Alumni Award Recipients
Zia Award, 2009
Herman Agoyo the First has always been a runner. He ran around his pueblo as a boy… Sprinted down basketball courts and around baseball diamonds in high school . . . Outpaced his teenage son on cross-country runs . . . And set running records at the Senior Olympics.
But it’s a different type of running talent that truly defines Herman – and that’s his talent for running communities, programs, and events.
Herman grew up on the Ohkay Owingeh (Oh-keh’ O–wing–eh’) Pueblo -- formerly the San Juan Pueblo -- under the watchful eye of his grandfather who taught Herman the old ways and the pueblo philosophy of putting community first. In the mid-1950’s, after graduating from the Santa Fe Indian School, Herman left home to attend Manhattan College in New York City on an athletic scholarship. He was the first person in his family to go to college.
When Herman returned to New Mexico, he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, taught in Española’s public schools, and earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from UNM.
He also dedicated himself to helping run his Pueblo. He was Lieutenant Governor four times, Governor once, and he continues to serve as a lifetime member of the Tribal Council.
A defining moment in Herman’s career was the placing of a marble statue of Po’Pay (po–peh’) at National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building. Po’Pay was an Ohkay Owingeh member and the leader of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Herman worked tirelessly on the effort and the unveiling of the statue was the culmination of his 30-year commitment to honoring the great leader. Those in attendance say that, on that day, Herman was just as big in stature as Po’pay.
Because of his warmth and talent for sharing Pueblo history and culture, Herman has become a well-respected ambassador for all Pueblos. His dedication has earned him many accolades. He’s been named a living treasure by the New Mexico Living Treasure Association, received a lifetime achievement award from the New Mexico Community Foundation, and been named one of the 50 most influential Americans by Newsweek.
Herman also publishes poetry and articles. And, yes, he still finds time to go out for a jog now and then!
For his dedication to the entire Pueblo community, his willingness to share his culture with others, and his talented leadership, we’re proud to present this Zia Award to Herman Agoyo.