Taos, N.M. (January 28, 2020)—Last week, on January 23, delegates of the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution seeking to reduce the proposed buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from 10 miles to 5. (Read reporting in the Santa Fe New Mexican here; read a report at KNAU here.)
Paul F. Reed, Chaco Scholar and Preservation Archaeologist at Archaeology Southwest, issued the following statement:
“The 10-mile cultural protection zone, as presented in congressional bills H.R. 2181 (passed House in 2019) and Senate 1079 (pending), around Chaco Culture National Historical Park was a compromise that was years in the making, involving discussions with multiple Native American Tribes, including the Navajo Nation, and the All-Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG). The zone is intended to protect 12 Chacoan great house communities that largely lie between 5 and 10 miles from the Chaco Park boundary.
“Reducing the protection zone to 5 miles will leave most of the sites in these 12 ancient Chacoan communities at risk from oil-gas development. The withdrawal of fluid minerals, as specified in H.R. 2181 and S. 1079, applies only to Federal surface-controlled lands. The remaining lands in the 10-mile zone, including Navajo Nation tribal trust, allotments, and other private lands will continue to be available to infrastructure development, oil-gas leasing, and other activities.”
About Archaeology Southwest
Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects the places of our past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has fostered meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguarded its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at archaeologysouthwest.org.