degrees in American Cultures from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; and
WHEREAS, with training as a social historian and cultural anthropologist, Dr. Rael-Gálvez completed an award-winning and profoundly important dissertation that focused on the experience and histories of American Indian slavery in the southwest and its legacy in forging unique identities in New Mexico and Colorado; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez served for nine years as the State Historian of New Mexico, creating unprecedented initiatives, including a scholars-in-residence program, internship program, and the award-winning New Mexico Digital History Project, all of which were inclusive and highlighted histories, scholars and students from Pueblo, Navajo, Ute, Apache, Comanche, Piute, Pawnee and other Indian communities; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez served as the Chairman of the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee, the state’s statutory body charged with identifying and advising on the protection of New Mexico’s cultural properties; and among his many achievements, Dr. Rael- Gálvez led the effort to amend the New Mexico Cultural Properties Act to add a tribal member to the committee, and led the committee through many efforts to protect sacred sites, including by placing Mount Taylor on the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez also served as the Executive Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, where he successfully implemented programming to highlight the lives and culture of American Indians, such as “Field to Feast,” a community celebration and meaningful collaboration with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to build appreciation, understanding, and cross-cultural dialogue of the agricultural and culinary legacies - as well as living traditions - shared between Pueblo and Hispano communities of New Mexico; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Historic Sites for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he leads efforts to support the conservation of some of the nation’s most significant historic places, such as the Pueblo of Acoma; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez, truly a cultural diplomat grounded in humility, has devoted his life and career to storytelling, all in the effort to reveal the delicacy and strength of the human condition; to awaken memory; to deepen understanding; and to develop knowledge that is transformative; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Rael-Gálvez will use his passion for the power of storytelling, his considerable leadership skills, his sterling academic training, and his well-honed advocacy acumen to lift up the National Endowment for the Humanities to the highest levels, thereby illuminating for all Americans the importance of the humanities, illustrating their utility, and inspiring life-altering connections.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI wholeheartedly endorses Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez as the next Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and urges the President of the United States, the Honorable Barack Obama, to nominate him swiftly to the United States Congress for their approval.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.