JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says a Native American community in northern New Mexico doesn’t have any claims to Valles Caldera National Preserve due to a 12-year statute of limitations on tribal land claims.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said in a motion filed this month in federal court Jemez Pueblo abandoned any title it may have held to parts of the preserve.
The motion is the latest step in a legal battle over tens of thousands of pristine acres in the Jemez Mountains.
Jemez Pueblo considers the nearly 140-square-mile swath of federally-managed public land as a spiritual sanctuary.
The lawsuit is in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephan Vidmar, who has scheduled a status conference on the case March 9.