By Cecelia Westman
These 300 words are dedicated to all of the service providers that I have had the pleasure of working with over these last couple of years here in New Mexico. It is never easy to leave a space that has served as your home for a majority of your adult life. I have a long history here in New Mexico as a guest and I feel that my time here at the Coalition has been my opportunity to honor the people who have called these lands home and mother since time immemorial. My homelands are 3000 miles away, yet even here I have found family, relatives, and community. This is a community that has dedicated their efforts and attention to addressing violence on our tribal lands. Sometimes it may seem unfair that we have to spend our lives doing this work and it can get overwhelming, it is still work that has to be done and we are the best suited to doing it because the solutions are in our communities and our traditional ways.
I would like to remind you all that you are brave and that your courage is needed. Even though we do much to address concerns in our communities, there is still so much more that can be done. I would like to encourage you to participate in some of the gatherings that are going to continue even after my departure including the Community Safety Planning sessions that started out as Feast Day Safety Planning meetings. These meetings are intended to offer the opportunity for each Tribal Community to create their own Community Safety Plan as a toolkit to utilize should people from their Pueblo or Reservation go missing.
Please be sure to check out the Advocacy Corner located in the upper right-hand corner of our website. The resources listed on that page are accessible to those that need them, and they include Indigenous Helplines, Suicide Crisis Lines, Resources for Teens and Vets, and much-much more. There is also a section on that page dedicated to accessing funding from the CVRC and resources that are provided by our member organizations.
Thank you all again so much for being gracious hosts, teachers, and mentors to me during my time here.