Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC), under the leadership of Roberto Nutlouis, is a grassroots organization that works to bring about social and environmental justice, in the process of creating a just transition. Through the following programs, INVST works with the BMWC in order to learn how to incorporate compassionate action into the realms of social and environmental justice. Below are the programs we participate in together:

Sustainability Spring Break: Students from Boulder engaged in experiential education with Black Mesa Water Coalition. On this visit, students learned about Navajo culture, dry land subsistence farming and permaculture, preparing fields for planting and the harvesting of food, and reclaiming the ways we live on the land and regard the air and water that sustains us with honor and respect.

Group photo by cliff

Watershed restoration is a key component to the work that INVST does with Black Mesa Water Coalition. Linked below is a report created to assist BMWC in learning how to engage in community-based restoration projects. INVST presents this report to Black Mesa Water Coalition, to support them in fulfilling their mission. It includes general information and examples of watershed restoration, information about effective community engagement in restoration projects, information about water laws on reservations, and helpful contacts to reach out to, both at CU and around the United States.

Resources for Watershed Restoration Projects by the BMWC

Climate Justice Summer: Another program that INVST and the BMWC work on together is, INVST students explore energy issues during their annual visit to the Diné (or Navajo) Nation in Northeastern Arizona. While partnering with Black Mesa Water Coalition, INVST students learn about the social and environmental impacts of the coal mining industry on indigenous people and places. Below, in August 2017, the K1D5 that Care cohort of INVST students appear with Roberto and the Black Mesa Water Coalition Fellows after building ditches to help with more effective water flow.


Wool Buying Project: Black Mesa Water Coalition has invited INVST to research ways to start worker-owned cooperatives, and then present that information to them, in order to help turn BMWC’s women’s wool buying project into a worker-owned cooperative business.

Outreach and Engagement: Through our partnership with Black Mesa Water Coalition, CU Boulder students are taught how to engage with communities in a mutually beneficial, reciprocal  relationship. INVST’s goals are to strengthen our collaboration with BMWC, help support Black Mesa’s economic development and autonomy, help maximize revenue from wool sales, help additional people in Piñon find value in BMWC’s programs, and deepen relationships between Black Mesa and CU Boulder.

If you have questions about this or other partnerships between INVST and community-based organizations, please call 303 492 8045 or e-mail

Students building wall