SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The State Land Office says it’s working hand in hand with New Mexico’s tribes on respecting their lands. Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has created a new Cultural Resources Office. It will consult with tribes and Pueblos when archaeological reports include culturally sensitive findings and make sure preservation plays a part in state land decisions.
“This is not just a re-organization of a handful of our staff. It is a re-organization of our way of thinking and doing business in an effort to be cognizant of the history of the people who occupied state trust land before it was what it is now,” Commissioner Garcia Richard said in a news release. “New Mexico’s Indigenous populations deserve to know that we are taking the appropriate steps to protect areas and artifacts that hold cultural significance to them and to their ability to protect their way of life for future generations.”
According to the same news release, the Cultural Resources Office will be comprised of four current State Land Office staff who have been reorganized within the agency: Rachael Lorenzo, who previously served as the Land Office’s Assistant Commissioner of Engagement and Tribal Liaison, will take on the newly created role of Assistant Commissioner of Cultural Resources. Along with Lorenzo, three staff archaeologists will round out the Cultural Resources team.
“I am proud to be leading this team – we all share a goal and that is to incorporate the expertise and honor the heritage of our state’s tribes into land stewardship,” Assistant Commissioner Lorenzo said in a news release. “For too long, tribes have not had enough say in the stewardship of state trust land. That changes with Commissioner Garcia Richard.”