Archive for the ‘Tribal’ Category

Winner winner NB3 plant based dinner!

April 25, 2019 Leave a comment

My son Kyle participated in the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation’s “Health Kids! Healthy Futures! Native American Youth App Contest”.  He teamed up with his friend Kaiya (who is homeschooled), to develop a mobile app idea targeted at Native Youth to help combat Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity.  Their mobile app design (previous blog post here) was selected for the final round and combined with a third applicant’s idea to incorporate exercise and meal information.  The three students then worked for another 6 weeks with a local software development company, 11 Online, to see their design become a reality and a minimum viable product (MVP) was created.  Kyle and Kaiya split the $1750 prize money with the third participant, a native high school student from Albuquerque.  Along with the award ceremony, we had a wonderful plant based dinner from from Jemez Pueblo, NM.

It was fun coaching Kyle and Kaiya through parts of the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking process to develop user desired outcomes to battle childhood Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity.  All the players worked hard to develop the Mobile App MVP … please take the time to look at the photo gallery below and small video showing the early modeling of the app.

Here is the Figma link that the video was made from (not sure how long this link will be good):

Thanks again to the NB3 Foundation for creating a contest to challenge our native youth in the areas of design and software development!

– Dom


2017 New Mexico Tribal Gaming Summary and Contribution to the General Fund

April 8, 2018 Leave a comment

Here is a summary of tribal gaming in New Mexico for 2017 (gaming machines). The reports from the NM Gaming Control Board come out on a quarterly basis (and sometimes amended), and with a little spreadsheet work we can get the yearly picture.

Some highlights compared to 2016:

  • Nambe Pueblo gaming has effectively stopped operations in 2017
  • Pojoaque Pueblo has started contributing to the NM Tribal Gaming Net Win in 2017.
  • Total NM Tribal Gaming Net Win for 2016 is $708.7 million (up from $698.7 million)
  • Total Revenue share to NM general fund from Tribal Gaming Net Win is $61.5 million (up from $59 million)
  • Total NM Tribal Gaming Net Win is up $10 million (+1.4%) from 2016
  • Revenue share to NM general fund from Tribal Gaming Net Win is up $2.5 million (+4%) from 2016
  • Tribal Gaming Revenue share to NM general fund is about 1% of total NM FY17 budget
  • Average percent from Tribal Gaming Revenue to the State of NM is 8.46%

And one other interesting comparison …  All of the 2017 Tribal Infrastructure Awards from the State of New Mexico totaled $5.4 million …  So only about 8.7% of Tribal Gaming dollars to the State of New Mexico make it back into on reservation for tribal infrastructure.


Muhammad Ali memorial, my grandfather Homer Yahnozha, and the words of Chief Oren Lyons

June 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Muhammed Ali Memorial

I was in a Houston airport yesterday waiting for my next plane back to New Mexico after teaching a workshop in New York City and I caught the memorial service live broadcast on the local TV in the airport.

One of my vivid childhood memories of my grandfather Homer Yahnozha (Mescalero Apache) was that he very much loved to watch Boxing when it came on the TV in his house in Paguate, New Mexico.  Homer was a survivor of the Bataan Death March and from my perspective (as a child) he was unemotional most of the time I interacted with him, a likely result from his experiences in military combat, survival, and service for this country.  Boxing was one of the few times I saw his face light up in joy while two boxers went at one another.  I’m sure he watched Muhammad Ali a time or two and would have been sad at his passing.

It was heartwarming to see that Muhammad Ali had planned to have a Native American speak at his memorial, one in his Native Language of the Onondaga and the other in English.

The two individuals that spoke were Chief Sydney Hill and Chief Oren Lyons, in attendance on stage was Ernie Stevens, Jr.

I’d like to capture what was spoken by Chief Lyons here because of it’s meaning and that Muhammad Ali had the foresight to provide yet another global and world platform for the Native American community and Indigenous peoples.  I have yet to see a full transcript of what was said at the memorial.

