Law | Opinion

Jeff Haozous: Fort Sill Apache Tribe deserves say in New Mexico

The Fort Sill Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. Photo © Fort Sill Apache Tribe.

Update: After hearing from the parties this morning, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously for the Fort Sill Apache Tribe. Coverage from The Albuquerque Journal and The Associated Press.

Jeff Haozous, the chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, says his people deserve a seat at the table in New Mexico:
As chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, which is located partially in the state, I have made numerous requests that our tribe be added to the list of tribes and invited to the summit.

In 2012, we were invited, then disinvited. In 2013, I met with the secretary of Indian Affairs, who agreed to present our request to the governor. For months, we received no response. The response finally came via telephone two days before the summit, when I was told that we were not welcome.

Our history in New Mexico is well known, back when we were called Chiricahua & Warm Springs Apaches.

We officially returned to the state in 2002, when the federal government placed into trust a parcel of land within our aboriginal homeland that we owned near Deming at a place called Akela.

In 2011, it took the additional step of declaring this parcel to be our reservation, our first reservation in New Mexico since our reservation at Warm Springs was closed in 1877. It published notice of this action in the Federal Register on Nov. 28, 2011.

Since then, we’ve been welcomed back by the Legislature, and numerous city and county governments. Long before that, both the Taxation and Revenue Department and the Alcohol and Gaming Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department accepted both our legal presence here and the revenues that we generate for them.

Get the Story:
Jeff Haozous: Gov. should recognize Fort Sill Apaches (The Albuquerque Journal 4/13)

Also Today:
Fort Sill Apaches fight to reclaim roots in New Mexico (The Santa Fe New Mexican 4/13)

Related Stories:
Fort Sill Apache Tribe awaits hearing over status in New Mexico (03/27)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe to mark 100 years of freedom in Oklahoma (3/5)
Editorial: Fort Sill Apache Tribe deserves welcome in New Mexico (3/3)
Fort Sill Apache Tribe seeking seat at the table in New Mexico (2/25)
Apache tribes celebrate 100 years of freedom for war prisoner (4/8)

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