Taos, N.M. (November 17, 2022)—Earlier today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján and Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez jointly reintroduced the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, a bill to permanently withdraw the federal lands and minerals around Chaco Canyon from further mineral development. The bill would help ensure the protection of ancient Chacoan Great Houses and the greater landscape surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park by preventing any future leasing or development of minerals owned by the U.S. government that are located within an approximately 10-mile protected radius around Chaco. This bill has broad support in New Mexico, including from the All Pueblo Council of Governors and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Preservation Archaeologist and Chaco Scholar Paul F. Reed has released the following statement on behalf of Archaeology Southwest:
“Decades-long oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco Landscape has threatened the region’s cultural sites that are deeply connected to Indigenous peoples’ heritage. With the reintroduction of the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act in Congress, there is hope for the protection of these critical sites and the preservation of Indigenous history.
“Thank you, Senators Luján and Heinrich and Congresswomen Leger Fernandez and Stansbury, for championing this effort. We look forward to working with Congress to move this bill forward, as well as supporting the completion of the Department of the Interior’s administrative withdrawal.”
About Archaeology Southwest
Founded in 1989, Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, on the Lands of the Tohono O’odham and the Pascua Yaqui. We practice Preservation Archaeology, a holistic and conservation-based approach to exploring and protecting heritage places while also honoring the diverse values these places hold for people. Learn more at archaeologysouthwest.org.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2022
Press Contact: Paul F. Reed
Image: Drill Pad with Pierre’s site in the background.