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Native American leaders say Chaco’s prayers are answered | Work

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, NM (AP) — The tranquility surrounding Chaco Canyon was almost deafening. The crow’s wings broke just by the sound of hitting the air while going around overhead.

Later, choruses of leaders from several Native American tribes began to speak, and their voices echoed on nearby sandstone cliffs. They discuss the deep connection to the canyon, which is the center of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and the importance of ensuring that cross-border oil and gas development is tied for future generations. talked.

Hopi leaders in Arizona and some indigenous leaders of Pueblo in New Mexico are taking more meaningful steps by the federal government to permanently protect cultural resources in northwestern New Mexico. I wasn’t grateful for believing that.

It’s a battle they’ve been fighting with multiple presidential governments for years. They are optimistic that the needle is moving now that one of them, US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, is in control of the federal agency overseeing energy development and tribal affairs.

Originally from Laguna Pueblo, Harland, the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency, joined Chaco’s tribal leaders on Monday in a process aimed at withdrawing federal land ownership within 10 miles (16 km) of the park. Celebrated the start of. It is a borderline and the area has been banned from oil and gas leasing for 20 years.

New leasing of federal land in the region will be suspended for the next two years while a withdrawal proposal is being considered.

Harland also promised to consider more broadly how to better manage federal land throughout the region, taking into account its environmental impact and cultural protection.

Perfect weather was not overlooked on Monday as tribal leaders were talking about their collective prayers being answered.

“Today is a good day. It’s a beautiful day when our father, the Sun, blessed us. The creators laid the foundation for today,” said Hopi Vice President Clark Tenacomba.

A World Heritage Site, Chaco was once the center of indigenous civilization and is believed to be the place where many tribes traced its roots, from the southwest to the high desert outposts.

In some parks, piled stone walls project from the bottom of the canyon, in perfect alignment with the seasonal movements of the sun and moon. A circular basement called Kibas was cut into the desert floor, and archaeologists found evidence of a wonderful road that now spans New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.

Visitors are often amazed by the architectural prowess of the early residents of Chaco. But for many indigenous peoples in the Southwest, Chaco Canyon has more esoteric importance.

The Hopi call it “Yupkoivi” and translate it simply as a road beyond the other side of the mountain.

“Which land do we all occupy? We walk in the land of the Creator. That was the first thing we were told — at the bottom of the Grand Canyon,” Tenacomba said. “Many of us have that connection. Many of us can be concerned with the importance of the Grand Canyon. Ask Zuni, Laguna and Acoma. From there they travel to the area. We know the importance of these areas. “

Pueblo leaders also talked about areas linked to the Chaco civilization near Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico and Bears Ears National Historical Park in Utah.

Laguna Governor Martin Kowemy Jr. said Chako is an important part of who his people are.

“Everyone in Pueblo can be involved through songs, prayers, and pilgrimages,” he said. “More than ever, connections with our people’s identities are a source of strength during difficult times. We need to keep these connections from breaking, but keep them there for future generations. is needed.”

Governor Brian Vallo of Pueblo said that the beliefs, songs, rituals and other traditions that have defined the generations of the Pueblo people have their roots in Chaco.

“Our battle to protect this sanctuary is rooted in what our elders teach us and what we know as descendants of those who settled here,” Valo said. Said. “It is our responsibility — to maintain our connections, our deep duty, and the protective control of this sacred place.”

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have put on hold leases adjacent to the park through government actions, but some tribes, archaeologists, and environmentalists are seeking permanent protection.

Parliamentary legislation is pending, but there is disagreement over the size of the buffer.

Navajo Nation oversees much of the land that makes up the checkerboard pattern that surrounds the national park. Some belong to individual Navajos whose land was allocated by the federal government many generations ago.

Navajo leaders support the protection of parts of the area, but if the land is off limits for development, individual allotters will lose an important source of income. Become. Millions of dollars of royalties are at stake for tribal members working on poverty and high unemployment.

Haaland’s agencies have vowed to consult with the tribes over the next two years as proposals for withdrawal are being considered, but top Navajo leaders have already suggested that they have been ignored. At the celebration on Monday, the leaders elected by the tribal legislature and the highest elections of the government were significantly absent.

Representative of the Navajo Nation Council, Danielzo is one of the minorities within the tribal government who opposes the development of the region. He said the community east of Chaco was “siege” by increased drilling.

He told me that a resident wiped dust off a kitchen table and the next day it became dirty again due to oilfield traffic. He said the consequences were detrimental to the minds of the inhabitants and thus their ability to maintain resilience.

“Yes, we want to protect the landscape, we want better air quality, we want to protect the aquifers, we want to protect the sacred,” he said. “There is a lot of holiness in the undisturbed landscape. It brings peace of mind, calms the mind, and it gives good spiritual strength.”

On either side, many Navajos feel that they cannot hear their voice.

Harland invited everyone on Monday to a listening session as part of the process. This session she calls “Honoring Chaco”.

Environmentalists say the area is a prime example of the issue of tribal consultations, and Harland’s efforts have shifted to more tribal involvement in future decisions regarding the identification and protection of cultural resources. It states that it may show.

“By creating a new collaboration process with Honoring Chaco, we can improve promise breaks and correct consultation mistakes with just a checkbox exercise,” said Rebecca Sobel of the Wild Earth Guardians group. I am. “Hopefully it will be the beginning of a new relationship.”

Native American leaders say Chaco’s prayers are answered | Work

Source link Native American leaders say Chaco’s prayers are answered | Work

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