State of New Mexico Signs Agreement with Governor of Jemez Pueblo for Joint Management of Historic Jemez State Monument
Leaders of the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents and the Pueblo of Jemez today will sign an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly manage Jemez State Monument in Jemez Springs. The signing ceremony took place at the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents meeting at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe.
This agreement brings a new level of responsibility and participation to the Jemez State Monument, the site of the prehistoric village of Giesewatowa, one of the many villages where the Towa-speaking Jemez people lived in the 1300s. In the 1620s, Spanish priests began building the San Jose de los Jemez Mission Church. The ruins of this church are prominent at the site, while the Giesewatowa Pueblo is mostly unexcavated. A recent survey found that Jemez State Monument is the third most-visited of the seven state monuments, behind Lincoln and Coronado.
New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales comments, “This is an historic moment for the State of New Mexico and the Jemez Pueblo. Negotiations with Governor Madalena have been a distinct pleasure and honor, and we are thrilled by the opportunity for collaboration, joint management, and the engagement of Jemez leadership in such a significant cultural site in New Mexico.”
Joshua Madalena, Governor of Jemez, states, “The people of Jemez are committed to the preservation of our cultural identity. We are honored to return to a leadership role in preserving Giesewatowa as an important link to our ancestral heritage.”
“We are proud to enter into this historic partnership with Jemez Pueblo,” Regents President Karen Durkovich said, “and we look forward to renewed energy and spirit in programs taking place at the site.”
Monuments Director Richard Sims added, “It is a deeply meaningful event when a heritage site can make strong connections with the very people who are the proud caretakers of that heritage.”
In the spirit of collaboration, this new partnership will lead to a joint management plan between DCA through the State Monuments Division and the Pueblo of Jemez. The MOU formalizes collaboration and understanding between parties to develop new exhibits and cultural presentations, cultivate a community support group and a volunteer and docent program, and educational outreach for Jemez schools, Sandoval County, and the entire region. Economic benefits of cultural tourism will be realized, as tourists have the opportunity to take scheduled tours of Jemez Pueblo, visit the exciting Walatowa Visitors’ Center and Museum administered by the Jemez people, and view the dramatic ruins of the centuries-old village and mission at the state monument in Jemez Springs.
Jemez State Monument has been nominated for National Historic Landmark status. It was listed in the State Register of Cultural Properties in 1969 and in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
The Department of Cultural Affairs includes the Historic Preservation Division, the New Mexico State Monuments, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, in Santa Fe; the Museum of Natural History & Science and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, both in Albuquerque; the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo; and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. The department also administers the Office of Archaeological Studies, New Mexico State Library, New Mexico Arts, and the Center for Museum Resources.