Appeals court revives Jemez Pueblo’s claim to Valles Caldera

National Parks Valles Caldera
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2010 file photo, the East Fork of the Jemez River cuts through Valles Caldera National Preserve, N.M. The National Park Service is preparing to take over the 140-square-mile preserve under legislation signed by President Barack Obama on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan,File)

JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) – A federal appeals court has revived Jemez Pueblo’s effort to reclaim the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The pueblo considers the nearly 140-square-mile swath of federally-managed public land as a spiritual sanctuary and part of its traditional homeland.

The tribe went before a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November in hopes of keeping alive its lawsuit against the federal government.

The appeals court ruled Friday that the district court in New Mexico needs to determine whether an 1860 land grant extinguished the pueblo’s rights to the land or whether the tribe still holds aboriginal title.

Valles Calderas is home to vast grasslands, the remnants of one of North America’s few super volcanoes and one of New Mexico’s most famous elk herds.

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