Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- NATIVE AMERICANS-BOARDING SCHOOLS-CHURCHES
A new Interior Department report underscores how closely the U.S. government collaborated with churches in operating boarding schools for Indigenous children. The federal government saw churches as useful in Christianizing Native children as part of a project to sever them from their culture, their identities and ultimately their land. The role of churches forms part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report, released Wednesday after a yearlong review that found Indigenous children were sent to at least 408 schools from 1819 to 1969. Catholic and Protestant church groups ran many of the schools.
- ENDANGERED WOLVES
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. wildlife managers want to see at least 320 Mexican gray wolves roaming the Southwest within the next several years. While a population cap would be eliminated under a proposed management rule, environmentalists say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service isn't going far enough to ensure the recovery of the endangered species. They're pushing for the release of more captive wolves — specifically bonded pairs with pups. Federal officials on Friday released their proposed management plan for the wolves and a related environmental review. A court order required the revised plan to be finalized by July 1.
LOS ALAMOS N.M. (AP) — Lighter winds allowed for the most intense aerial attack this week on multiple wildfires in New Mexico, including the biggest U.S. wildfire burning northeast of Santa Fe. In Southern California, where a fire that has destroyed at least 20 homes in the coastal community of Laguna Niguel, the mandatory evacuation area was scaled back Friday from 900 residences to 131. West of Santa Fe, residents remain on alert as a fire slowly creeps toward the city of Los Alamos. That's where scientists at a U.S. national security lab are charged with assessing apocalyptic threats, including wildfires. Public schools remained closed there Friday as many residents prepared for possible evacuations.
- POLICE SHOOTING-LAS CRUCES
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces family's attorney says they're demanding that the police officer who fatally shot a 75-year-old family member be charged with murder and that they plan to sue the city. The officer shot Amelia Baca when she stepped forward after not responding to commands made in English to drop two knives when the officer responded to a 911 call from a family member about threatening behavior by Baca. The family says she spoke only Spanish and police body camera video shows family members telling the officer entering the home April 16 that Baca was mentally ill and experienced a form of dementia. The city said Thursday that an investigation of the incident was ongoing.
- SPRING WILDFIRES
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires in the West are on a furious pace early this year. Wind-driven flames tearing through vegetation that is extraordinarily dry from years-long drought exacerbated by climate change has made even small blazes a threat to life and property. A fast-moving blaze in Southern California is the latest example, where 20 multimillion-dollar homes lay in smolders Thursday. In New Mexico, the largest blaze burning in the U.S. has now consumed an area bigger than Dallas. That fire east of Santa Fe has churned through mountainous forests for more than a month. Nationally, more than 2,000 square miles already have burned this year. That's the most at this point since 2018.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. government hasn't been open to investigating its role in stripping Native Americans of their cultures and identities in boarding schools. Until now. That's partly because people who know first-hand the persistent trauma caused by the boarding school system are positioned in the U.S. government. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland last year announced an investigation into the government's oversight of Native American boarding schools, and the Interior Department released some initial findings this week. But the work to uncover the truth and create a path for healing will require financial resources. And tribes will have to navigate federal laws on repatriation to bring home children who died and were buried at the schools.
- ELECTION 2022-PRIMARY-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Early voting has started across New Mexico ahead of the June 7 primary Election Day to determine the Republican nominee for governor. Election officials on Tuesday began mailing absentee ballots to voters and county clerks' offices opened their doors to in-person voting. Five Republicans are vying for the nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Democrats are seeking their party's nomination in open races for attorney general, state auditor and treasurer. Recent changes in New Mexico election law make it easier for unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary election by affiliating with a major party.