I transcribed the words of Chief Oren Lyons here based on the video below:

“Translation (of the words Chief Sydney Hill just before) … He said, my relatives, it is my responsibility to pick up the words for the (native word of his community) the people of the longhouse, they wish you well, they want you to be at peace of mind.  

Now this great darkness that has happened to us, you must understand, that he who had gathered us here, that his road is straight, peacefully he will arrive at his land (native words) our creator.  

It is the same as you call him Allah, these were the words.  

To the family, relatives, and friends, of Muhammad Ali … Muhammad Ali was a leader among men, and a champion of the people.  He fought for the people of color, yet he was a man of peace and principles.  A man of compassion who used his great gifts for the common good.  

His spirit has a clear path to the creator.  (Native words) Sydney Hill, spiritual leader of the (native words) 6 Nation Iroquois Confederation Onondaga Nation, and myself (native name), faith-keeper, turtle clan, Onondaga Council Of Chiefs, have journeyed here today to add our voice to this congregation of world leaders, in honor of his work, and for the rights and dignity of people of color and the common man.  

He (Muhammad Ali) was always in support of the indigenous people of this hemisphere in our quest for our inherent land rights, self determination, identity, and collective rights that include the natural world.  

We know … we know what he was up against, because we’ve had 524 years of survival training ourselves.

In 1978 a congressman from the state of Washington put a bill into congress to terminate our treaties with the United States, and Indian Nations walked from California to Washington DC in protest.  Muhammad Ali marched into Washington DC with us.

He was a free independent spirit, he stood his ground with great courage and conviction, and he paid a price, and this country did too, we all did.  

Values and principles will determine one’s destiny and the principles of a nation will do the same.

Poor people do not have many options, you fighters know what I’m talking about.

He said that the ring was Ali’s path to destiny.  He said he’d be heavyweight champion of the world, and he was, 3 times, and this 4th time, right here right now.

On his journey in life, he lived and learned the hard way, he brought a life into this world, my world, our world, and that life will shine a long long time.

Peace brother, peace, and on behalf of the (native words referencing his community) my friend Ernie, and the indigenous people everywhere, peace, thank you, (native words of thanks).”


Here is the YouTube video this was based on:

Native American Parent Advisory Committee (NAPAC) at Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS)

February 8, 2015 Leave a comment


Adding a external link of the Native American Parent Advistory Committee (NAPAC) here to this page since it’s buried pretty deep on the Rio Rancho Public School website.

The Native American Parent group at Sandia Vista Elementary School (SVES) is organized now and we are working on getting a school fusion page up for our content.  Will keep you posted.

– Dom


Career day presentation at SVES

February 5, 2015 Leave a comment

This video was made from the slides and recorded audio from a presentation I gave to the 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade Montessori class at Sandia Vista Elementary School (SVES) in Rio Rancho, NM on 2/4/2015.  My oldest son is in this class.  Enjoy!

– Dom


Lessons Learned serving as a Laguna Development Corporation (LDC) Board of Directors Member

October 31, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s no secret that I’m on the Board of Directors of Laguna Development Corporation (it’s in my Bio here and on the company website, so it’s public).  I was appointed about 3 years ago this month by the Pueblo of Laguna tribal council based on my corporate experience and being a pueblo of laguna tribal member.  Since being appointed, I have seen and experienced quite a bit in the areas of gaming, hospitality, retail, and food & beverage.  Here are some lessons learned during this journey, in no particular order.  I will add to this list as more lessons come to mind.

  1. A Section 17 federal tribal corporation is a unique corporate entity, it is tribal community oriented.
  2. Non-tribal board members will likely struggle to understand the tribal perspective and way of life.
  3. Being an active and contributing board member will take more time than you think, more than 75% of my IBM vacation time off work went to being a board member.
  4. Corporate communication is hard to do well.
  5. Understanding sovereign immunity is fundamental and important.
  6. When $777,632 went missing in late 2014, it was a big deal.  Based on the cash share agreement this means the pueblo is out more than $500,000 for 2015.
  7. Tribal businesses seem to lack a “killer instinct” to dominate their market and be number one, they move forward very conservatively.
  8. Disappointment is part of having high standards of behavior and ethics.

