Haaland seizes control of Native American lands, rekindling past conflicts

Washington Democrats were surprised Native Americans were not rejoicing with them when U.S. Department of the Interior Interior Secretary Deb Haaland seized control of the Navajo Nation land surrounding the Chaco Culture National Park in northwest New Mexico. They were shocked when members of the Navajo Nation kept Secretary Haaland from celebrating her actions at Chaco

What will Washington Democrats be if the Nation Navajo files suit against Secretary Haaland and her seizing control of land belonging to the Navajo Nation?   

In my forty years of experience working with members of the 19 Pueblos, Hopi, Dine, and Apache, I learned of the many challenges they faced individually and as communities.

 I quickly became acquainted with the competing interests within their communities, among the surrounding native communities, and with local and state governments. I learned never to become enmeshed in Native American Politics. 

Secretary Haaland’s unilateral actions rekindled the conflict between the nineteen Pueblos and the Navajo Nation when she seized control of the land surrounding Chaco.

The image to the left is a full-page advertisement in the June 11, 2023, edition of the Albuquerque Journal. 

In 1853 the federal government forced the Dine off their land, and they marched over four-hundred miles to an unfamiliar land in the dead of winter. The Dine still referred to this as “The Long Walk.” In 1868 Washington allowed the Dine to return to eastern Arizona, also home to the Hopi people. What was once a friendly relationship between Hopi and Dine became bitter rivals.  It took almost 150 years, hundreds of millions of dollars, and thousands of acres of land to settle the conflict between the Hopi and the Dine that the federal government created. Now Deb Haaland, Secretary of Interior, is behaving with almost just a heavy. 

 Secretary Haaland rekindled old conflicts between the nineteen Pueblos and the Navajo Nation when she unilaterally seized control of over 350,000 acres of Navajo Nation Land and BLM land surrounding Chaco on behalf of nineteen  Pueblos on June 2, 2023.  UNESCO website states, “Chaco Canyon, a major centre of ancestral Pueblo culture between 850 and 1250, was the focus for ceremonials, trade and political activity for the prehistoric Four Corners area.” 

The nineteen Pueblos and the Navajo Nation have been discussing how to manage energy development in the area surrounding Chaco and protect the rights of the Dine who live on those lands. Secretary Haaland usurped the ongoing discussion and seized control of the land, which favored her Laguna Pueblo and the other eighteen Pueblos. 

Secretary Haaland has demonstrated that she is no different from any other Secretary of Interiors who preceded her. She seized control of native lands without regard for agreements and Native Sovereignty. This is why Native American leaders have not approved of her actions. They understand they could be next.  

Washington leaders, bureaucrats, and lobbyists still view the West and its inhabitants in terms of 1800 caricatures, and they believe they are as benevolent as the Wizard of Oz, which could not be further from the truth. This needs to change now. Joe Biden should start by rescinding Secretary Haaland’s unilateral order and encourage the Navajo Nation and the nineteen Pueblos to create an agreement that addresses their competing interests on their lands. Joe Biden should continue with President Donald Trump’s decentralization of the Department of Interior. 

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at MickRich.substack.com.

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at news@pinonpost.com.


8 thoughts on “Haaland seizes control of Native American lands, rekindling past conflicts”

  1. What about families that have lived in that ten mile area for generations and have cattle grazing or sheep…… Chaco Canyon was just fine and the Navajo nation cared for the land with honor and respect. Haaland deserves everything they can throw at her. This is total disrespect for the Navajo Nation…. I thought they were a soverginety….

  2. Frederick Armayor

    Haaland may have thought ‘To Hell with First American Sovereignty’ and past treaties. The Dine will have and get to keep whatever my Kingdom decides they need. ‘ I am the Queen 🤴 of this Kingdom and what I decide is the law. I am the sovereign of this Kingdom and all Native Americans are my subjects and in my opinion, this may or may not be in the mind of Queen Haaland; however, her actions indicate this is exactly what is in her mind.’

  3. Old Drunk Deb. She’s Sold Out her People for a few days in POWER. She’s has no real marketable skills so very soon she’ll have no place to go. She’ll have to return to NM. No job no money no home…. Luckily for her the Drunk Deb Memorial Dumpster is waiting for her behind a Liquor Store in Gallup….
    No Biggie….

  4. I have to laugh and shake my head at commenters asking about our people sovereignty. That is just a word batted around that truly means nothing if you actually look up the control the federal government still has over us

  5. Ok but get your history correct. Kit Carson walked the Navajo to Bosque Redondo on the Pecos River in 1864, not 1858. And the reason was that the Spanish had been unable, for hundreds of years, to stop the Navajo from raiding and making slaves of the Pueblo and Spanish villagers. Modern so called historians of wickipedia, which is communist propaganda, say it was American genocide. Wrong again.

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