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All Pueblo Council of Governors Releases Resolution Affirming Support for New Mexico’s Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments

Pueblo Governors Underscore Importance of Antiquities Act

Albuquerque, NM (June 26, 2018) – The Pueblo nations of the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) released today their resolution of support and stewardship for New Mexico’s two newest national monuments. Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments protect outstanding cultural and historical resources, and were designated with significant tribal support following long efforts to preserve these culturally significant landscapes.

President Barack Obama designated them in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Sustained by diverse local support, Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks have protected significant tribal cultural sites and ensured continued use for these purposes while also increasing visitation and economic development, spurring creation of new businesses and encouraging local use of national monument lands.

United States Senator Tom Udall said, “By every measure, establishing Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as national monuments has been an inspiring success for New Mexico. Our national monuments enjoy overwhelming public support and provide unmatched economic, recreational, and cultural value to New Mexico and the nation. As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I’m especially grateful for the integral role that Pueblos and Tribes have played in our stewardship of these special places. But across the country, national monuments are under attack by the Trump administration. The attacks on our public lands coming out of Washington flout the will of Pueblos, Tribes and the local communities who have worked so hard to ensure the continued success of these monuments. I thank the All Pueblo Council of Governors for this resolution, which sends a strong message that we will not tolerate attempts to roll back protections for these cherished lands.” 

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich said, “The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte are exactly the types of places that the Antiquities Act was intended to protect. I’ve been proud to stand with Tribal leaders and local communities who worked for so many years in New Mexico to establish these national monuments. New Mexico’s national monuments are vitally important to our Tribes and they must have a say in the stewardship and management of them. I will continue fighting to protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage for our children and all future generations.”

Pueblo nations expressed continued commitment to the stewardship of both national monuments and opposition to any changes by the U.S. Department of Interior. In addition, Pueblo nations remain opposed to the illegal attacks by President Trump against Bears Ears National Monument in Utah that shrunk the protected area by some 90 percent.

“The Pueblo Governors stood together with diverse communities to protect Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. We are proud of their success and grateful that they safeguard important cultural and historical artifacts important to Native American Tribes and to all who come to learn from our past. We also want to be clear—any attempts to damage our national monuments will be met with united opposition. In the meantime, we are excited to work with New Mexico’s diverse communities to build collaborative management policies that honor our incredible landscapes and our proud peoples,” said All Pueblo Council of Governors Chairman Edward Paul Torres.

President Obama used the Antiquities Act to protect both Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. Over 20 local resolutions were passed in support of both national monuments. This is the third APCG resolution for the national monuments, and comes at a time when some in Congress and President Trump have mounted increasing assaults on the Antiquities Act. Since passage in 1906, all but four Presidents have utilized the Antiquities Act to protect America’s natural and cultural heritage.

Acoma Pueblo Governor Kurt Riley added, “The Antiquities Act has long provided critical protections for cultural landscapes and historical artifacts. The success of Río Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments show its potential to protect Native American cultural resources, while the disappointing attacks on Bears-Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante underscore the need for our constant vigilance. We thank Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich for their work with the tribal community on these national monuments and stand with them and our New Mexico communities for continued stewardship and appropriate protection.”

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©2019 APCG All Pueblo Council of Governors

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