FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 2, 2023
Contact: Isaac De Luna | 505.917.5501 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous-Led Conservation Organization Applauds U.S. Department of Interior Decision to Protect Sacred New Mexico Cultural Site
Positive Step Towards Preserving Cultural Heritage and Environmental Stewardship
New Mexico – Today, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued an order withdrawing federal lands within a 10-mile radius of Chaco Canyon from new oil and natural gas leasing for the next 20 years.
Native Land Institute (NLI), an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to conservation and power building for Indigenous people in New Mexico, welcomes the recent decision to ban new oil and gas leasing around Chaco Canyon and released the following statement by Keegan King, Founder & CEO of NLI:
“Today’s announcement marks a significant step towards protecting our sacred lands and preserving our rich cultural heritage.
“The prohibition on new oil and gas leasing around this cultural site reflects the recognition of its immense value, not only to Indigenous communities but also to the wider society. We commend the Biden Administration and Sec. Deb Haaland for acknowledging the importance of safeguarding our sacred places and for taking proactive measures to ensure their preservation for future generations.
“As an organization deeply rooted in the protection and conservation of our ancestral lands, we have long advocated for the preservation of sacred sites and their surrounding ecosystems. This decision aligns with our mission to safeguard the cultural and natural heritage of Indigenous peoples in New Mexico. We firmly believe that by preserving our sacred sites, we are not only honoring our ancestors but also fostering a sustainable future for all.
“The collaboration and consultation between the government and Indigenous communities during this process have been vital in shaping this positive outcome. We are grateful for the meaningful engagement and dialogue that allowed our voices to be heard and our concerns to be addressed. This decision sets an important precedent for the recognition of Indigenous rights and the protection of sacred sites across the nation.
At NLI, we will continue our commitment to conservation efforts and advocate for the preservation of our sacred lands, which are integral to our cultural identity and spiritual well-being. We remain dedicated to collaborating with stakeholders, government agencies, and community members to ensure the sustainable management of our natural resources.
“We extend our gratitude to all those who supported this significant decision and to the Indigenous communities whose unwavering commitment to preserving our cultural heritage has brought us closer to this milestone. We also urge the public to join us in celebrating this important step forward and to recognize the significance of protecting our sacred sites for the benefit of future generations.”
To find out more about what this victory means for New Mexico’s cultural legacy, visit: https://www.native-lands.org/chaco-canyon/
Native Land Institute is an organization dedicated to advancing economic, environmental, and social justice for indigenous communities across the Southwest and beyond. As a connector and convener, we work to support tribes and indigenous communities on a range of issues, empowering them to drive positive change from within by building effective coalitions, developing community-informed policy, and investing in the next generation of indigenous leaders and organizations.