More Lov from the Fed Gov for the Am. Indians : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

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By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A 252-year-old land grant from the king of Spain is at the heart of a court case pitting a New Mexico Indian tribe against the federal government over ownership of a mountain.

The Sandia Pueblo consider Sandia Mountain their holiest place, while the federal government wants to maintain control of one of the state's most popular recreation areas. Included in the mix are the non-Indians who live on the mountain's slopes, which provide a spectacular backdrop for some homes on the outskirts of Albuquerque.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear arguments in the case Friday.

``That mountain is our church, and for it to be developed, for it to be destroyed with the amount of traffic, litter and so forth that's being done up there ... it's like desecrating a church,'' tribal Gov. Stuwart Paisano said. ``Our main goal is to protect it and preserve it from any future development and any future destruction.''

The mountain, which borders the Pueblo reservation, is part of the Cibola National Forest and is home to an aerial tramway and popular trail to the 10,600-foot summit that is crowded with hikers most days.

The Indians say a 1748 land grant from the Spanish king extends the tribal border to the summit. Federal officials say the Indians' land stops at the top of the mountain's first foothill, meaning the federal government owns most of the mountain.

A federal judge sided with the tribe in 1998, saying Sandia Pueblo is the rightful owner of 9,890 acres on Sandia Mountain's west face. The federal government and private landowners challenged the ruling, setting up Friday's hearing.

For centuries, members of the Sandia Pueblo have gone to the mountain to pray, visit religious shrines and collect plants and other items for religious ceremonies. Tribal council member Frank Paisano, 55, remembers going on mountain pilgrimages with his grandfather during the 1950s, before Albuquerque had grown to the edge of their reservation.

``Because of the influx and the intrusion from the outside world, it has made it very difficult for us to continue (to worship) in our private way,'' said Paisano, father of the current tribal governor.

The 500-member tribe worries about damage from the heavy use of the national forest and is upset the Forest Service requires permits for tribal members to collect plants.

The governor and other Pueblo officials say they don't want to close the mountain to non-Indians, but they oppose any new recreation or development.

Tribal officials also are concerned about development of private parcels within the national forest. Two private tracts on the mountainside have been turned into neighborhoods with pricey homes.

The tribe's lawsuit, however, seeks to reclaim only the federal land on the mountainside.

The homeowners do not want to be surrounded by Indian land because that could mean they would be taxed by the tribe and live under the jurisdiction of tribal courts, said Tom Bartman, their lawyer.

Pueblo officials note that courts repeatedly have ruled tribes have no authority to tax land owned by non-Indians, even if the land is inside reservation boundaries.

-- Doreen (, September 30, 2000


Nice Post, Doreen ! Our prayers go out to the tribe. Let me be free to follow the religion of my fathers were great words from Chief Joseph. Yes Sir, 220 years we are still bathed in ignorance, I said that and it shows in the locals thinking. The Indian ask for his property and makes concession--but the locals are scared even after assurance and concession. They are bathed in ignorance ! The Indian request justice and is answered with an excuse- "I'm scared". Well, we have assylums for people who are too scared to function in the world. I suggest that fear is conviently proposed when justice is offered. My answer to the locals is " just be scared then, a little fear never hurt anyone "

On another note, Doreen. I'm getting conflicting reports on the Grey Matter. Could you bring me up to date ?, Please !

-- Joel Rosen (, September 30, 2000.

Victoria Mudd and Maria Florio made a stunning, award winning documentary titled BROKEN RAINBOW (1985 Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature) on the plight of the Hopi and Navaho indians as a result of over 100 years of persecution and injustice by the U.S. Federal government. Every citizen/slave in the United States of Amerika should see this awesome film. You can get ordering info at Earthwrx@Primenet.Com or reach the producers at Earthworks Films, Inc., 13527 Contour Dr., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. You can reach them by phone at (818)990-2261 or by fax at (818) 990-2265.

-- Rags in Alabama (, September 30, 2000.

Good post, Doreen. I don't think the Natives have a chance with our Fed. Gov.

I read another article the other day where the Shoshone Indians of Western Nevada are petitioning to the U.N. to make Fed. Gov. honor broken treaties. The Feds took massive amount of land away from the Shoshone, (like they do all tribes) in violation of their treaty.

It is interesting. Will the U.N. bite the hand that feeds them? Will our country capitulate to the U.N. or finally claim our sovereignity? Will we voluntarily honor the treaties made with the Native Americans? Will we continue to be the World Police fighting racism and ethnic cleansing, declaring "police actions" where treaties are not honored.....? Jee wiz, do you think our dirty little secret will be exposed?

-- Laura (, September 30, 2000.

I do not think it is possible in this time to regain all we should've had. We are not the owners, we are the caretakers. We can protest and we can fight, it helps to keep our blood strong and alive. And while we do this, we pray to the Creator for guidance and to help create new place that are sacred. And remember the old and tell the stories to our children about the old places lest they be forgotten. The Creatoris everywhere NOT just certain areas.

-- Penny Knifechief (, October 03, 2000.

Penny Knifechief--Thank You for your post ? I struggle hard for the recognition of the land. I am priveliged to stand in a land that is bearing a new herd of buffalo. While many lack undestanding of the old ways--I struggle daily for wisdom in them. Nice to cross paths-I wish "our" ways could be the way !

-- Joel Rosen (, October 03, 2000.

Ya know, I live close to Albuquerque and have seen this happen over and over in New Mexico. The Indians in this area claim almost every piece of land in this state should belong to them because it is sacred. Now they are putting sacred casinos on the land and it is bankrupting the state - including their own people. After they take over a chunk of land, they close it completely to EVERYONE who is not Indian. No more hiking... you may not even cross their land. Occasionally they flex their muscles and threaten to close down state highways that have easements thru their land. The people who currently own homes in the Albuquerque area have a right to be scared. They will eventually be run off their land.

-- Lynne (, October 05, 2000.

Well Lynne, what do you expect ? Your land ? I think that is a confusing term. I understand that you bought it on faith, but the seller lied and you bought a pig in the polk.

All land was sacred to the Native American. Casinos are not my favorite thing either as I rarely gamble, and never with money. Irepeat what I said ealrillyb---I hope you realize the serious impact when the tables are turned. After introduction to the tribal council, I would bet they would let me dwell on any land you referred to as closed to the public. I hope you can see in my posts why I can, while some cannot. You have to learn respect for the people of the land. No master that stole his fortune is respected for having it !

-- Joel Rosen (, October 07, 2000.

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