Nunez Honored as American Indian ‘Educator of the Year’

Vol. 7, Issue 11, March 27-April 9, 2009

The Capistrano Dispatch

Juaneño Band of Mission Indians/ Acjachemen Nation announces that San Juan Capistrano resident Jacque Nunez is the first Acjachemen member to receive this esteemed award as “Educator of the Year,” given at the 32nd California Conference on American Indian Education on March 31 at Wyndham Hotel in Palm Springs.

Nunez, a ninth-generation of the Rios family, was nominated by her tribe for her 30 years in education as a teacher, preschool director and Cultural Bearer/Storyteller/workshop leader.

Nunez has served 12 years as the Community Education Chair. Nunez has traveled to hundreds of schools, visiting thousands of children while sharing the beauty and culture of her Acjachemen people, the builders of Mission San Juan Capistrano. Nunez was selected by PBS Children’s programs, Jaker’s Adventures as the Native American story teller on a special that demonstrated storytelling around the world. She show cased her original story, Shoo-la-yem, (Many Stars).

She travels throughout the state to Performing Art Centers as the Master storyteller with other tribal members in an amazing play that is engaging, interactive and a living village of the ancient village of Acjachemai while sharing their Acjachemen story. “She was most deserving of this award, states Nathan Banda who spearheaded her nomination on behalf of the tribe, “We are so proud of her!”

Nunez will be donating her Native American Education Program Journeys to the Past to San Juan Elementary at 6 p.m. on April 3.