MARIO

“Even though we say ‘no,’ it still doesn’t matter.”

Even though we say “no,” [to the drilling] it still doesn’t matter, because a simple majority [of allotment* owners] all agreed.”

“You hear people, like Leonard Tsosie saying ‘I never heard of anybody that turned down the money.’ I told him actually, I said, we actually turned it down. But they still got the money.”

“By the time we saw what was happening, it had already happened, because of the land tenure regulations. I think if you look, it used to have to be consensus, unanimous consensus of all allotments to approve contracts and leases on allotment lands. But it was changed in the early, mid ’90s.”

“The boilerplate [allotment] lease just says that we give [the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)] the limited power of attorney and they can do everything to develop oil and gas. ‘Everything’ means regulations, cutting corners in any way possible.

“The person [BLM] had come to my mom’s house was barely a high school graduate and he was trying to translate legalese to us. Good thing I was there. I was reading it, and I was like, ‘This is really important stuff, you’re talking about limited power of attorney. Is this above board?’”

“The guy who was saying, ‘Yeah [Bureau of Indians Affairs] is on it, they approved it, these leases, and it’s okay.’ And he never said anything about the impacts to water, any of that stuff… When they said they were going to do all of this development, they never told my parents about the impacts.”

“[Greater Chaco] is one of the few places around here where you can actually grow a viable herd. You can’t really raise cows out where we live. But up there, there’s a lot of rain up there, a lot of snow up there on the pass where people actually do have cows…. and so sheep, cows, that old way of life is going to be really affected.”

“When they dump all that stuff into the air, all the people that live in the valley, they’re going to be breathing all of that in… Right now the levels of certain VOCs are pretty low but over time that stuff biomagnifies.”

“Overtime, they say neuropathy happens, especially in the legs. His brother has it, my uncle. They all have neuropathy in their legs. Maybe it’s from spam, but probably not. What’s in the environment that’s doing it?”

 

Will you add your voice?


Demand cancellation of the March 2018 oil and gas lease sale, and all future sales, in Greater Chaco until proper protections for the people, environment, and cultural resources are put in place.

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* In the 1880s, as an attempt to separate tribal members from their tribes, the Dawes Act authorized the President of the United States to divide tribal lands into allotments for individual native families and all of their future heirs. In order to lease oil and gas reserves underneath allotment land, allotment owners must sign approval and receive compensation. Some allotments now have hundreds of owners and the payments are split among living heirs. However, only a majority need to sign for drilling to occur.