Cochiti Pueblo, UNM finalize land transfer
By Greg Johnston
A Cochiti Tribal Council member described the return of ancestral land recently as very emotional.
“There are no words to
express the emotion we all feel. Today is an historic day that we don’t take lightly,” said Regis Pecos.
|Cochiti Pueblo tribal council members give a handmade drum to Jamie Koch, UNM Board of Regents president. Koch earlier presented a plaque to the pueblo commemorating the return of 220 acres of ancestral land. Pictured are ( from left) Ray Trujillo, Marcus Chalan, Koch, Regis Pecos and Governor Sam Arquero. See story on page 2. Photo by Greg Johnston.
University of New Mexico Board of Regents President Jamie Koch appeared Dec. 15 before the Cochiti Pueblo Tribal Council to formally commemorate UNM’s return of 220 acres of Horn Mesa to the pueblo. Also in attendance from UNM were Carlos Rey Romero, director of Governmental Affairs; Ellen Wenzel, executive assistant to the president; Richard Chapman, director of the Office of Contract Archaeology; and Ann Ramenofsky, associate professor, Department of Anthropology.
The UNM regents approved the transfer last year as part of a deal that also involved the Bureau of Land Management. Koch was asked to attend the council meeting so the tribe could express its appreciation for his efforts in securing the land for the Pueblo.
Following an hour-long presentation to the council in native language by Pecos, Koch presented a plaque to Governor Sam Arquero. About 30 tribal council members passed the plaque throughout the room. Arquero then gave Koch a Cochiti hand-made drum.
The returned mesa land includes the site of an historic Cochiti village, sometimes known as “High Cochiti,” which has major cultural significance for the tribe. Pecos said that nothing is of greater significance than aboriginal lands.
“This is a spiritual connection and is reconnecting to a place and time that is perpetual,” Pecos said.