There are many resources out there but very few if you do not know they exist. I know Tewa Women United is there. I feel I have come along way in my own life's journey. through the trainings I have experienced at Tewa Women United, one that has helped me see the bigger picture of what I want for my people is the healing we must go through to be able to move forward. For me the healing was for me and just wanting to be a better parent than I was being, was what I wanted. The trama rock presentation was an eye opening experience for me to know that I did not want to continue to add weight to my children but to start removing it and not continue to add my trama to their shoulders. I want my children to have a positive environment to grow up. I would like them to have the confidence to make better choices in life than I did. I truly know they are grasping that through their participation in TWU. With my teenager coming to ask me, her auntie and her grandmother questions I would never had thought to ask as a teenager.
I've had the privilege of working alongside Tewa Women United in a professional capacity for nearly a year, and have found them to bring extraordinary passion, clarity, and expertise to their work. They are passionate about serving the Pueblo people in their region; they are clear about the inner resources and outside pressures they and their constituents face; they are expert at crafting effective programs to meet the needs they identify as most pressing. Every person who works at TWU is there because they believe their effort will help make a change for the better, and the stories I've heard confirm that they are right. Tewa Women United fills a crucial role in northern New Mexico, working on multiple fronts to put an end to the rampant violence against women and to support the rights of indigenous people in the region. Their work is invested with a deep spirituality even as it takes a pragmatic approach to the world as it is. For TWU (or any small nonprofit working for social justice) to have survived as an organization for as long as it has is something of a miracle; for it to thrive, to face new challenges and find positive solutions from diverse arenas, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the extraordinary people who comprise the organization.
As a professional in the field of social justice, I have seen how Tewa Women United provides extraordinary support to the community through its hard working staff and events that promote the strength and resiliency of the pueblo people and traditions. The separate program areas are coordinated to address root causes of violence and injustice in a holistic way. The organization is committed to continuous quality improvement, and has recently completed a series of activities to strengthen its capacity for effectively promoting social change. Staff have benefited from many opportunities for professional development and leadership.
Tewa Women United is a unique, dynamic and responsive community-based organization that has, for more than two decades, built a solid, effective intersectional analysis and action based in Native values. If this organization did not exist, there would be a gaping hole in the community. As a non-tribally affiliated organization, TWU works across pueblos on issues of tremendous importance in a way other entities, mired in bureaucracy, often can't. They have current audits on file and have solid, long-term relationships with many competent, well-informed funders within the state of NM and across the country. They are a long-standing and respected member of local, state, national and international communities working for health, safety and environmental justice.
Tewa Women United has been a pathbreaking organization since its inception. TWU has courageously taken on the work of ending violence against Native women and girls. With vision, commitment and profound integrity, TWU has made lasting change not just in the immediate community but nationally and internationally where its work has been consistently held up as a model. TWU's successes in its main focus areas of sexual violence, environmental justice, health, and economic freedom, combined with the healing of mind, body and spirit, demonstrates that if such holistic approaches were more mainstream, we would stand a chance at effectively ending violence in our lives. As a women's rights advocate, it has been a true gift and honor to come across TWU. It fills me with such hope, and I am grateful that TWU is doing the importatn work that it's doing and that it can share with many others so we too can learn from their wisdom.
I was active with this organization for more than a couple of years and was glad to leave. I saw multiple volunteers have their time wasted on projects that benefited no one but the family running the organization and other employees and their families (ex: they had development projects done on their personal property.) The managers were wasteful of donations and grants as well. Expensive trips were made with no tangible benefit all over the country and even to other countries on a rare occasion by various employees multiple times a year. Sometimes employees took their family along on the company (or donor) dollar as well. The board was hand-picked by management (which was a mother-daughter team) and rarely attended board meetings or were involved in decision making. There was one active board member during my time there and she was eventually "frozen out" for asking questions and critiquing management. Management abused company property (the director's daughter lives in a trailer that was donated to the organization without paying a cent. and the mother and daughter set their own salaries without board involvement or concern for organizational needs.
Overall, I feel that this organization had some good programs, but the self-centered management wasted opportunity after opportunity and dollar after dollar. I will never donate time or money to them again after seeing so much on the inside. I saw so many things that were unethical and I was worried that they were even borderline unlawful.