New Taos Pueblo leaders focus on water settlement, restoration

By Matthew van Buren
Posted 1/21/11

Taos Pueblo's new leaders say they will continue with the previous administration's initiatives while also dealing with a different set of challenges.

Following the blessing of the canes Jan. 16, Gov. Nelson Cordova said priorities can change …

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New Taos Pueblo leaders focus on water settlement, restoration

Posted

Taos Pueblo's new leaders say they will continue with the previous administration's initiatives while also dealing with a different set of challenges.

Following the blessing of the canes Jan. 16, Gov. Nelson Cordova said priorities can change over time, but he expects to focus on implementing the Abeyta Water Rights Adjudication, improving roads on the Pueblo and doing preservation and restoration work within the village.

"This is a major project that was handed down to us," he said of restoring and rehabilitating historic buildings. "That's an ongoing process."

As for the Abeyta water settlement, Cordova said Taos Pueblo will develop a work plan this year.

"There's a lot of administrative work that needs to be done," Cordova said.

He said it was almost a surprise that the settlement was signed into law last year.

"It took so long to get to that point," he said. "Work starts with the implementation."

Cordova said planning for the restoration of the buffalo pasture and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure will be priorities in 2011, as well.

He said a relatively new economic development board, of which the governor and war chief are ex oficio members, will work this year to find business opportunities, though implementation of its ideas may take some time. Cordova said education will continue to be an important focus, particularly as the recession has changed the world's job structure. He said technical and higher education are becoming more important.

"There's a need for more educated people," he said. "We need to prepare ourselves. The competition for jobs is global."

As Taos Pueblo moves forward with its plans and initiatives, Cordova said it will be important to continue to work with the town of Taos, outlying communities and other organizations.

"We don't live by ourselves anymore," he said. "We have to work cooperatively with the state and even the feds."

Cordova said his primary goal as governor will be to ensure the well-being of Taos Pueblo.

"The goal is to keep the community safe and healthy," he said.

War Chief Edwin Concha said he and his staff will continue to move ahead with the Pueblo's ecology program.

"We intend to keep it going," he said. "We intend to follow through with last year's administration's efforts."

Concha said his office will continue to care for the environment, including protecting wildlife habitat, repairing fences and ensuring the buffalo have enough forage. He said he will also work to ensure the Moreno Valley Ranch is used to its fullest potential and generates income for the tribe. "I intend to do everything I can to take care of my people," he said.

mvanburen@taosnews.com

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