Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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Where’s the Beef? Isleta Comanche Ranch

Should the Council Force the Isleta Elderly Center and the Isleta Resort & Casino to Buy Beef from the Comanche Ranch?

On January 8th the Isleta Tribal Council discussed the Comanche Ranch. Chip Martin, CEO of the Isleta Business Corporation (IBC) and Martin Abeita, the Ranch Manager, were in attendance.

New Council Members were updated on the prior Council’s decision to transfer control of the Ranch from the IBC back to the Governor’s oversight.

Governor Eddie Paul Torres told the new Council that the Ranch should not have been transferred to his administration last year. He wanted the new Council to give back the Ranch to the IBC. Torres told the Council that he and his Lieutenants do not have time to provide oversight of the Ranch.

CEO Martin told the Council, that the IBC will accept the Ranch, if the Council gives it back.

The Tribe purchased the land and cattle back in 1997. Today, the Tribe owns nearly 1,000 head of cattle.

CEO Martin told the Council that the Ranch has never generated a profit except for one year. He explained, the problem is that the land cannot sustain the cattle. This forces the Tribe to purchase tons of alfalfa to feed the cattle, which costs the Tribe hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a result, the Ranch cannot generate a profit.

Martin explained that a decision needs to be made on whether the Tribe should stay in the cattle business or downsize the herd.

Abeita, the Ranch Manager, told the Council that it was necessary to supplement what the cows eat to ensure that they get enough protein. The protein is necessary to ensure that the cows stay healthy and to enable them to have healthy calves.

The videos below were produced by Labatt Food Service, which is based in San Antonio, Texas. They purchase beef from Native American Tribes under their brand “Native American Beef.”

In this video, Ranch Manager Abeita explains his all natural beef program for Isleta’s cattle.

Here, Abeita explains how Labatt Food Service works with the Tribe.

This video explains how Labatt Food Service began working with Tribes in New Mexico and created the Native American Beef brand.

Abeita explained that he is working hard to sell the beef. He told the Council, however, that he cannot understand why the Casino will not buy beef from the Comanche Ranch.

Secretary Barbara Sanchez wants to require the Isleta Resort & Casino and other Tribal Programs like the Isleta Elderly Center to buy beef from the Ranch.

CEO Martin told the Council that there is no problem with the quality of beef. The issue is sustaining the cattle from the land. On average, the Tribe is losing $250,000.00 to $300,000.00 each year by staying in the cattle business.

Power Struggle for Cows

Tribe Loses 3.5 Million Dollars on Cows


What are your thoughts?

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