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In the early 80's, our founder, Marie P. Campos spent a number of years doing independent cultural research.  She spent her youth learning back-strap weaving techniques, and other artistic traditions in mountain villages in Mexico and Guatemala.

 

“I was spiritually wounded by the atrocious human rights violations and poverty that I saw while studying with the traditionalists in differnt Native Hispanic communities.  Experiencing that pain was when I began to ponder a peaceable means to proclaim our people’s civilizing beauty..in our culture..our love….our ways--a people with humble hearts, souls and minds, who are more than worthy of basic human respect"(Campos).

 

In rememberance of her Central American experience, Ms. Campos designed and developed an economic development model in 1998.  The concept is to relieve poverty by bridging traditional Native and Hispanic cultural-economic assets to the larger national & international economy within a democratic system. 

 

In November 1999, she received a Certificate of Appreciation from Dan Glickman, United States Secretary of Agriculture for her outstanding contribution to the Second National Small Farm Confrence, in which she presented the theory behind the cultural-economic development model.

    

This model is founded on the fundamental idea that every native culture in the Americas has economic activities and assets that have historically sustained the people.

 

“These cultural attributes, once enabled to operate in a modern economy, cannot only act as a cultural sustainer over changes of time, but can be vital to the betterment of humanity as a whole.  When a person can feed their family by practicing their cultural traditions, those traditions will survive” (Campos).

 

The first attempt to implement this model began in the Eastern Navajo while working with the deep-rural weavers. A few years later, Campos used the model to preserve other cultural-economic assets identified within the Navajo Indian reservation, Pueblo Indian villages and is currently using it in Chimayo--a Hispanic village in Northern New Mexico.

 

Ms. Campos believes that providence will resolve the reality of man's inhumanity to man.  The pain and love she experienced in those humble mountian villages led Campos to found the Native Hispanic Institute in October 2002.

                          -by Xochi Vale

 

Campos M., Building a Bridge to Economic Independence:
Establishing a 1994 Land-Grant Extension Project.