Introduction: Lance Tubinaghtewa

Hello reader! Thank you for finding your way to my introductory post. My name is Lance Tubinaghtewa and I am Indigenous to the southwestern “United States”. Specifically, I come from the village of Sichomovi on First Mesa and belong to alwungwa (the horn clan) – the clan of my mother and her mother’s mother. I currently attend the Arizona State University where I study anthropology. Yet, before lecture halls and 30+ page essays I found myself in the outdoors.

In some instances I like to say I am a conservationist first before a recreationist. As a Hopi, my culture brings you up with a well engrained value of respecting the land. This became applicable to a boots-on-the-ground position with a conservation organization in my home state of Arizona, an education internship with the City of Glendale, AZ ,and an advocacy position with the Grand Canyon Trust. I’ve come to see each opportunity as cumulatively relevant to the next gig I seek out. This is how I’ve come to the Latino Heritage Internship Program.

Through LHIP I will be working at the Rivers, and Trails, Conservations Assistance Program (RTCA) Austin, Texas office. Here I will help develop a premier outreach strategy for Indigenous communities in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, as well as participate in a case study for tribes back home in Arizona.

This work is daunting considering the lack of interaction, and tumultuous history, the National Park Service has with communities like my own. Yet, I have help from my supervisors: Gibran Lule-Hurtado and Josh Tuck. As well as my partner in this work: Nieves Vazquez, who herself is Coahuiltecan. I have already come to learn a great deal about this land and it’s people from them, and continue to do so every waking moment spent at the office. It’s a position that requires a lot of brain power, something my uncles say I rarely have (Hopi joke), but I build in confidence with every interaction with my team. It’s a position I’m thankful for, and look forward to fulfilling!

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