New Mexico’s land grants and acequias are woven into our culture, traditions and long history. They are also crucial to the future of our state. This is why it is essential we raise the visibility of these communities within state government and why I am committed to working with land grant and acequia community leaders to ensure the state Legislature can respond more effectively to their needs.

Our land grants and acequias not only keep us connected to our state’s Hispanic and Indigenous heritage, they continue to shape our communities and our environment fundamentally. Today, acequias still help us to preserve our precious water supply and sustain our crops, particularly here in Northern New Mexico. And our land grants continue to help advance equity through land ownership and property rights for our Hispano citizens.

As a proud New Mexican and as a lawmaker, I have long held deep respect for land grant and acequia communities and their leaders. In 2017, I built on the foundation set by former New Mexico House Speaker Ben Luján to officially establish the Local Government, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee as a standing committee in the House.

In its current form, however, the Local Government, Land Grants and Cultural Affairs Committee was no longer able to accomplish its important mission. As speaker of the House of Representatives, one of my essential responsibilities is to assign legislators to committees that can efficiently consider and respond to the key issues facing our state.

When Rep. Miguel Garcia recently resigned as chairman of this committee, it became clear it was time for House leadership to reevaluate the committee’s structure and scope to make it more effective. It was also clear we could not do that without input from land grant and acequia communities themselves.

As we prepare for the upcoming legislative session, House leadership is meeting with land grant and acequia leaders to get their valuable input and hear about their legislative priorities.

After meeting with these leaders, we will determine how to best elevate the topic of land grants and other traditional communities within the Legislature. All options are on the table — including whether to assign land grants to another committee or to reconfigure a new committee into an effective venue for policymaking for these communities.

Precisely how we do that will depend upon the input of these community leaders. Together, we will protect the cherished New Mexican values and traditions that our land grants and acequias represent, while also setting a course for their future.

Speaker Brian Egolf lives in Santa Fe. He is a Democrat representing District 47.

(9) comments

Francisco Carbajal

Interesting on how the House Speaker Brian Egolf choices for words and usage are being made to benefit who (i.e., our 12x)? He states: "New Mexico land grants and acequias are woven into our culture, traditions, and long history." Really? On the same note, isn't he the same State Legislator that got rid of the "Invocation Prayers" (a long-standing tradition since 1912) and replaced the local clergy with ONLY state representatives conducting their "Invocation Prayers" for the House Chamber? The truth of the matter is noted, Egolf didn't like that a Native American Clergy from one of our pueblos recited the "Invocation Prayer," mentioned the sacred lands of Chaco Canyon. Egolf and Rep. James G. Townsend (District 54) eliminated a long-standing tradition in New Mexico. To this day, the local faith-based clergy, specifically, Native Americans are prohibited from conducting the "Invocation Prayers" for the House Chamber. It is shameful that both the Democrats and Republicans parties from the NM State Legislature have not held Egolf accountable for this disrespectful behavior and actions taken against the native people. Frankly, Egolf does not have the moral and ethical right-a-way to speak or represent about any of our New Mexico land grants and acequias relating to culture, traditions, and long history, period! Shut it, Egolf!

Alexis Martinez Johnson

^^^^^^here

Alexis Martinez Johnson

Speaker Egolf you got angry and dissolved an important element of culture hear in New Mexico. Your trigger happy persona is extremely disrespectful to our Hispanic, Indigenous cultures. You dissolved a land grant committee which represents voices out of anger. New Mexicans, irrespective of party, see that you are provoked easily and in return we, New Mexicans, pay the price in losing very important committees and voices. Please feel free to voice your concerns to Speaker Egolf. Please display restraint when you are angry and do not take personal hostilities and conflict with your fellow legislator out on generational New Mexicans and those who have interests in acequias, land grants, and our history and future in New Mexico. -Alexis Martinez Johnson

Richard Rosenstock

The Land Grant Committee should be restored. The retirement of one person who served as its chairman is hardly a valid reason to end the existence of the committee as a separate entity. It's hard to accept that this was done in order to improve the situation for land based communities when the leaders of those communities, including the leaders of acequia associations oppose this.

Francisco Carbajal

Richard, definitely! I agree with you 100%! It is not worthy that "the retirement of one person who served as its chairman is hardly a valid reason to end the existence of the committee as a separate entity." Frankly, Egolf was only searching for an excuse to push his own agenda and power-based politics as the House Speaker. Egolf does not possessed the courage or valor to sit and speak in a community table-talk setting about what he has done against the land-based communities up North. He has no character and integrity, period!

Richard Reinders

More double talk, blah blah blah

Mike Johnson

Exactly, as one of the main architects of the Aamodt water theft, and redistricting to disenfranchise rural populations, this guy has no credibility when it comes to rural people or acequias. Hypocrisy of the highest level.

Richard Reinders

[thumbup][thumbup]

Francisco Carbajal

Egolf's family bloodline is no different than what the "Thomas B. Catron's" family bloodline did against the rural people of Northern, New Mexico after 1898!

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