Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Date:  Thursday, January 23, 2014
Time:   6:00-9:00 PM Doors open at 6:00PM
Location: Crest Theater, 1013 K Street


Ceremony and Participants: Indigenous and Catholic Ceremony, Dolores Huerta, Luis Valdez,Edward James Olmos, Paul Chavez, Arturo Rodriguez, National Compadres Network/Circulo de Hombres, Malaquias Montoya, Joe Montoya, Jr, Culture Clash members, Vincent Montoya, Cesar E. Chavez Chapter AGIF Color Guard, Royal Chicano Air Force, Poets Lorna Dee Cervantes and Ana Castillo, Daniel Valdez, Danza Azteca, and Mariachi Zacatecas

On Thursday, January 23, 2014, the children of José Montoya, Sacramento educator, artist, poet, and activist who died after a courageous battle with cancer, at the age of 81 on September 25, 2013, will host an evening of tribute through dance, song and poetry at Sacramento’s Crest Theater. The public commemoration of his life will include tributes by the legendary Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Paul Chavez, son of Cesar E. Chavez and President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farm Workers of America; Luis Valdez, founder of El Teatro Campesino and writer and director of Zoot Suit and La Bamba; and Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning actor Edward James Olmos.  Montoya, 2002-2004 Poet Laureate of Sacramento and hailed as the godfather of Chicano poetry will also be commemorated by American Book Award recipients, Lorna Dee Cervantes and Ana Castillo, and the National Compadres Network will announce the José MontoyaLa Cultura Cura” Scholarship for Higher Education.  Several family members will present including Jose’s brother, artist Malaquias Montoya, and sons-Joe Montoya, Jr., founder of Sacramento’s Poetry Unplugged, Richard Montoya, Culture Clash co-founder and actor, and Vincent Montoya, musician, singer, and songwriter.

Montoya, professor emeritus of Art Education at CSUS was born in New Mexico, but grew up in California’s Central Valley. He entered San Diego City College as an art student shortly after the Korean War and later transferred to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. He graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in 1962 and began his career as a teacher at Wheatland Union High School in northern California, until he earned his M.A. degree in 1971 at California State University Sacramento. He then taught for over 27 years in the Department of Art Education at CSUS.  Montoya is the author of three collections of poetry, including the highly acclaimed In Formation: 20 Years of Joda.  Montoya coined the phrases, “la cultura cura” or “culture heals” and “la locura cura” or “craziness heals” as a way to explain the unconventionally successful creativity of the RCAF, the Royal Chicano Air Force, a group of Chicano artists - mostly professors and students- that he co-founded and lead for decades and who were and still are prolific Sacramento artist activists devoted to advancing social justice through visual and performing arts.  

This free, public event planned in Sacramento is the only Montoya-family produced tribute event that will honor the memory of Montoya and his contributions in all of the many worlds in which he served including his early years in New Mexico, California’s Central Valley, the US Navy, his college life, teaching, the arts, and his activism. Doors open at 6:00 PM and seats are first-come, first-served.

In support of the Montoya Family, the National Compadres Network has offered to alleviate the high flow of communications to the family. Please submit your interest in attendance or your kind message by sending your response to this email or this blog. Tel. (831) 205-1822. We will collect this information and provide to the family on your behalf. Thank you for this kindness.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Memorable Year, Thank you

Dear Friends, Supporters and Families,

The National Compadres Network (NCN) ends the year hitting a high note. We recognize how the organization grows with the insight of elders that have been supportive since its inception. We also acknowledge your partnership as crucial in facilitating what we do. THANK YOU. 

Maestro Jerry Tello continues to impact communities throughout the country in a profound manner. He consitently reminds us that our healing and development will come from individual healing and inter-connectedness. These teachings, remain the basis of our work as we work to re-connect the elders, adults, and young people. The growing invitations to support local and national efforts, such as La Cultura Cura (Transformation Healing) philosophy,  extends within organizations, communities, and systems throughout the nation.

