WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Sen. Tom Udall released the following statement in recognition of Native American Heritage Month:
“During Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate the integral role of Native Americans in our nation’s identity. New Mexico’s 23 Tribes help form the bedrock of who we are as a state and a people. From the earliest Pueblo communities, to the Navajo Code-talkers of World War II, to the current day, Native Americans have shaped our customs, culture, art, history, communities and our relationship with the land. They continue to enrich our nation as business owners, activists, members of our armed forces, scholars, and leaders.
“Our Tribal communities face tremendous challenges, including challenges brought on them through environmental injustice, but they are also rich in culture and tradition. This month, we celebrate the strengths, recognize the struggles and honor those in Tribal communities who are working to overcome those hurdles. As a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I take great pride in working with, representing and defending the sovereignty of Native Americans. It is imperative that we keep our promise to work with Tribal communities by engaging in meaningful consultation on issues that affect Tribal lands and livelihood, whether protecting cultural objects or sacred land. And we must collaborate to preserve Tribal heritage and ensure Tribal communities have the tools and resources they need to solve enduring obstacles. Together, we can build healthy communities with strong economies that will create opportunities for generations to come.”