WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs, has awarded $159,164 to the Tse Daa K’aan Chapter of the Navajo Nation and the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) group in Zuni Pueblo.
The funding will support approximately 80 AmeriCorps service members in Tribal communities in New Mexico.
“When we invest in our national service programs, we must make sure we invest in all communities,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ranking member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “This AmeriCorps funding will help Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo receive critical assistance they need in supporting our veterans, protecting our natural resources, and promoting food sovereignty and security. It is especially important as these Tribal communities in New Mexico work to contain the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe and healthy. I will continue to fight in Washington for resources that provide essential community services that enable our neighbors, family and friends to live healthier lives in New Mexico’s Tribal communities and across Indian Country.”
"I'm proud to support these opportunities for AmeriCorpsmembers to serve their communities in this time of great need,” said Heinrich, the first AmeriCorps alum to serve in the Senate. “Tribal nations like Zuni Pueblo and the Navajo Nation continue to be severely impacted by the pandemic, but by expanding national service opportunities, we can put communities back to work with forward-looking projects. I will continue fighting to expand national service programs and invest in a long-term economic recovery in Indian Country."
“As New Mexico continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, I am grateful for this investment for AmeriCorps to work with the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo. Alongside community members, these service program participants will help provide critical support for veterans and their families, promote food sovereignty and education programs, and protect our environment,” said Luján. “This pandemic has exacerbated inequities that Tribal nations and Pueblos face, and I will continue working to address these disparities and support Tribal communities during this crisis.”
“In the midst of the COVID-19, the federal government has invested needed funds in countless communities across the nation. Yet Tribes continue to fight for sufficient federal funding despite the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on Indian Country. Through this AmeriCorps grant, Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo will receive crucial funding to better support veterans, food sovereignty, and education. I’ll keep working to ensure all New Mexicans have access to essential community services, not just through the pandemic, but always,” said Haaland.
“Our national service programs help meet community needs by working together to get things done. From taking care of our veterans and protecting precious water resources in Navajo Nation to investing in food sovereignty and education programs in Zuni Pueblo, this AmeriCorps funding is critical to supporting our Tribes and Pueblos during this difficult time. As we work to make New Mexico whole, I’m committed to finding community-based solutions and fighting for investments across our state,” said Torres Small.
The Tse Daa K'aan Chapter of the Navajo Nation will use the grant funds to provide assistance to veterans and their families in addition to river area restoration in Tse Daa K'aan. The CNCS investment of $102,164 will be matched with $66,766 in private funding.
The Community Outreach Patient Empowerment (COPE) will use the grant funds to implement food sovereignty and education activities in Zuni Pueblo. The CNCS investment of $57,000 will be matched with $18,000 in private funding.
A breakdown of the grant funding is below:
Tse Daa K'aan Chapter of the Navajo Nation, $102,164
Community Outreach Patient Empowerment (COPE), $57,000