For External Partners

TWU’s Approach to Research & Evaluation

If you are new to the work of Tewa Women United, welcome! We suggest you visit the website, subscribe to their newsletters, and explore various ways they share their efforts and understandings with the world. Even if your interest stems from a particular project or issue, you’ll benefit from learning more about the ways TWU weaves reproductive justice, environmental justice, gender justice and healing justice into everything they do. Then, read on to see if you or your organization is a good match to partner with Tewa Women United on research and/or evaluation. If their approach resonates with your own, please reach out to explore potential opportunities to collaborate.

Before approaching TWU with a proposal to work together, please be sure that:

You already have an existing relationship with us. If not, we will need meaningful referrals from colleagues or community organizations we mutually trust before we can consider your request.

Your values align with ours. We are a values-led organization rooted in spirituality, and our cultural core values are our strength. Clarity around your personal core values will help us assess the potential fit.

Your research, evaluation, or other effort is solutions-focused. While dissecting the problems may offer some value, this is insufficient. We prefer an approach that is solutions-focused, lighting the way forward to benefit our beloved community.

Unless otherwise specified, you acknowledge TWU’s ownership of the work produced, and grant TWU the right to edit, redact, or in other ways control the final product and the plan for distribution.

The TWU Approach

Center Relational-tivity (Relations in action)

TWU works through consensus, co-creation, and cyclical processes that value interdependence and center process to arrive at outcomes. Honor, learn about, and engage in these processes.

Recognize that there’s no such thing as a “neutral, objective observer.” Strive to understand how your values and worldview impact your work. Working with TWU offers an opportunity to deepen your understanding of your own perspective and biases, to explore alternative points of view or understandings and to be open to change.

Be assured that your presence is meaningful and valued, as is the presence of everyone else at the table. Vulnerability and openness lay the groundwork for connection and relational-tivity. Cultivate warmheartedness and embrace your vulnerability. Honor the space for others to be vulnerable as well.

Maintain a balance between creativity and content in your communications and reporting. TWU recognizes the power of effective communication that draws from different styles of self-expression and favors the following: use plain language, engage the senses when you can, and explore alternatives to the written word. You will be able to communicate more widely, and people will understand you better.


TWU holds that evidence and authority are rooted in the lived experience of Indigenous women and girls. Every part of the research and evaluation efforts should honor and uplift this understanding. Consult your experts – the Indigenous women and girls who live this work – and yield to their wisdom:. [sidebar: Other designated “evidence-based programming” and “evaluation best practices” may not be appropriate for the communities involved.]

TWU’s work elevates family, healthy relations, collective well-being, and our Earth Mother. Make sure your work does, too. Are your questions and concerns aligned with those of TWU and the community? Is relevance and usefulness to the community at the center of what you do?

This is heart centered work. The truths of story live in emotion. Allow yourself to be humbled by the fact that this world is cosmically aligned to heart-centeredness . Support emergent truths through rigorous alternative ways of data collecting , loving collective analysis, and heart-centered, meaningful reporting. TWU has a well-developed research methodology with a specific analytic lens; learn more about this and how to apply it to your work.* [see Corrine quote, below]

Attend to the wellness of your mind-heart-body-spirit, and listen for the mind-heart-body-spirit of those you encounter in your work. TWU’s work centers around the interconnectedness of mind-heart-body-spirit. Be mindful of this through every level of interactions, including those within the individual, the organization, the community, and the planet.

Focus on Healing

Model your work relational-tivity on TWU’s women-and-girls-centered, culture-based approach of healing the causes of harming and soul wounding as a pathway to transformative healing. TWU’s work is tough and requires those involved to confront harm to individuals, families and communities as a pathway toward healing.[Corrine quote: “What we’re trying to transform is really hard traumas in our community, to heal and transform in that heartspace. How do we hold enough trust for that healing to happen?”

Focus on community strengths and cultural assets, not deficits and gaps. We believe in using research and evaluation as tools to illuminate the strengths and cultural assets of a community. First Nations Development Institute describes this approach in this way: “Indigenous evaluation rests on a keen, grounded, and expansive cultural knowledge system, and recognizes, reinforces and celebrates the respective community. In other words, it is asset driven. It does not reinforce negative and deficit-based narratives that have been constructed and perpetuated by settler societies.”**

Earn community trust by having integrity and being responsible in your words and actions. Safeguard data, preserve confidentiality as appropriate, and do excellent work. TWU’s work is built upon community trust and buy-in earned through deliberate decision making. Historically, research and evaluation conducted by those from outside of our Indigenous communities have misrepresented us and caused harm. It is very important for all researchers and evaluators to adopt affirmative consent practices, respect data sovereignty, and give credit where credit is due.

Think deeply about how your work can support collective care. Make sure that your research and evaluation are directed at community care and uplifting the community. Be mindful that your research may have implications that you may not have anticipated. Take the time to consult the experts at TWU to understand how to amplify benefits and mitigate harm. In what ways does your work demonstrate reciprocity?

* Dr. Corrine Sanchez, quoted from “Protecting Those Most Vulnerable: Building Beloved Families and Communities To End Violence Against Native Women, Girls and Mother Earth” [2016 dissertation]

“TWU’s research methodology is grounded in spirituality and the power of seegi ma vay i, loving, caring, and looking out for one another, those yet to come, and our Mother Earth. Thus, TWU’s Research Methodology includes the following components:

  • Our culture is our strength
  • Mindful practices to decrease harm into future generations – protection of those most vulnerable
  • Personal and collective sovereignty – self-determination, self-identification and self-education
  • Healthy relationships – re-building and uplifting Beloved Pueblo/ Tewa families and communities
  • Connectedness to Mother Earth and her gifts
  • Honors feminine strength – centering Pueblo/Tewa women and girls

Our methodology comes from thousands of healing, discussion, talking, and power circles TWU has hosted and been invited into, locally to internationally. It is the cumulative wisdom of hundreds of thousands of women, families and communities upon which TWU builds and contributes.”

**First Nations Development Institute (2023)

Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Indigenous Evaluation: Improving Philanthropic Practice. Longmont, CO: First Nations Development Institute.