APCG

We are the 20 Governors of the sovereign Pueblo nations of New Mexico and Texas, vested in making life better for all our Pueblo people and ensuring that those yet to be born have the same opportunity to experience our customs and traditions just as previous generations have been blessed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2022   

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

New Mexico Legislature Passes Equal Pay for Native Language Teachers

Albuquerque, NM – On Tuesday evening, February 15, 2022, the New Mexico Senate unanimously passed House Bill 60, which guarantees equal pay for Native language and culture teachers. The bill, sponsored by Representative Derrick Lente (Sandia Pueblo) and introduced in the Senate by Senator Benny Shendo, Jr. (Jemez Pueblo), will now head to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign into law.

House Bill 60 requires school districts to pay Native language and culture teachers, also known as 520 certificate holders, the same minimum salary as level 1 licensed teachers. This will end the inequitable treatment of Native language teachers; whose current pay varies among districts and is often much lower than other teachers’ pay. With the bipartisan approval of this legislation, lawmakers recognized the unique credentials of Native language teachers, gained through experience and traditional practices, and the critical role of these teachers in sustaining Native languages and cultures.

APCG Chairman Mark Mitchell applauds the final passage of House Bill 60 and said: “Since our emergence our Pueblos have come together to address the deepest and most impactful threats to culture and language. In this era of our Nations, that threat has been western education. Beginning over 130 years ago, the deliberate efforts to erase Native languages have brought our languages to a moment of critical urgency. The federal government’s policy of assimilation prohibited the speaking of Native languages in school and resulted in a dramatic language loss. The cultural survival of Tribes depends on the preservation and revitalization of tribal languages. Native languages sustain tribal communities, our governance systems, our institutions, and our identities. APCG welcomes this long overdue recognition of the value of Native languages and the distinguished individuals who teach our languages.  We thank Rep. Lente, Senator Shendo, and Mr. Regis Pecos for all the valiant work. With the passage of HB 60, our languages have a chance to renew its strength.”

Representative Derrick Lente said: “The passage of HB60 is a historic moment. It is a triumph overcoming nearly 130 years of the intentional efforts of eradicating our languages. The passage of this legislation is another example of the perseverance of each generation doing their part to define the inheritance of the next generation. This triumph reverses the long history of systemic and institutional racism in the name of linguicide using education as the means. It will now be at the center of our vision for education.”

There are eight Native languages spoken in New Mexico, all of which are recognized as endangered or vulnerable. New Mexico’s Indian Education Act of 2003 requires the maintenance of Native languages. The passage of House Bill 60 will help get more Native language teachers into classrooms, which will improve Native students’ access to a culturally and linguistically relevant education.

Since 2003, state law provides for a certificate process that enables non-degreed individuals to teach the Native language and culture of specific New Mexico Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos in public schools. Tribes retain full authority over developing standards for determining competency for certification and collaborate with the Public Education Department (PED) in the certification process. PED data shows there are currently 99 Native language teachers working as classroom instructors. Many of these certified teachers get paid at much lower rates than other teachers.

The effort to secure equal pay for Native language and culture teachers was supported by all of New Mexico’s 23 Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos. The legislation is part of the Tribal Remedy Framework, a comprehensive plan for meeting the educational needs of Native students that addresses the landmark 2018 Yazzie/Martinez court ruling. The court found that the State had failed to provide Native students with a culturally and linguistically relevant education.

More information on the Tribal Remedy Framework, including HB 60, can be found here:

https://nabpi.unm.edu/tribal-remedy-framework/index.html

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2022

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

PUEBLO GOVERNORS CONDEMN DESECRATION OF SACRED PETROGLYPHS, RENEW CALL FOR PROTECTIONS

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – Following the discovery of new spray paint defacing La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs, some 8,000 years old, the All Pueblo Council of Governors released this statement.

“The recent desecration of petroglyphs in the Caja del Rio weighs heavy on the hearts of all Pueblo people throughout New Mexico and Texas,” said APCG Chairman and former Governor of Tesuque Pueblo, Mark Mitchell. “The act is nothing short of violence against our ongoing cultural connection and our spirits who reside on the landscape.”

In December of last year, the APCG passed a resolution (attached) affirming the historic importance of the Caja del Rio as a significant cultural landscape, which includes a dense concentration of petroglyphs, ancestral homes, sacred sites, and irrigation structures.

“This area has suffered from years of mismanagement as the landscape is at the crossroads between federal, state, and private oversight that continues to result in undue and irreversible harm to our history and culture,” continued Chairman Mitchell. “We call on the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, State Historic Preservation Office, and the New Mexico State Land Office, to quickly and effectively investigate and address this instance of desecration, and we renew our call for all entities, including federal and state agencies, and the New Mexico Congressional Delegation to take swift action to protect and preserve the Caja del Rio, in consultation with Pueblos and tribes.”

