Jemez Pueblo seeks return of ancestral lands
Posted at: 01/14/2013 2:09 PM
By: SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Leaders of an American Indian community in northern New Mexico are seeking the return of all the land within the boundaries of the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
Jemez Pueblo filed a lawsuit in federal court to quiet its aboriginal title to the property, and the pueblo has the support of tribes throughout New Mexico.
Home to vast grasslands and one of New Mexico's most famous elk herds, the 89,000-acre preserve is part of a much larger area that makes up what the tribe calls its traditional homelands.
To the Jemez people, the preserve is their "spiritual mother."
Albuquerque attorney Tom Luebben is representing Jemez. He believes this is the first time a tribe has sued under the Quiet Title Act to recover unlawfully appropriated Indian lands.
A response from the federal government is due next month.
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