Isleta Pueblo Regains Ancestral Land

Isleta Pueblo Governor Eddie Torres at Friday's signing ceremony. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is in the foreground. KUNM/Ed Williams

Isleta Pueblo Governor Eddie Torres at Friday’s signing ceremony. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is in the foreground. KUNM/Ed Williams

  •  Ed Williams
  •  Friday, January 16, 2016

The Secretary of the Interior met with leaders of Isleta Pueblo Friday to return nearly 90,000 acres of ancestral land to the tribe.

With the stroke of a pen Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Isleta Pueblo Governor Eddie Torres increased the size of the tribe’s reservation by 50 percent.

Isleta already owns the land and has been raising cattle on a ranch there as food for the tribe. But according to Governor Torres, including the ranch on the reservation will ensure the tribe holds on to its territory into the future.

Jewell agrees.

“Land is really essential to the essence of the culture and history of tribes across the United States,” she said. “Taking land into trust on behalf of tribes means that the land will be there for future generations, like this 89,000 acres, the largest transaction that we’ve done under the Obama Administration.”

With today’s land transfer, Jewel said, the Obama administration has achieved 80 percent of its goal of handing half a million acres of ancestral tribal land back to Native American communities across the country.

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