In addition to the persistent threat of desecration of Pueblo cultural artifacts, the Caja del Rio and its wildlife corridors are facing imminent danger from a proposed 12.5-mile-long, 3-phase, overhead 115-kilovolt power transmission line terminating at a Los Alamos National Laboratory Substation, proposed rad development, additional water pipeline infrastructure, highlighting the moral and legal requirements for consultation, free prior and informed consent, and co-management with Pueblos and tribes in how significant cultural landscapes, like the Caja del Rio, are stewarded.

###

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 6, 2022

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Leadership Transitions in 2022

 Albuquerque (NM) – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), collectively representing the 20 Pueblo Nations of New Mexico and Texas, held deliberations at their final 2021 meeting in December to close business and exercise their process for designating new officers. The outcome of the December deliberations to lead APCG for the next two years are:

  • Chairman Mark Mitchell, Former Governor of Tesuque Pueblo
  • Vice Chairman Jerome Lucero, Former Governor of Zia Pueblo
  • Secretary Val R. Panteah Sr., Governor of Zuni

Statement from Chairman Mitchell on new role:

“It is an incredible honor to assume the responsibility and privilege to lead the Pueblo Governors as Chairman of their Council. This Council is over 400 years old and has represented the Pueblos among three separate sovereigns onto our lands – Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The Pueblos owe who we are to this body and without our ancestors’ incredible foresight and action, we would not enjoy our languages and culture that sustains and nurtures us. Today, APCG stands strong and united to continue advocating for the protection of our languages, culture, and landscapes and I look forward to fulfilling the promise of our nations.”

Statement from Vice-Chairman Lucero on new role:

“Thank you to my fellow Pueblo Governors for the recognition. As any Pueblo leader understands, to be called into service is not taken lightly. We understand the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit remains an issue for the State of New Mexico’s Governor and Legislature to resolve and it is APCG’s collective priority and responsibility to help our legislative champion Rep. Derrick Lente (D-65) to advance the Tribal Remedy Framework ahead of the 2022 legislative session. I am prepared to help any way I can.”

Statement from Secretary Panteah on new role:

“It is an obligation of any Pueblo leader to assume a role upon the call to service. This is not my first term as an officer of the APCG, so I feel confident that the Council’s incredible foresight and vision will be advanced. If the win on Sacred Sites protection in 2021 by President Biden’s announcement to withdraw federal lands and minerals in the Greater Chaco Region is any indication of APCG’s incredible strength, let the 2021 Redistricting efforts that advanced the principle of Tribal Self-Determination serve as that reminder. Much work remains and we are ready to continue the brave and honorable work ahead.”

The Officers assumed their positions on January 1st, 2022.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20th, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

PUEBLO GOVERNORS AFFIRM THE CAJA DEL RIO AS A TRADITIONAL CULTURAL LANDSCAPE AND CALL FOR ITS PROTECTION

Albuquerque (N.M.) – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), collectively representing the 20 Pueblo Nations of New Mexico and Texas, made history on November 29, 2021 by adopting  Resolution No. APCG 2021-13 (attached) to support the preservation of the Caja Del Rio, Santa Fe – Caja Del Rio Area (usda.gov), a Puebloan traditional cultural landscape.

Presently, the Caja Del Rio suffers from longstanding federal agency mismanagement issues resulting in legacy desecration to Pueblo sacred sites including the landscape’s dense concentration of petroglyphs, ancestral homes, ceremonial kivas, roads, irrigation structures, and other cultural resources. In addition to these impacts, the Caja Del Rio is concurrently under duress from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (DOE NNSA) proposed Electrical Power Capacity Project (EPCU) that would construct a 12.5-mile-long, 3 phase, overhead 115-kilovolt power transmission line across the Caja Del Rio.

By Resolution No. APCG 2021-13, the APCG identifies inadequate tribal consultation on the proposed project and to advance the intent of the Resolution, APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera submitted a letter on Friday December 17th, 2021 to request the SFNF to Fully Comply with Tribal Consultation Requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act Prior to Publishing the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Electrical Power Capacity Upgrade Project (attached).

APCG supports the provision of tribal consultation in alignment with the United Nation’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous of People’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent Principle and stands ready to work in coordination with Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, New Mexico Congressional Delegation, environmental groups, and many other stakeholders continuing to pursue land designations to secure protections for the Caja Del Rio.

APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr., Former Governor of Laguna Pueblo remarked, “Pueblo leadership has acted historically to address the top issues of their day. On November 29, 2021 the Governors of APCG decided unequivocally that the preservation the Caja Del Rio sacred cultural landscape – that is home to our ancestors and spirits – is a collective priority in our efforts to protect our ancestral homelands. We understand that the DOE and SFNF is engaging in its federal requirements associated under NEPA and NHPA. We encourage the federal government to understand that to fully engage with the Pueblos, we need your commitment and cooperation, especially during this time of year marked by transition and rest. APCG stands ready to support decision-making that protects Pueblo cultural resources in perpetuity.”

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  December 8, 2021 

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              THE ALL PUEBLO COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS APPLAUDS THE INTRODUCTION OF SENATE BILL 2 HONORING STATE TRIBAL REDISTRICTING PRIORITIES

 SANTA FE, NM – On Monday, the New Mexico State Legislature convened for the 2021 Second Special Legislative Session to deliberate upon redistricting proposals that will determine communities’ political power and representation for the next decade. The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), comprised of the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico and 1 in Texas, are pleased to announce that the State Senate district proposals agreed upon between the Pueblos, Jicarilla Apache Nation, and Navajo Nation were included as part of the district plans introduced to the Senate today as Senate Bill 2. The bill is sponsored by Senators Linda Lopez, Daniel Ivey-Soto, and Shannon Pinto.

For the greater part of the year, tribal leaders and their representatives have undertaken a collaborative effort through the Native American Redistricting Work Group (NARWG), to achieve agreement on redistricting proposals for the aforementioned districts. NARWG established a set of Native American “Principles of Redistricting” that would guide mapmakers in drawing maps that kept historical partnerships intact, upheld ties to cultural landscapes and sacred sites, and affirmed that Tribal communities are in the best position to determine what is best for their communities. Intertribal collaboration brought the Pueblos and Jicarilla Apache Nation to consensus on district plans in midsummer. In mid-October, the Pueblos, Jicarilla Apache Nation, and Navajo Nation came to consensus on a State Senate district proposal for New Mexico’s Northwest Quadrant. Importantly, these plans adhere to redistricting principles, are compliant with the Voting Rights Act, and seek to build political power for historically disenfranchised and underrepresented communities. “The Pueblos, Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Navajo Nation have demonstrated once more that our unity leads to the greatest benefits for our people and our political choices are in the best interests of all people,” Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr.

“For the past four months, New Mexico Senate Democrats have participated in and engaged with the Citizens Redistricting Committee. This included listening to the public comment and committee members’ deliberations, reviewing the many map concepts provided in the process, and analyzing the committee’s work evaluations,” said bill sponsor Senator Lopez. “The bill I have introduced today contains a majority of the work provided to us by the committee. It also reflects the diversity of our state, fully recognizes the needs of our Native American Communities, and protects the many communities of interest within New Mexico’s borders.”

“I would like to acknowledge the collaboration from the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, NAVA Education Project, and all the participating individuals for coming to an agreement on the consensus map introduced today,” said Senator Shannon Pinto (D- Tohatchi). “While district lines may be moved to accommodate shifts in population, it’s important to keep in mind that these lines should not be viewed as lines of division. We are all New Mexicans, and I will always work with my fellow legislators to see that every person is listened to and represented.”

The Tribes, Nations, and Pueblos whose maps were advanced through the Citizen Redistricting Committee’s selection process and submitted to the legislature for final consideration have been maintained whole and intact in Senate Bill 2. The agreement between sovereign nations on both State House and Senate plans is a monumental achievement and a testament to their shared goal of protecting and advancing Native American Voting Rights. In 2011, Tribes, Nations, and Pueblos were successful in the New Mexico Redistricting litigation and secured maps that met the Voting Rights Act requirements.  Today, New Mexico’s Tribes celebrate Senate Bill 2 for acknowledging the significant contributions of tribal nations that increase the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                            

December 6, 2021 

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

PUEBLO GOVERNORS OF NEW MEXICO, NAVAJO NATION, AND JICARILLA APACHE NATION ACHIEVE CONSENSUS ON STATE HOUSE MAP

SANTA FE, NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), comprised of the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico and one Pueblo in Texas, along with the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation, have together spent the latter half of 2021 working to achieve consensus on the reapportionment of New Mexico’s Northwest Quadrant, specifically New Mexico’s State House map. Today, we announce a breakthrough for the Tribes, Nations, and Pueblos as we have reached consensus on a State House map, following a series of intertribal consultation sessions. The agreement between the leaders of sovereign tribal nations is considered a monumental achievement and a shining example of nation-to-nation cooperation.

