Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 18, 2021

On the Red Road: Pueblo and Diné leaders call on Biden to protect Greater Chaco Canyon


Pueblo and Diné leaders call on Biden to protect Greater Chaco Canyon

Tribes and Indigenous activists want no new oil and gas leases in sacred lands

By Red Road to DC
Censored News

COUNSELOR, New Mexico – Pueblo and Diné leaders and activists today hosted an event calling on President Biden to protect Greater Chaco Canyon and stop issuing new oil and gas leases in the sacred landscape.

In an event held as part of the Red Road to DC, a cross-country tour highlighting Indigenous sacred sites at risk, elected leaders and grassroots organizers urged Biden to take immediate action to stop the issue of new oil and gas leases in the Greater Chaco Region. Organizers of the Red Road tour stopped at the Counselor Chapter House in New Mexico to display a totem pole by Lummi Nation carvers to highlight sacred sites at risk due to development and infrastructure projects. They met with hosts from the Diné CARE, Native American Voters Alliance Education Project, All Pueblo Council of Governors, and the Pueblo Action Alliance.

"Chaco Canyon has been at the core of our organizing efforts for Pueblo Action Alliance,” said Julia Bernal, director of the Pueblo Action Alliance. “We have worked to raise awareness from the women, femme, and youth perspective on why it's important for us to protect cultural landscapes like the Greater Chaco region. The Greater Chaco region is our ancestral history, our modern Indigenous resistance, and our way to fight to plan our own futures.”

The Bureau of Land Management has proposed to permit 4,000 new wells and over 500 new drilling permits under the newly drafted Resource Management Plan in the ancestral homelands of the Navajo and Pueblo nations. The region is home to many of the sovereign nations’ cultural resources and sacred lands. More than 91% of the public lands surrounding the Chaco Canyon Cultural historic park are already occupied by energy companies under the federal fossil fuel leasing program.

“The fight to Protect Greater Chaco encompasses the fight against the climate crisis, the fight for inherent Tribal sovereignty, the fight against resource extraction and exploitation, and the fight to address the adverse health impacts on the communities who live in the region,” said Bernal.

Brad Angerman, Pyramid Communications

Statement from the All Pueblo Council of Governors:

The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), which represents the 20 Pueblo Nations of New Mexico and Texas, released a statement showing its support of the Red Road journey and saying it “maintains its priority and commitment to protect the Greater Chaco Region, the Bears Ears National Monument, and many other ancestral Puebloan sites in the American Southwest.”

The All Pueblo Council of Governors Stands in Solidarity with the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey to Protect Sacred Sites

July 16, 2021
Contact: Teran Villa,

ALBUQUERQUE – Journeying across the United States of America in
Protecting Sacred Landscapes is a Totem Pole carved by the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation, this expedition is commonly known as the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), representing the 20 Pueblo Nations of New Mexico and Texas, maintains its priority and commitment to protect the Greater Chaco Region, the Bears Ears National Monument, and many other ancestral Puebloan sites in the American Southwest. The APCG stands in solidarity with this incredible movement.

Statement from Former Governor of Jemez Pueblo, David M. Toledo -- Secretary of the All Pueblo Council of Governors

“The All Pueblo Council of Governors stands in solidarity with the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey to Protect Sacred Sites. Across the nation are innumerable sacred sites and cultural resources that are significant to Indigenous People’s languages, our songs, our ecosystems, our traditions, and our way of life. As the original stewards of the American continent, Indigenous Peoples persevere in their vigilant protection for our mother earth. The desecration of our landscapes and our sacred sites correlates with the detrimental effect of losing our Indigenous knowledge systems that inform the preservation of our ecosystems. We are bound to the teachings of our ancestors as we protect our environment and lands and will continue to be the leaders of protecting Mother Earth. We pray that through the spiritual passage of the Red Road to DC Totem Pole Journey to protect sacred sites the People of the United States will continue to gain inspiration from the Indigenous Peoples worldviews and lifeways in protecting Mother Earth.”

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:

The Lummi Nation House of Tears Carvers and our local relations and partners joined together for a blessing ceremony for Chaco Canyon on Sunday, July 18th, 2021, as the #RedRoadtoDC Totem Pole Journey continues the journey to draw attention and action to sacred sites and Indigenous rights and to protect the sacred lands and waters of Chaco Canyon. A thousand years ago, Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico was the ceremonial center of ancestral Puebloans, whose culture encompassed more than 75,000 square miles of the Southwest. Today, Chaco Canyon is a National Historical Cultural Park and World Heritage Site, considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Americas, and yet over 93% of the area is leased to oil and gas activities. Indigenous people, primarily Navajo (Diné), sacred cultural sites, precious water resources, and the area’s biodiversity are all under a grave and growing threat from fracking. Today, Navajo communities of Greater Chaco are living amid extensive oil and gas development with no regard for public safety. Since 2013, the Bureau of Land Management has approved hundreds of new fracking proposals, without adequate Tribal consultation. On July 11, 2016, 36 fracking waste tanks exploded in a fire that burned for five days and forced dozens of families to evacuate with no emergency safeguards. The Bureau of Land Management has acknowledged it never analyzed how this fracking boom will impact public health and the environment, yet approves fracking activities with no plan in place to protect the region’s air, water, Tribal cultural sites, and communities, and without adequate consultation with the public in general and with Navajo Chapter Houses and Navajo Allotment Land Owners in particular. In the meantime, the Bureau of Land Management continues to approve more wells and lease more land for fracking, failing to consider that the Greater Chaco area holds spiritual and cultural significance to all Indigenous peoples who are rooted in Chaco culture, not limited to the Navajo Nation, and that sacred sites in the area are not limited to those within the boundaries of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. “The Greater Chaco region is home to Native American Tribes, including the Diné (Navajo) and Pueblo Nations. Chaco Canyon and the surrounding landscape is culturally significant to the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Zuni, Ute, and Pueblo peoples. While ancient sites, kivas, and great houses inside the park’s boundaries are protected, the overwhelming majority of Greater Chaco lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are leased for oil and gas development — impacting the sacred landscape, air, people, and the living culture of the region. The remaining area of Greater Chaco, including the area within immediate vicinity of the park, is currently threatened by further oil and gas extraction. The Greater Chaco Coalition is demanding a new management plan for the area that puts in place an immediate moratorium on all new fracking and leasing activities, to ensure Tribal consultation at every stage of decision-making, and to offer a full comprehensive health and social impact assessment of drilling impacts on surrounding communities and economic development alternatives to lead away from extractive economies.” Sources: Resources: Pueblo Action Alliance Frack Off Greater Chaco Diné C.A.R.E

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