Return of Blue Lake Sunday Lecture Series: Gilbert Suazo, Sr.
Mr. Gilbert, Suazo, Sr. will be the first speaker in a monthly lecture series featuring distinguished figures recounting the history and legacy of the successful legislative campaign to return sacred land back to Taos Pueblo. It accompanies the exhibition Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Return of Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo: A New Day for American Indians on view through April 17, 2022.
Gilbert Suazo, Sr., is a Taos Pueblo tribal member, former Governor in 2007 and 2018, and a lifetime Tribal Council member. Gilbert, in the 1960’s, as a member of the younger generation, actively supported the tribe’s efforts for the return of Blue Lake. With the late Cesario T. Lujan and the late Allen R. Martinez, he organized a support group to demonstrate the interest and commitment of the younger generation in the return of Blue Lake, and with other tribal members, mobilized active community support during a critical time. Gilbert gave testimony in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearings about Blue Lake in 1970 and participated as part of the Taos Pueblo delegation in the historic July 8, 1970, White House meeting when President Richard Nixon pledged his support to return Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo and announced a new Federal Indian policy still in effect today. In subsequent years, Gilbert helped negotiate the Pueblo’s land Claim Settlement, served as Chair of the Land Claims Settlement Usage Plan Committee, and continues to be active in community and tribal activities and in the protection of Blue Lake and other tribal lands, including airspace. As co-spokesman in the adjudication of the Pueblo’s Water Rights, he testified in 2008, again before the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, for Taos Pueblo’s water settlement legislation. Until his retirement in December 2019 Gilbert served as Deputy Director for the Pueblo’s Water Administration Department. Gilbert’s career, aside from work for the Pueblo, spanned over 40 years in the technical and public involvement fields at the University of Kansas and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Gilbert and his wife Martha have five children, Reva, Gilbert Jr., Daniel, Terrance and Alfred and 18 grandchildren.
Photo courtesy of Rick Romancito/Taos News