For the past eight months, tribal leaders and their representatives worked together through the Native American Redistricting Work Group (NARWG), to achieve agreement on House, Senate, and Congressional maps. NARWG created a set of “guiding principles” based on a framework designed by the tribes during redistricting activities in 2011. The guiding principles served as building blocks for deliberation and discussion on map designs derived from weekly exchanges. Mapmakers then worked carefully to draw maps that incorporated the “Principles of Redistricting,” and to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

“This effort reflects not only an understanding of the importance of tribal involvement in the redistricting process, but more importantly, the need to protect our cherished right to vote,” said APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr. “We’re mindful that the work doesn’t end here. The Pueblo Governors alongside leadership from the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Navajo Nation will work to ensure that our maps are used to shape and define our interests for the next 10 years.”

“This is an historic achievement that has been months in the making,” said NM House Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe). “We can confidently say that New Mexico’s tribal voices will be fairly represented in their New Mexico House of Representatives. I want to thank our state’s tribal leaders for getting this critical work done and setting a historic precedent for future generations.”

The coalition of tribal nations has advanced renditions of their maps through the Citizens Redistricting Commission and are now set on integrating their maps into the final House and Senate maps in New Mexico’s special legislative session.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 

November 15, 2021 

Contact: Teran Villa,  tvilla@indianpueblo.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Celebrates President Biden’s Decision to Withdraw Federal Lands from Mineral Development in Chaco 10-Mile Withdrawal Area

Albuquerque, N.M. – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), collectively representing the 20 Pueblos of New Mexico and Texas, applauds President Biden’s decision to initiate consideration of a 20-year administrative withdrawal of federal lands and minerals from future mineral development in an approximately 10-mile withdrawal area surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Today’s announcement compliments actions taken by the State of New Mexico which withdrew State land in 2019 in the same area from future mineral, oil, and gas leasing. This long sought-after measure protects a critically sensitive area of the Greater Chaco Region, a sacred landscape replete with cultural resources significant to Pueblos, the Navajo Nation, and other Tribal Nations and Native communities. The withdrawal area includes over a dozen Chacoan great house communities, many ancient roads, and thousands of cultural resources.

“On behalf of the 20 Pueblo Governors, we are overjoyed by the actions of President Biden and grateful to Secretary Haaland for honoring the responsibility of each Pueblo Leader to protect Pueblo culture. Today’s announcement is the result of continuous prayers and the commitment to steward mother earth, our Sacred Trust. Pueblo Leadership is charged to protect our language, songs, and lifeways so that we may maintain our Sacred Trust and instill the gifts of our Creator into each child and community member for all time. We cannot sustain our Sacred Trust when sacred sites like Chaco are destroyed—as the region is quintessential to our very existence. Chaco has a profound contribution to the history of humankind, and for all who have heard the call to protect the region, we are eternally grateful,” said APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera, Jr. former Governor of Laguna Pueblo.

This important announcement was made today coinciding with the White House Tribal Nations Summit. It follows a November 10, 2021 request from U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to pursue the administrative withdrawal. In a May 7, 2021 letter from Senator Heinrich and July 8, 2021 letter from APCG similar requests were made. APCG thanks Senator Heinrich, Senator Luján, and Representative Leger Fernández for their dedication to securing this withdrawal and protecting the Greater Chaco Region. APCG also thanks leadership within the Department of the Interior, including Secretary Haaland, for their careful consideration of our request.

APCG stresses that this administrative withdrawal is but one piece of a larger effort to protect the Greater Chaco Region. APCG acknowledges that an administrative withdrawal provides interim protection until permanent protection is achieved legislatively, and thus an ongoing need for a permanent withdrawal remains. Additionally, for federal undertakings and major federal actions within the Greater Chaco Region that are not affected by the withdrawal, any steps towards development—including lease sales—must be preceded by full compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal requirements. During these reviews, where critical cultural resource information is absent, development should not proceed without sufficient tribally-led cultural resource studies. Pueblo Governors underscore the health and wellbeing of the Native people living in the area and those who continuously return to this landscape must be protected from ongoing and cumulative health impacts of oil and gas development.

APCG also celebrates the Department of the Interior’s undertaking of a broader assessment of the sacred landscape within the Greater Chaco Region to ensure that public land management better reflects the cultural importance of the area. Innumerable Pueblo cultural resources are present throughout the Greater Chaco Region, and ongoing and future tribally-led cultural resource studies will bring forth the voices of Pueblo and Indigenous people in understanding the significance of this unique place.

