The Heritage Project

Youth learning traditions are the future of the culture. For this reason, Oo-Oo-Nah has a strong focus on youth programs. The traditional Native processes of teaching within the home does not always work in the contemporary setting. Cultural transmission depends upon children wanting to learn, and in some families, children do not want to learn due to negative experiences both on-reservation and in the world outside of the reservation.

OONA Heritage 1

Historically, the Taos people experienced a difficult time. Centuries of poverty, discrimination and sometimes brutal treatment have discouraged some tribal members from learning and practicing traditions. These observations were raised during the participation process. Due to these factors, tribal youth need supplemental programs to develop self-esteem; these programs are a means to overall improvements to achievement in school.

The Heritage Project provides quality educational opportunities and experiences in Tiwa language, art, culture, and history by using a culture-based curriculum on Tiwa Culture and Traditions, past and present. Students are provided with a unique cultural education utilizing traditional “Life Skills” that support, encourage and enhance their development as Tiwa artists and community members.

Students in the program see the importance of preserving language, and the cultural traditions unique to our Pueblo. Students learn the importance of preserving the Tiwa language and culture unique to the Pueblo. During the past 10 years of the Heritage Project, over 250 students have participated and their parents and grandparents have endorsed this program. In the program, 40 to 75 youth receive this cultural immersion each year.