Native Giving

Tewa Women United

Tewa Women United
PO Box 397
Santa Cruz, NM 87567  

You can help sustain a unique tribal college

With a population of primarily low-income students, the College of Menominee Nation (CMN) resists the concept of adding the burden of student debt and so prohibits student loans. Instead, CMN supports its students with scholarships, grants and grant-supported internships. We invite you to consider a gift that is either unrestricted or in support of scholarships.

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Mission and Values

Mission Statement

The mission of Tewa Women United (TWU) is to provide safe spaces for Indigenous women to uncover the power, strength and skills they possess to become positive forces for social change in their families and communities.

Vision Statement

Tewa Women was incorporated, specifically for the ending of all forms of violence against Native women and girls, Mother Earth and to promote peace in New Mexico.

About Tewa Women United

Tewa Women United (TWU) is a collective of intertribal, multicultural women who reside in the Tewa Pueblo homelands of northern New Mexico. The organization started in 1989 as a support group for women concerned with the traumatic effects of colonization leading to issues such as alcoholism, suicide, domestic and sexual violence. In the safe space we created, we transformed and empowered one another through critical analysis and by embracing and reaffirming our cultural identity. In 2001 TWU transitioned from an informal, all-volunteer group into a formal nonprofit organization for educational, social and benevolent purposes, particularly with the intention, as Native women leaders, to promote a healthy environment, strengthen families, reduce poverty, and address the root causes of many health and social justice disparities.

Our service area covers the pueblos/tribal nations and diverse rural and underserved communities located in northern New Mexico. All our activities are interrelated and synchronistic, and seek to ensure effectiveness and cultural integrity by working methodically to overcome barriers and engage community partners within the TWU frameworks of The Two World Harmony Butterfly Model (balance between Indigenous cultural ways of knowingness and Western knowledge), and Opide Model, the Tewa Braiding Way of Practice to Action, a social justice framework that builds upon an intersectional analysis. This model is based on the understanding that systematic oppression experienced by our communities, resulting in internalized oppression and intergenerational trauma, must be understood and addressed in efforts to promote positive social change.

Your support will help us maintain the general operations of Tewa Women United as we pursue our mission and program focus areas, and as we continue to implement our Opide (Braiding) Model for social change family by family. We need support to be able to provide staff hours, facilitators, participant incentives, printing and development of culturally appropriate materials, as well as stipends and event supplies, such as food, to engage community members. Your donation is crucial to helping us with expenses that are often not allowed or supported under our other more-restricted funding.

Our Story

Tewa Women United positively impact the children and families living in the communities of our Tewa homelands by restoring connections with the physical and spiritual environments that have been lost through centuries of trauma and oppression.  We provide opportunities to practice sovereignty, re-engage in tradition, and give hands and voices to activism on behalf of Mother Earth and to Build Beloved Communities.  Children and families benefit from our crisis intervention, information and referral, access to mental health services, healing modalities, and peer support groups, and access to information and activities through our outreach at community events.  Pregnant and parenting families benefit from our doula services, parenting support, and child sexual abuse prevention activities during early childhood.  Youth and community members benefit from our education and youth development activities

Impact Stories from Tewa Women United

One A’Gin Healthy Sexuality Body Sovereignty Project youth facilitator, from one of the area’s pueblo nations, is a sophomore at the local public high school and has been with the project for two years now. As a youth leader, she has been fully engaged and wanting to learn more as we grow the program. She has a very sharp and critical mind that has allowed us to remain mindful of our work with the young people. She recently stated that because of this program she is able to see things more broadly, is willing to do more research on various topics, and enjoys reading articles now. She described this as a transition in her life from loving to watch cat videos to now being able to watch cat videos and read an article at the same time! She wants to pursuit an art career but has recently been contemplating becoming a lawyer. Her talent as an artist has created an outlet to display her world and perspective. She is growing into a strong Tewa woman who has the drive and determination to make great things happen in her life.

