Taos Pueblo Gov. James Lujan Sr. says his administration, which took office Jan. 1, will be carrying on the goals of the previous government, namely in fostering education and economic development, and developing its own objectives to benefit tribal …
Taos Pueblo Gov. James Lujan Sr. says his administration, which took office Jan. 1, will be carrying on the goals of the previous government, namely in fostering education and economic development, and developing its own objectives to benefit tribal members.
“I hope to have a good year and work with my people to make sure the information gets to them,” Lujan said. “We have a very good tribal council that’s on top of all the things going on. I hope to work closely with the council. I’m looking forward to the year 2010.”
The Taos Pueblo Tribal Council selected Lt. Gov. Richard Aspenwind and Tribal Secretary Clyde Romero Jr. The council also named War Chief David Gomez, Lt. War Chief Harold V. Cordova and War Chief Secretary Scott Fields. Other officials are: Sheriffs Frank Marcus Jr. and Derrick Peketewa; Head Fiscale Frank Rainleaf; Lt. Fiscale Santiago Suazo; Fiscales Gordon Martinez, George Mirabal Jr. and Anthony L. Mirabal; and War Chief’s staff members James Duran, David M. Winters, Antonio Martinez, Michael R. Murphy, Dwayne Kopepassah, Michael C. Sandoval, Kent Keahbone, Jeremy S. Lujan, and Cody Concha
At Taos Pueblo, all officials traditionally serve one-year terms. Lujan, who served the tribe in 2006, spoke in his office Monday (Jan. 11), on the day after new tribal officials assembled for their formal portraits. He noted that the Taos Pueblo Tribal Council is seeking continuity when it comes to the goals set by administrations.
Among those made last year were improving educational opportunities for the tribe’s youth, particularly in higher education, and economic development.
“The children and young people need to continue their education so we maintain that pool of expertise in the long run,” he said.
As for economic development, Lujan noted that the current weak economy has had an adverse effect on Taos Pueblo’s ability to support tribal programs.
The tribe depends on revenue from Taos Mountain Casino and tourism, and the tribal council is considering other options. Lujan noted that the Abeyta Water Settlement, which would settle Taos Pueblo’s water rights claims in the Rio Pueblo de Taos, a tributary to the Rio Grande, is still pending in Congress.
He said the council and last year’s government were closely involved in the settlement’s case. Lujan said tribal officials need to work diligently with Congressional representatives to make sure that effort is not lost and that everybody involved in the process knows what is going on. Other goals are road improvements, preservation of the Pueblo’s structures, and maintaining good relations with local residents and governments. The senior center, now under construction, will be completed this year.
Another milestone this year is the 40th anniversary of the federal government’s return of 48,000 acres of mountain land including the sacred Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo. Finally, Lujan spoke of the tribe’s concerns about the proposed expansion of the Taos Regional Airport and the disruptive noise from low-flying planes that could have a negative impact on Taos Pueblo.
“It’s been a concern for a while and we hope to work with the FAA,” he said.
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