Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico


"The pueblo wants to make its own rules for tribal members to hunt the west face of the Sandia Mountains. Under the proposal, tribal members wouldn't have to buy a state hunting license when using a designated 10,000-acre tract on the side of the mountains facing Albuquerque. Larry Bell, acting director of the state Department of Game and Fish, didn't seem to like the idea. "It has some real interesting legal twists," he said. "It's a very unique situation, and I'm just afraid we'd be setting a dangerous precedent that could affect other areas in the state." Sandia has claimed much of the west face of the mountain, but that claim has not been settled. Pueblo spokesman Frank Chaves addressed the hunting proposal at a regular state Game Commission meeting June 29. Chaves said the tribe's hunting rules would be based on religious observances and traditional practices. Tribal members would be exempt from state laws, such as hunting and fishing licenses. They would instead deal with a tribal authority. Chaves said people who are not tribal members could continue to hunt on the tract. The commission made no ruling on the proposal, but agreed to continue discussions.