Guest Post by Nadine Padilla. She is an organizer for the Sacred Alliance for Grassroots Equality (SAGE) Council.
The New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee has unanimously decided to place Mt. Taylor permanently on the State Register of Traditional Cultural Properties. This designation follows a year-long battle between private landowners, who say the designation will affect development that may occur on their lands, and Native American tribes, who honor Mt. Taylor as a sacred place central to the cultures and livelihoods of Native Americans.
The permanent designation of Mt. Taylor as a Traditional Cultural Property is the culmination of hard work for five tribes acting on behalf of all tribes in the southwest and the residents of New Mexico. The five nominating tribes, Acoma Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Zuni Pueblo, and the Hopi and Navajo Nations began the application process over a year ago in order to protect Mt. Taylor from renewed uranium mining interests. This designation will ensure that the public has the opportunity to give proper comment on any new mining proposals that are within the TCP boundary.
The Cultural Properties Review Committee was under great pressure and received over 6,000 letters and emails concerning the nomination. The letters were 4 to 1 in favor of the nomination. The CPRC should be commended for their continued service in protecting New Mexico’s greatest treasures.
Mount Taylor is a stratovolcano in northwest New Mexico, northeast of the town of Grants. It is the high point of the San Mateo Mountains and the highest point in the Cibola National Forest.
Editor’s Note: SAGE Council’s Nadine Padilla, who is of Navajo descent and grew up near Grants, remembers that being close to the sacred mountain was integral to every important moment of her childhood, including her coming-of-age ceremony at age 13.