Ken Lucero Appointed as Trust for Public Land Tribal and Indigenous Lands Director
Albuquerque, NM — Trust for Public Land (TPL) is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Ken Lucero as Tribal and Indigenous Lands Director. TPL has a rich history of collaborating with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities and Dr. Lucero’s expertise and leadership will play a pivotal role in advancing this critical work.
As the Tribal and Indigenous Lands Director, Dr. Ken Lucero will spearhead TPL’s continued commitment to Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. His extensive experience and deep connection to his Pueblo heritage uniquely position him to lead this vital initiative. Dr. Lucero, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Zia who also hails from the Pueblo of Cochiti, has dedicated over two decades to improving the well-being of his people and other tribal communities.
“Family and community guide everything that I do, and these values drive my passion for protecting our ancestral lands and preserving our cultural heritage,” said Dr. Lucero. “I am honored to join Trust for Public Land and work alongside Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities to ensure future generations are reconnected to their cherished and native lands, cultures, sovereignty, and traditions.”
With a legacy of working closely with over 100 Tribes and Indigenous/Native community organizations across three decades, TPL has successfully protected and returned access, stewardship, and/or ownership of nearly 200,000 acres of culturally important lands to Indigenous Peoples. These efforts have not only preserved natural landscapes but also supported the revitalization of languages and cultural practices intertwined with these homelands.
Dr. Lucero’s leadership will focus on enhancing TPL’s Tribal and Indigenous Lands program, forging strong partnerships and amplifying the impact of the organization’s work across all 50 states. The program’s dynamic portfolio includes ongoing projects with more than 30 Tribes and Indigenous/Native communities, spanning 500,000 acres and encompassing 13 schoolyard and park-development initiatives. Additionally, the program champions policy efforts that create opportunities for Tribal Nations and Indigenous/Native communities.
“Dr. Lucero’s extensive experience and strong dedication to Indigenous communities will greatly advance TPL’s mission of preserving culturally important landscapes and reconnecting Indigenous peoples with their ancestral lands,” said Trust for Public Land President and CEO Diane Regas. “TPL is thrilled to have him join the team.”
One of the groundbreaking initiatives Dr. Lucero will help fully support is a partnership between the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and TPL. This innovative collaboration aims to create nine Tribal Community Schoolyards, fostering a connection between education, culture, and ecology within Tribal Communities.
Lucero’s previous roles include serving as the Tribal Administrator for Zia Pueblo, where he is still an active member on the Zia Tribal Council; Field Representative for US Senator Martin Heinrich; and as Director for RWJF Center for Native American Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. With a PhD in Social Justice from Arizona State University, he has conducted extensive research on the intersection of Western medicine delivery systems and Pueblo ideologies of health. His work also aims to integrate Pueblo values into tribal governance systems, contributing to the restoration of traditional ways of life and the decolonization of tribal programs.
“Dr. Lucero’s dedication to Tribal communities and their ancestral lands has had direct and lasting impacts within New Mexico and beyond,” said Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). “I am confident that Dr. Lucero’s strong relationships in, genuine commitment to, and deep knowledge of Indian Country will be a huge asset to his work at Trust for Public Lands.”
Dr. Lucero resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife Venita, children, and grandchildren. In addition to his professional endeavors, he enjoys cherished family traditions such as Sunday dinners, hunting and fishing, and exploring the ocean.
Learn more about Trust for Public Land and its Indigenous and Tribal Communities program at tpl.org.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.