Isolated, insensitive comments highlighted my ignorance - Albuquerque Journal

Isolated, insensitive comments highlighted my ignorance

To New Mexico tribes, nations and pueblos, and your children and families,

As has been heavily reported, I made some isolated, insensitive comments about Native Americans and Native American education in 2019 that were insulting and harmful. I very much regret the impact of my ignorant choice of words and cavalier attitude, and apologize to New Mexico tribal leadership and their communities, families and children, and to the staff of the Legislative Education Study Committee, for not being more thoughtful or informed. I further regret that these transgressions have taken the focus away from the work of the committee to develop policy and support resources for New Mexico children – especially Native American students.

The comments I made were not intended to be disrespectful, harmful or insulting, but exemplified my knowledge gap of Native American histories and cultures in New Mexico. I am deeply sorry and sincerely regret these statements. I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I realize that my comments were hurtful and caused disharmony to you, your families and children, and to Navajo, pueblo and Apache tribal communities.

I have spent much time reflecting on my actions and I take sole responsibility for them. I have since worked to become better informed, and to be a better supervisor and better person. I learned a lot from the initial fallout and the more recent attention is an important reminder that growth is an ongoing process. Last year, following the reprimand by my employer, I started on a mission of increasing my understanding and exposure to other peoples’ values, cultures, beliefs and experiences.

My recent conversations with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer and other Native American community members are opening the door for me to further reflect on this difficult experience, with the goal of respectfully listening, learning and understanding. These conversations have been very humbling for me and provide a needed understanding to be more culturally sensitive and effective on behalf of all New Mexicans, particularly our pueblos, tribes and nations.

My decision to remain quiet until now was based on the fact that this is, and was, a part of a confidential personnel matter reviewed by my employer, and the process and knowledge that my employer’s reprimand and corrective action addressed this sad and unfortunate chapter in my government career.

I am eager to put these events behind me and help the committee continue to work collaboratively with the tribes, nations and pueblos of New Mexico to focus on the great challenges Native students face.

On ending, I again sincerely and humbly ask for your forgiveness. I was wrong and am deeply sorry.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Vaccinations to be required for Roundhouse visitors
ABQnews Seeker
Decision triggers partisan clash at the ... Decision triggers partisan clash at the Capitol
2
Legislative panel votes to bar firearms from Roundhouse
ABQnews Seeker
Policy passes council on party-line 8-5 ... Policy passes council on party-line 8-5 vote; set to take effect Dec. 6
3
Eliminating systemic racism in NM starts at the top
At the Roundhouse
Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) director ... Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC) director Rachel Gudgel has got to go. Her very presence ...
4
Isolated, insensitive comments highlighted my ignorance
At the Roundhouse
To New Mexico tribes, nations and ... To New Mexico tribes, nations and pueblos, and your children and families,As has been ...
5
Stage set for showdown on cannabis bills
At the Roundhouse
Senate panel approves 2 competing measures Senate panel approves 2 competing measures
6
Lawmakers OK sweeping overhaul of NM liquor laws
At the Roundhouse
Sale of miniatures limited, Sunday hours ... Sale of miniatures limited, Sunday hours expanded
7
Redistricting bill heads to House
ABQnews Seeker
Bipartisan measure passes Senate 39-0 Bipartisan measure passes Senate 39-0
8
Public funding for District Court races advances
ABQnews Seeker
Backers say bill would eliminate appearance ... Backers say bill would eliminate appearance of pay-to-play government
9
Down to the wire for cannabis legalization
ABQnews Seeker
Competing measures still face multiple obstacles ... Competing measures still face multiple obstacles on path to governor's desk