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Pueblo Pavilion dedicated to late SFIS Superintendent Everett F. Chavez

June 12, 2019

Pueblo Pavilion dedicated to late SFIS Superintendent Everett F. Chavez

Official Press Release from Santa Fe Indian School
Date: June 9, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. – The SFIS Board of Trustees dedicated the Everett F. Chavez Pueblo Pavilion on Friday, June 7, 2019 at the memorial of the former Superintendent who passed away on December 10, 2018 at the age of 66. Tribal leaders, state leaders, friends and family gathered to share his life and legacy.

At a duly called 19 Governor Shareholder meeting, the Governors supported the Board of Trustees in re-naming the “Pueblo Pavilion” to include Everett F. Chavez.  At the memorial SFIS Board of Trustee President Raymond Aguilar dedicated the building.  

Governor Chavez was a three-time Governor of the Pueblo of Santo Domingo and had been the SFIS Superintendent from 2008-2013. He led the school’s strategic planning with the vision: “SFIS is a sovereign educational community building upon its rich cultural legacy to be the leader in Indian Education”. Under his leadership, SFIS completed construction of the $18.9 million basketball arena in the spring of 2011 continuing the efforts of previous SFIS Superintendent Joseph Abeyta to create a state of the art athletic facility for New Mexico.

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich shared video remarks. Senator Henrich included his testimony that was read into the United States Congressional Record. He also mentioned that he presented the Chavez family with a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in honor of the late Superintendent.

The Office of the Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham provided the family with a plaque that proclaimed February 1st, 2019 as “Governor Everett Chavez Day” in New Mexico. NM Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver shared her experiences working diligently with Governor Chavez on the Native American Voting Task Force.

PRC Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar presented the family with the flag of New Mexico that was flown at the NM Capitol in honor of his service to all New Mexicans. PNM President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn, shared her reflection of Mr. Chavez’s negotiations with PNM and his commitment to work together as a greater community. Lifelong friends and colleagues Mark Duran and Head Councilman of Ohkay Owingeh, Joe Garcia remarked on his jovial and endearing nature.

Governor Chavez was named the Education Co-Chair on Governor Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham’s transition team prior to his passing. His recent efforts also included anti-fracking Sandoval County Oil and Gas Ordinance Meetings, and continuing work with SFIS to build a 60-mile fiber optic network to bring broadband Internet to the Pueblos of Santo Domingo, Cochiti, San Felipe, and Santa Ana. In 2000-2001 he was the executive director of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Daughter, April Chavez: “He was often pretty general about the goings-on of his day.  Never one to brag, he’d come home, we’d sit at the table, and he’d answer our questions with comments like, “I was out in the fields and I ran into Stacy and Martin. You know, I have never met greater fathers, or harder workers.” We’d finish eating, leave the table, never knowing he was out working to improve our air quality, and mitigate soil erosion by laser leveling hundreds of acres of tribal lands, so our people may maintain our ancestral lifeways and protect our food sovereignty through traditional farming and sustainable irrigation practices.” Daughter Olivia Chavez and brother Pat Chavez also shared remarks. 

In addition to his extended family members, Governor Chavez is survived by his wife Carilene, their four children Olivia, Rochelle, April and John, and five grandsons.

The Everett F. Chavez Pueblo Pavilion is home to the Braves and Lady Braves athletics and serves as a regional event center for northern New Mexico. In 2016, it hosted First Lady Michelle Obama as the commencement speaker at the SFIS Graduation, who shared her family’s perseverance and commitment to education. At the 2019 SFIS Graduation, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the exiled President of Tibet, spoke in solidarity of self-determination, and language and cultural preservation.