DECEMBER 15, 1970


The Taos Pueblo Indians pressed for decades to regain control of the Blue Lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Blue Lake was their place of origin–where their ancestors rose up from the earth.  Taken by Executive Order of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, it became part of the Carson National Forest.  In 1965, the Indian Claims Commission affirmed the Indians’ claim to the land.  In 1970, a House resolution supported their claim and the Taos Pueblo mounted a national letter-writing campaign.  The National Council of Churches endorsed the claim and Vice President Agnew’s daughter, Kim, drew media coverage riding horseback with a group of Pueblo Indians into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  On December 2, 1970, the Senate voted to give title to the Taos Pueblo.  President Nixon signed the bill and made the Blue Lake issue a cornerstone in a new federal policy towards American Indians granting more power over self-governance to Native American tribes and encouraged Native American self-education.

Source:  Diana Ricco, “The Final Battle: How the Taos Pueblo Indians Won Back Their Blue Lake Shrine,” New Mexico  Retrieved 7/23/2019,
Photo:  White House, 12/15/1970.  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code

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