Ancestral Lands Office

SCC working on the Sandstone Staircase at Acoma Pueb



About the Program

The SCC Ancestral Lands Office, located in Acoma, NM offers corps programs at Acoma Pueblo and across the regional area.  This offices selects Native youth to work on a variety of projects.

In 2008 and 2009, the Ancestral Lands office ran youth crews funded by the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps that selected young adults, ages 14-18, to work on a variety of community projects.   Projects included trail maintenance, trail construction, restoration work on an historic staircase, playground improvement, and tamarisk removal.

This office continues to grow and expand.  In 2010, the Ancestral Lands office completed preservation projects at Petrified Forest National Park, conservation projects at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park and engaged middle school youth in a Summer of Service program and operated a NM Youth Conservation Corps project in Acoma.

About the Area

The Ancestral Lands office is based on the Pueblo of Acoma, located on Interstate-40 in Northwest New Mexico.  The Pueblo is one of the longest continually inhabited communities in the United States.  The surrounding areas and places where the Ancestral Lands office works include other tribal lands and national parks in NM, AZ and UT.

Program Development


In 2007, SCC Board Member Cornell Torivio of Acoma Pueblo began advocating for SCC to develop a conservation corps program at his home community to increase the number of youth who have the opportunity to participate in a conservation corps. In partnership with Acoma Pueblo, SCC applied for – and received – funding from the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps) to operate three day crews (36 total participants) for 14-18 year old local youth in summer 2008 and then again in summer 2009. SCC serves as the fiscal agent and program operator while Acoma Pueblo identifies the projects, contributes match funding and provides oversight to the program. All program staff members are Acoma and report regularly to Tribal Council and the Acoma Governor.  Looking forward, the Ancestral Lands office will continue develop relationships and partnerships to engage additional native youth on preservation, conservation and youth projects on native lands.

The program has been highly successful and has become somewhat of a national model for engaging Native American youth. US Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall recently introduced the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009, which includes a subsection creating an “Indian Youth Service Corps” modeled partly after SCC’s Acoma program.


For more information please contact: Cornell Torivio, Program Development Coordinator or 505-552-4074

Projects and Photos

AmeriCorps Corps Network Colorado Youth Corps