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An Update on San Ildefonso

I was relieved to learn from Pilar Cannizzaro at the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division that San Ildefonso Pueblo will not be able to act completely without constraint when it erects four big cell phone towers on its picturesque reservation. (Please see the last paragraph of my entry of April 9.) Whenever a federal agency is involved in a project on tribal lands, it becomes a “Section 106 undertaking,” meaning that historical protection laws must be obeyed. That is why the demolition of the old Santa Fe Indian School was illegal, even though the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Interior continue to cover up the matter.

Like the old campus, San Ildefonso is a federally recognized historic site, and Black Mesa is considered a significant cultural resource. The cell tower project is receiving federal stimulus money though the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service Recovery Act Broadband Program. In addition the Federal Communications Agency will presumably be involved.

Since San Ildefonso has not appointed a Tribal Historic Protection Officer, Ms. Cannizarro explained, it will have to consult with her office.

George Johnson
The Santa Fe Review