During the week of April 21, the Albuquerque District was honored to have the new Corps’ Senior Tribal Liaison, Lisa Morales, visit. Her visit was coordinated with the South Pacific Division Commander, Brig. Gen. Turner and the S3 Conference.
While in the District, Morales and Dr. Ron Kneebone, Albuquerque District tribal liaison, met with representatives from five Native American Tribes within the District’s Area of Responsibility, including: Governor George Montoya and staff of Pueblo of Santa Ana; Governor Joseph Henry Suina and staff of Pueblo de Cochiti; and Frank Chavez, water resources coordinator, Pueblo of Sandia.
On April 22, Morales and Kneebone joined SPD Commanders on a tour of the flood and fire- ravaged Santa Clara Pueblo. Led by Regis Chavarilla, tribal sheriff, and Matt Tafoya, tribal forester, all Corps personnel were taken to some of the most damaged, mountainous areas on the Pueblo. Discussion with the tribal members focused on post-disaster assistance the Corps has provided over the past three years, as well as appeals by the Tribe for continued help in managing continuing flood hazards.
Also on April 22, Morales and Kneebone were joined by Carol Wies-Brewer and Monika Sanchez, district program managers for the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP), for a meeting with Governor Paul Torres and staff at Pueblo of Isleta. Isleta has the largest ongoing NALEMP project in the country to clean up unexploded ordnance (UXO), as well as numerous crash sites of military aircraft.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to meet with these Tribal leaders in the Southwest,” said Morales. “I am on board to assist the District Tribal Liaison, as well as the local leadership, further the excellent, existing partnership with the Tribes,” she said. “I am here to help and do all that I can.”
“These meetings were extremely successful in familiarizing Ms. Morales, SPD Tribes, and SPD leadership with each other,” said Kneebone. “We are very happy that Ms. Morales was able to visit Albuquerque District. Because of this visit, Ms. Morales, as well as the SPD leadership, now has first-hand experience regarding the challenges facing the both Corps and Tribes in the southwestern United States” he said.