In response to the order, Hispanic Access Foundation’s President and CEO Maite Arce released the following statement:
“We deeply appreciate President Biden and Secretary Haaland for taking the steps needed to protect the Greater Chaco Landscape’s sacred sites and cultural resources for Tribal communities and generations to come. Chaco Canyon is a region of historical significance for many local tribes and tells a story about our diverse past – a place that embodies the architectural, cultural and deep historical roots of our nation.
“Unfortunately because it contains significant oil and gas deposits and solid mineral resources it was threatened by leasing and mining. We all share a strong moral obligation to be good stewards of our public lands, waters and oceans, and to intentionally preserve and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage that makes up this nation. By taking the steps to protect this historical landscape, we’ll be conserving the sacred sites’ cultural resources for generations to come.
“However, the work is not done. We look to Sec. Haaland and President Biden to work with communities across the nation to protect more irreplaceable cultural sites, public lands and waters, and fulfill the President’s pledge to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands, waters, and ocean by 2030. This will ensure future generations can visit and enjoy these amazing sites and that the true, diverse American story is reflected within them.”
More recently in October, President Joe Biden took executive action to restore protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments, which had been rolled back from the previous administration. Hispanic Access Foundation is currently working towards protecting more monuments by partnering with the Outdoor Advocacy Project to create a letter urging President Biden to act swiftly and protect more important landscapes through the Antiquities Act.