The Pueblo of Acoma has been instrumental to the tribally-led cultural resource studies, and Acoma Pueblo Governor Brian D. Vallo stated: “This momentous decision recognizes the importance of Chaco Canyon and the Greater Chaco Region as a sacred cultural landscape. For Acoma, like other Pueblos and Tribes which descend from those who inhabited Chaco, our connection to this sacred place is unwavering. When our ancestors left Chaco Canyon, their departure was not an abandonment, but a purposeful part of their journey foretold to them. The cultural resources—evidenced by the structures, kivas, pottery, petroglyphs, and shrines— were purposefully placed and left there in the Greater Chaco Region are the footprints of our ancestors. By choosing to protect this landscape from future mineral development, we will ensure that our deeply held beliefs, songs, ceremonies, and ancient traditions which emerged and are forever tied to this landscape will continue. They must continue.”

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

October 22, 2021         

All Pueblo Council of Governors District Preferences Adopted by Citizen Redistricting Committee

Albuquerque – On October 20, 2021, New Mexico’s independent the Citizen Redistricting Committee (CRC), adopted several concept maps preferential to the interests of New Mexico’s tribal communities.  State Senate Concept Map G, or the “Navajo, Pueblo and Apache Consensus Map” was submitted by the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) and Jicarilla Apache Nation in a letter to the CRC dated October 15, 2021. The full integration of Tribes, Nations and Pueblos redistricting preferences will be highly anticipated in the next phase of redistricting with the legislature.

Over the last five months, the APCG’s Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee (AHRC) conducted a rigorous listening campaign as a way to capture the redistricting preferences of New Mexico’s nineteen Pueblos, Navajo Nation, and Jicarilla Apache . In its effort to build consensus among the sovereign nations, the AHRC has been instrumental in drawing district lines that will ensure New Mexico’s Native American voters are able to choose their political representatives of their choice. Integral to this process, as tribal leaders have testified, are principles of self-determination and the tribal communities of interests that are protected by the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr. applauds the CRC for acknowledging the collective interests of the Pueblos, Jicarilla Apache and Navajo Nation, and AHRC’s efforts to build consensus. “This recommendation by the CRC to send to the Legislature a concept map that reflects consensus among the Pueblos, Jicarilla Apache, and Navajo Nation demonstrates that our civic engagement matters in these fundamental democratic processes and most importantly that tribal unity is a pathway to political power,” Herrera stated. State Senate Concept G was agreed upon by all Pueblos and tribes located in the northwest quadrant of New Mexico.

“We are encouraged by the CRC’s recommendation to move forward the Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache maps in the State’s redistricting process to adopt our preferences for the northwest quadrant of the state, and considering that Native Americans are about 12% of New Mexico’s population,” said Governor Val Panteah of Zuni Pueblo, the largest of the nineteen Pueblos. Further, Zuni Pueblo expressed a preference to diverge into two districts – State House District 6 and State House District 9 – a request that would improve voter participation among its members and diversify political representation. The CRC’s redistricting recommendations made to the state legislature consider a number of factors including the rural nature of Pueblos, population size, and principles of self-determination.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors initiated its redistricting work by seeking to build consensus with the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Mescalero Apache Tribe.  Pueblo Governors prioritized Tribal Self-Determination for increasing voting strength and access for New Mexico’s Native American voters, reminding the CRC in public hearings these requests come from historically disenfranchised communities which should be considered in their redistricting recommendations.

“We are grateful to the Chair of the Citizen Redistricting Committee, the Honorable Edward L. Chavez and to the rest of the committee for meaningfully considering the needs and preferences of Tribal Nations,” stated Amber Carrillo, Executive Director of APCG. Ms. Carrillo also commented, “This was the first time that New Mexico has experimented with independent redistricting and the CRC was tasked with the difficult but honorable mission of recommending district maps to the legislature based upon an assemblage of diverse testimony, comments, and map submissions from the citizens of New Mexico. They embarked upon their task with a sincere conviction to honor the citizen’s wishes and did so respectfully. Nonetheless, our experiences in this redistricting cycle thus far have reaffirmed the critical need for there to have been Native American representation on the committee. We look ahead to the next redistricting cycle to champion independent redistricting and for Native Peoples to be an integral part of the process.”

Starting in early December, state legislators will heed the CRC’s recommendations and deliberate decisions on concept maps.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

PUEBLO GOVERNORS OVERWHELMINGLY APPLAUD PRESIDENT BIDEN’S RESTORATION OF PROTECTIONS FOR PUEBLO AND TRIBAL CULTURAL RESOURCES AND SACRED SITES IN UTAH

Albuquerque, NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors’ (APCG) collectively representing the 20 Pueblo Nations of New Mexico and Texas, has long called upon the United States federal Administration and Congress to recognize Tribal Nation’s sovereign right to protect traditional cultural properties, cultural resources, and sacred ancestral landscapes. Today, Pueblo Governors celebrate President Biden’s actions, with support of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, to restore and expand the Bears Ears National Monument, and to restore the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Protections for these cultural landscapes in Utah will include permanent protections for important Pueblo cultural resources including ancestral villages, great houses, kivas, shrines, burials, pictographs, ancestral dwellings, and ancient roads. These landscapes and their cultural resources are critical to the Pueblos ongoing maintenance of languages, cultures, and traditions.

APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr., Former Governor of Laguna Pueblo, remarked, “The desecration of the sacred landscapes of Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase Escalante has been devastating to the preservation of our ancestral histories and knowledges left by our ancestors to us. We applaud the current Administration’s efforts to rebuild a meaningful relationship with Pueblo and Tribal Nations through this historic action and look forward to continue working in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation to protect sacred sites and ancestral landscapes for the benefit of Pueblos, Tribes, and all Americans.”

In 2016, Tribal leaders after many years of advocacy to prevent ongoing desecration of cultural resources in Utah secured President Obama’s support when he took action to establish the Bears Ears National Monument. President Obama’s original designation was approximately 1.3 million acres incorporating input to prioritize cultural resources by the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, with support of many Tribal Nations including members of the APCG. Historically, mining, and oil and gas development threatened and desecrated the landscape. In 2017, President Trump formally reduced the size of the original designation by approximately 200,000 acres. Many tribes called President Trump’s reduction a reflection of America’s historic prioritization to profit from extractive developments over meaningful tribal input and consultation.

Chairman Herrera noted further, “When Tribal leaders learned of President Obama’s actions in 2016, we celebrated, broke bread, shed tears, and offered prayers for thanks to our Creator and our spirits for their guidance and strength that helped us achieve protections for a landscape so vital and important to our way of life. Once again because of President Biden’s historic leadership, we are grateful to experience that same feeling of overwhelming joy. With President Biden’s help and guidance from Secretary Deb Haaland, a Pueblo person, we are securing the preservation of our people and our beautiful songs, dances, and responsibility to steward our lands for generations to come”

Governor Val Panteah of Zuni stated in his reflection, “We thank you Secretary Deb Haaland for your recommendation to restore the Bears Ears National Monument to its original designation. Pueblo Governors knew that you would provide an unprecedented voice for securing the federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations. Your leadership cannot be thanked enough and many Interior Secretaries after you will look to your example of historic leadership. We wish many blessings to you in return for your role and your commitment to the Tribal Nations. On behalf of APCG and Zuni Pueblo, we thank you for your contributions to our people.”

APCG Vice Chairman Phillip A. Perez, Governor of Nambe Pueblo, concluded the remarks stating “Pueblo Governors are overwhelming grateful for the restoration of protections to these important landscapes in Utah. APCG also seeks President Biden’s leadership and support for permanent protections to equally important cultural landscapes such as the Greater Chaco Region which are similarly threatened by overwhelming oil and gas development. We urge the Biden-Harris Administration to take actions afforded by federal law.”

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Call to Action Leads to Gudgel Resignation

Albuquerque, NM – After months of exasperating calls for her resignation, Rachel Gudgel, Director of the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC), finally decided to step down from one of the most influential positions in the legislative process. She admitted to making disparaging comments about Native Americans, losing the trust of New Mexico’s Pueblo Governors and Presidents of the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache, and Mescalero Apache nations.

“Now, it’s time to find a new person to lead the LESC on policy issues, someone who has the lived experience, who values the linguistic and cultural diversity in our state, and who can help shape education policies and programs that respond to the needs and rights of our Native children. New Mexico’s legislature and its staff have an obligation to create an equitable education system. Native children don’t have the luxury of waiting for another lawsuit to be filed,” said All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr.
The drawn-out process surrounding Ms. Gudgel’s resignation shows just how far New Mexico is from achieving equity for all students. The groundbreaking Yazzie/Martinez court ruling highlighted the unacceptable conditions of education for Native Americans. Yet, three years later, state leaders have not made substantive and meaningful improvements, including targeted funding for the Tribal Remedy Framework, an in-depth set of recommendations prepared by the NM Tribes. Many tribal leaders believe their legislative priorities on education were stifled under the now former LESC director.

“A large part of the job description of the new LESC director should be addressing the court’s mandates. But, most importantly, the committee and its new director must work to rebuild trust between Tribes and the legislature. State and tribal relations have been seriously weakened by what has occurred in the past three months. The legislature must work on regaining the confidence of tribal leaders. It’s time for a fresh start,” said Pueblo of Acoma Governor Brian Vallo.

APCG leadership looks forward to working with the legislature and the LESC in the selection of a new director for the LESC. In the spirit of the State Tribal Collaboration Act and tribal consultation, the APCG calls on legislative leadership of the LESC to consult with tribal leaders and tribal educational directors in the nomination and selection of a new LESC director.

