About Conejos Clean Water

Conejos Clean Water is a group of passionate community leaders who care about justice. We know when people join together for the common good, anything is possible. We focus on building awareness and encouraging education and advocacy around justice issues in and around southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

Beginning in 2010, we formed and focused on the radioactive, hazardous, and toxic waste campaign proposed at the transfer site south of the Town of Antonito. We sponsored community educational forums, including discussions led by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS), Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE) and Think Outside the Bomb. We also went door to door in a countywide canvass to educate and build awareness. This built membership to over 400 general members in a matter of weeks. In the end, this effort culminated in an environmental justice lawsuit against the United States Department of Energy that effectively halted the transfer of this nuclear waste through our community!

The resilient people of the Conejos Land Grant Region of southern Colorado are those who are most impacted by the injustices we fight daily. These residents include children, youth, adults, and elderly, many who struggle to simply get by on the margins of society each and every day. Some of the oldest residents are descendants of New Mexican pastoralists, the Hispanics who settled the San Luis Valley in the early 1800s. When the Mexican-American War ended in 1848 and the territory was ceded to the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Conejos Land Grant (which includes present day Conejos, Río Grande, and portions of Alamosa and Saguache Counties) was the only land grant in Colorado that was petitioned for a patent and denied in its entirety.

This history leads to the overall generational poverty experienced by our families and friends. Additionally, along with the denial of the land grant, our people have been subject to forced assimilation and acculturation, even though we attempt to thrive alongside mainstream cultures, preserving and honoring our rich traditions to the best of our abilities. Reflecting on our current situation and history, we also realize the atrocities that were committed in the removal and relocation of multiple indigenous tribes who had been a beautiful and integral part of this land for generations before our arrival. We acknowledge this with much sadness and remorse.

Realizing many successes and still much more that can be done to address injustices in our community, we are continuing onward. We aspire to be a catalyst for positive change in our community by using a multifaceted programmatic approach that focuses on environmental, social, economic, and food justice.