Sumary of Interior head: Chaco protections ‘millennia in the making’:
- (AP) — A few big rigs carried oilfield equipment on a winding road near Chaco Culture National Historical Park, cutting through desert badlands and sage.
- Mobile homes and traditional Navajo dwellings dotted the landscape, with a smattering of natural gas wells visible in the distance.
- On Monday, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined pueblo leaders at the park to reflect on her office’s announcement last week that it would seek to withdraw federal land holdings within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of its boundary, making the area off-limits to oil and gas leasing for 20 years.
- ”While the Chaco area holds significance for many Indigenous people in the Southwest, the Navajo Nation oversees much of the land that makes up the jurisdictional checkerboard surrounding the national park.
- Some belongs to individual Navajos who were allotted land by the federal government generations ago.
- Navajo leaders support preserving parts of the area but have said individual allottees stand to lose an important income source if the land is made off-limits to development.