“If you’re paying attention, the press release touting the effort of U.S. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico to rebrand Bandelier National Monument as a national park sounds noble. It’s what he’s not publicly promoting in that legislation that you should to pay attention to.
‘When I talk to people about what makes New Mexico unique, it always comes back to our breathtaking landscapes, our deep and complex history, and our unique cultures. Bandelier National Monument encapsulates each of these in unrivaled ways. It’s long past time that we recognize that Bandelier’s historical and natural resources are more than worthy of national park status,’ said Sen. Heinrich back in November when he launched the effort.
‘This is, after all, a living cultural landscape. Bandelier’s mesas and canyons have human history that dates back more than 10,000 years. The ancestral sites in Bandelier continue to hold deep cultural and religious significance to the pueblos. Upgrading Bandelier to national park status is the best way to ensure these cultural treasures and northern New Mexico’s history and natural beauty receive the recognition and permanent protection they have long deserved.’
Certainly, provisions in the proposed legislation that call for input from Native American cultures that have connections with Bandelier’s landscape are admirable.
‘Senator Heinrich’s legislation ensures that the traditional and historical knowledge of Zuni and other pueblos is reflected in the management of this sacred cultural landscape,’ Governor of Zuni Pueblo Val Panteah said when the legislation to rename Bandelier as a ‘national park and preserve’ was initiated.
What wasn’t mentioned in the senator’s news release was that the proposed legislation would open 4,000 acres of the not-quite 33,700-acre Bandelier to hunting. And that raises the question of how much hunting in the monument factored into the senator’s legislation? After all, he could have accomplished the renaming goal without carving out a 4,000-acre hunting grounds.”
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