Reviving the Co-op to increase commonwealth
February 27, 2021

The struggle has been real attempting to facilitate the reintroduction of cooperation within the Taos Pueblo community through the restructuring of the former co-op at Taos Pueblo, amidst the pandemic. Trying to bring people together when we are recommended to stay isolated has been a challenge. It has been extremely difficult to conduct outreach within our local community as there has always been a communication/technological barrier on the reservation. However, I am staying focused and working toward the last third of my internship in which time I will hopefully be creating a working module for the Red Willow Co-op to potentially adopt once the board members/steering committees have been designated.

Conducting a community educational outreach meeting on what a co-op is via zoom.

Regarding the commonwealth assets exploration as an Ogallala Intern involved in restructuring the co-op from the ground up, I can say that this project when in full operation will touch a bit on all 12 key assets which the Ogallala Commons organization has identified as, “what every community has.” The team I work with at the Red Willow Farm is in a unique environment where culture is still actively practiced and preserved for over 1,000 years. Compared to the surrounding community within town limits and outside the reservation, most of these 12 key assets to commonwealth are separate and operate as their own entities. The Red Willow Farm and Co-op when back in operation together will be a hub that provides, enhances, preserves, and invests in all those who are involved in its business operations, supporting life and well-being for generations to come. On the reservation which has many government funded programs encompassed around the 12 commonwealth assets, the Red Willow Farm and Co-op offer a non government reliant opportunity to supplement the sovereign nations economy that compliments but is also quite distinct from the competitors and government sectors’ alternatives.

Commonwealth Knowledge

This weekend Susann Mikkelson, Tiana Suazo, and I held our Co-op Exploratory Gathering day where we held multiple seminars with tribal members who showed an interest in the co-op, as well as former personnel involved  in previous attempts at developing a functioning co-op, whom were also invited in hopes of bringing all information to the table to see what went wrong, what could have gone better, and how we can improve and create a better cooperative working environment moving forward. With all the tools and knowledge I have gained during my internship I am excited to help fulfill the hopes of reopening the co-op for the betterment of the community and commonwealth.