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August 16, 2018
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Sept. 22 First official of Santa Fe Indian School to talk (Podcast)


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(KSFR) - -- On a Monday morning back in August, numbers of Santa Feans driving by the Indian School on Cerrillos Road were surprised to see piles of rubble where several dozen buildings had been for nearly a hundred years. Over the weekend, the 19 Indian Pueblos who are in charge of the Santa Fe Indian School had bulldozed them down.

Weeks of media stories raised question after question about what happened. Who made the decision? Why? If there was asbestos was it properly taken care of? In fact, the state's environment secretary offered his department's help in checking air quality in the area (thank you, it wasn't needed, they said).

Then came questions from the State's Historic Preservation Office. Why weren't they consulted? After all, that office is listed in an act of Congress as a go-to point when it comes to cultural affairs of the Indian Pueblos when land is still under the supervision of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. No satisfactory answer there either after the BIA said their hands were tied by the 2000 act of congress that transferred control of the school to the pueblos. Oddly, in that same letter, the Bureau of Indian Affairs said no actual transfer had taken place. Heads are still being scratched over that one. Sen. Jeff Bingaman's office offered no advice.

So it appears the remaining buildings may be coming down in a few weeks. And with them, Depression-era artwork inside. The Indian Pueblos have not spoken to the press at all, relegating that duty to the contractor who's been doing the work.

But now, KSFR has gotten what the first extensive interview with an official of the 19 Indian Pueblos. KSFR's Marion Cox spoke with Gil Vigil who is the tribal liaison with the federal government. Among other things, he reveals that the remaining buildings will be coming down in October.

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