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ICYMI: The State Land Office and the Pueblo of Cochiti Announce Culturally Significant Land Exchange

By January 13, 2016 No Comments

The State Land Office and the Pueblo of Cochiti Announce Culturally Significant Land Exchange

Santa Fe, NM  – Today, the New Mexico State Land Office and the Pueblo of Cochiti announce a significant land trade. State Trust Land within the former Cañada de Cochiti Land Grant will be traded to the Pueblo of Cochiti for Cochiti-owned property at 311 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe. The Pueblo recently finalized a contract to purchase the property at Old Santa Fe Trail, which includes Garrett’s Desert Inn, in order to directly make this trade with the State Land Office.

The State Trust Land being exchanged has great cultural significance to the Cochiti people, as it is part of their ancestral lands. Over time, the land was acquired by different entities, and eventually was acquired by the State Land Office in a separate land exchange with the University of New Mexico for the Mesa Del Sol property located south of Albuquerque. The Pueblo of Cochiti has tried for years to reclaim this section of ancestral land, and it is under the administration of New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn that the exchange will finally take place.

“This land exchange is of enormous importance to the people of the Cochiti Pueblo. I am pleased to play a part in the return of their ancestral land, while at the same time acquiring an income producing property for the beneficiaries of the Trust. We know the land will be protected and well-managed under their care,” said State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn.

Prominent members of the community also had comment on the trade, including Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales. “311 Old Santa Fe Trail is an important property in the downtown historic district. There is an incredible opportunity to work with the State Land Office to repurpose the property so that any new development can add to the vibrancy of the downtown district and contribute to the local economy,” said Mayor Gonzales.

The Catron family, the current owners of the property at 311 Old Santa Fe Trail, were happy to be a part of the trade. In a statement from the Catron family they stated, “We are pleased to be able to take part in a transaction that has such a positive historical and cultural significance for the Pueblo of Cochiti and that will support the diversification of the investments held by the Aubrey Dunn, Commissioner of Public Lands State of New Mexico Contact: Emily Strickler, Assistant Commissioner for Communications (505) 827-3650 -office (505) 827-5760 – front office estrickler@slo.state.nm.us Joint Press Release For Immediate Release Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico Contact: Dr. Joseph Henry Suina, Historian, Pueblo of Cochiti (505) 321-5455 jsuina@unm.edu State Land Office. We expect that this transaction will also have a positive effect on Santa Fe’s economy.”

Former Governor of Cochiti Pueblo and current Historian for the pueblo Dr. Joseph Henry Suina rejoices in the trade saying: “The return of the land to Cochiti is like finding a long lost treasure that we’ve been searching for without success for many, many years. We’ve been actively seeking our ancestral lands for more than 60 years. Sacred sites, hunting areas and ancestral village sites throughout the land are still in our stories and songs and are very much a part of our culture today. Now, we can go there directly with our youth and teach them about their meanings and respect for them firsthand. We will be forever grateful to the State Land Office for making this a dream come true.”

The land exchange process requires strict due diligence with regards to the State Land Office process, including the requirement that the trade must be beneficial for the Trust. The newlyobtained property in downtown Santa Fe is projected to create an eight-fold increase in revenue for the beneficiaries, which include the University of New Mexico, Carrie Tingley Hospital and public schools.

The State Land Office is responsible for administering 9 million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface estate for the beneficiaries of the state land trust, which includes schools, universities, hospitals and other important public institutions.

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