Communal land grant communities have a rich history in New Mexico. Some of these small, often remote, communities have existed for hundreds of years.
But members of communal land grant communities face significant challenges, including disparities in economic opportunity, health care and education.
These are exactly the type of challenges that President Obama has steadfastly committed to tackling. LM García y Griego, an advocate for New Mexico’s land grant communities, puts it this way:
“In New Mexico we have witnessed a steady economic recovery since 2009, a recovery especially important in those small towns and communities where Spanish and Indian peoples have lived for generations--for centuries before New Mexico became a state."
“In these communities people have a strong attachment to the land where their ancestors worked, hunted--a land that still provides their livelihood today.”
“These communities are located next to national forests and other federal lands, and the people there look toward a new partnership with the federal government to create jobs, provide access to ancestral lands, and to protect the environment.”
Arturo Archuleta, another Albuquerque-based advocate for New Mexico’s communal land grant communities, knows the importance of collaboration in addressing these challenges.
Both of Arturo’s parents came from land grant communities. His father was from Tierra Amarilla. And his mother was from Manzano.
To improve their economic opportunities, Arturo’s parents moved to Albuquerque. But Arturo grew up visiting Northern New Mexico and recognized early on the importance of fighting for communal land grant communities:
“I always grew up knowing this was an issue. In middle school, I decided to do something to help my community.”
Arturo knows that the President is committed to working with the communities Arturo is fighting for:
“We’re a land-based people. [Barack Obama]’s administration has been more proactive in interacting with communities.”
In just one example of this collaboration, federal funding is being used to pay the residents of Chilili to implement a forest thinning project which will help keep the neighboring forest healthy and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
It’s a project that means jobs and a healthier environment. And that’s good for everyone.
President Obama will keep fighting for all of New Mexico’s communities. You can help ensure he can keep fighting in a second term by getting out the vote for Barack Obama. Sign up to volunteer now at http://www.barackobama.com/gotv