Noted guest speakers include:

  1. Dr. Christine Sims (Acoma Pueblo), Assistant Professor, UNM College of Education, Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies and UNM Department of Linguistics
  2. Dr. Cynthia Chavez-Lamar (San Felipe, Hopi-Tewa, Navajo), Director Indian Arts Research Center, School for Advanced Research
  3. Christine Zuni Cruz J.D. (Isleta Pueblo), Professor, UNM School of Law


The partnerships formed this school year include:

  • Girls Inc.
  • Impact Personal Safety
  • Santa Fe Mountain Center
  • Beverly Billie, an independent consultant
  • The Coalition to Stop Violence against Native Women
  • Iroots Media, LLC

I am also continuing my efforts to find more partners and have secured our current ones to remain contributing partners for next school years program.


Brave Girls is housed at the Leadership Institute and serves high school females at the Santa Fe Indian School. The group convenes weekly throughout the school year to continue our work with helping youth build a solid foundation, find a connection, purpose, and meaning so they may inspire others. The goal of Brave Girls is to educate, empower, and work on positive youth development in order to empower and prevent the display of at-risk activities in the future. We incorporate an interactive curriculum, mentor guest speakers, workshops, and community service to inspire expanding self-knowledge, a positive self-identity, develop critical thinking, initiative, responsibility, self-respect and healthy lifestyles. The girls are provided with the tools to make positive decisions, avoid risky adolescent behaviors, and promote overall well-being as it relates to girls’ development including physical, emotional, mental and social well-being, and other issues affecting them.

We strive to empower our young women to gain skills and knowledge in important issues and to become advocates and trainers. This multi-disciplinary approach allows our girls to see they are of great value in the continual advancement of our respective tribes as they meet and network with Native professional guest presenters/mentors, participate in the activities from the curriculum, receive various training in the use of the Youth Leadership curriculum from Futures for Children, Impact Personal Safety self-defense courses, receive training from the Coalition to Stop Violence against Native Women and develop a community service project that will allow them to fulfill the concept of giving back.


The goals of Brave Girl's fall directly in line with the goals of the parent program, The Leadership Institute. These goals are based on the concept and philosophy of 'giving back' to the communities and include the promotion and development of: Mentorship, Networking, Consciousness-Building, and Enrichment Opportunities.   Goals include:

  1. A mentor speaker series, a section of the program focusing on Native female guest speakers ranging in professional roles to women fulfilling life within the Pueblos/reservations positively and successfully. During the course of the school year the students will begin to discuss what it means to be a young woman today at their school, in their own families, in their communities, and in the greater society.
  2. Upon completion of the year the students will implement a service project of their choice. The Leadership Institute staff will remain in contact with students to supervise and support their efforts.
  3. We will include a peer graduation ceremony to celebrate the success of the students' hard work.
  4. All students will be required to prepare a final PowerPoint presentation for their graduation ceremony at which their peers, families and mentors will be present. These inclusions will benefit the students' learning immensely as they implement their projects. In the long term, their efforts will impact their entire communities to become aware that even at a young age, young women are capable of creating conscientiousness about community issues and action.

Our ultimate goal is to develop the Brave Girls program as a model to share with the local tribal communities and tribal schools. Additionally our goal is to institutionalize and grow the Brave Girls program into a full service girls resource center, a much needed program in our schools and communities as we move forward in efforts to better our communities as a whole.


An investment in our young women is crucial to the health, well being, and survival of the future of our Native communities. With an investment in our girls, they will see their capabilities of being great leaders, not only in our Pueblo communities, but for the greater Native American community as well. This may help bridge the gap between the different generations and provide for a strong potential to have a ripple effect in the communities the girls come from. We never know what our students are capable of until we give them the opportunity to show us what kind of gifts/talents they have been blessed with. Our young women have a great capacity to lead and a strong ability to think critically about the issues surrounding and affecting them, sometimes they just need extra encouragement and opportunity to do so. With the newly learned skills, there is a potential for application and replication in the other tribal communities in New Mexico as the students return home. We know all too well the need for these types of programs, that the strength of these young women will be assets to their own communities as they go off to college, or join the workforce in or out of their communities.

It is important for these young women to see others from their own communities being successful in their own lives as Pueblo women. As women, we are a strong support for the men in our community and it is important that even though we may not be in the forefront, we still have an important and crucial role in supporting our community members daily and especially when we have special events taking place. As women we have many hats to wear in our communities and in our professional lives, and by building a strong foundation we can approach life with open minds and hearts with a sense of ability to accomplish successfully. We would like to continue our work with helping youth build a solid foundation, and help youth find a connection, purpose, and meaning so that they may inspire others.