Reflecting on the past year, we remain very grateful for the guidance and support of so many elders, but we will especially miss the presence of Maestro José Montoya. His teachings, poetic verses, music, and humor will live on but his voice will leave a noticeable void. NCN is eternally grateful for his support; we thank his familia for sharing him with us throughout the years. ¡Un million de gracias!

There are many people who make NCN such a promising organization. I would like to take this moment to thank the team for their hard work and sacrifices. We will highlight members of our staff and partners in our 2014 newsletters so that you too can see who these people are, and what talents each contribute to make NCN a thriving and growing organization.
As the year closes, we would like to extend our collective best wishes to all. We hope the holidays and the celebrations of the new year brings you, and all those who surround you, happiness and prosperity in amounts unimagined.

Hector Sanchez FloresCon respeto siempre, su servidor,
Héctor Sánchez-Flores
Executive Director, National Compadres Network

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall News: Keeping the Circle-- A Tribute to Maestro Jose Montoya

--> It is with both excitement and mourning that this news is written.  The excitement is drawn from the incredible response NCN is receiving throughout the country.  Communities have increased their understanding of the Latino community and are responding by offering support that builds on gifts that our mothers, fathers, and families possess.  La Cultura Cura (Transformational Healing) provides communities with the foundation to help families address long held pain so that the beauty of our families can surface.

NCN staff have been busy traveling across the country representing NCN at conferences and convenings.  Mario Ozuna-Sanchez & Ozvaldo “Ozzie” Cruz traveled to Boston and Baltimore to inform practitioners who seek to include young men in prevention and intervention efforts. Maestro Jerry Tello and Juan Gomez informed foundations and systems leaders on the benefits of using asset-based culturally responsive approaches will enhance the outcomes they seek to achieve in communities in Colorado.  Maestro Samuelin Martinez and Baba Arnold Perkins (Brotherhood of Elders) attended the statewide Boys & Men of Color Camp held in the California Sierras to reflect our shared mission to make sure our boys and young men see themselves as blessings to all of us and remind them that we will walk with them in their journey towards manhood.  Finally, I  traveled to Washington DC to attended the national convening hosted by the National Institute of Health to better understand the involvement of fathers during pregnancy and first year of their child’s life and continue to serve on the Positive Youth Justice Initiative that will illuminate the many ways that California’s systems and resources can be deployed to achieve better life outcomes than the investments in incarceration have given the constituents of the state.

Maestro José E. Montoya was man who reminded me that the greetings and social graces that my family taught, that were rooted in our Mexican traditions, had a place in this country, our country, too. His contribution to NCN as a board member was central to making sure that the organization worked in service to the community.  His unrelenting advocacy for young men, adult men and families that were pushed to the margins of society has been a driving force of our work.  His presence in the Círculo helped center work that each man must endeavor to do so that his children, family, and community benefit.

Mstro. José Montoya’s teachings are overwhelming to capture in this short note.  He reflected what a man that worked in service to others looked like, his time with El Círculo often came at the expense of his family, and he taught us to sit humbly so that we could learn from each other while honoring the four cardinal directions representing the children, women, elders and ancestors, and men all living on .  His music, art, and prose, were modern day examples of Chicano Flor y Canto.  He created the NCN’s  noble challenge to push the movement forward for the benefit of others.  The efforts of our success are built on the foundation Maestro José Montoya helped create and build.
Buenos días le de Dios y Dios se lo pague.

(May God grant you good days & May God repay you)

Con respeto siempre y gratitud,

Héctor Sánchez-Flores
Executive Director,
National Compadres Network

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Benefit Performance:

Valley of the Heart by Luis Valdez

National Compadres Network partners with El Teatro Campesino,  September 20, 2013, 8:00pm

El Teatro Campesino announces the first production of the new play “Valley of the Heart” written by Founding Artistic Director, acclaimed American playwright and father of Chicano Theatre, Luis Valdez.

