fbpx
 
In a meeting with Sen. Heinrich, Speaker Seth Damon and Resources and Development Committee Chair Rickie Nez, Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr., and Delegate Mark Freeland discussed S.1079.

WASHINGTON — The Navajo Nation Council sent a delegation, led by Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon, to Washington this pastlast week to ensure local Navajo voices are heard and considered before further federal action is taken on the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The Navajo Nation is opposed to the drilling that the Trump administration wants to allow near Chaco Canyon, which is considered a sacred site to Native people.

Located in northernwestern New Mexico, Chaco Canyon is home to thousand-year-old dwellings and artifacts of the Pueblo culture. Managed by the National Park Service, it is one of only 20 World Heritage sites in the U.S., as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

It is protected as a National Cultural Historic Park and is designated as a United Nations (UN) World Heritage Site. As the UNUNESCO notes, among many other remarkable features, the site “has an ancient urban ceremonial center that is unlike anything constructed before or since.”

“As representatives of the Diné people, our goal is to ensure that the allottees and the communities immediately surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park are heard before any decisions by Congress are made,” said Speaker Damon.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who is on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is cosponsoring Senate Bill 1079. The bill, also called the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019, is being sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). The bill proposes an exclusion zone on development of federal minerals in an area of approximately 10 miles surrounding the historical park.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is surrounded by the Navajo communities of White Rock, Nageezi, Counselor, Pueblo Pintado, White Horse Lake, and others in New Mexico.

“The issue is that we have Navajo families and allottees, especially in Nageezi, that live inside the proposed buffer that want the opportunity to speak directly before members of Congress before a final vote takes place,” said Navajo Council  Delegate Mark Freeland during his visit to Capitol Hill to speak to staff members of several senators.

More Stories Like This

EXCLUSIVE: Deb Haaland Q&A on Road to Healing Tour Progress
September 20 is National Voter Registration Day: Native Organizations Team Up to Increase Native Youth Voter Engagement
Tribal Business News Round-Up: Sept. 19
Native American Election Forum in Atlanta to Attract Sen. Raphael Warnock & Stacey Abrams
WATCH: Native Bidaské with Four Directions' OJ Seamans, Sr. on the Native Vote

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]