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Know the West

Jackson's last letter answered

  Activist Leroy Jackson's last letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hit home. Shortly before his death, Jackson wrote the agency to protest any exemption of Navajo timberlands from the Endangered Species Act (HCN, 11/29/93). The Bureau of Indian Affairs had asked for an exemption based on tribal sovereignty and claimed that the Mexican spotted owl was "held in low esteem" by Navajos, Apaches and Pueblos. But the agency's regional director John Rogers wrote in a Jan. 4 letter to the BIA and 37 tribal leaders that, "The Act does not exempt any land ownership in the United States - private, tribal, state or federal - from critical habitat designation." Earl Tulley, president of Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, an organization co-founded by Jackson, said that the letter brought good news because it told the tribe and the BIA "that no one is above the law."