After yesterday’s announcement by Superintendent Chavez, some contributors to the Save the Santa Fe Indian School Paolo Soleri Facebook page have wondered whether the soon-to-be-demolished structure will be replaced by a gambling casino. The same question arose after the illegal destruction of all those old John Gaw Meem buildings in 2008. The answer seems to lie in Sections 821 to 824 of a document called the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act of 2000, Public Law 106-568, 114 Stat. 2868:
(d) GAMING. Gaming, as defined and regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.), shall be prohibited on the land taken into trust under subsection (a).
I am told that Senator Udall can be thanked for insisting on that provision.
This was the legislation that turned the Indian School campus, built and maintained over a century with millions of federal tax dollars, into an Indian Reservation, beyond the reach of city or state control. The act requires that the campus and its lands “shall be used solely for the educational, health, or cultural purposes of the Santa Fe Indian School.” Would a strip mall or hotel whose proceeds went toward education meet that test? Probably so.
In any case, the three remaining buildings along Cerrillos Road will apparently not be demolished as soon as next month. KSFR reported yesterday that the Tierra Encantada Charter School, which leases one of the buildings, has now been asked to stay for another year. I was also interviewed for the report, Unanswered questions about Santa Fe Indian School, which has been posted online.