The nonprofit Naeva learned of a plan to develop an 18-acre housing complex at the foot of the site Indigenous peoples have revered for thousands of years.

ALBUQUERQUE — Over the course of the past two months, the Native-based organization Naeva, discovered that the City of Albuquerque, in conjunction with private developers Jubilee Development and Consensus Planning, are in the final stages of approving the development of a 18-acre area at the base of Petroglyph National Monument for a 238-unit, 35-foot housing complex. This development poses serious risks to the Petroglyphs, which Pueblo and other Indigenous communities across the Southwest have revered since at least 1000 BCE.

While on the surface a good-faith attempt to expand housing opportunities for a city in the midst of a housing and affordability crisis, it is unlikely that new housing on the Westside, especially on the Petroglyphs, will be accessible to those in dire need of a roof over their head. Moreso, as Naeva’s tried to gather information about this project, staff have been given contradictory information from the City, noticed provisions related to the development have quietly been pushed through City Council and committees without proper debate—to the chagrin of residents who themselves have related and unrelated concerns—and have been told that City Councilors are advised not to speak directly with us due to pending cases in District Court.

Naeva’s Executive Director, Ahtza Chavez, noted:

“The Petroglyphs have been considered a sacred site for our people since time immemorial, and this is not the first threat this place has faced even in the 21st century. Naeva was founded off the heels of the City’s merciless efforts to blaze a highway through the National Monument in the early 2000s, and their continued disrespect towards their Indigenous constituents today does not go unnoticed. We will continue to work to protect and safeguard our sacred sites.”

Many of the ordinances that would permit this development to be built as planned have already passed through City Council, but some key pieces of legislation are also yet to be passed. Crucially, Mayor Tim Keller has not yet signed many key pieces of zoning legislation sent to his desk, and he holds the power to halt the process via veto until Indigenous leaders, the City of Albuquerque, and National Park Service can convene and engage in meaningful dialogue.

Naeva is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to organizing and mobilizing an informed, active, and empowered Indigenous electorate to build a civic agenda that serves our communities.