Back to news

NMWF, Flower Hill Institute, and Tribal Leaders Host Historic Summit on Protecting Chaco Canyon

Pueblo Governors of the All Pueblo Council of Governors Meet with Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye

February 23, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE – The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), a governing body that has been in existence for over 400 years, today is hosting a historic summit between the Pueblo Governors and the President of the Navajo Nation. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the Flower Hill Institute are honored to engage with APCG for this meeting which focuses on how tribal nations in the Southwest can work together to protect sacred sites like Chaco Canyon. This is the first time in history members of the Navajo Nation have joined a meeting of the All Pueblo Council of Governors.

The meeting is the first of its kind and is designed to facilitate further government-to-government consultation with federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Indians Affairs (BIA), and National Park Service (NPS), over actions or management plans that may affect Chaco Canyon, traditional cultural properties, and sacred sites in the Greater Chaco landscape.

“This is a historic meeting between sovereign Pueblo governments and the sovereign Navajo Nation government,” said APCG Chairman Edward Paul Torres. “I’m pleased that President Begaye has joined with us to talk about how to protect sacred sites including Chaco Canyon. We look forward to more conversations with the Navajo Nation about how we can work together as native people.”

“The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is honored to be able to take part in this historic meeting today to protect Chaco Canyon,” said Todd Leahy, Deputy Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Chaco Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place of significant cultural importance to many Native people across the Southwest. By working together with Tribal leaders and government agencies, we hope to be able to protect this sacred space for generations to come.”

“Today’s meeting illustrates just how powerful our tribal nations are when we remain united,” said Governor Mark Mitchell of the Pueblo of Tesuque. “When Pueblo and Navajo communities come together we can accomplish so much. I am hopeful that we can continue the dialogue with all tribal nations in the southwest around how we protect our sacred sites.”

“The meeting today is historic because it reaffirms our connection to each other as native people and our shared commitment to working with other tribal nations in the southwest. Our ancestral homelands are designated UNESCO World Heritage site and deserves to be protected for future generations,” stated Governor Kurt Riley of the Pueblo of Acoma.

“I applaud our tribal leaders for their foresight and leadership when it comes to protecting sacred sites,” said State Representative Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo. “I continue to support greater protections for the Greater Chaco landscape and lands that surround the National Park boundary.”

The New Mexico Wildlife Federation looks forward to working with the BLM, NPS, Pueblo, and Navajo communities going forward to protect Chaco Canyon.