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Paolo Soleri

Paolo Soleri

Late last month Lyle Lovett performed what was billed as the last concert at the Paolo Soleri with no word on whether the All Indian Pueblo Council will agree to spare this architectural landmark if Senators Udall and Bingaman make good on their offer to find federal money for preservation. It would be the perfect face-saving deal. If in the end no funds were forthcoming, both sides could blame the economy, congratulate each other on their good intentions, and let the wrecking balls fly. If money can be found, there will probably be no more rock concerts. The amphitheater might be used instead, as a lawyer friend recently suggested, for public lectures under the stars or Santa Fe’s version of Shakespeare in the Park. “Can you imagine,” she said, “seeing Midsummer Night’s Dream there?”

Whichever scenario comes to pass, both parties will be able to divert attention from their failure to address the illegal destruction of the historic Indian School campus two years ago. The Department of Interior continues to evade the issue. In his most recent missive, Scott Culver, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, made the puzzling claim that violations of the National Historic Preservation Act are “outside the realm of the types of things” his office examines. (That should come as a surprise to Senator Udall, who has been perfunctorily passing on my queries to Mr. Culver.) Where else is a citizen to lodge allegations that federal laws were violated by Interior employees? Mr. Culver doesn’t say but offers the opinion, with no substantiation whatsoever, that the demolition “appears” to have been proper.

We have documented here extensively why that simply isn’t true. My future correspondence will be with Elizabeth Martinez, an assistant U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, whose office has the power to convene a federal grand jury.

Meanwhile Bill Dupuy at public radio station KSFR continues to pursue the case with journalistic vigor. In an interview last month, he pushed Senator Bingaman to explain why the Bureau of Indian Affairs was allowed to hand over the school to the Pueblo Council without the federal protections required by law. Click this link to hear the Senator’s waffling reply.

George Johnson
The Santa Fe Review