Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC)

The president of New Mexico State University confirms a committee of tribal representatives appointed by Tribal entities in New Mexico to advise the IRD director regarding community assets and needs, program priorities, contacts, collaboration, and funding opportunities:

Image of Lawrence Abeita

Southern Pueblos: Lawrence Abeita, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Department of Interior, Indian Affairs, Southern Pueblo Agency. The Southern Pueblos Agency provides services to the following ten Federally Recognized Tribes: Pueblo of Acoma, Pueblo of Cochiti, Pueblo of Isleta, Pueblo of Laguna, Pueblo of Jemez, Pueblo of San Felipe, Pueblo of Sandia, Pueblo of Santa Ana, Pueblo of Santo Domingo, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and Pueblo of Zia.  Approximately 26,327 people are members of the Southern Pueblos.

Lawrence Abeita is from the Pueblo of Isleta.  He speaks two languages, his native language Tiwa and English.

Lawrence’s formal education in natural resources management started at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, where he earned an Associate Degree in Natural Resources Management, in 1993.  He transferred to New Mexico State University and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Science in 1995.

As a Wildlife Biologist, he has worked for the Hualapai Tribe in Arizona. There, he gained valuable experience while working in and around the Grand Canyon. (The Hualapai Tribe borders the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.)  Presently, Lawrence works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern Pueblos Agency, as a Wildlife Biologist.  His agency is responsible for assisting ten tribes in New Mexico.  Seven of the tribes are located along the Rio Grande between Santa Fe, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.  Three of the ten tribes are located west of the Rio Grande, closer to the Rio Puerco.

Presently, Lawrence works with Big Game, Non-Game, Threatened and Endangered animals.  His work is unique and is determined by tribal priorities.

Lawrence has had various jobs prior to working as a Wildlife Biologist.  He has worked as a draftsman, salesman, painter, construction worker, cosmetologist, trail maintenance worker, wildland fire fighter, range technician, and as a biological technician.  He has been employed by tribes, private employers and federal agencies.

Picture of Norman Jojola

Northern Pueblos: Norman JojolaNatural Resource Manager, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northern Pueblos Agency. The Northern Pueblos Agency provides services to the following six Federally Recognized Tribes: Pueblo of Nambé, Pueblo of Picuris, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo of San Ildefonso, Ohkay Owingeh, Pueblo of Santa Clara, Pueblo of Taos, and Pueblo of Tesuque. Two Self-Governance tribes serviced by the agency are the Pueblos of Santa Clara and Taos. Approximately 10,292 people are members of the Northern Pueblos.

Norman Jojola is a member of the Pueblo of Isleta and is currently employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northern Pueblos Agency, as the Natural Resource Manager.  The Northern Pueblos Agency serves the following Pueblos: Pueblo of Tesuque, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo of San Ildefonso, Santa Clara Pueblo, Okay Owingeh, Pueblo of Nambe, Pueblo of Picuris and Pueblo of Taos.  The Northern Pueblos have a population of approximately 10,292 tribal members.  The position of Natural Resource Manager entails being responsible for the planning, directing and the coordination of natural resource management activities within the eight northern pueblos. In addition, he also serves as the Agency Wildlife Biologist providing technical assistance in wildlife management activities for the eight northern pueblos. Additional duties also include serving as the Threatened and Endangered Species and NEPA Coordinator for the agency. He completed his secondary education at New Mexico State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science in 1976 and in Range Science in 1978.  He has served in the capacity of Natural Resource Manager at the Northern Pueblos Agency for the past 26 years.

Both Lawrence and Norman are passionate about promoting career opportunities in the natural resource management, fisheries management and wildlife management fields for Native American high school and college students.  Both are members of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) and are very active in the Southwest Region of the Society.  During the summers through the Southwest Region of the NAFWS, they host a hands-on one-week youth practicum for Native American high school students interested in exploring the natural resource management fields.  In addition, they are also active in the development of the agenda, planning and coordination of the annual Southwest Region’s Regional Conference.            

