The Return of Blue Lake.
On December 15, 1970, former President Richard M. Nixon signed into affect Public Law 91-550, approved in a bipartisan manner by the United States Congress. In speaking of the Bill’s significance, President Nixon stated, “This is a bill that represents justice, because in 1906 an injustice was done in which land involved in this bill, 48,000 acres, was taken from the Indians involved, the Taos Pueblo Indians. The Congress of the United States now returns that land to whom it belongs … I can’t think of anything more appropriate or any action that could make me more proud as President of the United States.”
That signing restored Taos Pueblo lands and led to the unhindered continuation of the Pueblo’s millenniums-old traditional culture. It also set a precedent for self-determination for all American Indian people, tribes and nations. Taos Pueblo Governor James A. Lujan has declared, “We hope all our neighbors in the Taos Valley will plan to be with us as we celebrate this momentous event for the people of Taos Pueblo.” As Cacique Romero, the Pueblo’s religious leader in the late 1960s and 1970s, who was instrumental in testifying on behalf of the Pueblo before Congress, stated in his response to Congress’ approval and President Nixon’s signing, “Anew day begins not only for the American Indian, but for all Americans in this Country. ” That new day led to Taos Pueblo safeguarding the interest and welfare of the Pueblo and its water supply, natural and domestic resources, and the locale of social and cultural events.