Wednesday, September 13, 2006
House OKs San Ildefonso Land Claim Settlement
SAN ILDEFONSO PUEBLO The U.S. House on Tuesday approved legislation that would settle San Ildefonso Pueblo's decades-old claim to thousands of acres of ancestral land.
The bill, passed earlier by the Senate, now heads to President Bush for approval.
Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said the measure authorizes land transactions affecting San Ildefonso and Santa Clara pueblos, Los Alamos County and the Forest Service. The pueblos would be able to add land to their pueblos, and the county would be able to protect its water wells.
The settlement will resolve the last remaining claim before the Indian Claims Commission, which was established in 1946.
''This has been a long time in the making and the parties have done a great deal to meet the concerns of the surrounding community, the Santa Clara Pueblo and Los Alamos County,'' Bingaman said. ''Now that the settlement legislation is completed, I hope the Forest Service will move quickly to meet its legal obligations and implement this settlement.''
Domenici and Bingaman said the agreement will give the pueblo a payment, as well as an opportunity to gain other property from the Santa Fe National Forest. Santa Clara Pueblo has also negotiated the right to acquire certain properties.
The pact also is designed to guarantee Los Alamos County access to wells and infrastructure, and allow the county to purchase property for future economic development.
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