News Release

All Pueblo Council of Governors

The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG) applauds appropriation legislation that maintains important protections for Chaco Canyon and its surrounding cultural landscape — a sacred area known as the Greater Chaco Region. The legislation also provides additional funding for a critical tribally-led cultural resource study of the area. These protections are part of Congress’ FY 2021 omnibus appropriation legislation that will fund the Department of the Interior (DOI).

The All Pueblo Council of Governors credits this legislative achievement to the New Mexico congressional delegation, led by Senator Udall and Congressman Lujan, with outstanding support from Senator Heinrich, Representative Haaland and Representative Torres-Small. We thank them for their tireless efforts to support the 20 Pueblo Nations in the preservation and maintenance of the Greater Chaco Region. The All Pueblo Council of Governors would especially like to thank Senator Udall for his many years of dedication and service to the Indigenous people of New Mexico. He has been a true champion.

The appropriation legislation maintains an existing moratorium that prevents the Department of the Interior from funding oil and gas leasing activities on federal land within a critical withdrawal area of approximately 10 miles surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park and including its outliers. This important moratorium had dropped out of the bill language, and we thank our congressional representatives for restoring this important protection. 

The legislation also provides additional funding to support the tribally-led cultural resource study undertaken by the Chaco Heritage Tribal Association (CHTA) — consisting of the Pueblos of Acoma, Jemez, Laguna, and Zuni, and the Hopi Tribe, with support from the Pueblos of San Felipe, Santa Clara, Tesuque, and Zia and the blessing of the All Pueblo Council of Governors. Congress provided $1 million for this study in its FY 2020 appropriation legislation, but the Department of the Interior awarded only half of these funds to the Chaco Heritage Tribal Association. Without additional funding, the Chaco Heritage Tribal Association will not be able to complete the full study the Department of the Interior needs in order to make more informed development decisions in the Greater Chaco Region. Thus, the All Pueblo Council of Governors celebrates the additional $600,000 appropriated by Congress.

The FY 2021 appropriation legislation carries forward the numerous requests from the All Pueblo Council of Governors, its member Pueblos, other tribes, and other stakeholders to withdraw federal land within an approximately 10-mile withdrawal area surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park and including its outliers from future mineral development. This news comes as a relief, as the Department of the Interior has continued to move forward in finalizing the resource management plan amendment that will guide land management decisions in the Greater Chaco Region for many years to come, despite calls from the All Pueblo Council of Governors, its member Pueblos, other tribes, and many other stakeholders to pause this work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman Wilfred Herrera Jr.’s remarks:

“On behalf of the All Pueblo Council of Governors, I extend our sincerest appreciation to the New Mexico congressional delegation. Senator Udall and Congressman Lujan we thank in particular for these important protections for the Greater Chaco Region embodied in this appropriation legislation, with Senator Heinrich, Representative Haaland and Representative Torres-Small all making important contributions. Through their tireless advocacy and work, they have demonstrated their core value of respect for the Indigenous people of New Mexico at a time when our communities face so much adversity. We look forward to working with the incoming Administration and Congress to develop permanent and long-lasting protections for the Greater Chaco Region.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors Mission is to advocate, foster, protect and encourage the social, cultural, and traditional well-being of our Pueblo Nations. Through our inherent and sovereign rights, we will promote language, health, economic and educational advancement of all Pueblo people. For more information, please visit: https://www.apcg.org/

All Pueblo Council of Governors - logo