Environmental Justice Program

TWU’s Environmental Justice Program

Kathy Pic

Program Manager: Kathy Sanchez 505-747-3259 x1203 kathy@tewawomenunited.org

Program Coordinator: Beata Tsosie-Pena 505-747-3259 x1203 beata@tewawomenunited.org

Mission & Program Goals 

Environmental Justice has been defined by our community as, “Our Commitment to honor and protect the rights of ourselves, our habitat, and the fair treatment of all living things.” To engage in local and International dialogue and activism on nuclear non-proliferation, human rights, and the rights of our Mother Earth, while integrating body, mind, and spiritual awareness into environmental justice advocacy, policy change, and community education. To empower Indigenous, women and their families, and people of color’s voices in local, national, and International networks and coalitions in order to build community capacity and leadership development by:

  • Increasing local awareness of environmental issues and providing a forum for networking and education between members of affected communities, building community engagement and involvement to recognize the interconnections between environmental and reproductive justice, and participating in the NEPA process.
  • Advocating for the needs of our communities through international, national, and local avenues.
  • Sharing and demonstrating the knowledge of healing, protecting and supporting environmental health through the creation of community gardens, heirloom seed libraries, non-gmo (genetically modified) seed exchanges, and traditional agriculture.
  • Creating shifts in policy to end the use of the “reference man” model and to support accountability to native and non-native populations downwind and down river of the war weapons industrial complex in our sacred Jemez Mountains.

Environmental Health and Justice Campaigns

Gathering for Mother Earth

        This yearly gathering is a weekend-long event that was created to celebrate cultural ways of sharing love and gratitude for our Earth Mother. To show love for her will heal our hearts of grief and overwhelming sense of loss we feel as violent pressure numbs us to the harming of water’s love for us all. It is time to unite for eco-systemic revival. Awaken PEACE in us all and stop violent use of Mother Earth’s inner energy of reciprocal existence. Violent extraction of decaying matter, to disrupt its thousands of years of change and open its nuclear hearth of love/energy to become tools of mass destruction is death of us all. We need to encourage all cultures, all ages, schools, communities and families to bring inter-generational thinking to holistic ways of active healing.


  • Protecting Those Most Vulnerable: Working towards social transformation through the following campaign: Protecting Those Most Vulnerable– When we protect those most vulnerable and our Mother Earth, we protect us all. We view women as a reflection of Mother Earth.  Protect Those Most Vulnerable Petition
  • Española Healing Foods Oasis: To educate the Espanola community on traditional rain water harvesting and dryland farming techniques through the design, construction, and care taking of an edible, herbal, medicinal landscape within a public park. To increase climate change impact resiliency and increase access to healthy, natural food and medicine, while shifting current perspectives to include maximizing use of our water resources. To strengthen community partnerships through participation and support of this project, increasing capacity for food justice organizing.
  • Awareness and Extraction of Nuclear Waste: For over 63 years, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has been dumping and discharging its toxic and radioactive wastes onto Tewa ancestral land. This land is revered as sacred to our people. It contains sacred sites and has sacred land usage. The meaning of life can be found within these special dimensions. LANL is surrounded by four Pueblos. San Ildefonso and Santa Clara Pueblo sit adjacent to LANL, both downwind and downstream. The contamination from this dumping and discharging has been devastating to our land, water, air, food, and the overall well being of our people and ways of life. Recently, a sampling project was conducted in our homes to track contamination. Proof of major contaminants was found in our very own homes. Despite proof of this historical devastation, LANL continues to discharge and dump its toxic waste. Therefore, taking care of our Mother Earth and protecting all our relations. This cultural-based program emphasizes life-ways-Native-sovereignty and the two-world harmony-butterfly model of eco-systemic sustenance. TWU implements and teaches traditional Indigenous forms of healing medicines and foods to counteract the negative impacts that pollution and nuclear contamination have on our bodies, minds, spirits, lands, air and water. To work towards international non-proliferation and disarmament, we engage the UN’s policy of “no safe or friendly use” of nuclear weapons.
  • Actions in Concert with Others: TWU, a member of Communities for Clean Water (CCW) and Gilbert and Kathy Sanchez, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE) and LANL for violations of the Clean Water Act. & NBSP; CCW is a network of organizations representing river, spiritual, and Acequia groups that have come together to hold LANL accountable for contamination to New Mexico water supplies. As a Tribal community living downstream of LANL, TWU is particularly concerned about the current and future health of our water, land and people. TWU has been organizing and educating our communities within the Northern New Mexico on these and other issues since its inception. CCW Petition


  • Host of annual Gathering 4 Mother Earth and Spañapalooza youth event to share information and practices regarding holistic, ecological, wellness approaches to environmental health.
  • Building community capacity and leadership development through our intergenerational Tres Rios/P’o Poje Geh Environmental Justice community group (TREJ) who specializes in art through activism.
  • Formation of Tres Rios/P’oo Poje Geh Community Environmental Health and Justice group
  • International and national advocacy/community education on intersectionality of EJ/RJ issues
  • Sponsored Spanapalooza youth event 2011-2013
  • Community garden project with Santa Clara Pueblo Tewa Language Program 2010-2012
  • Helped revitalize the Espanola Farmers Market acequia and garden
  • 2012-2014 Ongoing Development of TWU Community Heirloom Seed bank and Library
  • Community collaboration with Phase I Trinity Test Health Study( 2014) as part of Las Mujeres Hablan
  • Community collaboration with the Los Alamos Historical Document and Retrieval Assessment project, with comments and contributions to the community summary and technical report as part of Las Mujeres Hablan
  • Ongoing community engagement, public comments and participation in NEPA process regarding groundwater, surface and stormwater LANL permits
  • Community collaboration with New Mexico environmental issues
  • Numerous International, national, and local presentations.


NM Environmental Law Partner

  • TWU is part of the following networks and coalitions: Las Mujeres Hablan, Communities for Clean Water, NM Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance, Green For All, Strong Families, US Human Rights Network, Native Voices Network, First Indigenous Environment Collaborative, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, and SisterSong. 

Contact Us for More Information

We are also available to do the following presentations: The Two World Butterfly Model, Trauma Rocks, Environmental Justice spoken word and writing workshops.