Special Feature: Meet Jerry Tello, Director of the National Compadres Network and  Luis Valdez for a Q & A after the show. 

"Valley of the Heart" is a love story, the dramatic interaction of two share cropping families – the Yamaguchis and the Montaños - during the trying days of World War II. From the foothills of Northern California’s Santa Clara Valley, “the Valley of the Heart’s Delight,” in 1941 to Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming in 1945, this “memory play” is about the marriage and ultimate survival of Teruko “Thelma” Yamaguchi and Benjamin Montaño, and the birth of their son in camp. “Valley of the Heart” is described by the playwright as a “kabuki corrido.” The staging of the play will draw from conventions of the Japanese theatrical style while also invoking the music of the Mexican popular ballad to tell the tale of these two cultures weaving together to form the fabric of America.
This heartfelt piece is a clear demonstration of how art cultivates understanding of the human experience, induces compassion, while reclaiming the memories of several cultures during trying times. “Valley of the Heart” is a timely piece and powerful tale that brings social healing via the arts. The National Compadres Network partners with El Teatro Campesino to sponsor this presentation as a parallel community effort.



Friday September 20, 2013 
8:00 PM to 10:00 PM PDT                                                     



El Teatro Campesino
705 Fourth Street
San Juan Bautista, CA 95045

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

CARPOOLING: Hombres Retiro August 2013

Carpooling Requests

For those men registered for the Circulo de Hombres 25th annual retreat, here is a place to connect with others traveling to the event.

Please respond to this blog by offering or requesting a ride share. State your general location and which weekend of your travels, and only the information you want public.

Thank you for working together in the spirit of Hombres Nobles.If you would like to verify a registered participant, have questions or concerns regarding payments and general event info, please connect with Diane at 831.205.1822 or email: diane@nlffi.org

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

San Benito High, Hollister Youth Alliance: Indian Canyon Retreat

Joven Noble Retreat to Indian Canyon

Saturday May 25, 2013

Purpose of Retreat

In many Native American cultures, the youth participated in a Vision Quest/Retreat to symbolize their rite-of-passage ceremony. Traditionally, these rituals have been performed to mark significant life transitions or changes. Generally speaking, they are seen as both personal and collective events that are guided and witnessed with the community, and often involve the “quester” spending time alone in nature in search of a personal vision that becomes a vision to support the entire community. The youth participating in the Joven Noble program will participate in the retreat to symbolize the completion of their participation in the program and to reflect on how the lessons that they have learned throughout the year will help improve themselves and their community.

About Indian Canyon

Indian Canyon is the only land continuously held by the

Ohlone people, the first inhabitants of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. Indian Canyon is the only federally recognized “Indian Country” along coastal Northern California From Santa Barbara to Sonoma. 
In order to provide a place for Indigenous people who need land for ceremony, Indian Canyon hosts over five sweat lodges, beautiful arbor area for gatherings, and offers a round house area (site for our future traditional Village House) for special events. In addition to offering 30-40 areas for individual prayer and ceremony. Indian Canyon provides research and exchange opportunities for students and interns from throughout Northern California. 

All kinds of wildlife, flora and fauna, can be found in Indian
Canyon, including Coastal Live Oak, Madrone, Buckeyes, Sycamore, Pine and Cottonwood, Deer, Red-tail hawks, Stellar Jays, Owls, Hummingbirds, Foxes and Coyotes, along with the occasional visiting Condors (during ceremony visiting from Pinnacles Park who are reintroducing Condors to the area). Located south of Hollister, this private remote Canyon may be visited by invitation.  

Thanks to the Hollister Youth Alliance at San Benito High School for providing this inspirational experience to ten youth ages 12-17 years of age.

Mario Ozuna-Sanchez
Senior Program & Training Specialist
National Compadres Network/ National Latino Father and Family Institute

Images from Family and Youth Services Bureau Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Conference 2013