Protect Chaco Canyon
New Mexico is known as the “land of enchantment.” Among its many wonders, Chaco Canyon stands out as one of the most spectacular. Part of Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Chaco Canyon is among the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, receiving tens of thousands of visitors each year. Yet, Chaco is more than just a tourist destination, it is also sacred land.Centuries ago, Chaco Canyon served as a ceremonial, agricultural and thriving economic center where Native people built magnificent great houses, astronomical observation sites, and ceremonial kivas. These areas continue to be places of prayer, healing and pilgrimage for various Pueblo and Tribal communities today. The canyon is vast and contains an impressive number of structures—both big and small—testifying to the incredible creativity of the people who lived in the Four Corners region between the 9th and 12th centuries. Chaco was the urban center of a broader world, and the ancestral Puebloans who lived here engineered striking buildings, waterways, and more. The Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the surrounding area also provide critical wildlife habitat to a diverse array of species ranging from elk and mule deer to large predators like cougar, bobcats and badgers as well as a wide variety of birds and reptiles. Over the years, excessive oil and gas drilling around Chaco Canyon has damaged air and water quality and caused immense harm to the health of children, families and local communities.
Proposed Chaco Canyon Protections Will Safeguard Sacred Indigenous Sites, Wildlife
A proposed buffer zone around Chaco Culture National Historical Park will ban oil and gas development that threatens wildlife, sacred Indigenous sites, clean air, and drinking water. Earthkeeper’s applauds the Biden Administration for listening to local communities about the withdrawal of oil and gas leasing on federal lands around Chaco Canyon, as well as pledging to engage in further meaningful Tribal consultation before taking action. Seeking to put faith into action, EarthKeepers spearheaded a national effort to protect Chaco Canyon and we were able to get over 250 spiritual leaders from across the country and from more than 30 faith traditions and denominations to sign on to this letter to Secretary Haaland calling for support of this buffer.