Published: January 17, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A coalition of northern New Mexico Hispanic and Native American ranchers is asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to address alleged civil rights violations they say have trampled on their cultures and cost some their traditional livelihoods.
The Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association has sent a letter to Vilsack and a White House senior policy adviser in response to a federal review that showed the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico and Colorado was not complying with several civil rights requirements.
The review also found the agency was inconsistent in implementing policies and procedures, including those that deal with people who speak limited English.
Ranchers in New Mexico have complained of discrimination for decades.
Agency officials in Washington, D.C., say they're taking the review's recommendations seriously and see it as an opportunity to better serve constituents.