In addition, the APCG calls on the LESC and the Legislative Finance Committee to develop a racial equity plan for their respective operations, staffing, and programmatic and policy work.

The former LESC director’s racist attitudes indicate the continuing existence of institutional racism in New Mexico’s political and education systems. Tribal leaders were dismayed at legislators’ refusal to tackle explicit and implicit racial bias as a systemic issue, further perpetuating the status quo.

“The resignation of Ms. Gudgel is nothing to celebrate. But rather, it is a demonstration of collective action by Native American leaders and allies who have repeatedly fought against educational and racial injustices for decades,” said Chairman Herrera.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

Protecting Sacred Trust – A Gathering of Tribal and Community Voices

Albuquerque NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) calls upon the State of New Mexico to end systemic racism for Native students in the state’s public schools. In a resounding voice, the Pueblo Governors say Native children are the key to maintaining our Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditional ways of life both now and into the future. Tribal leaders believe that systemic racism in public schools today is tied to the history of boarding schools established across the country to intentionally kill the cultural identity of Native children. They contend that public education policies of forced assimilation have been used historically to that end and still affects tribal communities and their children today.

“The New Mexico legislature and public education policymakers need to know that a strong cultural identity is important for our children’s academic progress. In addition to math, reading, science and the arts, our children need to know about their history, traditions, Native languages, and tribal laws,” said APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera. “The Legislative Education Study Committee has a responsibility to shift the paradigm and that begins by removing its
controversial Director.”

To improve the educational outcomes for Native children, the tribes insist the state must invest in the Tribal Remedy Framework, a comprehensive set of recommendations and solutions developed by tribal advocates and education experts in response to the historic Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit. Democratic Representative Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo has led the way by persistently introducing legislation the past three sessions using the Tribal Remedy Framework
as the basis.

“My constituents, who come from communities of color, are demanding nothing less than excellence in education,” said Rep. Lente. “They are tired of seeing their children at the bottom on state and national rankings. It’s time for a change because our children deserve it.”

Tribal leaders say they have an inherent obligation to protect their children and communities– that Sacred Trust must be upheld. Acoma Pueblo Governor Brian Vallo said, “We have a chance to bend history, to make it different, to create change, so that our future generations of Native children have it better than we do. It will take acts of courage and a collective belief that the history of Native People will be shaped by what we do today.”

The All Pueblo Council of Governors invites members of the media to a press conference on Friday July 30th at 10 am at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on 12th St. in
Albuquerque, NM. This gathering is an unprecedented coming together of tribal leaders, legislators, education advocates, leaders of major organizations, advocacy groups, and
community members who will be attending this event.

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 30, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

Pueblo Governors Overwhelmingly Support DOI Secretary Haaland’s Probe Into the Shameful Legacy of Federal Boarding School Policies

Albuquerque, NM – Interior Secretary Deb Haaland of Laguna and Jemez Pueblos recently announced her Indian Boarding School initiative, an investigation into the loss of human life and lasting consequences of residential Indian boarding schools in the United States. The Pueblo Governors have long advocated for accountability and justice given the forced assimilation and cultural suppression conducted by the federal government over the centuries. Historically, Pueblo children have been subjected to repressive federal education policies. The result has had a long lasting generational impact.

In a Memorandum, Secretary Haaland acknowledges the past actions of the federal government to carry out its forced assimilation policies and practices on tribal nations stating, “Beginning with the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 and running through the 1960s, the United States enacted laws and implemented policies – to culturally assimilate Indigenous children by forcibly relocating them from their families and communities to distant residential facilities where their American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian identities, languages, and beliefs were to be forcibly suppressed.”

All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr., Former Governor of Laguna Pueblo, reflected on Secretary Haaland’s boarding school initiative, “It’s incredibly painful to recount what Pueblo parents and children experienced during this unbelievable period of forced cultural assimilation. During this time, the federal government’s assimilationist policies literally ripped our Pueblo children – some as young as four years old – from the arms of their mothers, stripping them of tender parental care and compassion; many unable to return home until the completion of their studies. While some of our children endured years of abuse for speaking our languages, practicing our cultures, and maintaining our traditions, the unbearable truth is that many of our young never returned to their Pueblo homelands, ever.”

The federal government relied on the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 for its actions and continued to engage in the practice of forced assimilation throughout the mid to late 20th century in New Mexico. According to historic accounts, Pueblo students attending the Albuquerque and Santa Fe Indian boarding schools perished and are interred in unmarked gravesites near the two school sites. The Pueblo Governors are unanimous in their support for actions taken by Secretary Haaland saying no parent should ever be subjected to such harsh, inhumane treatment at the hands of its government.

