NMiF celebrates national poet laureate Joy Harjo

This week, New Mexico in Focus celebrates Joy Harjo, a groundbreaking poet and New Mexico treasure. An enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, Harjo went to school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and was both a student and faculty member at UNM. Earlier this year, she made history as the first Native American to be named a national poet laureate.

Harjo has written eight books of poetry, including her latest, “An American Sunrise.” Correspondent Megan Kamerick caught up with Harjo at a poetry reading in Santa Fe to talk about why she sees the poet laureate appointment as an opportunity for Native people.

 Teton Saltes, a junior offensive lineman on UNM’s football team, combines community service with athletic and academic achievement. A member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, Saltes works among Native communities struggling with suicide – often at a rate higher than any other racial or ethnic group. Correspondent Antonia Gonzales met up with Saltes at football practice to look at how he tackles advocacy for his community with the same determination he does athletics.

“¡Las Sandinistas!” is a documentary that chronicles the brave women on the front lines of social reform during Nicaragua’s 1979 Sandinista revolution. NMPBS aired the documentary earlier this year. Correspondent Russell Contreras spoke to filmmaker Jenny Murray about the story.

NMiF also reprises two favorite “Our Land” segments, as correspondent Laura Paskus takes us to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge for a look behind the scenes at how managers maintain the habitat to support sandhill cranes, geese, and other wildlife. Paskus also takes viewers along as she examines the effort to build a network of backyard wildlife sanctuaries across New Mexico’s urban landscape. The spaces can create a surprisingly serene refuge for animals and people.

New Mexico PBS’ one-hour public affairs show New Mexico in Focus regularly airs Friday at 7 p.m. and repeats Sunday at 7 a.m. on Chanel 5.1, and Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. on Channel 9.1, except during pledge drives.


  • Joy Harjo, U.S. poet laureate
  • Jenny Murray, filmmaker, “¡Las Sandinistas!”
  • Teton Saltes, UNM football player, advocate of suicide prevention in Native communities


  • Russell Contreras
  • Antonia Gonzales
  • Megan Kamerick
  • Laura Paskus

Line Panelists

  • No “The Line” This Week


  • Gene Grant

New Mexico in Focus is the New Mexico PBS prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest.

NMiF takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic health, education and art issues, and explores them in-depth with a critical eye to give them context beyond the “news of the moment.”

The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Matt Grubs, with Kathy Wimmer, associate producer. The NM PBS Public Affairs executive producer is Kevin McDonald.

Funding for New Mexico in Focus is provided by the McCune Charitable Foundation and viewers like you.

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