Image of a tree in Mescalero

Thora most likely would be found...

Representative for the Mescalero Apache Tribe: Thora Padilla, Director, Division of Resource Management and Protection, Mescalero Apache Tribe.

Picture of TAC Member J. Hale Representative for the Navajo Nation: Jonathan Hale
Jonathan Hale began his journey in tribal government from within his community of Oak Springs, Arizona where he established a home and raised his children. Mr. Hale comes from a ranching background and carries an extensive knowledge of livestock and land management. He was the youngest delegate to serve on the Navajo Nation Council from 2011-2019, where he served as Chairman of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee for two terms. He is a recent New Mexico State University graduate with a Bachelor of Animal Science degree.

Mr. Hale's command of the Navajo language and knowledge of Navajo culture and traditions allowed him to advocate for language retention in all schools on the Navajo Nation. His passion for ranching has also led Mr. Hale to assist in strengthen the Tribal Ranching Programs on the Navajo Nation and a breeder of American Quarter Horses. Mr. Hale's representation of and advocacy for his people has taken him to all levels of Tribal, State, Inter-tribal and Federal governments. He is familiar with the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial processes allowing him to fund numerous initiatives that benefit Dine citizens and educational catalysts for youth.
TAC Member M. Murphy Representative for the Navajo Nation: Marvin Murphy
Marvin Murphy is a member of the Navajo Nation, born into the Sagebrush Clan and the Two Waters Flowing Together Clan. Mr. Murphy is from Iyanbito Chapter located near Fort Wingate, NM where his upbringing consisted of raising livestock and respecting the land.

Mr. Murphy began his interest in Engineering in 1987 when he attended an American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) summer camp at New Mexico State University. He then graduated from Gallup High School in 1998 and attended Northern Arizona University, majoring in Civil Engineering. After a year, he transferred to the University of New Mexico - Gallup where he interned with Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) - Roads Department as an Engineer in Training. After a few years, Mr. Murphy began a Surveying Degree Program at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute while working as a Civil Engineer Technician in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once his associates was completed, Mr. Murphy transferred to New Mexico State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Surveying Engineering.

After receiving his Bachelors of Science degree, Mr. Murphy began his own Land Surveying business in 2013. This business allowed him to continue his passion of helping his Navajo People by assisting families and businesses with site leasing surveying services. During the Fall of 2013, Mr. Murphy was selected by the 23rd Navajo Nation Council to serve as a Commissioner for the Navajo Housing Authority. As a Commissioner, he advocated for Navajo housing on Capitol Hill.
TAC Member Arthur Butch Blazer Representative for the Mescalero Apache Tribe: Arthur "Butch" Blazer

Arthur “Butch” Blazer is a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe and was born and raised on his reservation, where he gained an early appreciation and love of its beautiful natural resources. He attended NMSU where he received a BS degree in Agriculture (Range Science) ‘75. During the course of his 45+ year career, he has had the opportunity to work for/with tribal, federal and state governments, as well as Tribal non-profits. He has been elected to and has served on his Tribal Council, most recently as the President of his Tribe. Today, although semi-retired, he remains active and serves on the Boards of Directors for two national conservation Organizations, the National Wildlife Federation and Conservation Legacy. He strongly supports the vital mission of the Indian Resources Development (IRD), where he serves as an advisor to the director and is committed to supporting the interest of tribal natural resources.

Photo of sheeps

Mr. Howard works on the genetics and reproduction of sheep.

Representative: Anthony Howard

Mr. Howard is a lifetime member of the community of Twin Lakes, New Mexico. He comes from a ranching background and carries an extensive knowledge of livestock and land management. Mr. Howard worked as an educator with Navajo Technical University for 15 years and served as agricultural Extension agent and college instructor in the Eastern Navajo Agency. Mr. Howard holds a bachelor's degree in Animal Science from New Mexico State University.

TAC Representatives and IRD Team

Click on the image below to view the photo.
TAC Representatives and IRD Team on Zoom call