How & Why It Was Formed

Beginning in 1876 and ending in 1956, the United States Government and it's Department of Indian Affairs were responsible for the American culture and English language education of Zuni children. Then in 1956, the Americanizing education of Zuni children was transferred from the United States government to the New Mexico State Government. during the period from 1956 to 1980, the three existing school sites, that once were operated by the government, were now operated by the Gallup-McKinley County School District which was a State of New Mexico Public School District. These school sites were Zuni Elementary, Dowa Yalanne Elementary and Zuni High School. However, at the start of the 3rd decade of being a part of GMCS, many community people decided that the Zuni students' educational needs were not being met. Therefore, during the latter half of the 1970's, the Zuni people started discussions on the needs and desires to have their own school district to address the educational problems that remained unresolved under the large Gallup-McKinley County School District.

During the mid-1970's, many community meetings were held to discuss the issues of their own school district. Then finally, a tribal election was conducted on the issue. The Zuni tribal members voted their approval to create a new school district/system for its community students. Based on the documented wishes of the Zuni people, the tribal government officials started up very definite planning for the creation of a new Zuni Public District/System.

The definite planning commenced with an official Zuni Tribal Council Resolution, Resolution Number M70-79-1054, dated March 16, 1978. This official resolution authorized and directed the Zuni Pueblo's Division of Education to begin work on the feasibility study for a separate school district for the Zuni community. This feasibility study included research of the pros and cons of several types of school district/systems options such as Bureau of Indian Affairs contract school operated by the community, a Bureau of Indian Affairs school operated by the Bureau's system, and a New Mexico State Public School.

A second resolution, Resolution Number M70-79-1054, dated May 7, 1979, authorized the Zuni Tribal Government to obtain funds from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs and to hire a staff to plan for the separation of the Zuni schools from the Gallup-McKinley County School District. The plans would be to create a new school district that would be a State of New Mexico Public School District.
A final resolution, Resolution Number M70-79-1108, dated December 18, 1979, was to request the State Board of Education of the State of New Mexico "to create a public school district" coextensive with the McKinley portion of the Zuni Reservation to be know as the "Zuni Public School District." (Download document: How ZPSD Was Created)

Zuni Tribal Council

New Mexico State School Board Approves and Creates the new Zuni Public School District

On January 7, 1980, the State Board of Education of the State of New Mexico approved the Zuni Tribal Council's request for the new Zuni Public School District. ZPSD was created by an official order by the State Board of Education of New Mexico. In this official resolution, two Findings pertinent to the curriculum and instruction specifically expressed the rationale and support for bilingual education for the Zuni Public School District students. These Findings are numbers ten (10) and thirteen (13) in the official document and are presented below:

Finding 10-- "The creation of the Zuni Public School District would recognize the significance of the uniqueness of the Zuni Indian community and return to the Zuni people the ability to preserve their heritage and culture, and would enable them to identify and attempt to solve the special problems and situations peculiar to the educational needs of the Zuni Indian children."

Finding 13--"There currently exists a high percentage of Zuni children not completing their secondary education; and there also exists a high percentage of Zuni children, who despite completing various educational programs, are unable to perform adequately on achievement tests. These facts appear to be related to the unique cultural, economic, and social experiences of the children, which experiences can be better understood, accepted, and worked with if the new Zuni Public School District is created."

In the New Mexico State Board of Education's Official Order, there were twenty three other Findings and Provisions. These Findings and Provisions addressed such issues as geographic boundaries of the district, organizational structure, ZPSD School Board make-up, administrative procedures for staff transfers, transfer of facilities and equipment, and other issues related to transference of jurisdiction from the Gallup-McKinley County School District to the new Zuni Public School District. Based on all twenty five Findings and Provisions of the New Mexico School Board of Education document, on July 1, 1980, the new Zuni Public School District started implementation of all school related operations and activities.

Mandated and guided by Findings 10 and 13, ZPSD has developed its student instruction- related board policies and instructional programs to support and implement the wishes of the Zuni people as validated by the State School Board of Education of the State of New Mexico. The school district has developed and implemented Zuni/English bilingual education programs for its students.

Vision, Mission & Goals of the District (English & Zuni)





Goals of the District

Ensure academic excellence through growth and achievement by maintaining a climate of high expectations, and providing motivating experiences for all students, staff and parents.

Strengthen the effectiveness of communication between the District and the community by working with students, staff and parents to develop learners

Provide programs in the instruction of Zuni Language and Culture

Develop and nurture respect for self, others and the environment in safe and drug-free settings.

Improve performance of all programs, staff, students, and the Board of Education by utilizing a systematic evaluation approach.


Tuwal'an demla yanse'liyahna detse'mak a:wiyanikwadidun'ona


Lukkya' dewanan kwayina' a:na'dun dekkwin hon yam chawe Shiwi'ma dap Melika'ma bena: dap haydoshna: yanikk'yana:wa. I:namilde yam a:lashshina: a:wan bena:dihna:wa akkyap a:na'dun dekkwin a:wan ele'dun'ona hon ants'ummehna:wa. Lesdik leya' detse'mak a:ts'ummedun'ona dap da: a:wiyanikwadidun'ona hon ansamm'ona andeshamana:we. Akkyap lil hon lakwimo yanishshi luwalaye, kwa' hon uhsona detdomma yoshukwa.

Goals of the District

Hon ansamm'ona ts'ina:washe:nak'yana'kowa i:kwanik'e:naw'ona dap ho'n a:wan chawe dap lesdik leya' a:wan a:lashshina: i:namilde kwa'hol elleyanishshi ideh'yalla' a:wiyanikwadinna. Ak h'on a:wan chawe a:na'dun dekkwin detse'mak lana i:ho' iya:k'yana:wa.

Lil ho'n a:wan luwal'an dap ts'ina:washe:na'kowa hon yashshuwa k'okshi detse'mak a:deyap, ak ho'n a:wan chawe elleyanishshi a:wiyanikwadinna.

Hon yam chawe Shiwi'ma bena: dap haydoshna: yanikk'yana:wa.

Hon ansamm'ona i:yayyulashik'yana:wa akkya hon yam dekkwin dap da: ham' a:wan dekkwin hon a:dehyak'yanna, akkya kwa' hon yam luwal'an onan bocha' eladenapshukwa.

Lil ho'n a:wan idemlanahna i:yanik'yanakya haydoshna: dap ts'ina:yanikk'ena:w'ona dap ho'n a:wan chawe dap da: lil ho'n a:wan luw ehk'ona ansammo eledokna i:yanidehhalna: a:deyap akkya ideh'yalla' elek'yanna.

Special Acknowledgement to the following individuals for the Zuni Translation:

Louise Tekela
Veronica Nahohai
Charlotta Tsethlikai
Belinda Tsabetsaye