BIA places nearly 90K acres in trust for Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico

The Comanche Ranch in New Mexico has been placed in trust for Isleta Pueblo. Still image from Where Food Comes From / YouTube

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has placed nearly 90,000 acres in trust for Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell went to the reservation on Friday to announce the approval. It's the largest single land acquisition in the BIA's history.

"This land into trust milestone marks the culmination of years of hard work by the Pueblo of Isleta as well as important progress in the Obama administration’s goals of empowering tribes, restoring tribal homelands to support self-determination and self-governance," Jewell said in a press release.

The 89,978-acre property is part of the Comanche Ranch that the tribe purchased in 1997. The land is being used for economic development and other purposes.

"Through the persistence of tribal leadership and the support of the BIA Southern Pueblos Agency, Albuquerque Area Office, and more importantly, the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, the Pueblo of Isleta will celebrate a historic event as this land base is placed into Trust for the Pueblo of Isleta," Governor E. Paul Torres. said in the press release.

The BIA has now placed nearly 400,000 in trust for tribes since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. Officials hope to hit 500,000 acres in the next 12 months.

“Tribal leaders across Indian Country continue to place a high priority on restoring tribal homelands," said Larry Roberts, the acting assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. "We are fully committed to placing half a million acres of land into trust during this administration as a step in the direction of correcting misguided policies of previous administrations.”

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