Letter: Hostile Nation in NM

Hostile nation in NM

Dear alibi,

On February 20, 2020, I drove from Rio Rancho to my home in Cuba, New Mexico. I had often thought of visiting the Zia Pueblo, and on this trip I found that I had plenty of time to visit and learn what I was about the Zia people.

Turn off Hwy. 550 and on the road into the pueblo, signs immediately indicated the tribal office and other service buildings. There was no welcome sign; instead, a long list of “not allowed” activities. No camping, no fires, no cameras, no photography, etc. I went to the main office for information.

Once inside, I asked the receptionist for a card, regulation[s], basically any tourist “stuff”. We had a nice short chat [but] She didn’t have anything like that and referred me upstairs to another receptionist. The receptionist above answered a few questions and also told me that they have nothing for tourists. I told her I was interested in taking photos and just sightseeing. I noticed two gentlemen standing nearby listening. I [asked] The receptionist: “Really, you don’t have any maps or information for tourists? It’s not very inviting for people who want to see the pueblo. “She said,” We don’t get a lot of tourists and we don’t want any. ” The two men nearby heard the exchange; One came up to me and introduced himself as Fred Medina, the governor of Zia Pueblo. He said, “We don’t have that. You can’t even enter the pueblo without proper authorization, so you have to leave it. We don’t need this attitude. “I think he got” that kind of attitude “from what I told the receptionist. The two men then led me to the stairs and down to the lobby. Once there, I went to the receptionist and the governor said, “I said you have to go.” I said, “Okay, no problem.” I wanted to thank the receptionist and get a business card and when I turned to her the governor grabbed my arm in both hands and pushed me to the door and said again, “We said you have to go.” Stop!” I cursed him because he was still holding onto my arm. He finally let go. I asked him calmly, “Why are you doing this? I was just asking questions. Do you realize you just attacked a 69 year old man? “He said,” I didn’t attack you! ” I said, “Yes Governor, you did it, and your friend and receptionist saw you do it.” He pushed me to the door again. “I don’t need your attitude, get out!”

Except when he grabbed me, I stayed calm and level-headed. I couldn’t believe this man was abusing me physically and verbally! I didn’t want this to continue so I easily agreed that I had to get out of the building and leave. I asked him one more question: “Does your power as governor allow you to attack outsiders?” He just yelled, “Go!” Two policemen (?) Who came in turned and directed the way to the door. When I was outside, I saw at least three police cars, trucks, and four or five officers who had obviously come to throw me out. They immediately “brought” me to my truck. I heard the governor scream, “And don’t come back!” I left the parking lot; One of the officers ran behind my truck and took down my license plates. As I left the complex, one of the officers pulled back behind me and followed me onto the highway. 550 and six miles to San Ysidro.

It was all very disturbing. This man is the governor of a sovereign state, like the governor of one of our United States. It was like Governor Lujan Grisham or Arizona Governor Doug Ducey attacked me. How could this man step on my civil rights and basic human rights? With this type of behavior, how can this man expect both personal and tribal respect? I don’t think he deserves the title.

I spoke to the offices of Congressman Debra Haaland and Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall and the Bureau of Indian Affairs for advice. All of the above said, “As a sovereign nation, there is nothing that can be done for any form of justice.” Basically, I was told I was alone. I pray the Zia will not suffer as a result of a bad governor.

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