Our VOICES program assisted a young woman after the brutal death of her cousin from sexual assault and domestic violence in a nearby pueblo. No more than three weeks after the incident, she was part of the Tribal Leadership Summit 2015-Youth Panel that was organized in collaboration with the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women.  She spoke up to tribal leaders, council members, judges and law enforcement to let them know that violence is a problem and that the younger generation must have a voice when looking for solutions.  Today, she continues to speak truth and challenge her community.

Our Work

Environmental Justice:

Taking care of Mother Earth and protecting all our relations, especially those most vulnerable,  with a focus on community-based gardens, seed sovereignty, food security, alternative energy strategies, and using traditional and Indigenous forms of healing, medicines and foods. This cultural-based program emphasizes cultural life ways – Native sovereignty and the two-world harmony-butterfly model of eco-sustenance.  TWU hosts the annual Gathering for Mother Earth and we are creating the Healing Foods Oasis community garden in downtown Española, NM.  We represent the Tewa homelands with community peers locally, state-wide, nationally and internationally in voicing urgent concerns regarding the actions of the U.S. government in nuclear weapons proliferation and environmental contamination.

Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice:

Encouraging pueblo women to become active participants in their reproductive healthcare through revitalizing traditional Indigenous knowledge and practice in women’s health.  The TWU Yiya Vi Kagingdi (YVK) Doula Project works to increase choices in the birthing experience for the low-income women of color in northern New Mexico.  We believe that every woman has the right to a birthing experience that promotes autonomy, dignity, respect and empowerment for mother, child and family.  Our YVK project is part of grassroots organizing and movement building work for reproductive health and birthing justice to reclaim the sacredness of the birth process and the power of choice around how, when and where birth will happen.

V.O.I.C.E.S.  (Valuing Our Integrity with Courage, Empowerment and Support):

Survivors of sexual violence raising our voices together to speak out, organize and mobilize against physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual violence in Indian communities. This program is a culturally-based response to sexual violence that interweaves coordinated community response, direct advocacy services and conventional psychotherapy, with a variety of healing modalities, including but not limited to, traditional Indigenous forms of healing and herbs, in a holistic approach to recovery of spirit for youth and adult survivors.   Our culturally enhanced and age-appropriate curriculum to end child sexual abuse, Circling and Embracing All Children- Ta’hki Ay yaa Pingeh (Circle), is implemented in partnership with tribal Head Start programs and local pre-schools to reach out to young children and their families with accurate information about safety strategies.   To engage men and boys in violence prevention, the TWU Sengipaa Ing Vi Po (Journey of Becoming a Man) Project provides boys with positive adult role models to significantly increase the sense of community belonging among our Native youth and men.  The project utilizes caring adults to re-engage youth who may be disconnected from work or school, create opportunities for positive role modeling through shared experiential learning and talking circles on topics related to the ethics and meaning of being a Native man, and incorporates healing of intergenerational trauma to retain our tribal lifeways by examining the concepts of patriarchy and Native gender roles.

Women’s Leadership and Economic Freedom:

Strengthening natural leadership and abilities to make healthy choices in all aspects of daily life.   The TWU A’Gin Healthy Sexuality and Body Sovereignty Project, with funding from federal Administration for Children and Families, is designed to promote youth leadership and educate our tribal youth about healthy relationships based on positive self-esteem and relationship dynamics with shared power and control, healthy attitudes and values regarding adolescent growth and development, body image, diversity, and other challenges facing adolescents and young adults in contemporary society, positive parent-child communication, and healthy life skills such as goal-setting, decision making, negotiation, communication, interpersonal skills, and stress management.   Our strategies are based on the unique cultural needs of our youth, demonstrated effectiveness to change behavior, and coordination with other providers of youth services.

Circle of Grandmothers (Saya-in):

The nurturing breath that infuses and inspires all the work of TWU.  The Grandmothers are a gathering of supportive elder women or grandmothers. They act as cultural wisdom holders and mentors/support circle for survivors and as community organizers. The Grandmothers are active in advocating, organizing and supporting outreach and education gatherings for communities.  They support us to continue tribal language use in all our work.

Contact Us

Phone: (505) 747-3259

Organization Contact:

Corrine Sanchez, Executive Director
(505) 747-3259 x1201