San Ildefonso Governor James Mountain Ends Term

by Carol Clark / Jan 09, 2018 / comments
Gov. James Mountain in his office Tuesday at San Ildefonso Pueblo. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

San Ildefonso Governor James Mountain Ends Term


SAN ILDEFONSO PUEBLO—James Mountain has completed his three-year term as governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo. His final day in office was Wednesday. He sat down with the Los Alamos Daily Post Tuesday afternoon to recap that experience and share his plans.

“It has been my great honor to serve the people of this community … that has been the best part as well as the most challenging part of my job … working to meet the needs of a proud and capable community now facing social ills,” Mountain said. “My goal coming into office was to position San Ildefonso to be the best regional partner in Northern New Mexico and I believe we’ve done that, and as a result have been able to push forward the Aamodt water settlement and to come to 'principle of agreement' with Santa Fe County on historical trespass issues.”

Mountain signed the monumental “principles of agreement” Tuesday and sent it to Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal.

“This has been a long outstanding and overdue priority that we felt needed resolution and I anticipate that the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners will pass the agreement at its Jan. 9 meeting,” Mountain said.

The chromium plume is another issue that Mountain flagged as a priority for the Pueblo.

“We’ve developed a stronger relationship and understanding with DOE and can point to the chromium plume issue as an area in which we’ve garnered greater discussion and knowledge.

He also spoke about the rebranding of the tribe’s convenience stores, which are now more successful and giving a bit of revenue back to the Pueblo, he said, adding that lower gas prices also now help keep some dollars in Northern New Mexican families’ pockets.

“That’s a snapshot of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Mountain said.

The population of San Ildefonso Pueblo is nearly 800 people and about half live in the Pueblo, he said.

“During my term I wanted to help our neighbors to better understand us and I hope we continue a true and mutual respect and understanding of one another,” Mountain said. “It’s important to break down those barriers and that is done through openness and collective ideals in economic development, sustainability, protection of our greatest resource – our children and in empowering women and children to succeed. These are the gifts and core values handed down from our elders for generations. The lines that divide us should only be the lines defined on paper ... I have had the privilege to grow up in Los Alamos and to serve here in the Pueblo and that has been a true privilege.” 

To continue the work he started as governor, Mountain has launched his own business, Mountain+Associates, LLC, a political and commerce consulting company specializing in tribal issues at the local, state and federal level.

“I think it’s an area that has been underserved and I think there are opportunities right here in Northern New Mexico,” Mountain said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what the Management and Operating contract for the Laboratory will do outside of Los Alamos. Being governor, I have had the opportunity to sit down with UC and some of the other bidders and with the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities and these relationships are very important to me personally and what has given me the direction to carve out this niche.”

Gov. James Mountain in his office at San Ildefonso Pueblo. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

During his tenure as governor, Mountain said he has worked closely with the Eight Northern Pueblos, the 19 Pueblos, Los Alamos and Santa Fe counties and many other entities important to the region.

“I believe that it the kind of experience and leadership that this region desperately needs, and I hope to fill that gap through my new company,” he said.

Mountain can be reached at 505.412.3974 or