SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Indian Affairs Department announced Friday their partnership with Harvard University to conduct research on both behavioral health and sacred sites issues impacting New Mexico’s Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos.

The NMIAD conducted two research projects with two graduate student teams as part of Harvard University’s “Native Americans in the 21st Century: Nation-Building II” course. The teams came from the university’s Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Health, Brandeis University’s The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School.

One research team focused on suicide prevention and postvention efforts in tribal communities by way of behavioral health workforce development. Students from that team included members of the Tyme Maidu Tribe and the Mattakeeset Nation.

The second team included members of the Tuscarora Nation and examined the state’s existing legal framework to identify more effective ways to protect and manage tribal sacred sites and cultural resources.

The Nation-Building II course typically ends with a presentation of a comprehensive research paper based on research problem definition, client relationships, and on-site community-based investigation. Due to the pandemic, all investigations, presentations, and report submissions were done virtually. Officials say each project’s findings will help shape and direct the agency’s work in their respective areas.