Petroglyph National Monument

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Photo: Leonard Becker

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Who Considers it Sacred? Native Americans Pueblo Nations

Significance: Contains important rock art by the ancestors of the local Pueblo Indians.

The Threat: Construction of roads and highways

Preservation Status: In spite of opposition from the local Native American Pueblos, activist groups and Sacred Sites’ continuing Urgent Action letter-writing campaign, the City of Albuquerque and the U.S. Department of the Interior have continued to try to build two multilane highways through the Petroglyph National Monument.

On April 23, 1997, Senator Domenici of New Mexico introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to remove 8.5 acres from the Monument, in order to permit construction; Rep. Schiff from New Mexico introduced legislation simultaneously in the House. On February 19,1997, the Department of the Interior, which manages the monument, issued its Record of Decision for the Monument General Management Plan, which calls for the construction of another four-lane highway.

The Pueblo of Sandia, however, filed complaints under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alleging that the City of Albuquerque, the Middle Rio Grande council of Governments, and the State of New Mexico receive federal financial assistance, and are subject to the strictures of the Civil Rights Act. If it’s found that the Pueblo have been deprived of the rights to practice their religion, these entities could lose their federal financial assistance, amounting to millions of dollars.

Senator Domenici, on May 1, 1998, attached the authorization for removal of the contested eight acres as a rider to an Emergency Appropriations bill for disaster relief and aid to Bosnia, for signature by then-President Clinton.

In late 2004, it was reported that, incredibly, though a bond measure to fund roads through the National Monument was defeated, funding was being sought directly from the Governor or New Mexico.

For More Information: Petroglpyh National Monument; Site Updates; Site Saver Newsletter Volume VI, Number 3, Fall 1996; Site Saver Newsletter Volume VII, Number 3, Spring/Summer 1997; Site Saver Newsletter Volume VIII, Number 1, Fall 1997; Site Saver Newsletter Volume IX, Number 1, Fall 1998; Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XIV, Number 1, Fall 2003; Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XIV, Number 2, Winter 2004; Sacred Sites Newsletter Volume XV, Number 1, Fall 2004; Voices from a Sacred Place: In Defense of Petroglyph National Monument, published by Sacred Sites International and Friends of the Albuquerque Petroglyphs

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