What We Teach » Land-Based Healing & Learning

Land-Based Healing & Learning

Mission: Strengthening our kinship with lands and waters to support the community in reclaiming our identity as beings who are integral to the ecology. We work to provide  exposure and awareness to indigenous ways of knowing, allow space for application, and then support creation and design.

Localize: We aim to immerse ourselves in local environments, landscapes, cultures, languages, heritages, histories, teachings, practices, sacred sites, ecologies, stories, literatures, experiences, etc. 

Decolonize: We strive to prepare our students to enter institutes centered around western ways-of-knowing with a critical lens and strong sense of identity 

Indigenize: We walk with students as they rebuild their relationships with the land and local community in ways that restore indigenous ways of knowing.

Keeper Programs: We provide a variety of  programming that support multiple interests. Students and staff can choose to participate in medicine, food, water, mountain, and/ or story keepers.  

Knowledge Keepers: We work with regional experts to offer insight, local expertise, traditional ecological knowledge and/or skill sets in terms of local history, cultural practices, economy, ecology, science, etc. These experts work in collaboration with educators and NACA staff to augment localized, decolonized and indigenized curriculum. Please fill out this FORM if you are interested in becoming a knowledge keeper. 

Grounding Sites:  We partner with community based organizations who have access to land around our school. Educators and students return to these grounding sites multiple times over the course of their education to develop seasonal relationships with land, water, plants, animals, etc. Please contact us if you have suggestions for appropriate grounding sites or if you would like to learn more about these sites. 

What does a land based education mean to you and your family? Fill out this FORM and let us know!


How it all started...
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Land Leaders
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I come from the Kiowa people of Oklahoma, descendant of Red Tipi and English/ Irish settlers. I grew up in New Mexico and Oklahoma and started my family there, eventually moving to Colorado. I began my academic career at the University of Colorado Boulder, studying Environmental Sciences. I transferred into University of Washington Bothell as a senior and achieved a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies. From there I went on to Islandwood, earning a certificate in Education for Environment and Community. I finished my Masters in Education degree at University of Washington Seattle, studying Curriculum and Instruction and earning a certificate in Restoration Ecology. Throughout college, I contracted in various urban indigenous communities, working with children to reclaim their relationships with their identity in collaboration with the local land and waters. Some of these organizations include; Red Eagle Soaring, Na’Ah Illahee Fund, and Sealaska. I worked in non-profit outdoor Environmental Education for a few years before accepting the position of lab assistant and program manager for Dr. Megan Bang in Learning Sciences. My work specializes in community outreach, program development, outdoor environmental education, curriculum design, and learning sciences research. Her interests and experiences include walking with and learning from children as they reclaim their relationships with lands, waters, and more-than-human relatives. She also enjoys reading, writing, hiking, camping, and walking.

My name is Victoria (Viktoryia) Martine. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am half Navajo and half Pueblo: Laguna, Zuni, and Santa Domino. I’ve been a student at NACA since I was in the 6th grade and graduated in 2018. I have an Associate’s Degree in Integrated Studies of Applied Science from Central of New Mexico Community College (CNM). I am currently attending UNM to finish my Bachelors in Landscape Architecture with a Minor in Sustainability. I love the outdoors, playing soccer, cooking, crocheting and doing art. I have three siblings who all graduated or will graduate in 2024. I have a dog whose name is Meelo. He is a Chiweenie who has a ton of energy but loves snuggling next to you. 

I decided to come back to NACA in 2020 where I helped start the NACA Elementary Garden and started in OST leading the Garden Warriors and Art Club online. I then left for a Landscape architecture internship called MRWM Pland Collaborative. I then found out that it wasn’t for me and thought about a time when I was actually happy to work without being at a desk all day long. I’m not saying I didn’t love the work because I still do think like a landscape architect and I am going to have my bachelors in Landscape Architecture in December 2023, however, I am a person who needs to move around and still be creative. I really love working with all the students and combining land based healing and learning in the classrooms. I wish I had this opportunity when I was at NACA. I'm very grateful to be part of a new era here at NACA and can’t wait to see where this new path takes me. 

Han mitakuyapi. Cante was’te nape ciyuzapi ye. Hello everyone, my name is Maya Kwon. I am Dakota from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and was born and raised on the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota. My family roots entwine multiple cultures and backgrounds as my maternal grandparents are Mexican and Irish and my paternal grandparents are Dakota and Paiute. I attended Tiospa Zina Tribal School starting from Kindergarten all the way through graduating from high school. I hold that experience very close to my heart as it was there my love for Indigenous education blossomed. My passion for education and tribal nations led me to the University of New Mexico to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to earn a Masters in Tribal Administration and Governance (MTAG). I have worked for my tribal government, the federal government, and most recently for a local accounting firm. Throughout my career I have always found myself working with budgets, grants, and numbers. I come to NACA eager to learn more about Land-Based Healing and Learning and to offer my skills to the school and local community. Outside of work I love to sing, visit the library, stay active with yoga and running, explore Albuquerque, and spend quality time with my family and friends. In addition to being a doting mother and wife I consider myself to be a loving dog mom and hummingbird caretaker.