Early on some one in the parking lot held a Smartphone up and said, “He signed it, he signed it.” President Obama had just signed the designation bill in Washington. A cheer went up from those present.
Chimney Rock’s designation as a national monument is the third Obama has made under the Antiquities Act. The other two are Fort Monroe, a Civil War and military site in Virginia, and Fort Ord in California.
Chandler Sanchez, All Indian Pueblo Council Chairman and Acoma Pueblo Tribal Member gave the opening and closing prayers in his native tongue. He also spoke of the special kindship the Acoma people feel with Chimney Rock and how pleased they are with its new protection as a national monument.
Mayor Aragon welcomed all to the area and thanked all involved for their work moving the designation along. The other politicians were giddy when talking about the length of time Ross has served as mayor.
Senator Bennet spoke of his unique relationship with Chimney Rock. 35 years ago he was driving along 160 with his new bride. She was a geology student at the time and gave him a discourse on Chimney rock area, closing with the statement, “This place should be protected!”
At the end of the ceremony a small group of ladies exclaimed to your reporter about how blessed I was. It seems a mantis had been hiking around my back as I clicked away. It is an Indian legend I was told. I am blessed!