The Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo: Enrique A Sanabria
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Tribes upset after education official offered praise for 'Manifest Destiny'

New Mexico's top education official said he reached out to "express remorse" to every tribal leader in the state after he described Manifest Destiny as one of the "fundamental principles" of the country.

But tribal and Indian leaders appear to be rejecting Christopher Ruszkowski's explanation. They said he should have known better than to link the nation's tragic policies with the expansion of charter schools.

"A person in Ruszkowski’s position in 2017 in a state with a population that has been significantly victimized and devastated by these policies he espouses regrettably has no place in a leadership capacity," E. Paul Torres, the former governor of the Pueblo of Isleta, wrote in The Santa Fe New Mexican on behalf of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, which represents all 19 Pueblo tribes in the state.

Ruszkowski made his remarks about Manifest Destiny and charter schools in a speech on December 9, The Albuquerque Journal reported. After tribal leaders expressed outrage, the state's Public Education Department said he reached out to them to “express remorse for the poorly phrased historical reference and to clarify that portion of his speech,” The New Mexican reported.

Ruszkowski, who came to New Mexico in 2016 after working in education in Delaware, was nominated as head of the department in August 2017. He has not yet been confirmed to the post.

Read More on the Story:
New Mexico’s education chief blasted for linking charter schools with ‘Manifest Destiny’ (The Washington Post January 9, 2018)
Pueblo leaders decry Public Education chief’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ comment (The Santa Fe New Mexican December 22, 2017)
PED chief reaffirms value of charter school option (The Albuquerque Journal December 9, 2017)

Some Opinions:
E. Paul Torres: The legacy of Manifest Destiny? Trauma and suffering (The Santa Fe New Mexican December 23, 2017)
Phillip Tuwaletstiwa: An ignorant view about Native people (The Santa Fe New Mexican December 30, 2017)
Anpao Duta Flying Earth: An Educator’s Response to the Secretary’s comments on Manifest Destiny (New Mexico Center for Student Leadership January 10, 2018)