Taos Pueblo news

Taos Pueblo welcomes 2019 tribal officials

By Staci Matlock
editor@taosnews.com
Posted 1/18/19

The Taos Pueblo tribal council has named the 2019 governor, warchief and their staffs.

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Taos Pueblo news

Taos Pueblo welcomes 2019 tribal officials

Posted

The Taos Pueblo tribal council has named the 2019 governor, warchief and their staffs.

Richard Aspenwind will serve as the pueblo's governor. His office and staff oversee programs that deal with pueblo education, health and other administrative duties.

Bernard Lujan was chosen as the pueblo's warchief for the year. He will oversee projects that have to do with natural resources, including land, forests, water and wildlife.

Only three weeks into their terms, the two men and their staffs are already busy with the many challenges and responsibilities of managing the day-to-day affairs of the pueblo and the tens of thousands of visitors who come from all over the world to visit. Each year, a new governing body must straddle the duties of protecting a deeply traditional and 1,000-year-old way of life while adapting to the pressures of a rapidly changing modern society.

Taos Pueblo's governor, warchief and their staff are all male, serve one-year terms and are chosen each year by the pueblo's tribal council.

Gov. Aspenwind, serving his first one-year term as governor, said the "tribe has a road map that it is following, which are priorities that were established over the years, more intensely I would say in the last three years. We established education, housing, economic development and community health as the top most priorities that our residents want."

He said those priorities were set through a series of community meetings and a task force.

He said the pueblo has been trying to incorporate those priorities into all of its programs.

One example, he said, is that the pueblo wants to build more housing.

"We don't have enough housing here, that's plain and simple. We want to provide a house for everyone who wants to maintain one," Aspenwind said.

He said they have already completed a land-use plan that's been adopted by the tribal council. New housing will be located in a designated portion of Taos Pueblo or on their own property.

Aspenwind said the pueblo is also working to take the pueblo's Day School under their own administration instead of having it managed by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"That way we can have more of a direct say into the curriculum and we can add more grades at the school," Aspenwind said. "Our culture would be more incorporated and our language."

The pueblo has an education center next to the Red Willow Farm. He said they would like to expand services there, such as offering continuing and higher education classes.

He said they also are working on plans to expand services at the senior center and to build a central facility where all of the Taos Pueblo's departments and administration offices could be housed.

Pueblo officials also will be lobbying at the Roundhouse to help restore and strengthen the aging historic adobe buildings and homes that ring the Taos Pueblo plaza. "Last year's staff did an excellent job of identifying what needs to be done," said the governor.

Aspenwind said the pueblo also looks forward to working with the new state governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. "It seems like a friendlier place now," he said.

WarChief Lujan said his staff will be focused on continuing and expanding the land and water programs set in motion by prior administrations. He said his staff will be working on projects to prevent forest fires, maintain the bison herd and restore pasturelands. One of the land projects includes taking out sagebrush that has enveloped some of their outer-lying pastures and replanting native grasses.

Two of the ongoing challenges the warchief's staff have to address is new developments encroaching on pueblo land and non-Taos Pueblo people trespassing on pueblo land, said WarChief Secretary George M. Track. That intrusion isn't just from people trespassing on foot, but pilots flying planes and drones over pueblo land without permission.

Named to the 2019 governor's staff are: Lieutenant Governor Joseph P. Romero, Tribal Secretary Harold T. Lefthand, Head Fiscale Michael Martinez, Fiscale Andrew Marcus, Fiscale Cruzito A. Concha Jr., Lieutenant Fiscale Matthew J. Lujan, First Sheriff James N. Duran and Second Sheriff David J. Lujan.

Among the 2019 warchief's staff are: Lieutenant WarChief Leonard Archuleta, WarChief Secretary Track, Owen Q. Romero, Randon C. Tafoya, Darold C. Lujan, Toby Martinez, Dwayne T. Lefthand Jr., Nicky Concha, Dwyer J. Lujan, Robbie Winters, Anthony Ray Lujan Jr.

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