Through the Taos Pueblo Lens: Values and Emerging Strategies for Protecting Wild Lands and Waters

Authors: Linda Moon Stumpff

Disciplines: Environmental Studies, History, Law, Native American Studies, Political Science and Public Administration, Sociology

Themes: Cultural Preservation, Environmental Justice, Federal and State Relations and Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, Land, Leadership, Self Determination and Self Governance, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty

Tribes: Taos Pueblo

This case raises questions about how communities make choices through their governance systems about what institutions and actions best help them achieve goals to restore culture and traditional lifeways. The emphasis here is on non-economic relationships to wilderness, water and culture. The return of Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo years after it was incorporated into public lands as part of a National Forest is an extraordinary event that was accompanied by an extraordinary strategic process carried out by Taos Pueblo. Historically, especially after the infusion of funds for HUD and other social programs occurred during the 1960’s, people looked to tribal governments to provide for them, opening the valves for these monetary infusions and solving a great range of problems. But could money solve all the problems? This case raises a number of questions for critical thinking about cultural preservation, monetary, and non-monetary values.