WASHINGTON, D.C. – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland spent several days in New Mexico this week to discuss issues of land conservation and energy development with tribal leaders and other stakeholders in the Chaco Canyon region. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Newland also attended the opening of a newly rebuilt Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) site at the Laguna Pueblo and met with students and faculty at the BIE-operated Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, one of only two BIE-operated colleges.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Newland and Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo also participated in a listening session hosted by the Pueblo of Isleta with both Navajo and Pueblo leadership to discuss drought impacts and water infrastructure needs in the area.
“As part of the Department’s commitment to meaningful engagement with tribal communities, I’m grateful to have heard directly from tribal leaders, students and community members about the importance of land conservation and economic development across New Mexico,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Newland. “I appreciated the opportunity to help open a new elementary school at Laguna Pueblo and visit the Chaco Canyon region to see first-hand the incredible land and cultural heritage the Biden-Harris administration is working to protect.”
During his visit, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Newland toured Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Following the site visit, he met with the All Pueblo Governor’s Association and Chaco Tribal Heritage Association to discuss preservation and conservation efforts of the surrounding area. He also met with tribal leaders from the Navajo Nation and individual Navajo allottees regarding land use in the Chaco Canyon region.
During the meetings, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Newland discussed how President Biden’s FY22 budget request for the Department proposes continuing existing protections against new oil and gas leasing in the area around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, while a cultural resources study is being completed by area tribes.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Newland delivered keynote remarks at the reopening of Laguna Elementary, in Laguna, NM, a BIE school that had been closed due to COVID-19 protocols. He also toured Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, where he met with students and faculty to underscore the Department’s commitment to providing a world-class education for tribes.