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Tribal Leaders Tour Proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Leaders from five Native American tribes recently toured several sacred sites in the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
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This is a press release from the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Coalition.

Leaders from five Native American tribes—Ysleta de Sur Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe—recently toured several sacred sites in the proposed Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico. The tour comes just weeks after the All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) endorsed the proposed national monument in a joint resolution citing the profound spiritual and historic resources in the region and their enduring impact on Native American culture.

The resolution by APCG was unanimously ratified on March 19 and can be seen here.

The tour on May 2 was an opportunity for several tribal leaders from throughout the region to reconnect with and offer blessings for the proposed monument.

Ysleta del Sur Tribal Council Member Rafael “Shorty” Gomez has been visiting the proposed monument for more than two years.

“The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region holds rich cultural connections for our tribe and for other Native tribes in New Mexico. We strongly support the National Monument proposal to protect both these public lands as well as our ability to access sacred sites within them,” Gomez said.

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APCG member and Cochiti Pueblo Governor Joseph Suina said places such as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks are important to all Native Americans in New Mexico, regardless of their tribal affiliation.

“Sacred is sacred,” Suina said. “The petroglyphs and artifacts here tell us that Native people have lived within this region for thousands of years. This entire landscape offers deep spiritual connection and significance, and is no less significant than a cathedral or other holy place.”

Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Coalition

Cochiti Pueblo Governor Joseph Suina foreground) joins other tribal leaders at Providence Cone, which is on the proposed Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.

“I am encouraged by all that is being done to protect Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, and I am honored to join Ysleta del Sur and other Pueblos and tribes in the creation of the monument,” Suina continued. “As a Pueblo governor, I see it as a part of my responsibility to do whatever I can to ensure the preservation of Organ Mountains so future generations of Native people can continue to be part of this spectacular landscape.”

“The twenty Native American nations that come together through the All Pueblo Council of Governors are united in our support for the preservation of these lands,” said Carlos Hisa, Lt. Gov. of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. “We are thankful for the leadership of Senators Udall and Heinrich, but we appeal to President Obama to use his powers to create this national monument so that not only Native Americans—but all people—can enjoy these lands.”

The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) is comprised of the 20 Pueblos of New Mexico including the Pueblos of Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Sandia, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Ysleta del Sur, Zia and Zuni. APCG serves as the political voice of the Pueblos of New Mexico.