Acquisition of Ancestral Lands
In July 2000, Lannan Foundation awarded a grant to Santa Clara Pueblo in the amount of $4.5 million to allow the people to purchase more than 5,000 acres of their ancestral land, known as P’o Pii Khânu. The foundation also made grants that allowed the Pueblo to work with an attorney with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of Indian land rights to help best define and assert the tribe’s legal rights to the land, known as Baca Location #1.
Lannan Foundation recognizes the need to occasionally step out of the regular grant program guidelines and invest in unique and critical projects. These special projects are developed through an invitation process, and are awarded funds outside of the regular Indigenous Communities Program grant budget.
Since time immemorial, the people of the Santa Clara Pueblo in northern New Mexico have used and occupied the 25-mile long Santa Clara Creek and approximately 100,000 acres of land surrounding it. Although a Spanish land grant recognized the rights of the Santa Clara Pueblo to own this land, encroachment by government entities in the early 1900’s resulted in the loss of thousands of acres of culturally and spiritually significant areas. For decades, Pueblo leaders had struggled unsuccessfully to regain the land through administrative action, legal proceedings, land exchange, and purchase.
In 1997, the Pueblo saw an opportunity to purchase and regain control of a portion of their ancestral land, then in private ownership.
Lannan Foundation provided financial support to enable the Santa Clara people to negotiate for the purchase of the land.