By obtaining certification of a working knowledge of a Native American language from the American Indian program director.
As our students look to increase the use of their traditional knowledge in their degree program, the American Indian Program (AIP) and New Mexico State University System respects the sovereign nation status of our federally recognized communities and the self-governance of our state and non-federally/non-state recognized tribal communities. To honor our tribal communities’ ability to verify their language to their specific standards, we request students work with the tribal communities to assist in the verification.
To start the process, we ask the student to contact the tribal community whose language they are using for the certificate. We would require a letter of language verification from a tribal leader verifying fluency in the tribe’s specific language. This could be a Staff Officer (Governor, Lt. Governor, Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, current Councilmember, etc.) or a Language/Cultural Preservation Officer, but the letter must be on the official letterhead of their office. Have them send an official copy (if possible physical and digital) to us at the American Indian Student Center and yourself.
After this is obtained, if not already sent to us, send the letter to the American Indian Program director along with your degree program, academic advisor name, campus, and your request for the Native American Language waiver.
Once we receive a Letter of Language Verification from the tribal community whose language the student is using, we will follow up (if necessary) with the tribal community to learn their process (if new to us) to get a better working understanding of their process and continue our professional relationships with our communities. The director of the American Indian Program will then write a letter to the associate dean for academics of the college on the Las Cruces campus or vice president of academic affairs at the community college campus (Dona Ana, Alamogordo, Grants) to waive the requirement and recognizing the fluency verified by the tribal community.
After the letter is submitted, the associate dean should be working with the department head/academic advisor to have this applied to the student’s degree plan. The waiver will only cover the requirement but will not take place for the credits to graduate. If there are still credits needed to reach the number required to graduate (~60/120), the student will still be responsible for them.
This is a guide to help in the process, and we understand that as our system curriculum evolves, we will also look to update this process. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us.