APCG Vice Chairman Phillip A. Perez, Governor of Nambe Pueblo said, “This action by Secretary Haaland is long overdue. Much of the American public is either unaware or has willingly overlooked the past actions by the federal government which brought incredible pain and sorrow upon the lives of Indigenous peoples. The APCG applauds Secretary Haaland’s leadership and reminds the general public and our Congressional delegates of the longstanding historic and generational trauma stemming from the Boarding School era.”

The location of student burial sites will require intense investigative effort, researching enrollment records and accompanying documents, painstakingly identifying remains, and relocating them for proper repatriation once they have been sufficiently identified. APCG Secretary David M. Toledo, Former Governor of Jemez Pueblo remarked, “We stand with Secretary Haaland’s decision to call for a report on the federal boarding school era by collecting relevant information and by conducting and carrying out sufficient Tribal consultation sessions. The sad truth is that the Pueblo Governors and tribal leaders know that many of our children never returned home, but no one knows the full extent of the undeniable social and emotional impact of the federal government’s boarding school policies on our Pueblo People. The APCG, as representatives of sovereign governments, stands ready to hold the federal government accountable.”

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2021

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Celebrates Historic Senate Confirmation of Representative Deb Haaland as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Interior

Albuquerque, N.M. – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) celebrates a watershed moment in our country’s history as the United States witnesses Deb Haaland’s historic Senate confirmation to become the first Indigenous person to serve as cabinet secretary in a presidential administration.

In November of 2020, APCG joined Tribal Nations and leaders throughout the country in urging then President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to appoint Representative Haaland as secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. APCG knew that Representative Haaland, an Indigenous woman from the Pueblos of Laguna and Jemez, had the qualifications and experience to fulfill their plan to “Build Back Better” and to carry forward their “Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations.”

“We applaud the U.S. Senate for confirming Secretary Deb Haaland to lead the Department of Interior. This confirmation is a defining moment for Indigenous peoples not only in the United States but around the world. Indigenous peoples are the original stewards of our lands, waters, skies, and of all living beings. Secretary Haaland’s leadership of the Interior Department provides a long-overdue opportunity to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship and help our nation swing the pendulum on our most pressing indigenous and environmental justice issues,” shared APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera, Jr., former Governor of Laguna Pueblo.

APCG Secretary David M. Toledo, former Governor of Jemez Pueblo also commented: “Madam Secretary, APCG applauds your leadership, your dedication, your grit, and your courage at this historic moment. All Pueblo people, and women in particular, will find inspiration in your journey and your passion to serve. This moment will be remembered as an example that no glass ceiling is unbreakable.”

The APCG looks forward to celebrating Secretary Haaland’s historic accomplishment through a virtual celebration in the coming weeks. The APCG Youth Committee, led by Pueblo young women will organize the event. We invite the New Mexico Congressional Delegation and Representative Sharice Davids to join other dignitaries and guests for this joyful event.

###

The All Pueblo Council of Governors Mission is to advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people. For more information, please visit:https://www.apcg.org

All Pueblo Council of Governors Urges Senate Confirmation of Interior Secretary- Nominee Debra Haaland and Election of a Native Candidate for CD 1 Special Election

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) joins Tribal Nations and organizations from across the country in celebrating Congresswoman Debra Haaland’s selection this afternoon as Secretary of the Interior by President-elect Joe Biden.

“The appointment of Deb Haaland, a Pueblo woman with impressive credentials and deep community roots, is long-overdue and incredibly emotional for Pueblo people,” said APCG Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr., “As the leaders of the 20 sovereign Pueblo Nations we respectfully call upon every member of the Senate to confirm Secretary-designate Haaland and usher in a new era in our country’s nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people.”

Last month, the APCG voted to join Tribal Nations throughout the country in supporting Congresswoman Haaland’s appointment to lead a department that was established 150 years ago with one of its responsibilities to maintain the federal government’s trust obligations to tribal nations. As the first Native American to be appointed as a cabinet secretary in the history of our nation, her appointment demonstrates the incoming administration’s commitment to the “Biden-Harris plan for Tribal Nations” and will ensure that the voices of tribal nations are rightfully considered at the highest levels of government.

Our Pueblo Nations are extremely appreciative and grateful for Congresswoman Haaland’s service and leadership during her time in Congress,” said APCG Secretary David Toledo, “we believe that the State of New Mexico and Congressional District 1 would best be served by ensuring that another strong Native American is elected to take Congresswoman Haaland’s seat.”

#####

The All Pueblo Council of Governors Mission is to advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people. For more information, please visit: https://www.apcg.org/

Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

Pueblo Relief Fund

Mission Statement

To advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people.

Calendar

©2022 APCG All Pueblo Council of Governors

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?

X