Santa Fe, N.M. - Today, a memorial introduced by Representative Derrick Lente (D-Sandia Pueblo) that reaffirms New Mexico's commitment to protect Chaco Canyon's tribal, cultural and historical sites unanimously passed the House State Government, Indian and Veterans' Affairs Committee. HM 70 requests that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) study be completed before any new leases or exploration on the national historic park and other federal lands in Chaco Canyon are issued.
"This is a huge step forward for Native America and others seeking to protect historical and cultural sites. Chaco Canyon is home to many sacred places that are part of what makes our state unique. This memorial reaffirms our state's commitment to protect those sites and respect the descendants of the first people to inhabit this continent," said Rep. Lente.
Chaco Canyon National Historical Park contains ancient Pueblo dwellings, burial grounds, and ceremonial centers. Pueblo cultures in New Mexico predate colonial history and Pueblo peoples have inhabited New Mexico for more than 2,000 years. The area holds special cultural significance for the descendants of ancient Pueblo peoples.
Chaco Canyon National Historical Park is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. Currently, 91% of the area surrounding Chaco Canyon has already been leased to oil and gas companies. The BLM is currently conducting an environmental impact study to determine how fracking operations will impact surrounding communities.