Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico


The pueblo agreed to drop its decades-old claim of ownership of the west face of the Sandia Mountains in exchange for assurance from the federal government the mountainside will not be developed. The government will own the land and continue to manage it. Supporters say the deal is a hard-fought compromise that ends more than 20 years of litigation and guarantees continued access to the mountain for skiing, hiking, rock climbing, hang gliding and riding the tram. "This agreement protects us, the neighbors and the public that uses the mountain,'' Sandia Gov. Stuwart Paisano said. "We hope that the congressional delegation will carefully review the agreement and support it.'' The agreement must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department. However Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson, New Mexico Republicans, fired off a letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno expressing "grave concern'' the settlement leaves out affected parties, adding the matter belongs in court, not on the negotiating table. The controversy dates to the 1700s, when Sandia Pueblo was formally established.