DEFINITIONS: The awareness of one’s own values, attitudes, and capabilities as an individual and a citizen of tribal nations, communities, and groups.

Essential Questions: 

  1. In what ways has Indigenous peoples’ identity been defined historically by Spain, Mexico, and the United States?
  2. What is the nature of dual citizenship for Indigenous peoples?
  3. What is Indigenous identity?
  4. What is the story of Indigenous identity?


  1. Indigenous identity pre-contact with Europeans & Africans
  2. Indigenous identity with early European & African interaction
  3. Reservation/Assimilation Era (Removed from homelands & confined to reservation, boarding schools, land allotment)
  4. Termination/Relocation Era (IRA 1934, Relocation Act, Termination)
  5. Self-Determination Era (ISDEAA 1975, community-controlled programs, IGRA 1988)
  6. Native Nation Building Era (Enterprise building, language revitalization, governance reform)

 Connections to Understandings

  1. Understandings of Land
    a. Native peoples in New Mexico have over a millennia of relations to the land through their narratives, traditions, ceremonies, rituals, and ways of life. This relationship is a foundation to their identity.
  2. Complexity of Identity
    a. Native peoples in New Mexico are diverse and their distinctiveness is tied to their languages, narratives, histories, traditions, ceremonies, and ways of life.  All of these demonstrate both an individual and communal sense of being and belonging.
  3. Power/Hegemony
    a. Native peoples in New Mexico were impacted by imperialism and colonialism.  These impacts have transformed their identity to where power/hegemony are everyday experiences for Native peoples.
  4. Empowerment/Agency/Resistance
    a. Native peoples in New Mexico are strong and continue their identities and ways of life.  This strong continuation is empowering and helps Native peoples resist hegemony and provide agency.