All Pueblo Council of Governors
As New Mexico’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise in recent weeks, Pueblo governments have joined nationwide response efforts in coordination with local, state, and federal agencies. Following national trends, Pueblos have engaged in banning forms of travel and have closed all New Mexico tribal gaming facilities and operations. Many have declared states of emergency in preparation for receipt of critical federal funding to address the unprecedented level of need by Pueblo communities responding to the pandemic. Amid response efforts this week, authorities who oversee federally owned lands have temporarily waived entrance fees to lend recreational social distancing spaces for members of the public. The lack of consultation for this directive has caused concern by Pueblo leadership.
“In Cochiti Pueblo, we have seen an overcrowding of recreationalists from outside our communities coming here and to surrounding areas to hike, and while we would otherwise welcome visitors to our lands, we are worried for the more vulnerable demographics of our community and the lack of resources to address this national health emergency. Our elders, who are invaluable traditional knowledge keepers and beloved members of our community, are particularly susceptible to this virus and we must fulfill our responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being.”
– Governor Charles Naranjo, Cochiti Pueblo
“As the numbers climb, the Pueblo of Jemez has been closed to non-tribal members. We are taking all the necessary preventative measures to ensure the health of our community during this critical time and encourage members of the public to please stay home. We understand many public places have closed, and staying home for long periods can be challenging, especially for the outdoor enthusiasts, but we respectfully request members of the public to be considerate of our efforts and wishes.”
– Governor David M. Toledo, Jemez Pueblo
In a recent survey disseminated by the All Pueblo Council of Governors, Pueblos have reported among their top concerns, lack of COVID-19 testing and sanitation supplies, as well as elderly care and support services. Many Pueblos have also reported limiting entrance to their Pueblos and communities to tribal members only, but many others have indicated they are not able to do so due to the number of access points and capacity of staff directed to other essential response efforts.
“We as Pueblo Nations continue working around the clock advocating for our communities’ needs and resources to a host of state and governmental agencies and Congress. However, the immense scale of this pandemic has created new challenges in the delivery and expansion of preparedness resources available to our communities. The relationships we build and respect with one another at all levels—from those at the national level to the very local community level—will become even more important as we collectively address this emergency. We firmly and respectfully ask members of the public to support our Pueblo Nations in caring for the lands and livelihood of all generations of our communities by respecting our request for members of the public to pause trips to or near Pueblo communities and neighboring recreational sites including, but not limited to, those at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and Cochiti Lake, Jemez Historic Site, Red Rocks and Hot Springs and Puye Cliff Dwellings.”
– Chairman J. Michael Chavarria, All Pueblo Council of Governors
Members of the public who have questions or would like information on “know before you go” are welcome to contact the All Pueblo Council of Governors at: APCG@indianpueblo.org.