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New Mexico Supreme Court hears case over sacred site listing





The New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral arguments last month in a case affecting sacred Mount Taylor.

The New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee placed the 700-square-mile area around Mount Taylor on the Register of Cultural Properties in 2009. The designation requires the state to consult tribes about the impact of development and other projects on land within the area.

"Our history is not written—it's on the landscape," Theresa Pasqual, the director of the Historic Preservation Office for Acoma Pueblo, told The Wall Street Journal. "You can't rewrite that history book once it's gone."

But landowners and other groups argue the designation prevents them from using their property. They also say the state committee violated the Open Meetings Act and is basically endorsing tribal religious beliefs.

Acoma Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Zuni Pueblo, the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe consider Mount Taylor to be one of their most significant sites. They want to protect the site from uranium development and other encroachments.

Oral arguments in the case were heard on September 24, according to the New Mexico Supreme Court calendar.

Get the Story:
A Tussle Over Sacred Land (The Wall Street Journal 10/18)

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Group fights sacred site protection in New Mexico (11/19)