November 19, 2010
Dear President Chino,
Mescalero Apache Tribe
As you know, Otero Mesa is a special place in the history of our Apache people. It was a refuge as well as a stronghold for hundreds of years for the various bands of Apaches that flanked this abundant land by the North, South, East, and West. There, they were safe from the threatening outside world, On this mesa they hunted game and gathered fruits, berries, grasses and herbs. They made baskets and pottery. On this mesa lies a mountain shrine called Alamo Mountain. There they were secure camping on the mountain’s shelves. Here the N’de prayed and celebrated in ancient dance and song. And on those massive stones that fell from the mountain top, our people expresses through rock paintings their challenges, their visions, and their stories, like their ancient ancestors who dwelled there before them.
After several outings to Otero Mesa, we were inspired to join the cause that has been in the making by New Mexicans for over ten years to create Otero Mesa National Monument.
We do not in any way represent the Mescalero Apache Tribe nor do we speak for the tribal government. We are a group of tribal members who enjoy visiting Otero Mesa and want to keep this rare and special place out of harm’s way.
Among our various trips to Otero Mesa, we have brought two young boys, both curious to learn more about their native history. It was inspiring and impactful to see what it meant to them. One boy stated that he would not forget this day for the rest of his life. The other boy expressed that this was one of the best days he’d ever experienced. We look forward to encouraging more youth to be inspired by the magic of this sacred ground.
Otero Mesa is one of the largest and wildest desert grasslands in North America, and supports one of New Mexico’s only native herds of Pronghorn Antelope as well as eagles, prairie dogs, kit foxes, mule deer, and numerour reptiles and amphibians. It is used by more than 200 bird species, including many species that have suffered drastic population declines nationwide. Endangered aplomado falcons have recently been spotted on Otero Mesa. The Salt Basin Aquifer beneath Otero Mesa is one of the region’s largest untapped sources of freshwater, with potentially enough water to serve a community of one million people for over one hundred years. It is one of the last and most important eco-regions of its kind in the world.
We respectfully welcome your blessings.