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
“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
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.
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
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.