Update … on January 31, 2015, my term expired and I am no longer on the Laguna Development Corporation Board Of Directors, long story.  I am grateful Laguna Pueblo gave me the opportunity to contribute back to my home community in the capacities I can.  I’m open and look forward to helping other tribes raise the bar and really compete in the business world off the rez.

– Dom

AISES NAISEF 2011 – Power Up Science

April 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Since I moved to New Mexico to be closer to family, I’ve been asked to help out with several things locally … some involved family, some involved tribal committees, now some involved my employer IBM.

IBM donated some money to the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) for the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair & Expo (NAISEF). This science fair, from what I know, is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico nearly every year about the same time. This year it was on March 24-26, 2011 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Since the company liaison could not attend (and I was not on company travel teaching somewhere), I was asked to step in and help out as a judge and to hand out the awards.

I learned part of the donation money was to be used for special awards at the fair, in fact there were 9 special IBM Innovation Awards. The award criteria was for a student or students whose science experiment is innovative and inventive. Each of the awards were $250, except the team award, it was $1000.

Little did I know how much work this would be … I spent most of the day looking at ALL the science fair projects (about 225 of them) focusing on the Math, Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Team categories (there was no “team” grouping so I had to find all of them). Oh, did I mention that there were Male and Female awards in each category except the team award? Lots of walking and talking to the kids, it was a fun day.

Since the awards ceremony is such a long event the next morning (about 3 hours long with awards in each category and age group), I tried to keep the 9 IBM awards as brief as possible, I let folks know who I was and a bit about my journey.  I really wanted to elaborate more on what made each one of the projects innovative from my perspective, but I was already running long … at least with this blog post I can do that here. 🙂

So here we go …

* The Chemistry Female award went to Paige Leingnag & Tawnie Landreaux for their experiment on “Effervescent Action”, this project showed a construction and setup of the experiment apparatus to precisely measure experiments in a contained and controlled way, they iterated until the setup was easily repeatable.

* The Chemistry Male award went to Wilfred Jumbo for the experiment on “The Effect of Natural Bark”, this native dye project showed continued process improvement in material collection and processing over the life of the experiment using different tools.

* The Math Female award went to Mikayla Baker for the experiment on “Trick Yah Dice”, this project showed how variations in data collection could reduce process time.

* The Math Male award went to Izaiah Lopez for the experiment on “Counting vs Skill”, this project like the other math one showed how variations in data collection could reduce time.

* The Engineering Female award went to Raquel Redshirt for the experiment “Improving the Heat Capacity of Homemade Solar Ovens”, this project showed various facets of invention and process improvement, the student also made several solar ovens and sold them.

* The Engineering Male award went to Emilio Yazzie for the experiment “Simple Electric Heat Conversion”, this project used very basic materials to construct working motors, the materials were rubber bands, paper clips, insulated wire, and batteries. Process improvement to make the experiment more stable were for the next year.

* The Computer Science Female award went to Selena Lopez for the experiment “Keyboard”, this project showed possible process improvements using parallel testing.

* The Computer Science Male award went to Ivan Rajen for the experiment “Computer Model of Time-Varying Heat Conduction in a Plate”, this project showed inventiveness in constructing the computer model simulation in a spreadsheet (excel) and doing real world testing against it using a thermistor on a metal plate and homemade chill environment.

* The Team Award went to Juana Espinosa & Michelle LaGarde for the experiment “Wetland Health Evaluation: Replacing Bottle Traps with Hester Dendy Traps, Year Two”, this project was the most impressive, it showed continued process improvement and inventiveness in the construction of the Hester Dendy traps. These two ladies not only improved on the trap by modifying it to their wetland collection conditions, they also went through variations in construction to make them more durable. The both tried making the traps out of cement board to make them long lasting.

This was a great event, AISES is a great organization focused on our native youth, and I’d like to thank my employer IBM for allowing me to take time out of my work day to judge and award this event.

– Dom

%d bloggers like this: