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Front Page or Contents
Black Mesa for 2000
Page TWO of Black Mesa
- AMERICA'S OWN ETHNIC CLEANSING CAMPAIGN -
This is the latest From Big Mountain regarding the Dineh situation. Please read through and make as much noise as possible. Time is running out for them and we can bomb the Serbians into the stone age for their genocidal efforts then we really should make an effort to bring our own Ethnic Cleansing campaign to a halt.
Please be sure to visit our friends at the
East Dakota Chapter AIM
for information and activities in the
American Indian Movement.
Sunday, November 28, 1999
DEC 4 DEMONSTRATIONS IN L.A., NYC, ATLANTA
Sisters & Brothers
Here is the official announcement for the December 4 demonstrations.
Please post this notice to any other lists that you belong to.
To All Black Mesa Dine'h Supporters
Just a reminder that, on Saturday, 4 December 1999, at 11:00 a.m., SENAA will
hold a demonstration at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia; at the Time-Life
Building in New York City; and at the L.A. Times building in Los Angeles,
California, to protest national media's failure to inform the public about the U.S.
government human rights violations against and forced relocation and systematic
genocide of the Dine'h (Navajo) at Black Mesa, Arizona.
Forcing any group of people from their homelands onto land that is contaminated
by radiation as high as 100 times the maximum safe level can be called by no
other name than genocide. The fact that the U.S. government knows that the land
is contaminated and STILL mandates that area as the only alternative for the
Dine'h to live is a planned act. Therefore, the only proper term for this willful
murder of First Americans is Systematic Genocide. The fact that the national
media refuses to print a single word about these crimes against the Dine'h and
willfully remains silent is complicity in those crimes.
The theme for our protest is: "Genocide Is Murder. Silence Is Complicity." We
will be carrying signs to that effect, as well as signs designed to inform the public
about what is happening. We will also pass out flyers about the Dine'h containing
contact information for those who wish to help with food and supplies for the
Dine'h. We will also have petitions for people to sign that we will hand deliver to
the United Nations commission on human rights and to the U.S. Congress and to
the President of the United States.
CNN is located at One CNN Center, Atlanta, Georgia, which is located at the
corner of Marietta Street, NW and Techwood Drive, NW.
The Time-Life Building is located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas
(Between 50th and 51st Streets) (Rockefeller Center), in New York City, New York.
The L.A. Times is located at Times Mirror Square, in downtown Los Angeles, California.
The demonstrations will end at 4:30 p.m. in Atlanta, and at 3:00 p.m. in New
York City and Los Angeles, to give everyone a chance to be back home before dark.
Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome. This is about human beings,
government corruption and hypocrisy, and the right of the public to know what is
happening without interference by the U.S. government.
To sign our online petition and learn the history of the Dine'h struggle, the issues
involved, and what you can do to help, visit SENAA's web sites at:
Home Page: http://members.xoom.com/senaa
VIDEO Site: http://www.freespeech.org/senaa/ (Java or no Java pages available)
SENAA West: http://members.xoom.com/senaawest/
SENAA Europe: http://members.xoom.com/senaaeurope/
May Creator bless you for any help you can give.
Al Swilling, Founder
Sat, 27 Nov 1999
The View from the Hogan #8 Skinny Winds Month (November 1999)
Notes from Big Mountain
For new readers of View From The Hogan I offer a glossary of words used
whose meaning may not be discernable from a dictionary.
Altar The land where these words are written and about which these
words are written. The land "formerly known as HPL"
Babble-On "Out there", the dominant culture. The people here on the land
belong to an oral culture, and one aspect of an oral culture is that the
power of words is honored. Not much is said, but when it is it is important
that it be the truth. In Babble-On there is a lot of "noise", as if
validation for oneself comes from making as much noise as possible.
LaLaLand Los Angeles. Spiritual Capital of Babble-On. Also where all the
damn pesky aeroplanes fly to and from over our heads. (What on earth can
all those people be going to L.A. for?)
Men in black The various "law-enforcement agencies" active here on the
Altar. The Hopi Ranger uniform is actually a very, very dark green. The Hopi
Rangers are the para-military trained, uniformed wing of law enforcement who
travel in vehicles with insignia. The "Field Monitors" are plain-clothes,
officially unarmed and travel in unmarked vehicles (though with U.S. Govt.
plates). The monitors are in essence spies, they are the ones that sneak
around and count peoples sheep, see who has been building, who has visitors
etc etc. Their findings are reported back to the Rangers. Maybe its because
they don't get pretty uniforms and have to hide their guns in their vehicles,
but it is the monitors who are usually surly and disrespectful and full of
swagger. BIA cops and, when deemed necesary, County Sherrifs make up the
rest of the team.
Visitors Americans. It was only just yesterday (150 years ago) that
the visitors were "knocking on the door" (in New Mexico). And now they are
trying to say that they "own" this land.
Warmaker Some might call it the U.S. Government. Some might call it the
Whiteman. Or the Patriarchy. I see it as the cultural trait that urges us to
use conflict and aggression as a Modus Operandi. (my editor says I need to
use more latin)
Waynes World Hopi Tribal Council Offices. Also a state of mind. For Wayne
Taylor, the current chairman.
A friend recently wrote me that when she talks to people about the
situation here at Big Mountain she sometimes gets the reponse "Well, the
land is just desert, why are they so intent on keeping it?". Brings to mind the
Clown in "Broken Rainbow" who basically says "Hey! These Indians should get
real, Americans relocate every day". I'd like to try and partially answer
this query. I won't try and explain how it is to have a sacred obligation to
a land, and I won't try and explain how it is to live on land that your
family has lived on for hundreds of years, which is, in a very real sense
composed of your ancestors bones. I'll try and explain what the land means
in a "practical" sense, and I'll try to do it by introducing you to just one of
the other species that lives here on the land with us. The humble Juniper
Biologists say we live here in the "Pinyon-Juniper Belt". What that means
is that the Pinyon and the Juniper are the two dominant tree species round
here. Right where I am is mainly juniper with a few pinyons. In the slightly
higher places the pinyon dominates.
The Juniper is a "gnarly" tree. Nothing straight, turning and twisting
back on itself, kind of like frozen turbulence. The hogan where I live, and
where these words are written is made from Juniper logs. And mud. The corrall
where the flock is sleeping is made from Juniper limbs. As is the Sweatlodge.
The fire that is keeping me warm is fed by Juniper. As is the fire for
the sweat, the cookstove, and the outdoor fire pit.
Juniper boughs are used to constuct summer shelters, and are used in a
variety of ways ceremonially. The green tips of the branches, when burned to
ash, is added to all recipes using blue corneal. A wide variety of parts of
the tree are used medicinally, and also for dye. If there is a couple of feet
of snow on the ground, then the juniper is all the flock can get at to eat.
The fruit is edible, for the flock as well as the 2 legged. I believe
that Gin is made from the fruit. The seeds of the fruit I collect and string
as necklaces,,,, this is my source of tobacco money. The bark when scrunched
makes excellent tinder, and is also still used as a diaper in the
cradleborad. It is said that long ago the bark fibres was used for a skirt.
The bark fibre makes a good brush for wetting the mud plaster, and when
tied with baling wire is used as a chimney brush.
For a simple sheepherder the juniper affords protection, from a searing
sun, or a bitter wind. For a simple sheepherder the juniper is a source of
beauty, wonder, and lessons.
The Juniper is a good ally. And that's just one of the many speciesthat
inhabit this "worthless desert"
The simple fact is, that the land is life. There are those that think
that we can "own" land, but in truth it is we who belong to the land, for, as
Roberta says "everything we use comes from the Mother Earth". This is a
simple truth, even "out there" in Babble-On
Referring back to the concept of Juniper-pinyon Belt, both Pinyon and
Juniper are trees, yet they each occupy a slightly different niche in the
eco-system. they each have their own way of "being-in-the-world", and I have
yet to hear a pinyon demand that the junipers leave because it is not their land.
So, we are fast approaching Thanksgiving,... or as it is known around
here, "Kishmish Biyazhi", Little Christmas. And we look forward with
anticipation to the arrival of the two big annual supply/support runs, the
Traditional Support Caravan, and the Clan Dyken Caravan. To all of you who
have donated support to these caravans, we thank you and want you to know
that your support will go to where it is needed and most useful,..... you ARE
making a difference. To all of you who come on these caravans and help
organize them, we also send our thanks once again, and a special thanks for
making sure that support reaches every single family on the Altar. As I hope
you all know, I consider you my relatives, and you are welcome in the Hogan
at any time. .
Things have been pretty quiet round here. No-one I know has had any
animals snatched, though everyone I meet knows someone who has been
threatened by impoundments. Same old same old, stressing people out with
their continous siege tactics. There continues to be a lot of harassment to
get more of the people here to sign on with the stupid Accommodation
Agreement. As I understand it, a few years ago when the AA was being debated
in the Congress, they decided that if 85% of the people here did not sign the
AA, then it was back to litigation. A year and a half ago when the deadline
for the people to sign the AA passed, amazingly the Feds and the HTC and the
Relocation people claimed they just got 85% to sign on. I think the simple
truth is that they achieved this magical number by coercion. bribery, and
forgery, and, ss cynical as it may sound, I have a sneaking suspicion that
they lied, and that they have been spending the last year and half getting
more signatures to finally make the magic number. Of course, its possible
that I would lie too, if there were a fifty million dollar "sweetener" in it
for me. The whole thing seems to be based on "New Math" anyway, something
I am unfamiliar with,.... how else can approximately 100 signatures equal
Back in the real world, the weather has been glorious. And kind. Warm,
cloudless, still, days. The silence and the sky broken only by the flying
machines rushing to and from LaLALand. The flock are a bit uncomfortable,
they have winter coats already. But for now we take advantage of the warmth.
Soon enough the wind will turn to the north and we can enjoy winter. A
neighbour has had a couple of babies born to her flock, so its getting to be
that time of the years again.
Some good folks down in Prescott, Arizona have come up with a nice support project.
They've gone into the local schools (K-8) and explained
about the situation here, and how important the sheep dogs are to the
families, and they've organized a "Support the Sheep Dogs" campaign. Already
one truck load of dog food has been delivered to the land. This is the kind
of support that the people here need and support. If anyone is interested in
supporting this project, or in starting up one of their own, please contact
Candy on CDrotering@mwaz.com.
Some younger Dineh have started a project to create a monument to
relocation. Initially based on the experience of the Dineh, the idea grew to
encompass all people everywhere who have suffered from relocation. The
monument is planned for Window Rock, AZ, and for now they are looking from
input and suggestions from any young people in the four-corners region.
Please contact Klee Benally on (520) 527 3791 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Another enterprise starting up is a co-operative to market the wool of
the local people here. Last year the price paid for their wool didn't even
cover the cost of the gas money to sell it. There are weavers "out there"
who pay a decent price for wool, either as fleeces, cleaned, carded, spun or
dyed, so if any of you are weavers, or have friends who are weavers, and
might be interested in helping this economic enterprise, please contact me
on this email address.
I recently bumped into Kee Watchamn. Like Roberta, Kee has made many
visits to the U.N. and to Europe as a representative of the people here. I
asked him what message he wanted me to pass on to y'all. His remarks are
addressed to international supporters. "We are not asking for money. We want
the U.S. Embassies and the U.S. politicians to keep getting petitions and
letters. We also want international lawyers to come here and take testimony
from the people."
I am led to believe that many of you are heading out to the Land this
winter. I offer a small piece of advice. You want to bring a good hat, good
gloves, good boots, and good socks. You are going to be spending a lot of
time outside, and it may very well be very cold. Good gear can make the
difference bewtween enjoying yourself, and being miserable. A small thermos
flask is also very useful. After a couple of hours in the wind and snow, a
cup of hot coffee will let you understand the phrase "nectar of the Gods".
I continue to be honored by the email I'm receiving. In the past week
I've heard from England, Norway, Sweden, France, Luxembourg, Germany,
Australia, Canada, Hawaii, and all over Turtle Island. An obvious sign that
what is happening here on the Altar is of significance to people everywhere.
This must be the Global Village that I've been hearing about for years....
not the Global Marketplace that is being pushed on us by McDonalds, Coca
Cola, Hollywood, and Washington..It reflects, I hope, a growing awareness
that as the biological and cultural diversity of our planet is being
destroyed in far off places, and is being replaced with Monoculture, each
of us is diminished, whether we ever visit those far off places or not. It also
reflects (again I hope) the awareness that by the products we buy and the
resources we consume we are in fact the cause of this destruction. It is
WE who are responsible for what is happening, and therefore it is WE who
are responsible for stopping it, and de facto we have the power to stop it.
I also note with some interest that many of you writing to me describe
yourselves with reference to your ancestory, you define yourselves as
Choctaw/Scot, or Irish/Swedish/African-american, or Zapotec/Eyak, not
American, or Mexican, or British. We are starting to reject the abstract
divisions that are Nation States. Many of us can trace our bloodlines to a
multitude of points around the globe. Kind of like a world-wide web huh?
Underlying the situation here on the Altar is the matter of abstract
definitions being imposed. A U.S. President draws lines on a map and says
"this defines such and such", a little later more lines are drawn, then more
lines,...... fences,..... names, dividing,....separating. Even the definition
of what is "Navajo" and what is "Hopi" is an abstraction imposed on reality,
for in truth in the blood of most navajoes and most hopis is the blood of
many different peoples and tribes.
It is said that the language we use to describe reality also tends to
define that reality. What is going on here on The Altar is a conflict between
two realities. One seeking to destroy the other and replace it with its own.
If we use the word HPL to define the land here, we are already buying into
Warmakers reality. In truth the land here is an altar, and to use that word
is to deal with the reality
Many of us seek to change our reality, our world, to one that reflects our
deeper beliefs rather than the beliefs we were taught by Warmaker...... The
language we use to define ourselves and our world must surely be one place
to start. There is great power in how we define ourselves, as there is also
in how we allow others to define us.
On the other hand, there are just 2 types of people in the world. Those
that have spent time here on the Altar, and those that have not. The
readership of this humble newsletter fall in to both categories. To the first
group, I would urge you (if you're not already doing it) to tell your
stories. I'm not talking about the politics, or the suffering, but the
beauty of these people, this life, this land. When you left here, you took a
part of Big Mountain with you. Let that part speak. A request for poetry, not
With that in mind I'd recommend you point your web browser at the following
(check out the Fry Bread song)
But then, what the hell do I know,........ I'm just a sheepherder.
Your prayers, support, and correspondence are invited.
I thank you for your time that you have given me by reading this.
For all my relations
reachable via email@example.com
P.S. To all those who have written to me, please be aware that owing to the
pressing needs of the flock, the firewood, and the Grandmas, the office is
sometimes left unattended for days at a time. It may take as long as a half
moon between when you write, and when you hear back from me. Around ere
the information superhighway is a sandy jeep trail. Please be patient, you will
hear from me.
If you have received this update as a forward, but want to sure of getting
them in the future, please let me know and I will add you to the list. Also
if there are any "back issues" you don't have, again, let me know.
Please feel free to distribute (unedited) this email.
November 26, 1999 12:39 PM
Dine'h FOX News Story
Can't tell you how exciting it was to see the very first broadcast
media coverage of Big Mountain, ever! The story was presented by
"Earthman" David Garcia, a long-time journalist pro, and it was
very well presented.
I have come to find out that there is FOX News (network), and FOX
News 11 L.A. (local), and I believe this story was on the local
FOX station. I am sure, however, that if everyone e-mailed FOX
News 11 L.A. at: firstname.lastname@example.org or called: (310) 584-2000
and let them know that you heard about this story and feel it
deserves national coverage (and give your FOX station information)
they will probably distribute the story. At the very least, Dovely
has it on tape, and could send it to Al for posting on SENAA.
At any rate, I see this as a major breakthrough, and send along
a huge BRAVO! to Vic Phelps of SOL for making it happen. I have
already e-mailed reporter David Garcia, and invited he and FOX to
join us at the L.A. Times on the 4th (as a follow-up to his story).
My brother Julian makes a good point, in that coverage continues
to allude to a "fued" between Hopi and Dine'h. This seems to be a
hard nut to crack. I wish all reporters could have attended the
Puvungna Prayer Vigil, in which traditional Hopi and Dine'h put
that myth to rest. We need to keep pounding on this until the
truth of the matter is known and accepted by all. I think the
worst offender was the reporter in Phoenix, with her Hopi Tribal
Council story slant.
Not bad for a Thanksgiving...FOX News report, Denver Post article,
other Web Site postings...I can see momentum building for the
Grandmothers. Reasons enough to be thankful.
Thursday, November 25, 1999
Harrisburg Demonstration update - December 1999
Organic update: Nov. 25, 1999 - Harrisburg, PA
* Dec. 10, 1999: Human Rights Day/Peaceful Protest
Harrisburg, PA State Capital steps 11-2pm
Raise awareness about the forced relocation of the Dineh people(Navajo)in
northeast Arizona, call attention to the exploitation of indigenous people &
others by corporations & governments worldwide.
check out the Dineh resistance at: www.solcommunications.com &
* Video Showing of "Vanishing Prayer," a documentary of the human rights
abuses at Big Mountain, AZ. Public video showing/meeting will be held after
the protest. Tba. We will update you all when we come to a time/location
for this event.
*Homespun Journal Issue # 1:(distributed by Dec. 1st, 1999)
A not-for-profit journal weaving together the arts and sustainable
community, will be raising funds and awareness about the Dineh relocation.
To receive a copy, please send your address and a donation for mailing, to
purchase supplies/non-perishable food for the Dineh elders, and humanrights
supporters who are preparing for the February 1st, 2000 deadline forforced
relocation. Randy Lank, co-founder of Organic, is currently doingsupport
work for a Dineh family, John & Rena Lane. A portion of your donationswill
help the Lanes and help Randy & other supporters to remain on the land.
Fundraising money for Issue # 1 will also be used to file state/federal
papers to create a 501 (c) 3 non-profit tax-exempt educationalorganization
called, the 'Sustainable Living Education Center. To receive more info.on
the SLEC, Homespun Journal, or the Dineh support events
Please make checks payable and write to: Homespun c/o Joshua Fillmore,
P.O. Box 115, New Cumberland, PA, 17070.
Thanks for your support. - to all our relations.
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999
URGENT ACTION TO STOP BYRD AMENDMENT
This is serious, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd - is at it again.
He is a very powerful Senator!! Please Post the Following Urgent Alert!
We need people to call the Capitol tonight and tomorrow to get their state
Senators to vote against Senator Bird's Anti-Environmental Rider Bill. He is
threatening to shut down parts of the government if him and his mining
companies do not have their way! Do not take this issue lightly it affects
everyone, not just the Folks in West Virginia and Black Mesa. In the amount
of time it takes to read this, folks can call and leave a message for the
Senators from their home states.
Additionally, Thank you for all e-mails, faxes, and phone calls to the
Capitol and the White House. Everyone makes a difference!!
RE: URGENT ACTION TO STOP BYRD AMENDMENT
WE HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT!!! THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18
URGENT ACTION NEEDED RIGHT NOW TO STOP BYRD STRIP MINE AMENDMENT
Senator Byrd (D-WV) has finally made his move. He is trying to attach an
amendment to a spending bill that would overturn parts of the Clean Water
Act and SMCRA that protect streams.
The Senate is RIGHT NOW debating a "continuing budget resolution" that
would fund government spending until a final spending bill is passed. Byrd
is trying to attach his amendment to this spending bill. He is threatening
to shut down huge parts of the government if his amendment isn't passed.
We don't have all the details, but the amendment would likely suspend
SMCRA and the Clean Water Act's protections for streams from being damaged
by mine waste. The amendment would apply to all coal mines nationwide and
last two years. The amendment could also let hard rock mines (non-coal)
violate laws against dumping mine waste.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED NOW TO STOP THIS AMENDMENT FROM PASSING.
The Senate will work late tonight and tomorrow. The amendment could pass
at any time unless we stop it. Call your Senators tonight, tomorrow and often.
Tell them not to be blackmailed by the Byrd stripmine amendment. Tell them
to vote against the Senator Byrd Amendment or any spending bill that
contains the Byrd Amendment.
The Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to
You all have done a great job so far to stop this rider. We need another
push to stop this latest effort.
Please pass this message on to everyone you know.
Date: 11/17/99 11:50 PM
RE: Mountaintop Removal Rider out of Bill? Keep Up The Calls To
According to the AP, the Republicans and the White House have reached a
budget deal, and are continuing to negotiate on the remainder of three
omnibus budget bills.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, was still seeking inclusion of a provision to help
mining companies in his state - but Byrd's amendment, according to the
Associated Press report, was apparently being omitted from the final bill.
The AP report indicated that the House and Senate may begin voting tomorrow
on the bills. The ability of any Senator, including Byrd, to filibuster a
bill in order to delay the consideration of a bill and to force inclusion of
the rider, makes it of critical importance that enough Senators be contacted
to vote to end debate (called cloture) in order to bring the bills to a vote.
It is nothing short of remarkable that the national and grassroots
communities have galvanized against this rider as they have. Please make one
more effort to contact all of your Senators and Representatives to oppose
inclusion of the mountaintop removal rider in any budget bill, and ask your
Senators to vote to override any filibuster by Senator Byrd.
The Congress will adjourn no later than Saturday - every voice counts. The
Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. Your efforts have been great!
November 14, 1999 2:52 PM
Two great Dineh leaders pass away
Dear Big Mountain Supporters,
Two great leaders of the Dineh have recently passed away. Please contactthe
families to send condolences and money to help with funeral expenses if you can.
Thank you for your support and concern.
Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation
Text of Article that appeared in the Navajo-Hopi Observer with photo,
Wednesday, November 10, 1999.
Jenny Manybeads passes away at 115
By Sandra J. Wilson
"They called her Left-Handed Lady-they knew her that way." A clan relative
introduced her thusly. The fact that Jenny Manybeads was left-handed is
hardly the most remarkable aspect of this world-famous woman.
What is amazing is that her fame came well after her 100th year of life
when her name was affixed to the First Amendment lawsuit against the United
States government in response to Navajo and Hopi relocation. And some would
wonder that she and other individuals affected by the relocation law have
done is attempt to live their lives out on the land of their birth in a
traditional manner. It has been suggested that Jenny may have often wondered
what all the fuss over her has been about.
Manybeads passed peacefully into the final rest the evening of November
3. It is thought that she was 115.
According to one woman who visited Manybeads at her final home at Los
Arcos in Flagstaff, "She never said much about relocation but talked about
friends and acquaintances, Navajo and Hopi alike. Her last years were
remembered that way. She talked about the good things in her life, and spoke
of peole who I know are long gone." Obviously these people still lived in
Jenny's heart and mind.
She leaves many, many relatives and people who will miss her. But they
talk of how she was a happy, funny person. "She was a great lady," said Mary
Kahn of Flagstaff. "She was always joking and teasing." People have been
remembered for far worse.
This post was given by Mae Washington, John and Leonard Benally's sister and
granddaughter of Jenny Manybeads, who filed the Manybeads, class action law
suit for Dineh religious freedom.
Jenny Manybeads Passes away at 115
Jenny Manybeads was of the Mexican Clan, born for Bitterwater Clan. She was
married into the Manygoats Clan. She was 115, born in 1884. She died
Wednesday November 3, 1999 of natural causes. She was put to rest at Tuba
City Community Cemetery. We did not make any attempt to put her to rest on
her own homeland because we knew she could not be buried on her land. They
denied my aunt, Alice Benally the right to be buried on her land and we could
not face the same kind of situation again. That is why we buried her at Tuba
Jenny Manybeads is a fourth generation grandmother. She had 4 generations of
grandkids. There are 86 first generation grandkids, 39 third generation
grandkids and 8 fourth generation grandkids.
Jenny lived all her life around Mosquito Spring vicinity. She was a rug
weaver, herbalist, mid- wife. We don't know how many children she delivered.
I know it was many, many children. That was before hospitals. She always
rode horses, that was her main transportation. She was a person that planned
for the family. If anyone of her family was sick, she was the person that
got all the people together from all the families in the community. She was
a community leader and would call for dances and ceremonies and everyone
would gather to help. Like the enemy way dance, she got people together,
saying come help and get things done. She was very strong in her own way
where people listened to what she had to say. She presented herself as an
activist, a person that really cares about human rights and the quality of
the human race. She believed that everyone was created equal, that no one was
more or less than anyone else. The way she saw life is that every person has
a purpose on this earth to carry out. She always strongly expressed that
every human race did not have colors, rich or poor, they were all of the same
creation and therefore you do not become greedy and take things for your own
personal gain. If you do that you would pay for it when you leave this
earth. So, she was always mindful that the Dineh people were put here to be
the keeper of the Mother Earth. She would say, you take care of the Mother
Earth the way Mother Earth takes care of you. The air, is the same way
because it is so important, it gives us life and we breathe it every minute.
Just as water is the essence of life. It gives us strength and life and we
cannot do without it. Therefore we must have reverence for it. It is the
same way with the energy of the sun, we should not abuse it or misuse it.
These four elements, if we abuse any of them and have no respect for them,
it will abuse us too and eventually take our life.
People cause so much pollution we have global warming and one of these days
if we don't stop in the name of greed we will fry ourselves. For that
matter, every element of this earth if we abuse it it will eventually take
our life. That was her belief and she had really advocated for the rights of
everyone living being on this earth, even down to the little ant. She would
say, the tiny little ants, they have life here. We cannot just eradicate
them because we think they are a nuisance. Every living thing on this earth
has a purpose. So as a human being we cannot say we rule and take these
things for granted. That was her basic message to us and to a lot of other
people. And I think we should be very mindful that Jenny Manybeads did
speak the truth.
She said the land issue should not have come about in this manner with so
many people relocated. She considered this an atrocity where you literally
remove a person from their home by force threatening them, humiliating them,
taking their livestock, their means of living away from them, making them
helpless, powerless and causing them to live with tremendous stress from day
to day because they do not know where their next meal is coming from, their
basic life taken away from them. So these have no choice but to move away to
an unknown land and unknown life, maybe into the city or into some other
wasteland that has been contaminated by uranium where more and more people
have died of many different kinds of illness. She also spoke of all the
peole that have died of loneliness, despair, hopelessness, all created by the
US federal government, Bureau of Indian Affairs, removing the people just so
they could take the natural resources out of the land so the big corporations
can become fat with their money. That was her argument. She said we cannot
just give up, we must continue fighting for who we are and stand our ground
and speak for ourselves and not allow the federal government to tell us what
to do. This was her message to her grandchildren, her children and her people.
Jenny was the one that filed the Manybeads lawsuit. Her husband Manybeads, a
Medicine Man died in 1978 or 1979. She filed this class-action lawsuit for
religious freedom on behalf of all her people so they could remain on the
land, saying that relocation violates Dineh religion. She felt that the way
the government handled the situation was just a way to take the land away
from us, she called it the fleecing of America. The corporations and the
government have money so it is really sad to see what has happened to her
people. 400 million dollars of taxpayers money was spent to put a lot of
people to death and live a life of misery. This is just like the
concentration camp and a repeat of the Long Walk.
I think she saw a lot of the things happening to her people, finally the big
sleeping giant woke up and now it is going to devour us. Do we sitthere or
do we fight the big giant? And I think Jenny's basic argument was our belief
is tied to the land, that is the way we understand it. But to the government
the land is an economic base. To us, in our belief it has a religious
significance that you do not just dig out every tree on this land and
contaminate all the water that was put here. They are just taking from us
and not leaving anything for the people. That was really her belief and her
life, her own nature and personality. She was always smiling, always
laughing. She was really a happy person. I don't think she ever picked a
fight with people because she wanted to. She had a very settled way of
dealing with any situation. She was very diplomatic in the way she handled
issues at hand.
She was the type of person that didn't get out in the front line but was very
visible. That is why she filed this lawsuit. She said we do not understand
man made law. When man made law is imposed on us, it is full of lies and
idioms. The way they translate words to us could be very tricky so we have
to be very mindful to what they say and not agree to things that are written.
For example, if they use two little words like and or, two little words,
this could means you and I have this joint thing we own and neither one can
do something without the other person giving consent. In the case of the US
government it is you or I can do what we want, in most cases it is or, that
little word can change a lot of things. That is the way this whole situation
has been handled by the government. We never were a part of all the
litigation that went on behind closed doors. That is not the way to deal
with our lives, we have feelings, emotion, ties to the land, to everything
around us. So how can they make decisions of what we they are doing to our
life. She understood how things come about in the name of greed. Jenny
was another Martin Luther King, another Mother Theresa. These people, she
herself was that inspiration. This was the vibe you got from her when you
talked with her. Every time I went to see her and talked with her I felt
there was still hope when I spoke with her.
Rena Babbitt Lane, an elder matriarch of Red Lake says, "I remember Jenny as
a very kind woman, she worried if everyone had food and would butcher to help
people out to make sure they were well fed. She always asked if we had
enough for ourselves. And when she sheared her sheep she would give us wool
to make rugs and support my family. She never said this is only for me, she
always made sure she had something to share, even little things, you never
went away from her empty handed. She helped our life. Jenny was always
sharing things with people. If she had corn she would give us some. My
mother was Jenny's older sister. She was like my mother, my aunt. So in
Navajo culture you don't refer to her as my aunt, but as my mother's older
or younger sister, and she called me her daughter."
Mae Washington, who translated this statement for Rena is the second
generation great grandchild of Jenny Manybeads and a grandmother herself
with 5 grandchildren.
If people want to communicate, send donations to help pay for funeral
expenses and send condolence cards please contact: Bessie M. Begay and
Alton Begay, P.O. Box 103, Tuba City, AZ 86045. Thank you,
Emmett Bert Tso passes away at 68
Emmett Tso is survived by his wife Faye B. Tso. He was born December 15,
1930 and passed away on November 7, 1999. Emmett says he was relocated 3
times from what is known as District 6 and then relocated from HPL where he
lived near Huck and Genevieve Greyeyes. And each time he was told us to
move, finally he said no more. Then he ended up subject to the Bennett
Freeze. He said he and his family became refugees in their own homeland.
He is survived by 8 children and a lot of grandchildren.
Emmett Tso was very outspoken about the land issue and the Bennett Freeze,
both he viewed as basically the same, ways the US government tortures the
Dineh people, denying his people the right to live their life. When his kids
were very small he used to live close to Moencopi and his house burned down
and he lost everything and had to start out all over again. He thinks this
happened because he was outspoken about land issues. He often talked about
how many of his people were moved several times and were just told to move
again. He lived in this type of situations all his life and suffered greatly.
He was a Council delegate from Tuba City and served in a lot of different
capacities as an official, always speaking for his people and serving themas
a leader. He was never afraid to express himself.
If anyone wants to write to his wife and his children to express their
condolences, please contact Faye B. Tso, P.O. Box 583, Tuba City, AZ 86045.
His family depleted all their resources trying to make him better. He wasin
the hospital for 1 month, using medicine men and doctors, in a coma. He
never regained consciousness. Many of us believe we lost a great man with
leadership ability and we miss him greatly. Thank you,
Saturday, November 13, 1999
ISCO Letter to Clinton re: Dine'h Evictions
From: Black Mesa Projects/ ISCO <email@example.com
If anyone wants us to snail mail a copy of a Petition to Clinton for an
Executive Order Forbidding Forced Evictions or other letter writing tips
please reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you! Beth, ISCO
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500
November 1, 1999
Dear Mr. President:
We are concerned about impending eviction hearings of traditional Dine'h
(Navajo) in US District Court in Phoenix after February 1, 2000. Please
issue an Executive Order forbidding any forced evictions of Dine'h from
Hopi Partition Lands (HPL) in northeastern Arizona, while you still can!
Forcing Dine'h to sign unfair "Accommodation Agreement" leases to settle
legal claims the Hopi Tribal Council brought against the United States is
neither permanent nor fair. Dine'h are told they must sign AA leases
under PL 104-301 to stay on the HPL, or face forced eviction to
radioactive "New Lands" contaminating the Rio Puerco near Sanders. This
AA leases are a bad solution and continue to be resisted by Dine'h
because lease terms limit their sheepherding subsistence, interfere with
their land-based worship, and deny their due process and constitutional
rights. Also, leases are temporary and ignore the needs of future Dine'h
Forbidding construction or repair of housing for 33 years to force Dine'h
to move under PL 93-531 is a cruel and inappropirate measure to solve
problems that the United States has created. Young Dine'h families have
had to crowd into deteriorating existing housing or move away; those who
have made repairs or built homes since 1966 are told to dismantle them or
face demolition. Promises that the ban will be lifted under AA leases
remain unfulfilled. Adequate housing is their treaty right and human
right! Why force them to give up other rights in order to regain this
Court-ordered evictions would be enforced by a multijurisdictional police
task force led by the Department of Justice, who is currently under
investigation for their role in the tragic fire at the Branch Dividian
Compound at Waco, Texas. Forced evictions can only bring further tragedy
and national disgrace. Please forbid any forced evictions!
The United States must become more "accommodating" and stop bullying
American Indians. This is your opportunity to leave a legacy of righting
centuries of wrongdoing, starting with traditional Dine'h on the HPL.
Show your commitment to human rights here at home. Please issue an
Executive Order forbidding forced eviction of Dine'h, before it is too late!
Yours very truly,
Beth Newberry, President
Indigenous Support Coalition of Oregon
11 Nov 1999
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NETWORKING AT THE WTO
The World Trade Organization (WTO) will be in Seattle, November 29-December
3, 1999. This is their 5th anniversary. This WTO summit will lay the
agenda for WTO for the next 10 years. Trade ministers from 135 nations will
be welcomed by President Clinton who wants the WTO to begin a new round of
"free trade" negotiations. On Tuesday, November 30, from 12:00 noon to 2:00
p.m. a rally/march will take place in downtown Seattle with
non-governmental organizations (NGO's) estimating near 30,000 people to
show up. We are organizing for Indigenous Peoples to have a strong
presence at this historical meeting of the WTO which has become the main
rule-making bureaucracy of corporate lead economic globalization. This
globalization has diminished environmental, labor, public health, food
safety, culture, democracy and sovereignty of countries throughout world,
let alone the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples in North America.
Corporate rule has increased patenting of traditional knowledge and
intellectual property rights of Indigenous Peoples, seeds, medicinal
plants, and even the human DNA of Indigenous Peoples. Protection of forests
and water is becoming threatened as these natural resources are defined as
trade good items protected under the trade rules of the WTO. Indigenous
Peoples in North America, the Americas and the world have foreseen the
consequences of economic globalization that danger the sustainble survival
of Indigenous Peoples. The WTO has not been open to the public or
Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Peoples Forum and Networking at the WTO
is the first step towards Indigeous Peoples to come together, educate
ourselves, and develop strategy on action to be taken on the WTO.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FORUM on WTO
Wednesday, December 1, 1999
Seattle University - 900 Broadway Avenue
6:00 p.m. Reception and Cultural Presentation
7:00 p.m. Panel Presentation
Moderator: Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, USA/North America
Speakers: Debra Harry, Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism,
USA/International, presentation on bio-piracy.
Victorio Tauli Corpus, Tebtebba Foundation and Asian Indigenous Women's
Network, Philippines, presentation on the impacts of the Trade Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Esther Nahgahnub, Great Lakes Regional IEN, USA/Canada, presentation of
the trading of water in the Great Lakes.
TBA, Interior Alliance of First Nations, British Colombia, Canada, WTO
impacts on aboriginal rights and forestry.
TBA, Indigenous delegate, South America
TBA, other presentations.
9:00 p.m. Indigenous Peoples Response and Dialogue
10:00 p.m. Closing
Indigenous Peoples networking office:
Seattle University, Lemiux Library Room 108
(To be staffed starting November 28 and during the week of the WTO.
Telephone and fax numbers to be announced)
Indigenous press and radio broadcasting ("Native American Calling") will be
Indigenous Peoples caucus meetings and briefings at:
Seattle University, Schaeffer Auditorium
(times to be announced)
Other Indigenous Peoples activities and events to be announced.
Sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Seventh Generation
Fund, USA. In alliance with International Indian Treaty Council,
Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism and many other Indigenous
organizations and nations throughout the Americas and the world. This
Indigenous networking promotes the principle that as Indigenous Peoples,
"We Speak For Ourselves" on issues that affect the future of our
communities and the world.
Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
Tel: (218) 751-4967, Fax: (218) 751-0561
Javier Kinney, Seventh Generation Fund
Tel: (707) 825-7640
Tue, 09 Nov 1999
Big Mountain Update
The mining pix are up in the new additions section of the dineh page on
This pix are an excelletnt example of epa violations in progress. They
were taken on 1st shift on a Monday at the Kayenta mine.
Also, I should have posted it a long time ago but the livestock killed
(Mabel Benally's) by Peabody runoff several years back are also under new
Also posted is a Bennett Freeze notice for your press kits
Also posted is the Elders request to AIM to help them.
Radio PSA's have been converted to CD and will be mailed by Friday to
those of you who requested along with this weeks batch of Vanishing Prayers.
Health and Relocation
by Peabody Coal Company
Testimonies gathered from mid-September to mid-October, 1999
Presented to Dave Freeman,
President, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Monday, October 18, 1999
For further information please contact:
Sovereign Dineh Nation
P.O. Box 1968
Kaibeto, AZ 86053
Cellular phone: (520) 674-4479
Several scholarly studies have been done of relocation stress effects
experienced by the traditional Dineh (Navajo) people living in Black Mesa,
on both relocation by Peabody Coal Company and the US government.
You will read in the attached testimonies and hear personal stories of
people suffering from Black Lung and Silicosis, destruction of cemeteries
and burial sites, of people forced to haul drinking water and water for
their livestock due to water contamination and diminution, living in homes
that have suffered blasting damage. Many living in the path of mining
operations were forced to relocate, abandoning huge customary use areas for
just a few acres. Many received no compensation at all. Others were
handed small amounts of cash, not enough for replacement housing, became
homeless and just wandered off, finding out there were no provisions made
for their children and grandchildren.
Loss of land for the traditional Dineh causes traumatic effects, in part
because of the fear that they will no longer be able to protect their land,
grave sites and sacred sites. In Dineh religion there is no prayer for
reburial yet several of the people you will meet have had to endure the
pain of not knowing where their family members were reburied, denied the
right to protect them where they lay. Many Dineh believe when they loose
their land it will be the end of them as a people.
I urge you to consider what you will hear and see today with your mind and
Thayer Scudder Report, "Expected Impacts of Compulsory Relocation on
Navajos with Special Emphasis on Relocation from the Former Joint Use Area
Required by Public Law 93-531."
Note: Thayer Scudder is the world's relocation. He compiled this report
with the assistance of David Aberle, Elizabeth Colson and other experts.
In it, he states, "Interviewing was not restricted to the former Joint Use
Area Navajo who are affected by Public Law 93-531. It was also carried out
among Navajo previously required to move from District 6, from the mining
area leased to the Peabody Coal Company on Black Mesa, describing the
impacts of relocation among these traditional people.
"No Place to Go" by Thayer Scudder
"Navajo Hopi Land Dispute, An American Tragedy", by David M. Brugge,
"The Wind Won't Know Me", by Emily Benedick
"Fire on the Plateau", by Professor Charles Wilkinson
"Black Mesa, Black Gold", July 1998 issue Orion magazine, by Judith Nies
Please check out our web sites:
Marsha Monestersky, Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation
Health and Relocation Effects
by Peabody Coal Company
Testimonies gathered from mid-September to mid-October, 1999
Translation by: Sam Lake, Harrison Crank, Carlos Begay, Teddy Begay, Jr.,
Louise Begay, Salina Begay, and John Benally
Transcribed and compiled by Marsha Monestersky and Victoria Valentine, LPN
Retiree, Peabody Coal Company
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company says, there are many dust problems. The
mine is too near. Sometimes it covers everything, windshields, especially
in the morning. When it rains it helps stop the burning coal in the stock piles.
I have problems with my lungs. Three years ago when I was still working
for Peabody, I went to the Kayenta Clinic and had my lungs x-rayed. They
said there was a haze, smoky film over my lungs. My doctor sent me to
Albuquerque, they found in the x-rays the same haze. They put me to sleep
and put something in my throat and said it was Black Lung. Then they
cleaned inside my lungs and took out a lot of coal dust. I came back to
Peabody and started working for them again. Then when they talked about
retirement about 2 years ago, my daughters and my sons told me to retire
because they said they wanted me to live longer. So I retired.
I started working for the mine in 1970, started with helping drill for
coal. Then after they started mining, I worked as a laborer and helped
them working on draglines, big coal drills, highwall drills. After that I
worked with the drill to dig highwall until I got to the coal seam. In
those days we had no helpers so I had to do all the drilling by myself. I
put the bit together and drilled down 100 feet sometimes. There was dust
in the drill, a lot of holes in drills and I got a lot of dust. I used a
mask but it was not a good mask and the dust came through where it was
really close to my face. So when I took the mask off and spit out it was
black. When I cleaned my nose it was black. When I worked as a driller
the mast was struck by lightening and it threw me. Peabody just told me I
got a little extra energy boost and not to worry.
I have a dry non productive cough. I cough a lot now. When I am awake I
cough, I have spells once I start coughing and cannot stop. After I
retired some people came around. They wanted to see if I had Black Lung.
They were from the Labor department. They are fighting for me and said I
have a good case. They say I should get back pay for the past 3 years
since I retired. The Union officials announced my name at a recent Union
meeting stating that I won my Black Lung claim. However, I have not heard
directly about this.
My aunt and my sister were buried near here. Their burials were relocated
but we do not know where they went.
Our house is falling apart due to blasting damage. Peabody took pictures
of the foundation but nothing was done. Our floor is cracked and the roof
is coming apart. I talked to Walter Begay, Community Representative.
Peabody gave $4,000 to 5 of my family members to relocate. But that was not enough to
have a replacement home so they just wandered off with no house to live in.
Peabody only gives housing to the elders. But there are children and
grandchildren. We never got housing for our children.
We all have respiratory problems. The coal seam is usually on fire and
when they are working on it the dust gets worse. People who come here can
see coal dust on the window sills. After blasting or dragline there is a
cloud of dust in the air and it starts coming back down. When the wind is
traveling this way it is even worse. Before it rains you can see the coal
dust on the plants and the animals eat this and get congested. They have
runny nose, coughing and film over their eves. Even medicine, antibiotics
does not help. Our children get bronchitis a lot. Even the babies. We
try to keep our children inside all the time but it is hard. We are
concerned about the health of our children. Me and my grand daughter have
the same skin conditions. Maybe it is an allergy from the very fine dust.
When it rains it is better.
We are concerned because we see black spots on our animals liver when we
butcher. Young lambs liver has yellow and black spots on it and on the
inside of their intestines. It also has red spots and lines. We stopped
eating the liver and inner parts.
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company says, I have weak lungs, Silicosis and
Black Lung. I started working for the coal mine in 1973, at least 21
years. I did drilling and blasting. When I started we did not have masks
and when I wore a mask it was not effective. I shouldn't even drive a
vehicle because I black out. I have no appetite and can only eat certain
foods, mainly vegetables but have no electricity or refrigeration. I am in
a lot of pain and the medication I take makes me drowsy. I was diagnosed
at the hospital with Black Lung. I need a visiting nurse and transport to
the medical clinic. We get nothing from Peabody, all the money goes to the
Chapter Houses a long way from here. My roof needs to be fixed and I need
running water and electricity so I can have an indoor bathroom,
refrigeration and electricity to run breathing equipment that I need. We
are living here near the mine but have no electricity. And when we go to
the Chapter House they do not help me. If I cannot get electricity then I
need solar power to run medical equipment and a water pump for my survival.
I also need insulation for my roof which is just bare boards and home
repair. It is cold in here, especially in the winter. Sometimes I cannot
get someone to haul water for me and this is especially hard in the winter
when the dirt roads are impassable. My wife and I live here alone and are
scared that we cannot even get out to the hospital because of the bad roads.
Resident of Peabody mining area
Wife of resident noted above says, When Peabody dust is blowing or when
they do coal blasts I can see the dust here. When it is windy I can see it
coming towards here. In the early morning I can see it over the canyon
towards the mountain and in the wash. There is coal dust everywhere, in my
water barrel, in my truck. Yes, we see dust from the mine in our area and
throughout the canyon, on the trees, grass and bushes. This is a lower
elevation. We cough a lot and can feel it in our throats.
Please set up a meeting between union representatives and retirees. They
should send notification of the meeting to us by m ail and also do home
visits. It is urgent that this happen.
Resident living adjacent to Peabody mining area
Resident living adjacent to Peabody mining area says, all I can do is cry
when I think about my husband that just died of Black Lung. My husband was
my companion. I am not used to staying alone. I miss him. My kids all
have their own family and go back home to them when they visit. A lot of
work needs to be done here but I am not interested. My husband never got
Black Lung benefits. I want survivor benefits to help me pay some bills.
I have breathing problems from the coal dust. It seems like I have a cold
but it is not a cold. I want to get checked for Black Lung. I live in a
valley and there is dust everywhere. When I cough it looks yellowish, like
Before my husband died we were getting Peabody retirement benefits but that
stopped when he died. I asked Peabody to help me with the funeral expenses
but they did not donate anything. The only money I got was donations from
some employees. I don't know how I can make payments on my trailer and
truck. When Roy was alive even though he had health problems we hauled
water for drinking. I cannot even do this. I want Peabody to haul me
water or provide me with running water. I have to haul drinking water from
the public water stand. That is too far away. I am helpless.
We used to live above the dam and Peabody told us we had to move. They
only gave us $10,000 to move out of the way. That was nothing compared to
the cost of a new house and we were forced to make payments which we cannot
afford on a trailer. We used to have horses, sheep corrals and 4 houses, a
sweat house, dam, nice shade house, hay shed. Some other people get
houses, hay sheds, houses for their children but we got only $10,000.
Peabody keeps mining near here. We had an agreement that we could use the
reclaimed area for our animals. J-16 should be returned for our use. All
we have gotten for loss of our grazing area is 4 bales of hay one time. We
want our grazing area returned or fresh hay delivered until then.
The road from our house goes across a wash. We asked Peabody to build a
bridge over it and give us gravel. But they did nothing.
Just before my husband died we had an Office of Surface Mining
investigation of our sacred and burial sites. Our son's remains were
reburied. We don't know where he was taken. Many other burial and sacred
sites have already been destroyed. It is my hope and prayer that the
burial and sacred sites that remain will be protected. It was my husband's
dying wish that a sacred shrine used by many people, where you hear thunder
through the hill will be protected. Time is of the essence because this
hill is currently yards away from Peabody blasting activity. Please help us.
Current employee of reclamation sub-contractor of Peabody Coal Company
Back when we were forced to relocate, Peabody just told us we had to move
out. They paid our mom to relocate, handing her a small sum of money, not
enough for replacement housing, just enough for a down payment on the
trailer she lives in and has to pay monthly mortgage payments.
Next month, our father would have been retired from the mine for 10 years.
For the past 25 years he suffered from respiratory problems. And even
though my mother would have liked it if her family was close to her now,
some of my sisters and brothers had to move to Phoenix to find jobs because
Peabody would not hire them.
My mother's mother died 1 year ago suffering from respiratory problems.
When she was sick, Peabody refused to install a handicap ramp for her even
after she suffered a broken hip going outside to use an outhouse (outside
bathroom). Peabody also would not install a handicap ramp for our father
when he was sick.
We can smell the coal burning here, especially when the wind blows, it
comes into this valley. Dust is everywhere, even inside my mother's house.
It is making us sick.
Peabody specified in their original contract with my mother, that in
addition to her and my father, Peabody was supposed to help me and my 2
brothers with housing but they have not done anything to help us for the
past twenty years. For the past 2 years we have been trying really hard to
get a home, we even went through the processes to get a homesite lease.
But still Peabody will not help us. We really need housing because the
house we were renting in Tuba City had to be rennovated for asbestos so we
had to move back home. And my mother said she is afraid to stay there
alone. She is having a hard time and does not want to be alone for even
I used to work for Peabody but in order to avoid being laid off I had to
accept a 50% loss in pay, working for Golden Environmental when they became
the sub-contractor for Peabody reclamation. I used to make $14.78 an hour
but was forced to work for $7.50 an hour. I am concerned about job
security because Golden Environmental just laid off 5 people last Friday.
They are saying they plan to continue to reduce their work force.
J-16 is reclaimed land that has not been returned to us as our customary
grazing area. It has been 15 years and we are still waiting. Until 4 years
ago Peabody gave us some hay. They are supposed to do this for taking away
our grazing area.
Wife of sub-contractor
The dust is everywhere and Peabody just makes promises they do not keep.
After meetings like we are having now with Los Angeles Department of Water
and Power, Peabody will come around and say, look at what we are doing for
you. What about what they will not do for us. . That is the only time we
see them around.
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company says, I have never been checked for Black
Lung but I have a cold almost all the time and cough so much I have pain from it.
My throat is irritated and when I cough I bring up discolored, yellowish sputem.
I worked for the coal mine for 23 years as a laborer. I started working at
the coal mine in 1974. I retired on March 31, 1996. When I started, I worked in the pit
sweeping coal dust. For all 23 years I worked for the mine I was constantly in dust that
I breathed. Then I worked at grinding coal. I counted trucks putting coal
in the grinder and putting all the coal lying around in the grinder. There
was a lot of dust. In the silo I oversaw the loading of coal onto the
train. I loaded up the trains and then cleaned up the dust lying around.
I worked throughout the mine in the coal dust and smoke.
What I did at the mine also affected my hearing. I used ear plugs but
after awhile my ears would not take the ear plugs. But I used them anyway.
There was a lot of noise and no masks for the dust. Then years later we
were given paper masks but it was not very effective. Last fall and winter
I got a haze over my eyes then a black shadow in my vision. This past
summer I started getting confused. I think I am not getting enough air. I
get tired and have had a dry cough for over 3 months now.
Wife of Peabody Coal Company retiree
Wife of Peabody Coal Company retiree says, my husband was born here on
Black Mesa. We used to live here. I used to wait at the mine for my
husband to get off work and lived near the coal mine until 1979. It was
always very dusty there. When the air was still there was a haze in the
air. I used to herd sheep before I moved out but cannot do that where I am
now living. I miss my old home. I am short of breath sometimes and have a
Resident living adjacent to Peabody mining area
Dust is the worst problem here. The wind carries the dust over the whole
valley. You can see the coal dust through the sunlight. You can smell the
smoke all the time, especially in the morning. When Peabody does blasting
and high wall shots, the wind takes the particles all the way over here. I
have a cough year round. About 2 years ago I had to go to Phoenix for
spots on my lungs and pneumonia. Many times when I go to the clinic they
just give me Tylenol. My kids can't stand to watch me cough. During the
cold weather we see black spots on our animals when we butcher. Others
have said the same thing. Due to the mining our thinking is lost.
Sometimes, it seems that all we think about is the mine, BIA, relocation.
People out here have lost their minds there is so much to worry about. Now
it is too a point where many people have given up hope. There is a lot of
stress, despair, many people have died from these effects.
There is supposed to be a moratorium on mining on HPL for 10 years. I am
concerned because I don't want our grazing area disturbed and Peabody has
already started mining activities on my customary use area. Peabody make a
Navajo aquifer well on my land without my consent and did not even give me
running water. I would like electricity too, and the Cactus Valley road
graveled and a culvert put in at the wash near me. This road is hazardous
and is often unpassable in the winter and when it rains.
In my customary use area, they destroyed sacred Sagebrush and Sweetwater,
drinking water sources planted by Medicine people. Ancient Anasazi graves
have been dug up and sifted for funerary objects. The desecration is
marked by Archeologists stakes.
I am caught between Peabody and the US government. I can't take it
anymore. Please help take the pressure off of us. (*See attached news article)
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company says, there is silica that is
released with the drilling. It is in the fine dust. Silicia is a very
fine glass and when you look through it towards the sun you can see the
glitter. When we breathe it down in our
lungs where the air and blood mixes the glass cuts our lungs and the glass
gets into our lungs. It leaves scars so it is hard for air to go through
our lungs. The dragline also causes a lot of dust and covers the whole valley.
Living here, watching the mining, I am observing them. Anything in their
way they will destroy. I am concerned because they are coming towards my
mother's, Glenna Begay's and they will do what they did across from here.
I don't want this. We have 21 or 22 burial sites here, some are my mom's
relatives, some are people migrating through here. In the old days when
someone passed away they were buried where they died. I don't want these
burial sites destroyed. We have made many offerings throughout this area,
a lot of Medicine Men did ceremonials. In one year we make numerous
offerings. We can't just count them and it is not only done in 1 place,
but throughout this area. How can we protect our land? Every inch of our
land is sacred.
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company
Teddy Begay, Sr., current employee of Peabody Coal Company says, I have
difficulty breathing. I worked for the mine for 26 years, mostly with coal
storage, fine coal and doing welding for a long time. I am getting tested
for Black Lung. Peabody is not following safety guidelines and does not
even have their own lease line. They are not doing right by the people.
Residents living adjacent to Peabody mining permit area
Residents living adjacent to Peabody mining permit area. They say, we live
here 24 hours a day compared to miners who work there and go home to some
other area. We are breathing in all this coal dust. We live 1 mile from
the Peabody boundary. The mine is 2 miles away. We are suffering as a
consequence of the mining. There is a lot of dust and we can see a dust
cloud and a ring around the dust. Our eyes get watery and irritated when we
are inside and outside of our home. We are breathing this when we are
sleeping and awake. we bring up a dark, yellowish mucous all the time, our
whole family. Sometimes there is blood in it and it is dark. We all have
chronic lung problems and our throats hurt. During the winter time,
especially, the dust makes my whole family cough, have scratching throats
and cough. We have a lot of colds that last for months at a time My eyes
get watery and irritated when I am inside and outside of my home. This is
for every one of us in the family.
Even though we live so close to the mine we have no running water or
electricity. We live on a dirt road that needs to be graveled and a
culvert put in at the wash. It is impassable for weeks at a time and would
prevent us from emergency rescue. I suffer from heart and lung problems
and have needed emergency transport on several occasions. People living by
the mine are not being hired by the mine. Peabody is bringing in a lot of
outsiders instead of hiring local residents. Even in my own family. There
is a high stress causing heart problems. We are stuck between relocation
and the mine My eyes get watery and irritated when I am inside and outside
of my home.
The coal dust settles on the vegetation and our animals eat it. We breath
it in. At night when I sleep my throat is all dried up and in my sleep I
cough and it wakes me up. I need to keep a bottle of water by my bed year
round and every night I cough. All my children also cough. We all have
health problems. All our animals feel the same. When we butcher them we
see discoloration, red, purple, black streaks on their hearts and lungs.
This is not normal. Even my animals are sick. My sheep, horses, dogs, cats
are sneezing, coughing from the clouds of dust from the dragline and
The Peabody loader sometimes scoops up burial remains. And when
traditional people refuse to do it they get a Christian to do it. Or they
have someone do it on the graveyard shift. Especially Anasazi desecration.
A lot of it has been desecrated, even in our customary use area. These
graves were not even filled back in, any objects found were taken to
unknown locations. We observe a lot of burial and sacred site destruction
and we don't want anything more disturbed in our customary use area.
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company
A current employee of of Peabody Coal Company says, my father is being
pressured by Peabody to relocate. But my father doesn't want to move
because this is his home and he has had many ceremonies there. My father
is also concerned about the future for his children and grandchildren
because Peabody is only counting him and his wife.
We are all concerned about water quality. We get water by N-14 and the
Peabody public water supply by the former public coal pile (now we have to
pay for coal) but we do not trust the water. So most of us haul drinking
water from the store to use. My father hauls water everyday for 8
children, 21 grandchildren. He is buying water at the store for drinking.
Jimmy Little doesn't trust the water and filters his water on the faucet.
He fainted last Tuesday morning. The clinic is continuing to say there is
nothing wrong with him. My wife, Pauletta is pregnant and she is concerned
because some of our children, even our baby has respiratory problems.
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company says, there are many dust problems,
especially in the morning. It is like a black cloud and black smoke that
covers the whole area. I operated heavy equipment. It made me hard of
hearing and made my vision blurry. When I started working I had no ear
plugs. The damage was done. I can smell the burning coal especially in
the morning. There is oil from the trucks and the smell of burning coal.
I get covered with black dust. This is what it is like where I live.
I started working for the mine in 1969 and worked there until March 1996,
16 years. I started as a dozer operator for 16 years then worked on a
tractor for 11 years. I worked for Peabody for 27 years. I went to the
Kayenta health clinic and Goulding's Monument Valley Clinic for x-rays for
Black Lung. I do not know the results yet. When I walk I get
chest and back pains and heavy breathing. I have coughing spells, get
colds and start coughing and get pneumonia. Ever since I started working
there were no masks and I breathed dust and black coal. There were no
masks until 1994 or 1995.
Former employee from Peabody Coal Company
Former employee of Peabody Coal Company says, the dust bothers me and the
burning coal. It makes me sick and I get a sore throat. I want to get
tested for Black Lung and I am scared that I may have it too. There is a
lot of dust from the gravel pit near our home. This is where they crush
the gravel. I breathe in a lot of dust inside our house when we sleep.
Health Effects by Peabody
Sometimes my heart hurts. I worked as a maintenance worker at the mine.
Peabody told me to resign 1 year ago then come back to work. I want my job
back but only fill in sometimes when someone goes on vacation.
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company says there is too much dust. We
need dust control. My children have asthma and so do many of my relatives.
At N-8 there are 4 coal piles. This is where they mix the coal. The
primo-good coal pile catches on file. They need to put domes over it.
This will keep the heat out of the coal and moisture. Peabody shouldn't
stock pile too much coal at the Black Mesa and Kayenta mine. It is
dangerous for the dozer operators and it causes too much coal dust.
I am concerned that the 175 ton vehicles have no turn signals. All turn
signals need to be working and the vehicles must have clear tail lights.
When the trucks back up to the coal piles it is important that they be
working and cleaned afterwards.
N-14, Ramp 9E is still unreclaimed. It has been this way for 7 years.
According to federal regulations, they are supposed to reclaim after the
third spoil pile. We will be living here after the mine is closed. We need
to have reclamation done while they are still operating because they will
not care later. I do not want them just telling me that the area is not
big enough for them to deal with. It is my winter road route and it is
We do not want treated water sprayed on the road from N-8 turnoff to the
J-28 bath house, employee parking lot. This is causing pot holes and mud
accumulation on our vehicles so severe we have to keep getting wheel
alignments. This 14 mile dirt road should be surveyed for a directive and
memorandum for it to be paved. It has 500 drivers going back and forth to
work on it every day. And until it is paved it needs maintenance by a
Motor Grader and water truck only during the daylight hours to avoid
accidents. At night these vehicles should not operate because it is hard to
see the water truck and there have been several near misses.
The N-14 Explosives silo near my home should be moved. This silo holds more
explosives of a similar nature than was used in the Oklahoma City bombing.
If it is not possible for it to be moved than less explosives should be
stored in it. A plastic lining should be placed underneath both it and the
emulsion plant located right next to it. A sediment should be installed
around the entire area to ensure no run-off from the silo and emulsion
plant. This is necessary to ensure the safety of the people living in the
area and the protection of our environment.
Peabody never gave me a house and never counted me when they compensated my
father. I would like to have a house for my family.
Resident of Peabody permit area
Resident of Peabody permit area says, I can smell the sulfur in the air
when Peabody does coal blasts. It gives me a head ache. There is coal
dust everywhere. My sister and I have the same problems including health
problems. We also both have had burial and sacred site destruction. On my
land, ancient Anasazi and Dineh burial sites, ceremonial hogans, sacred
sites, including a talking rock used by medicine people to heal people,
all were destroyed by the mine. Then two years ago, Peabody came with
bulldozers threatening my cemetery and sacred sites where I have held many
ceremonies and sacred sites where I make offerings. I told Peabody workers
to stop digging there, there are burials. The workers called their boss
and the foreman came around. He told me they were going to put in a pond and
I said get out of there. They threatened to bulldoze me or put me in jail if I interfered
and continued bulldozing. They uncovered Anasazi and Dineh remains,
including an Anasazi leg bone, jaw bone and other body parts. That
afternoon an employee was killed. MSHA called it a high level of
negligence. We filed Citizens Complaints about the desecration and when we
were on an OSM inspection OSM told us Peabody said this was only the work
of Archeologists trying to mitigate future disturbance. David Brugge, an
Archeologist and Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act
(NAGPRA) expert and Marsha Monestersky, Consultant noted that Archeologists
do not work with bulldozers. Furthermore, we know the bulldozer operator
that works for Peabody that did this. I tried to stop powerlines from going
through the cemetery and sacred ceremonial sites. I was assured by OSM
that Peabody would reroute them and not make any further disturbance of
this area but Peabody did it anyway. And then Peabody told me I couldn't
go near that place anymore. This is my land. Peabody and OSM make up lies.
(*See attached Citizens Compliant for burial site desecration)
Current employee and resident of Peabody mining permit area
Current Peabody employee says, I had 2 cows electrocuted last week when the
power line dropped during the rain. It has 600 volts. I turned the paper
into Walter Begay, Community Relations. Scott Williams, Mine
Superintendent said not to replace my cows. He said Peabody did not drop
the power line even though it is theirs. Peabody did nothing.
Resident of Peabody permit area
Resident of Peabody permit area says, I have been living in a tent but my
tent got all wet and two times wild dogs ripped it open looking for food.
Peabody tore my house by the mine down two years ago. I now finally have a
small trailer to live in as a temporary home. But I am concerned that if
they give me water and electricity now I will not be able to get it when
they build my permanent in the mining area that they say will be about 10
years from now. I would like this future home and all services promised to
me in writing.
The reason they destroyed my original house was because they said it was
too close to the blasting area and flying rocks and debris. When they
destroyed it, they brought the logs to Hopi Partitioned Lands (HPL) in
Cactus Valley, where my husband is from, and where I am allowed no home
construction. My husband died last December and I have been having a hard
time. I was sick and lonely there but feel better being near my
sheep which are now not subject to impoundment by the US Government's
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). So, with no where else to go and my home
destroyed by the mine, I moved into a tent, then under a pick up camper shell.
There is a lot of dust from the mine. When I was camped across the road
from where I am now, on the other side of the hill when Peabody made coal
shots I could hear the vibrations and see the smoke coming from the coal
shots. There are still clouds of dust coming over to where I live. You
can see dust in this valley. Everyday there is a cloud of dust here I
breathe. You can see dust all the time. If I take a flashlight a night I
see dust in the air. In the morning it is thick and when they are
blasting. I have lived in this dust all my life and am suffering its
effects. It is a part of everyday.
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company
Current employee and resident of Peabody mining permit area says, There is
dust from the blasting that is really bad. It comes into our house. You can see the
really fine dust inside, especially between 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM when they do
the blasting everyday. I used to drive a truck in the pit. And when I went to sleep at
night, in the morning I would blow my nose and see black stuff. Sometimes
it smelled so bad I had to cover my face. Peabody always made using a mask
voluntary when they finally started having them available.
We have trouble breathing and we can feel our house shake like an
earthquake, then we see the dust coming in through closed windows. My
uncle is on a respirator. My aunt died from respiratory problems. She did
not work at the mine, she lived here as a life long resident. This was
Manymules daughter, Christine Manymules. She was the same age as Roy Tso
who just died. All their children passed on. One of Lorraine's kids has
asthma and a son that has had asthma since he was a baby. My older sister
has 1 son with asthma and my brother has 2 kids with asthma, some of them
since they were 2 years old. My mom is sick all the time and my aunt
Christine K. Begay died of respiratory problems. My uncle now lives in
Oregon. His name is Roger Begay, Jr. and he has to use a respirator. He
has Black Lung. He did drilling and was in the dust all the time. He is
dying. But in addition to working there, we live here 24 hours a day. We
can't go somewhere else. We need environmental health specialists out here.
We have many family members here that are not even hired by the mine.
There is no local preference. Some of them have to go to Phoenix to work
There is a road here, route 41 that Peabody detoured. There was a public
meeting to discuss this but by then Peabody constructed most of the road.
The Office of Surface Mining gave them a notice of violation. The BIA gave
its rubber stamp of approval and Peabody went ahead and completed road
construction. This road is hazardous. The mining haul road intersects
with a well used public road. It goes through our grazing area without our
consent. We were supposed to get this land back after reclamation. It has
been 15 years. We were told we could use it after 10 years. But when we
asked them about returning the land, we were just told, not yet. Sometimes
we loose sheep, they fall off the highwall when Peabody does blasting. I
found 1 goat down in the pit and have missed over 10 sheep recently. We
think maybe Peabody employees hit our cows. ½ weeks ago we found one of our
calves lying on the road. We still have livestock but no where to graze
them. We want the area around N-8 returned to us for
our animals to graze. We used to have winter and summer camps, all torn
down, where the old airport used to be. We can trace our families back
there 5 generations we know of right now.
Back in 1977, Peabody gave us one week notice to get out of our home.
Peabody knew we all lived with our mom and dad and had our own families starting.
We were never counted. Peabody had already begun exploratory drilling where we
were living and left these holes open. This was dangerous for our
children. They didn't even fill in the holes. Peabody told us they would
blast whether we moved out or not. Then they said they would start tearing
down the logs. The house was made out of huge logs. It was a huge house
that was precious to us because our father built it and our father selected
his own trees and used an axe to shape it all. There were 3 corrals, for
horses, sheep, cows. There were 2 shade houses with a windmill nearby
There was also grandmas house, my aunts house, her sheep corral and an
underground storage for food. We had to leave a lot of it behind. It was towards late fall
and we had to spend 2 months in a shack. There were 20 of in this shack.
We had a lot of health problems, colds. We used thick cardboard on the
walls and when it snowed we woke up in the morning with snow on our
blankets. That summer we had rattlesnakes under our bed. Then we built a
hogan. It at least had walls. We lived there for 2 years. We couldn't even put
beds in it. There were mattresses all around and a small cupboard. The blasting
at night was frequent. The roof caved in during a ceremony when we were in it.
The ceiling fell in right where our children were sitting. There is still a big crack in
the cement floor, it is splitting from the blasting damage. The only way we
could build a home was from US government relocation benefits, but most of
this money went for electric lines and a transformer, about $24,000. On
this home our windows break from the blasting but Peabody does not help us
at all. They destroyed Sagebrush and 3 other drinking water sources we
used. They never even replaced the water supplies we lost.
Peabody never offered us any compensation for the homes we lost. We asked
them for a home but got nothing. We were just listed as being with our
parents even though we each had our own families. Peabody did not do
anything for us except take our loved one away from us. My father was
killed by a sub contractor on the mine site. He would have still been
living. That was 18 years ago. We get $145 each till the year 2000. That
money does not replace our dad. When it happened there were children in
the truck. The kids never even got any kind of compensation. They were on
their way to cash his Peabody check on payday. The scraper hit the drivers
side and killed him instantly, cut his neck. The kids were all cut up with
glass, all over them. All they got from it was scars and flashbacks.
A lot of burial and sacred sites here have been destroyed. We don't even
know what they did with the bones. There are still burials along the wash,
we used overhangs and rocks and logs around it. Bones once buried should
be left alone. Have respect for them. A lot of ceremonial sites where we
did prayers at, make offerings and prayers at are all gone. The bunches of
trees we prayed to. We can't tell the area from the way it used to look.
We have to travel back to where we used to live to say our prayers. What
do Holy People think of when Peabody destroys the prayers that were done to
them. We want to protect everything. What about what was already mined?
No notice was ever given to us, they just bulldozed the sites. As kids we
found rocks with drawings on them, Anasazi pottery shards. The Anasazi
lived and cooked here, where coal used to burn all the time. Before the
mining started where coal burned underground continuously, there is a place
called "Where Coal Burns". It has a Navajo name. This is a sacred area.
It was destroyed.
Where we live is ¼ mile away from the dragline, 400 yards or 500 yards. We
can watch it from our house. We can feel the earth like an earthquake as
our house shakes and
dust is everywhere. One lady said sue MSHA for what we breathe and eat.
Our kids all have asthma. We sit in the middle of relocation and Peabody.
Half our grazing area is on HPL. Our homesite is too rocky and has no
vegetation. The other side has greenery but we can't use it because the
fence is right there. Peabody does not maintain our area and our animals
get into the reclaimed land. We fix the fence not Peabody. We have to lay
logs and our animals get in. Then Peabody threatens to haul
our animals way and gives us warnings. After it rains the dirt washes away
and what we do to keep our animals out gives way. We have to fix the fence
at night. Whey doesn't Peabody fix this fence. Where the dragline is
there is no fence and our cattle get into HPL there and are subject to
impoundment by the BIA. We want Peabody to fix the areas of fence we can
identify and install fencing by the dragline.
We want a seismograph machine by our home, blasting repair money from
Peabody and new home construction money from Peabody. We want hay or
return or our customary grazing area. We want scholarship money for our
kids. Money should be given to those of us living in the middle of the
mining and suffering from its effects. Peabody does not even give free
coal to us anymore. But what we know is that Peabody does not care for the
Wife of current employee of Peabody Coal Company
Wife of current employee of Peabody Coal Company says, when I lay down to
go to sleep I feel like I am suffocating. I have to get up at night. My
grand daughter needs asthma spray. She is only 3 years old. I have had my
breathing problem for 3 years. My son coughs a lot. My daughter is always
getting a cold.
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company and resident of Peabody permit area says,
I have itching on my hand and have sores. I worked with highwall shooting
and explosives. I have this on different places on my body and it is
spreading. I had an operation on my knee from mining explosives. Was a
shooter working with chemicals for 23 years. I worked at the Black Mesa
mine from 1972-1996.
I live by the railroad along the railroad route. The dust blows out from
the train. When it rains and the road washes out we have to dig out the
sand ourselves. Salt River Project does not help us. This is dangerous.
My family, most of them still live by the Kayenta mine are all suffering
respiratory distress. We are lifetime residents in the middle of the
mining. We were relocated by the mine. Told we would have a home built
but they put it on top of a hill where the wind blows and the roof blew off
and the wall collapsed. Peabody would not help. We didn't want a house
there but Peabody said we had no choice. There was coal burning
from beneath the ground there. So we had to buy our own materials to fix
our house and deserted it when it was unlivable. Then we built another
house and Peabody told us we had to relocate. They just told us to get
out. There was no help from Peabody. So with our own money we built
another home. Peabody promised to give us running water and electricity
but they did nothing. Two years ago our shack house blew over. We asked
Peabody for help. They said they would help but never did. I have 3
brothers living around here but all of them built their own homes, Peabody
never helped them.
When their homes blasted apart and their windows cracked, Peabody would not
help them. Sometimes rocks from blasting went right through our roof. This has
been going on for years. When they do blasting and it is windy, about 5
years ago there was a fire close to our house. Their blasting almost
burned down our home.
There is water in a well and damn near here, within our family residence.
We asked Peabody if they could turn it on for our livestock every day.
Almost all of our grazing area was taken by the mine, but they won't even
give us water. We have had to move most of our animals to Cortez where we
pay to have them on a tribal ranch. We asked for return of some of our
grazing area that has been reclaimed, they say no. Peabody and the Navajo
Nation are deciding the plan for our grazing area. This is land that
Peabody promised to return to us. J-3 was reseeded 12 years ago. We were
told 2 years ago we could use it but we are still not allowed. We want to
know why the bond was not released on N-13? We have been given no hay and
no money from Peabody
for the past 5 years for loss of grazing area. Our pond was destroyed. We
want water by our house for our livestock and our own use. A drinking
water source for 12 extended families was destroyed and needs to be
replaced. The windmill by the Lakes was also destroyed by Peabody and
needs to be replaced. The public water stand is not good for us. We want
our own windmill back like we had. The public water stand does not help
our animals. We never got electricity or water as Peabody promised. We are
denied even as we see Peabody using our water to water down the roads and
we and our livestock cannot use it.
None of my 5 children and 25 grandchildren ever got anything from Peabody.
Why don't they count? Most of my family has become displaced as a result
even though some of them like Bessie Ettisty Begay relocated three times
and finally got a house for her 3rd relocation.
Local residents should have jobs but Gary Vanderveer was laid off. He used
to live by his grandma Elsie but because of this he had to move away to
work. They used to say local preference. He was a master electrician.
Now he coughs a lot and has trouble breathing. He was a shooter at the
mine and worked in a lot of dust.
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company
Retiree from Peabody Coal Company and resident of Peabody permit area says,
I used to work as a fieldman for 22 or 23 years. And before that I worked
in the draglines. What will I do if Peabody makes me move? I live so
close to the mining and I have no place to go. Peabody will just say I am
insubordinate. They are mining right by here and they didn't ask us. They
didn't ask my father before me.
There is a lot of dust from the drag line, especially when the wind blows.
The dragline shovels out dirt and takes off the overburden. The dust goes
all the way down into the
valley. The coal is stacked too high and when the wind blows it carries
the dust into the valley. I don't want this area ruined. I have already
been fenced off from my traditional grazing area. They say they will
return the land after reclaiming it but it has been over 20 years and it
still has not been returned.
My friend Chief used to live where the Peabody airport is. I know others
that lived around here that moved. I don't know what happened to him. He
used to live ¼ mile from where I live. My old homesite is just a pile of
wood. I was scared to live there because Peabody never controlled their
blasting and they did fireballs and coal would drop in my yard. That is
the reason I moved. Peabody never gave me any compensation even though it
was dangerous for me to live where I used to. I have tried to obtain a
homesite lease to move a little ways from here so I can be farther away from
the mining but they don't want me to have the land where I was raised and
said offerings and made prayers. I think it is because they plan to mine
there. If they do this all our prayers are going to be wiped out. I heard
they took my grandpa out of his grave. I don't know where they took him.
That bothers me and violates my religion. There is no reburial in my
religion. We will still be living here after Peabody leaves. What about our
future and the future of our children and grand children? I will be happy
when the mine closes down.
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company
Current employee of Peabody Coal Company says, my family members, local
people apply for jobs but don't get it. If the mine closes down I will go
back to herding sheep. My dad will be stubborn but he is scared he will be
forced to relocate because he has just seen markers put in the ground.
Everything is hidden from us just like when we were forced to go to Fort
Sumner. We are told to just get out of the way. Sometimes people are
threatened that if they do not relocate their relatives will be fired from
their jobs. There is no way we can retaliate. But if my dad makes a stand
I will stand by him.
Resident living adjacent to mining permit area
Resident living adjacent to the coal mine says, I am aching all over. I a
m a weaver and can't get back to it because of the pain. Weaving brings
peace to my mind so I can forget the stress. There is too much stress,
livestock, BIA, lack of access to water. It is mostly the stress about
livestock reduction that is causing me to suffer. At
one time we had a lot of livestock as income and with a lot of kids we made
a living at it. Then we were told to reduce a lot, recently they told us
to reduce more. I had 29 cattle taken to the Winslow tract. The BIA
hauled them there. There were 9 calves. I heard some of them died off due
to lack of water and vegetation. That is a plains area and does not have
the same kinds of plants they ate here. I feel like part of my life is
somewhere else. When I went to the Winslow tract to brand my cows I
couldn't find 5 of them. The mothers were skinny. There is only 1 solar
well there and some animals are dying. I am counting on an injunction. I
live yards away from a water well that was capped off by the BIA. We have
to drive 30 miles each way just to haul water. I have a lot of headaches,
tummy ache, stress related confusion. I worry because I don't know what
Burial Sites destroyed in mining permit area
Girl was injured when she was 6 years old. She died and her burial was
mined through. Her father's brother died when he was 8 years old, Peabody
recently mined through the burial. There are many more instances of burial
and sacred site desecration contained in Citizens Complaints submitted to
the US Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining. Residents
were never advised of their right to keep burials in the ground and protect
them. Often people say, they were told they could watch or not watch and
there was nothing they could do to stop them (Peabody)
What follows is an excerpt from a Peabody employee who was responsible for
the damage to .....'s cemetery:
Name withheld for confidentiality, current employee of Peabody Coal Company
A lot of guys dug up Anasazi. We are not supposed to do this. It affects
us in certain ways and we have to do ceremonies to be cured. That's why
Peabody hires Medicine people to come in, when desecration happens. But
there is no prayer in our religion for reburial. When the Anasazi bones
turned up we had 4 days with no work to have these ceremonies. Tried to
find the other bones but couldn't. Some of the remains were scattered over
the whole area because they were dumping the soil it was in. The
Archeologists only screened the dump, not the whole area. Then we
replanted the whole area. I don't know where the remains are taken to but
I know they didn't pick up all the remains uncovered. I used to get
headaches, joints hurt. I saw a Medicine Man and he told me I uncovered
bones and didn't know it. I got out of the reclamation field.
Out for Black Mesa!
All Day Friday October 29, 1999 and
All Day Monday November 1, 1999
Phone Calling, Faxing, Letter Writing:
Please be polite, keep a copy and share any replies with ISCO! Thank you.
5:00 am- 2:00 pm Pacific Standard Time:
Contact: President Bill Clinton (202) 456-1111
The White House (202) 456-2461 Fax
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500 email@example.com
United States of America
-- Ask him to issue an Executive Order forbidding any forced evictions of
traditional Dine'h (Navajo) from the HPL in Arizona. Remind him the next
"deadline" is February 1, 2000. Urge him to show his commitment to human
rights here at home. Suggest this is his opportunity to leave the legacy
of his presidency by righting the wrongs against American Indians.
Contact: Asst. Attorney General Eric Holder
United States Department of Justice
PO Box 44378 (202) 514-2101
Washington DC 20026 (202) 514-0467 Fax
cc: Attorney General Janet Reno (address above)
-- Ask Mr. Holder to *not* ask the US District Court for, nor enforce
eviction notices for the Dine'h from the Hopi Partition Lands in
northeastern Arizona. Express your concern that the DOJ handle this
non-violently, with sensitivity to the Elders and different culture of the
Dine'h People. The DOJ should halt any threatening actions against US
citizens whose beliefs counter US policies that directly affect their
children, such as the traditional Dine'h resisting forced relocation from
the HPL (regardless of their "Accommodation Agreement" lease status).
Regardless of any perceived land dispute between the Hopi and Navajo, or
any settlement between the Hopi Tribe and United States, forced relocation
continues to violate traditional Dine'h (Navajo) religious, civil and
human rights. Forcing Dine'h to sign leases to settle legal claims the
Hopi Tribe has with the US is neither permanent or fair. The US must be
more "accommodating" in their problem solving and learn to stop bullying
American Indians. Remind him of the terrible outcome of their raid on the
Branch Dividians at Waco, Texas and ask him to avoid another national
tragedy! Instead, the DOJ should protect the human rights of the Dine'h.
For More Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous Support Coalition of Oregon
PO Box 11715 Eugene, OR 97440 (541) 683-2789
Sacred Lands Under Seige :::
Support Sovereign Dineh Nation
23 Oct 1999
From: Lendra Ceinwyn
To weave for the Dine'h is a prayer of thanksgiving , "the
People" whom some call Navajo. Without their sheep they cannot pray.
As of Feb1., 2000 this proud independent matriachal culture will be
forced once again to move to a "New Land", to be relocated,
which they have no word for in their language.
In 1998, President Clinton signed the Relocation Act during a golf game,
condemning the Dine'h to be moved again against their will, to "New Land"
which is filled with radioactive uranium tailings at 100 times the maximum safety level.
7 grandmothers have refused to sign over their land, and will refuse
because Big Mountain is sacred to them, the Earth their Mother,
this is their lives they refuse to hand over to the BIA, and Peabody
Coal. These 7 grandmothers are the elders of the Dine'h and represent 14,000 people.
The Dine'h people are afraid that there will be another Ruby Ridge or
Waco or Wounded Knee on or before Feb. 1
Please sign the Petition to end the genocide of the Dine'h People, and
let them continue to weave and breathe.
This is surely one of the darkest episodes in our history.
Sign Online Petition in Support of Navajo Elders
Ya'a' te & Aloha All...
The Altar-Land at Black Mesa is one of the sacred power-centers
of our planet, and the balance of all life is being jeopardized by the
ruthless and brutal rape of this mineral-rich area adjacent to the Grand
My Aunty, Roberta Blackgoat, is one of the "resistors", or traditional
elders, who is holding out till the last, faced with guns, bulldozers,
barbed wire, helicopters, and constant harrassment... in order to protect
the medicine ways and family ties to this sacred place, now referred to
simply as "Big Mountain."
The extent of the conflict, the war of attrition carried out by U.S. &
multinational corporate terrorists, and the total ecocide of the North
section of Black Mesa (literally turned into a "hell on Earth"!) by
United Energy & Peabody Coal through stripmining, is difficult to
convey in words, or even pictures.
Please take a short time out of your lives and visit the links below,
watch ::: "Vanishing Prayer" (RealPlayer)
Sign the online petition at SENAA, and after you've reviewed the
situation, please send your letters of protest to the people below.
Having lived out there with the elders, and walked in the footsteps
of the ancients, having listened to the Hopi Prophecies, and the
wisdom of the medicine carriers, I can testify to the importance
of this struggle for sovereignty and self-determination, both
culturally and ecologically. Walk the Altar-Land yourself, and
feel the Spirit move in and around you...
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Emilio Zapata, and Lili'uokalani
BZ Bonoboy Hilo, Kingdom of Hawai'i
Protests & Support for Elders to:::
Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt
BIA Office of Congressional & Legislative Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior ::: BIA West
National Academy of Public Administration
Comments to email@example.com
(Panel Urges Major Reforms at the Bureau of Indian Affairs)
FIGHTING THE BIA's "FINAL SOLUTION"
by Al Swilling
Kosovo is not the only place in the world conducting human rights abuses and
ethnic cleansing. What the U.S. government doesn't want the Americanpublic
to know is that the same crimes that NATO forces were so determined tostop
in Kosovo are happening right now within United States borders. The
following video outlines the story of the Dine'h (Navajo) who live at Big
Mountain, on the Black Mesa, in northeastern Arizona.
For the past 25 years, the Dine'h have been the victims of greed and
government oppression in the extreme. Abandoned by their own tribal
council by orders of the federal government, the Dine'h have been stripped of
virtually every human, civil, and constitutional right because they refuse
to leave their ancestral homeland and relocate into the only alternative
provided by the U.S. government, which is known as the "New Land," land
that is contaminated with uranium tailings that have rendered the land
useless, with radiation levels 100 times maximum safe levels.
Now the Dine'h face a deadline of February 1, 2000, to relocate. The Bureau
of Indian Affairs (BIA) has sworn that it will execute its "Final Solution"
before the deadline. The Dine'h at Big Mountain fear that the BIA's "Final
Solution" will be similar to the solutions executed at Waco, Ruby Ridge, and
Wounded Knee; with only the BIA remaining to tell the American public
whatever it wants the public to believe and no one surviving to say otherwise.
This video presentation conveys as no words can the story of the Dine'h of
Black Mesa and the reasons for their suffering.
If you would like a copy of the videotape, VANISHING PRAYER Genocide of
the Dineh, it is available by contacting Steve Sugarman at:
firstname.lastname@example.org ,or from Sol Communications at
VIEW "Vanishing Prayer" (RealPlayer)
We hope that you will join our battle to help the Dine'h remain on their
ancestral homeland and to stop the ethnic cleansing and human rights
violations being perpetrated by the federal government.
The Dine'h now survive almost totally on charitable contributions. We hope
that you will join SENAA and others across the nation in helping to fight
for these proud and peaceful people. For more photos and in-depth articles,
etc., about the plight of the Dine'h people, visit SENAA's web site
NEWSLETTER at: <http://members.xoom.com/senaa/index2.html .
If you want to get involved and make a difference for the Dine'h and for
your children and grandchildren's future, contact Al Swilling at:
Contributions to help the Dine'h, can be mailed to: SEE 20110 Rockport Way
Malibu, CA 90265
Audio File (RealAudio)
"Resource Extraction and the Genocide of the Navajo People"
by Jackie A. Giuliano Ph.D
The View from the Hogan 7
107 Days till the final solution
Notes from Big Mountain
First off, a point of terminology. I have been instructed to avoid using the
word"HPL" in my writing. The words HPL, JUA, Navajo Reservation, etc etc,
are deeply painful and offensive. These words refer to lines drawn on maps
and in the minds of those in Washington ( and their followers). They are not
real, they divide that which is whole.
I will refer to the land where these words are being written as The Altar.
The reasoning is this: Within the four sacred mountains that encompass
Navajo land, is the hogan for the Dineh people. When a hogan is built to
live in, it is a model of this Macrocosmic Hogan. This is why Ceremonies
must take place inside a Hogan. This is also why bulldozing of Hogans is
such an abominable and sacreligious crime.
Within the Ceremonial Hogans is a space used for an altar. Within the
Macrocosmic Hogan this space correlates to the Big Mountain area.
We hear of many events and prayer vigils taking place in the first week
of October at U.S. Embassies abroad in support of the people here and against
the continued genocide. To all of you who have worked hard at setting up
these events, we send our prayers and thanks, as well as to all those who
give of their precious time to attend these events. Let us hope that the
hearts of those in Washington will be touched.
As Sitting Bull said "As individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all
together we make a mighty fist."
There is a good letter circulating on the Net from "the people of the land
known as America" to the clowns in Washington. contact Beth at email@example.com
and ask her to send you a copy. If you like what it says, then you just send
Beth your name and address and it will get appended.
The Men In Black continue to visit Paulines land on a daily basis. They
recently stopped at the site of this past summers Education/Witness camp,
and -horror of horrors- they discovered a piece of soggy cardboard
approximatley one foot square, and a small brown bottle that at one point
contained ginger beer. Barely able to contain their outrage, many
photographs were taken of the offending material, and they rushed back to
HQ as fast as possible. Imagine the scene, the BIA War room,... a group of
Very Important People cluster around the photos trying to decide what action
to take against this latest outrage. Smart young men and women stride across
the room with the latest satelite images.
In the end they settle on an armed convoy composed of Hopi Rangers, BIA
police, US marshalls, County Sherrifs, FBI and ATF, with a couple of
National Guard Helicopter Gunships for back-up. Maybe I'm exaggerating
SLIGHTLY, but what continues to take place here is a farce on a hugely
criminal level, and sometimes I find humor to be my only defense against
Meanwhile, the real criminals, the BIA impoundment squads, continue to
snatch the peoples animals even though there is more grass than could be
consumed by flocks ten times as large. Of course we knew they were coming
because the roads were graded. Normally the roads we travel are so bad they
couldn't be classified as jeep trails, only last week I had to rush a woman
to hospital in the middle of the night. A 75 mile journey took 2 and a half
hours, each bump, rut and pot hole slowing us down and causing pain to my
But when the BIA need to come in on a lightning raid to take the peoples
animals, out come the dozers and graders to give them a nice smooth, fast
ride. Your tax dollars hard at work.
What may not be at all clear to y'all out there is that this is all
executed as military operations, these are para-military, multi-agency
"squads" whose only aim is to cause fear and hardship. Loaded down with
weapons and all the hi-tech toys money can by, elders who are alone are
The following is a quote from Big Mountain Newsletter.
The people of Big Mountain and the Joint Use Area say they are being
terrorized. They cite jet airplanes flying so low that the pilot is visible,
BIA trucks cruising the Survival Camp and the peoples hogans, helicopters,
and the apparent sabotage of wells and windmills, and so on. The government
has answers for most of the charges, saying for instance that the jet
flights are "routine" training patterns, the helicopters are "surveying" and
the trucks are "conducting a census". The government says the people are
being "over dramatic" in their reactions.
In the 1960's these same people said that they were attacked with poisonous
gases from airplanes, killing their livestock. It wasn't until years later,
when the white citizenry of Globe, Arizona, received a similar attack, that
the U.S. admitted it had been using 2,4,5-T, an incredibly toxic pesticide,
for "brush control" without proper safeguards.
Even if the latest actions are in fact "routine", the question remains why
all of these activities should suddenly escalate in the few months just
prior to the July deadline for Navajo removal.
The governments position on the jet flights is typical: the Air Force
insists it is just running a normal training pattern which happens to pass
directly over Big Mountain. Challenged at a recent hearing as to why the
flights were necessary, and whether similar flights were scheduled over
non-indian communities, the Air Force declined to explain.
Spokespersons noted that it would not change the flights just to please the
indians, regardless of ceremonies or other problems with the flights.
Parents claimed the flights terrified their young children at school and
literally knocked the elderly out of bed. Religious ceremonies are also
disrupted and the livestock are scattered by the flights. The Air Force
admits that it flies as low as 400 feet.
Bottom line is that these Indian people are being subjected to procedures
which the government wouldn't think of directing towards white communities.
In this case the people under attack are the traditional Navajo and Hopi
people of the Joint Use Area, already under incredible pressure due to 12
years of implementation of the Relocation Act. The result is terror.
That was written 14 years ago, and nothings changed..... its been going on
the whole time since, and the view from the Hogan is inescapable that this
is war, low-intensity maybe, but war nonetheless. One thing I am sure of, is
that both the people who plan this campaign of harassment and those that
carry it out, watch waaay too much TV.
How is it that a war against Indians has been and is still being fought on
this continent for the past 30 years, and most people are only just finding
out about it now?
So, we are hurtling towards two big dates. January 1st, 2000 and February
1st, 2000. I find it hard to get excited about the Millenium, some Roman
dude, way back when, decides to change his peoples calendar and start time
from a new date, how is that real? ......And anyway, don't most people know
that the year begins on November 1st?
When I think of Y2K, my first reaction is, how utterly terrifying it must
be, to live in a world that is so unstable that a couple of digits on a
silicon chip has the potential to bring it all tumbling down.
My second thought is how absurd it is, that here on the Altar, are people
who have the knowledge, skills, and most importantly, the wisdom, to live
without an infantile dependence on the Technostructure, and yet the dominant
society is hell-bent on rubbing out these people rather than listening to
them and learning from them. If, in a worst case scenario (barring Nuclear
Winter), the technostructure does collapse, then we here on the Altar will
have to make a few minor adjustments to our lifestyle ( though as I am now
a cyber-slut, I'd surely miss conversing with all you good folks out there),
but overall the benefits would be enormous.
The mine will close down. The sky will be free of huge, noisy, chunks of
metal hurtling towards La La Land with Very Important People on board, and
the Men in Black will cease harassing us as the coal will be worthless. It
would be my guess that many of you who have not been here cannot truly
imagine what it is like to live outside of the Technostructure, without
electricity, without plumbing, with the closest small store 20 miles away,
asphalt road 30 miles away, telephone 36miles away, post office 40+ miles
away, supermarket 74 miles away.
The people here have never had these "amenities",... in what I consider a
dumb move, the U.S. made it illegal for the people to "develop", hoping to
encourage the people to leave, but what its caused is that the people
continued with a way of life that has changed little for generations, and
life is lived in a good way, depending on those most basic resources, brains
and bodies, something most of us have, life is generous.
There is an often voiced belief "out there" that everybody in the world is
so desperate to achieve the "American way of life", but I must tell you, it
just ain't so.
A little story may show this.Some years ago, when I was living with my
Grandma and Grandpa, I figured that the price of a simple solar power system
was low enough for me to be able to raise the funds, so I asked my Grandma
what she would use electricity for if I could supply it. I needed to figure
what size system to work on. Her eyes immediately lit up, "an electric
light,".... for the hogan in winter, so she could weave. Like many elderly
people, her eyesight was not as sharp as it used to be, and with a keresone
lamp the colors of the yarns were hard to see, so on the long winter nights
she wasn't able to weave. " What else would you like" I asked. She thought
for a while, and then said " an iron, to iron the rugs after they are
finished". "Anything else" I asked. She thought, and thought....." how about
a microwave oven? refrigerator? TV?. She laughed. That was all she could
think of to do with electricity, make it so she could spend even more hours
sittin at the loom.
Around this time I sat down and figured out how much these elderly women
were getting paid to weave these beautiful rugs. Figuring in the time it
takes to raise the sheep, shear, wash, clean, card, spin, dye the wool, set
up the loom, and then do the weaving, I reckoned they were lucky if they
were getting 2 bucks an hour.
So any of you in the market for a genuine navajo rug, please bear in mind
what a deal you're getting. On the subject of rugs, for those of you in the
neighbourhood of Missoula, Montana, there is an exhibition of approximately
50 rugs from the resisters here at the Art Gallery, in the University. These
are the real things, and the show runs till Oct 31st. I saw some of the rugs
on their way up there, and there is some beautiful work.
I would be out of line to have a favorite, but Fanny Goys rugs are
particularly fine. Roberta Blackgoat will be in town for a reception on
Saturday the 30th, so that would certainly be worth attending. On the
subject of Robertas travels, she will be in Washington DC during the second
week of November. I don't have any locations or dates for her appearances
there, but for sure she will be at the concert where Blackfire are playing.
Presuming of course we survive Y2K, we then come to February 1st, 2000. Who
knows what is going to happen? The Feds and the HTC know, but they ain't
saying. There have been deadlines before, and a pattern has emerged. Threats
of forced evictions are broadcast, support is mobilized, the media takes an
interest, the deadline arrives, nothing happens, the media lose interest,
support wanes, and back to the daily grind of low-intensity warfare and siege tactics.
Maybe that will happen again, but maybe not. Warmaker is not known for
making rational decisions, so it's best to plan for all eventualities.
Back in the real world, the weather has changed. It hasn't rained for some
weeks now. Back to the usual intense blue dome above. The sun is much lower
in the sky, the shadows are larger, the colors richer, and the days shorter.
The Dineh name for this moon is "back to back", where the two seasons touch.
The corn's all harvested, primary chore now is to bring in, cut, and chop
firewood for the coming winter. There is already a nip in the night air, a
killing frost took out my squash and tomato plant a few weeks ago.
Like most life-sustaining activities round here, cutting firewood is illegal
according to the Feds and the HTC. I know for a fact that sons of two of
the Grandmas went into Hopi Tribal Offices to get a woodcutting permit and
left without one, so even though no-ones been arrested in a while for cutting
wood, it is one more stress and worry on the people.
I've been too busy with the flock and the firewood to take advantage of the
other bumper harvest this year, Pinyon nuts, a much favored delicacy.
Travelling across the Altar one sees people out, under the trees, collecting
as much as possible before the 4 legged and winged get their share.
The sight of people collecting free food always feels festive to me. I
stopped by Robertas place late one afternoon after she had been out picking
all day. We sat in front of her house and watched her sheepherder bring home
the flock. Behind us, on her door, was a simple sign that reads:
Entering Sovereign Dineh Nation Thin Rock Mesa All are welcome who repect
the land, life, and law of the Dineh Warning! Federal, state, and tribal
personnel, your jurisdiction does not apply here Your actions will be counter-acted.
Similar signs are re-appearing around the Altar. As we sat, a huge strange
looking object flew slowly over us. grabbing noculars I saw that it was the
Space Shuttle, piggy-backed on a big jet transport. I explained to Roberta
what the space shuttle was, and how it put all the satellites up in the sky,
and how some of those satellites can take pictures of us here on the ground.
Her eyes immediately lit up, "we should write SUE THE CREATOR out there"
she said, pointing to the land out in front of the house, Sooo there is now a
message being laid out on the ground in front of her place, so if you happen
to be an owner or operator of a spy satellite, point it to:
36 degrees 14 minutes 79 seconds N 110 degrees 38 minutes 62 seconds W
Also if you are a pilot or photographer who wants to take some pictures of this
message, you're welcome.
One final thought on Y2K, we hear of big bucks being made by supplying Y2K
survival information, so, I make the following offer; for a mere fifty bucks
a day, you are invited to the BOPEEP Y2K SURVIVAL SCHOOL, topics covered
How to avaoid freezing by using an axe. How to avoid thirst by walking to a
spring with a bucket. How to avoid starvation by grubbing around in dirt and
blood and guts. How to repair just about anything with baling wire. 1001
things to do when your television doesn't work. etc etc.
We human beings are an incredible species. Our brains and bodies are
perfectly capable of doing all thats necesesary to keep life going in a good
way, but more than that, we are capable of profoundly beautiful acts of
love, kindness, and generosity. Yet we are taught to feel powerless and to
fear each other and to fear life itself. Why? (I am reliably informed that
that is a rhetorical question) But then, what the hell do I know,........
I'm just a sheepherder.
"We need to be kinder to each other" Your prayers, support, and
correspondence are invited. I thank you for your time that you have given
me by reading this. For all my relations Bo Peep reachable via
P.S. To all those who have written to me, please be aware that owing to the
pressing needs of the flock, the firewood, and the Grandmas, the office is
sometimes left unattended for days at a time. It may take as long as a half
moon between when you write, and when you hear back from me. Around here the
information superhighway is a muddy jeep trail. Please be patient, you will
hear from me. If you have received this update as a forward, but want to
sure of getting them in the future, please let me know and I will add you to
the list. Also if there are any "back issues" you don't have, again, let me
know. Please feel free to distribute (unedited) this email
DINEH ALERT - NEW ENGLAND
From: Pam <firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: more help
Sept. 27, 1999
Dear Friends, I am writing on behalf of a group of people who have come
together to help with this crisis, we are calling ourselves Friends of
Big Mountain and we are very inspired by all of the hard work you are doing
and we hope to be of help. We have put together a gathering in Amherst
Ma. in the commons on Oct2, we will be holding a prayer vigil, as far as
we can tell at this point a couple hundred people will be coming, we have
been advertising by radio and flyers, we have attended Pow Wows, colleges
(of which there are many in this area) we have gotten an overwhelming response,
we have set up a website that directly allows people to send along an e-mail
to their elected official. Please check it and let us know if there is
any other way we help, the web address is visionquests.com everything you
need is right on thefront page. Let us know what you think and what other
ways can we improve the site.
Blessings and Light to All
FUNDS TO RANSOM RENA'S SHEEP & HORSES
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 02:18:35 -0700
I just got a message from Rita Sebastian that the BIA confiscated 30 sheep
and 3 horses belonging to Rena Babbitt Lane, and are holding them at Keams
Canyon. Rena was also threatened by the BIA who told her that if she signs
the "Accommodation Agreement" she'll get a permit to keep some of her
animals, but if she doesn't sign, the BIA will confiscate ALL her livestock
in 5 days. This is illegal and even against the ordinance under which the
BIA is carrying out these so-called "impoundments," which are really
intended to starve and destroy the Dine' and all those who resist expulsion.
It will cost $1,200 to ransom back these animals from the BIA. We need to
raise the money as fast as possible.
Please spread the word... Also, Sen. McCain, who's running for president,
will be at the Borders Bookstore on School Street in Boston on Friday,
9/25, from 12:15 to 2 p.m. and we are organizing a demonstration here.
McCain was the main supporter and architect of the 1996 Accommodation
Agreement in Congress, and is the key person in the Congress to whom
everyone else in Congress defers on this issue of what is being done to the
people and the land of Black Mesa.
Please call me in Boston at 617-796-0396 tomorrow at work for more
details, or email me at email@example.com (work) and copy me at home:
-- Carol S. Halberstadt, Migrations
Native American art and crafts
BACK to TOP
*********************************Navajo suit against Peabody Coal moves forward
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 1999 8:27 PM
Confederation of Elders of America
From: Robert Dorman <firstname.lastname@example.org
In the following message, the web site listed as
www.att.net/~ciepa apparently is not accessable
except by subscribers to AT&T WorldNet® Service.
I am trying to get this problem resolved and
will post any update.
From: AlexCarmen Perez <email@example.com
Thank you for responding so quickly. I'm sorry we took so long to
reply. We have been very busy with this project. All the help you can
give us will be greatly appreciated.
On September 28 thru October 10, we are hoping to gather over 400
Indigenous Elders from North, South and Central America. A gathering
like this has never happened here in the United States. It will be
taking place in three different sights here in New Mexico. These Elders
will gather in unity to make a declaration to the world for the sake of
the Earth and all of its inhabitants.
Terry Fischer, one of the board members of the organizing committee, was
here today and I gave her a copy of your e-mail to us. She will be
sending you more info. too.
The website for CIEPA (Confederation of Indigenous Elders and priests of
America) is www.att.net/~ciepa. E-mail address is
Thanks for your interest in this most auspicious event.
Alex and Carmen Perez
Panel urges major reforms at
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Without additional personnel and major management and
organizational reforms, the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian
Affairs will be unable to fully meet its responsibilities to the 1.2
million American Indians and Alaska Natives it serves and to operate an
effective and efficient agency, according to a report by a panel of the
National Academy of Public Administration.
The comprehensive review of BIA's management and organization found
that BIA does not have the capacity to effectively "perform basic federal
functions of accounting, property management, human resources management,
procurement, and information resources management."
Back to TOP
Subject: Dineh Matriarch's defiance Update.....
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 14:54:28 MST
This outgoing update has a limited mailing list from the previous one
concerning Pauline Whitesinger resisting Police Order. Please, distribute
this far and wide, and also, take note that this is not being posted on
any other host sites.
On Friday September 10, 1999, Pauline and supporter Ms. Swangeagle
returned from doing business outside the HPL when they notice that large sized,
hiking boots prints led up to the site of the Peace Camp. There they saw
a posted notice that was put up by the BIA Hopi Agents (either the
Monitorers or the Police). Excepts from the posted noticed said:
THIS NOTICE IS FOR:
-PAULINE WHITESINGER, BONNIE WHITESINGER, BOB CHAD, MS. SWANEAGLE, AND
THE OTHER CAUCASIAN WOMAN' NAMED CONNIE.[This must have referred to a
supporter named, Carrie and also, Ms. Swaneagle's six yr. old daughter, Taina, was
YOUR ARE ALL WHEREBY BEING ASKED TO DISMANTLED THIS 'UNATHORIZED'
STRUCTURE IMMEDIATELY. THIS 'UNATHORIZED' STRUCTURE IS INDICATING THAT IT IS
INTENDED TO BE USE FOR PERMANENT PURPOSES. FAILURE TO DISMANTLED THIS STRUCTURE WILL RESULT IN THE APPROPRIATE INSTITUTION OF LEGAL PROCESS IN ORDER TO REINSURE 'HOPI RIGHTS.'
Dineh Non-Signer, Pauline Whitesinger, was in Flagstaff last night and
was wanting to have someone (supporters) to send additional message out on
her behalf. She had, also, wish for another translation of this notice, but
even I (Bahe) can't translate what the term "result in the appropriate
'institution' of legal process" means or how I can translate that to a
traditional Dineh elder. Pauline is still determine to resist this order
and wants immediate witnesses at her cornfield where the Peace Camp is
Myself and the Black Mesa Indigenous Support group will try our very best
to get recording or documenting resources up there. A couple of supporters
have gone up this pass weekend, and we're hoping to hear more by Monday.
If anyone with some legal understanding can help us what that terminology
means, please, inform us so that we can let Pauline know. Also, take note
that Pauline feels that no American attorney will adequately represent
her case. She wants to represent herself in case this results in going to
Lets hope she does not get arrested or harm. I (Bahe) want to reaffirmed
that the Deadline for Support networking for Feb. 2000 has passed! So,
please do what you can do to intervene with this BIA threat. We realize
many of you cannot come out. However, from here on we must all take extreme
considerations for on-land strategies to take hold as many Non-Signers
Pauline has said while in Flagstaff that, Supporters need to spread the
message that more helpers/witnesses are needed throughout the coming fall
and winter. People need to commit themselves to stay for a short or
long-term on the land (HPL). Again, they must try to be self-sufficient,
strong minded: mentally and spiritually, physically healthy, and believe
in the implementation of appropriate Human Rights. Also, if you have
alternative media contacts please get their interests. Finally, we ask
for further efforts in raising awareness and perhaps, through local to large
musical events. We must all stress that THIS IS NOT A DINEH (NAVAJO)
VERSUS HOPI ISSUE, BUT THE US GOV'T WILL USE THIS AS A COVER-UP UP UNTIL FEB.
2000!! For more information, please contact the Black Mesa Indigenous
Support at 520-773-8086 and leave all information needed on the Voice
Or contact myself at this e-mail address.
We thank you for your time and prayers.
In the Spirit of Chief Barboncito, Bahe
Bob Dorman, KD7FIZ
TO ALL CONCERNED
On Saturday and Sunday, 2-3 October 1999, an international demonstration
will take place in Sweden, England, the Netherlands, and the United States east
and west coasts. Demonstrators from other nations are expected to participate,
as well. This will be a peaceful demonstration to protest the ethnic
cleansing and human rights violations being committed by the United States
government within its own borders.
The Southeastern Native American Alliance (SENAA) is now organizing a
protest demonstration to protest the human rights violations and attempted
genocide of the Dine'h people at Big Mountain, Black Mesa, Arizona. We will hold
simultaneous demonstrations in front of the United Nations building in New
York City; in front of the White House and Capitol Building in Washington,
DC; and at Los Angeles, California, on the U.S. Pacific coast. In England, the
Netherlands, and Sweden, at the same time as U.S. demonstrations, protests
will be held in front of the U.S. embassies in those countries. On the
nights of the 2nd and 3rd, candlelight prayer vigils will be held to invoke
Creator's power to help the Dine'h--to help us all.
If you have seen the video, "VANISHING PRAYER Genocide of the Dine," that
SENAA currently has on http://www.freespeech.org/senaa , then you have
some idea why SENAA has organized this protest demonstration. If you wish to
know more, or are unfamiliar with the ordeal that the Dine'h (Navajo) people
are facing and the impact that it can have on every living American citizen,
SENAA urges you to visit its web site Newsletter at:
also visit Robert Dorman's web site at:
for links and other articles concerning the Dine'h at Big Mountain.
Everyone who values his or her freedom and rights to "life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness," is urged to join SENAA and other supporters in
these demonstrations. If you are in a nation other than England, the Netherlands
or Sweden, but you value liberty and human rights, SENAA urges you to
organize a peaceful demonstration of protest in front of the U.S. embassy in your
nation's capitol and join us in telling the United States government that
we cannot and will not tolerate their practices of genocide and human rights
violations, whether those violations occur within its own borders or
elsewhere. It is hypocritical, to say the least, for the U.S. government
to join NATO forces in bombing Kosovo because of human rights violations when
the U.S. is guilty of exactly the same behavior inside its own national
I, SENAA's president and founder, will be at the DC demonstration. Ellis
Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) is in charge of the UN demonstration.
Matt Davison (email@example.com) is organizing the Los Angeles demonstration.
Fred Buma (firstname.lastname@example.org) is organizing the Netherlands demonstration.
Jim Bomford (email@example.com) is organizing the London, England, demonstration;
and Carina Gustafsson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the
Swedish American Indian Association are organizing the Stockholm, Sweden,
demonstration. Canadian supporters are planning to demonstrate, also, but
no word yet on where or who is organizing the demonstration there.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Thank you in advance to
those of you who decide to join this demonstration. We need your help in
NYC, DC, in Los Angeles, the Netherlands, England, Sweden, or wherever in the
world you plan to participate in this demonstration.
Visit our home page at:
Visit our newsletter at: http://members.xoom.com/senaa/index2.html
BACK TO TOP
Subject: Elder Resist Police
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 13:50:18 MST
Following is a recent update from the land. Due to lack of resources for
us to maintain mobilization on the land, this outgoing update is two days
later, and I'm hoping very much that nothing else more seriously has
developed since this pass Thursday.
On Thursday September 9, 1999, several members of the BIA-Hopi Range
Monitorers and their BIA-Hopi Agency Police escort arrived at Pauline
Whitesinger's cornfield in western Big Mountain. The Monitorers had
targeted a supporters' camp that is currently set-up for the intention to help
elder/Non-signer, Pauline Whitesinger, with her fall harvest.
Furthermore, it has been perviously mentioned in recent updates since the Educational
Witness Camp of 1999, and Pauline's earlier confrontation with Monitorer
intrusion at the same field that, Pauline has been advocating for
supporters to begin organizing means to assist her and other Non-signers in setting
up more Witness Camps.
The awareness is out there by now as to who Pauline Whitesinger is. Not
only has she been the one to IGNITE THE REBIRTH OF THE DINEH RESISTANCE when
she forced the BIA fencing crew to leave her land in fall of 1977, but she
still resists and confronts any Federal Relocation Mandate activities because
her land has hosted numerous important Dineh resistance conferences
throughout the end to the 1970s. These conferences were like the Fifth International
Indian Treaty Conference, Seven Day Conference for Dineh-Hopi Unity,
Summits with Assistance to the Sec. of Int., Rick Lavis and AZ-Senator Barry
Goldwater (Summits were possible through forced dialogue by the Dineh resistors), and the Big Mountain Dineh Nation Resistance's Tenth Anniversary gathering. Today, she continues to declare that she will defend her ancestral homelands, and that she will continue to defy any BIA or
Federal Court Orders to subdue her cultural existence.
This passed Thursday the Range Monitors took numerous photographs of the
"Peace Camp" where Ms. Swangeagle, her six year old daughter, and another
Supporter were staying to keep the crows from destroying the corn, and to
keep an eye on the Evil Crows of the US government. Pauline and her
Supporters were informed that they will have to take the whole camp down,
and further threatened to put a stop to all support activities near and
around Pauline's useage area. It is very certain that the Monitorers and
the Police will return immediately to see if their orders were carried out.
However, Pauline has vowed to keep her supporters and keep the camp up.
This Non-Signer and elder Matriarch of the Dineh Resistance has said she is
prepared to face the Police's intentions to forcibly remove or tear down
the "Peace Camp."
She asked all concerned individuals to begin to seriously think of
assisting her and other Non-Signer resistors by showing their presence on the land
and be prepared to initiate the REAL PROCESS OF DEMOCRACY. "People are
needed up here. People who are willing with much respect to listen to the
guidance of the elders, and having the strong beliefs in Human Rights.
Now, is the time for us all to start working on strategies from this Front! We
can no longer allow them (BIA/USG) to just scare us with their threats or
let them watch us panic. It is our turn to see them intrude from, here,
the Base Camp of the Dineh Elder Resistors."
I will conclude with my comment. Pauline's will to perserve her and my
ancestral signatures that we did had a prosperous Dineh culture (once
upon a time) is definitely strong and unimagineable. Even, I can't image how
these Elders can withstand the greatest Evil forces of the US government and
its BIA gustopos. But the reality is we are a few who really believe in
making our presence on the land. We've all witnessed it, and I even noticed it
here in northern Arizona. I hear many talking BIG and it all becomes nothing
but little puffs of steam. When this call came to us here in Flagstaff,
Supporters had no gas money, cars were breaking down, and some of us had
already had other commitments to help other Non-Signers who all spread
throughout the over one thousand square of mile of reservation lands.
Certainly, all we can do is turn to you all, and hope that, no one gets
hauled off to jail or get hurt.
Honor the Elders of the Red Nations.
Honor the Songs of Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.
"Out in the middle of the wide open pairie,
I am the only Red Man left. I ride alone across the wide open pairie
I am alone. He ye ye ya, He ye ye ya."
In the Spirit of Chief Barboncito, Bahe
Date: 10 Sep 1999 23:47:34 -0000
Subject: Urgent: Message from Mark White Bull
A message from the Activist Shop
Please post and pass on freely!
In response to a message we received from Mr. White Bull, and after
verification of it's authenticity, we have posted
on site this important issue! Please go to
and click on the link: Urgent Message from Mark White Bull.
Please, your assistance and support is badly needed!
Note: This analysis was written by Gabor Rona of the Center for Constitutional Rights and is reproduced with permission of the author. I converted the original file that Gabor emailed to me on March 8th into HTML.
|Submitted by:||Gabor Rona
Senior Staff Attorney
Center for Constitutional Rights
New York, NY 10012
|Date:||March 1, 1999|
In continuing pursuit of a policy whose effects, if not means, are indistinguishable from the ethnic cleansing and genocide visited on Native peoples throughout American history, the United States seeks to relocate all Navajo (Dineh) people living on that portion of traditional Navajo lands recently designated by the government to be for the exclusive use and occupancy of the Hopi. This policy is the solution to a non-existent but cleverly manufactured range war between the Hopi and Navajo, who have, in fact, coexisted peaceably for many generations. How and why has this happened?
Events leading to removal of the Navajo can be traced back to the 1864 Long Walk, or forced relocation by Kit Carson of 10,000 Navajo from their ancestral homeland. The belief that gold was abundant in Navajo territory enabled settlers, with the aid of the U.S. military, to easily overcome any concerns they may have had about the Navajos explicit rights to live unmolested in their ancient territory.1 The 7,000 survivors of the march were concentrated at Ft. Sumner, where many more died in the barbaric conditions of their internment. Meanwhile, hostilities between the Navajo and the U.S. were brought to an official end in an 1868 treaty, reserving for the Navajo, territory spanning the borders of present-day Arizona and New Mexico. In subsequent decades, the U.S. pushed the Navajo westward by forcing them to cede eastern portions of their treaty lands. Eventually, the Navajo surrounded the much smaller Hopi Nation. In 1882, President Chester Arthur issued an Executive Order establishing the territory as a reservation for the Hopi and Navajo.
By the early 20th century, oil was discovered on Navajo lands, but with a readily visible governing structure lacking, the already reluctant Navajo were unable to approve oil leases required to legitimize the intrusion. In 1922, with the prodding of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Indian agent, the U.S. imposed a federally-approved government on the Navajo (including careful selection of its leaders) to facilitate the tribes approval of oil leases sought by Standard Oil.
In 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act.2 Under the guise of support for the ideal of self-determination, tribes were encouraged and pressured to establish electoral, representative governments that oil and mining companies and the BIA could more easily control than they could traditional leadership. In 1936, an election boycotted by the majority of Hopi opposed to non-traditional governance, established a government recognized by the U.S.
Unsettled boundary issues between the Hopi and Navajo remained an obstacle to mineral leasing interests. The 1882 Executive Order establishing the Hopi and Navajo Reservation did not establish distinct Hopi and Navajo areas. In 1941, the BIA designated a portion of the 1882 reservation exclusively for Hopi use, and the remainder, as Navajo/Hopi Joint Use Area.
In the 1950's, lawyers seeking self-enrichment at the expense of the tribes, insinuated themselves, with BIA approval, as counsel for tribal governments formed through their efforts. John Boyden, a Salt Lake City lawyer was retained as Hopi counsel. Boyden, a Mormon Deacon, also represented the Peabody Coal Co. and was counsel for the Mormon Church, which owned a controlling interest in Peabody Coal. (Thus, Peabody eventually gained subsurface rights on exclusive Hopi territory for a fraction of fees paid elsewhere, and continues to lease mineral rights in Navajo/Hopi territory to this day.) Attorney Norman Littell was hired by the Navajo Tribal Council. His contract provided him with 10% of coal revenues. Both lawyers were also motivated by statutory fees of 10% in Indian Claims Commission (I.C.C.) cases, seeking damages for wrongful taking of native lands. Only after accepting settlements did tribes typically learn the real purpose of the I.C.C.: to settle land claims by paying a pittance, and thereby foreclose actions to recover lands wrongfully taken. Both lawyers were instrumental in the creation of tribal governments willing to sign mineral leases and to pursue I.C.C. claims. Under their lawyers guidance, the tribes filed a collusive lawsuit against each other in 19583, each tribe claiming the entire 1882 reservation. Decided in 1962, the case basically affirms the 1941 BIA designation of a portion of the reservation as exclusive Hopi land, and the rest, as Joint Use Area.
High grade, low sulphur, strippable coal was discovered on exclusive Hopi land and Joint Use land in the 1960's. Hopi/Peabody leases were signed in 1966. A lawsuit was brought by traditional Hopi, challenging the authority of their putative government and alleging contamination and depletion of surface and ground water,4 destruction of 4,000 ancient Anasazi Cliff dwellings and desecration of burial and other sacred sites.5 The suit was dismissed for failure to join an indispensable party (the Hopi tribe) that could not be joined due to sovereign immunity. By its ruling, the Court simply avoided the claim that the recognized government was fraudulently imposed.
Exploitation of Joint Use land continued to be problematic, given dual tribal interests, but the lawyers had a solution. Coinciding with the pressures of the 1970's energy crisis, and long before Wag the Dog, the attorneys and mining interests planted stories about a budding range war between Hopi and Navajo (there is even evidence that Boyden retained a P.R. firm to promote the story) and lobbied hard for federal legislation that was required to separate Hopi and Navajo interests. In 1974, with little opportunity for input from tribal people, Congress passed the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act,6 dividing the Joint Use Area into Navajo Partition Land (NPL), on which lived 100 Hopi, and Hopi Partition Land (HPL), on which lived 13,000 Navajo. Those on the wrong side of the line were required to relocate.7
Over the course of the next decade, thousands of Navajo were evicted from their homes and sacred lands. In 1988, Manybeads v. U.S.8 was filed to stop the relocations. The class action challenges the Navajo relocation primarily by alleging that it destroys the Navajos right to exercise site-specific religion. The Court dismissed, stating, among other things, that relocation benefits (provided by the U.S.) would be the envy of countless millions in other countries. The 9th Circuit detoured the case into mediation, which was wrestled from the grasp of the plaintiffs into that of the tribal governments. They negotiated an Accommodation Agreement, permitting only specified individuals to sign, and thereby to stay put for 75 years but thereafter to forego relocation benefits. Other Dineh who were ineligible to sign were simply required to move on.
Through the federally established Navajo Hopi Indian Relocation Commission,9 a total bounty of $25 million to the Hopi was placed on Navajo Accommodation Agreement signatures, resulting in fraud, threats and intimidation. The non- signing resistors who cooperate with the ONHIR in their removal have some say in the location and construction of replacement housing. Resistors who dont cooperate will be concentrated in an area called the New Lands. Purchased at a bargain basement price by the U.S. in 1980, the New Lands, near Sanders, Arizona, are completely inadequate for subsistence grazing and agriculture, and are 60 miles down stream from the containment dam that held back uranium contaminated water until the dam burst and the water spilled into the Rio Puerco in 1979. Removal of both cooperating and non-cooperating resistors, begins in February, 2000. Meanwhile, the ONHIR enforces a strict prohibition against repairs and improvements to the properties of resistors. New glass for a broken window must be smuggled in. Vehicles and homes are searched for building materials, which when found, are confiscated. Both signors and non-signors alike are subject to grazing restrictions that require them to sell most of their sheep and cattle, leaving them with insufficient numbers to maintain a subsistence living. Those who refuse to sell have their animals forcibly removed and killed.
The Manybeads plaintiffs are now petitioning the 9th Circuit to re-visit the merits of their claims, alleging the failure of mediation. In addition, the Navajo are pursuing political clout with the U.N. Human Rights Committee and Commission, the White House, the BIA, the Department of State, and other agencies.
The right of self-determination, the right to pursue ones religion and culture, the right of access to legal remedies, the right to subsistence, to equal protection of law under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) are all implicated. Customary international law prohibiting genocide and concerning aboriginal rights of use and occupancy of land also apply, as do rights under the Genocide Convention, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ILO Convention 169 (Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries), and the American Convention on Human Rights.10 The U.N. Charters provisions concerning the rights of non-self- governing peoples has also been violated.
The rights and obligations of nations under the Vienna Convention on Treaties provide a context for critical, fundamental and novel analysis of the status of indigenous tribes in international law. At the dawn of the colonial period, the Indian nations were treated by colonial authorities and their master governments as just that: nations, with whom relations were conducted by treaty.11 This was consistent with then prevailing standards of international law, which recognized a limit to colonial authority arising out of the mere fact of Ōdiscovery.12 It was also consistent with, and more probably the consequence of, a practical fact: the relative strength and continent-wide presence of the tribes in contrast to the precarious east coast foothold of the fledgling European colonies.
By the early nineteenth century, the loss of native land base to the irrepressible force of manifest destiny destroyed the ability of the Indian nations to feed and otherwise provide for the survival of their people. That fact, tempered by a lack of national will to affect the total annihilation of native peoples, determined the standards that would govern Indian/federal relations to this day. As a necessary corollary to their diminished status, Indian tribes were declared by Chief Justice John Marshall to be domestic dependant nations...in a state of pupilage...their relation to the United States resembl(ing) that of a ward to his guardian.13
A concomitant of the guardian/ward trust relationship is the plenary power doctrine, pursuant to which Congress has exercised one and a half centuries of unbridled authority in Indian affairs.14 Along with, and as a consequence of the Indians loss of land base and lost means of independent survival, plenary power justified congressional and judicial usurpation of the Indian nations sovereignty over their own people. By 1871, bi-lateral treaty-making was outlawed in favor of legislation over people who, lacking citizenship, enjoyed no right of representation.15 Responsibility for Indian affairs had shifted from the War Department to the Department of the Interior, signaling the shift of Indian relations from the realm of foreign to domestic affairs. The very existence of an Indian tribe and the identity of its members became a prerogative of Congress. The Bureau of Indian Affairs thus replaced the buffalo.16
The guardian/ward/trust relationship and the plenary power of Congress over Indian affairs, the two fundamental common law doctrines dominating all questions regarding Native rights, both stem from the early nineteenth century era of crusading manifest destiny, when Indians and tribes were at best, deemed savage inferiors in need of the civilizing effect of assimilation, or at worst, savage obstacles to civilization in need of eradication. These doctrines have no foundation in either the domestic or international law extant at the time of their annunciation. Rather, they are hypocritical, utilitarian measures designed to create a rhetorical construct pursuant to which the requirements of utmost good faith may be enunciated, while genocide is performed on people relegated to being strangers to the Constitution.
Under domestic legal doctrines, the U.S. has violated its fiduciary/trust responsibilities to the Navajo people and engages in unlawful racial discrimination, in violation of due process and equal protection rights, by requiring Native people to vacate their land, while never having required non-Natives to vacate Native lands. Relocation also violates the American Indian Religious Freedom Act17 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.18 The U.S. also violates environmental laws in permitting harm to the Navajo homelands and water table through mining and in seeking to remove Navajo people to lands that are contaminated by spills of uranium contaminated water.
Attorney Lee Brooke Phillips, for the Big Mountain Legal Office and National Lawyers Guild; The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), through Ellen Yaroshefsky; Rabinowitz, Boudin, for the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee; and Bruce Ellison were among the attorneys who filed Manybeads in 1988. Today, no less than then, the case hits on all cylinders of the public interest, including International Human Rights, Civil Rights, Racial Justice, Government Misconduct, and Economic and Social Rights.
Over the years, the United States has assumed varying degrees of responsibility for Indian survival. Federal Indian policy has fluctuated. During the treaty period, 1789-1871, Native people were removed from their ancestral homelands and concentration onto reservations. Next was the disastrous drive toward forced-assimilation (1871-1928) followed by a period stressing tribal reorganization (1928-1942). Thereafter came the termination of tribes, at least in the sense of federal oversight (1943-1961). Since the 1960s, there have been schizophrenic strands of all the prior policies combined with ideals of self-determination. It is in this historic context that Felix Cohen analogized our treatment of Native Americans to the canary in the coal mine.19
Native Americans are now the poorest, least healthy, least educated minority in this country. They have the highest rate of infant mortality, the lowest life expectancy, and are more likely to be victims of violence than other minorities. While many laws are violated to keep them that way, the historic drive to dispossess Native Americans has fomented a legal cottage industry of hypocrisy called federal Indian law, much of it in violation of international law, under which oppression and destruction of Native American is codified. The Navajos experience exemplifies what crimes can be rationalized under the rubric of due process. As such, it is a case requiring reform, as well as enforcement of the law.
This is a propitious time for a frontal assault on the retrograde doctrines used to justify the oppression of Native Americans in general, and the Navajo, in particular. Enthusiasm is waning in the executive and administrative offices responsible for Navajo relocation. Perhaps authorities do have the stomach to forcibly remove hundred year old grandmothers from their homes, but not if the whole world is watching and the people resist. One bureaucrat is alleged to have said It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract people of competence and integrity to administer a program of genocide.
It was false and racist premises that characterized the shift from respect for tribes as nations, to their denigration to subjects of plenary power. Now, there is an opportunity to advocate for the reinstatement of treaty-based dealings, based upon the right of self- determination and consistent with the requirements of the Vienna Convention on Treaties. As a law reform case, the Navajo situation presents an opportunity to push the legal envelope in the interest of justice for the underdog. Since the law and the Navajo situation cant get much worse, efforts can only help save a people from destruction, and in the process, advocate for a new, humane construct for relations with Native Americans and tribes.
This case also presents an opportunity for Native people to continue to build a presence and credibility in international human rights advocacy at the United Nations and before administrative and executive organs of the federal government, such as the BIA, Department of Justice and the State Department.
In addition to existing counsel of record that remain active in the case, legal assistance may come from other attorneys with proven track records in Native rights advocacy, organizations that advocate for environmental justice and religious freedom, former government officials familiar with the issues involved in relocation policy, historians, anthropologists and other academic experts.
There is a substantial support network of extremely energetic, articulate and well connected advocates for the Navajo cause. The Dinehs organizational name is Sovereign Dineh Nation and they have cultivated relations with influential and sympathetic authorities in the U.N., and in relevant federal agencies. There is also reason to be optimistic about the potential fruit of efforts to win backing in Congress. As a result of organizing and lobbying efforts to date, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance made a site visit last year and will present his report to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva this spring. It is the first time a U.N. Human Rights organ officially and publicly took on investigation of a specific case against the U.S. Also as a result of their efforts, meetings have, and will continue to be held with policy level people in the BIA, Department of Justice, State Department and White House.
This is a notorious case that also draws interest and offers of cooperation from the nations best known Native law scholars, historians, anthropologists, psychologists, celebrities and mainstream and alternative media. The work of the U.N. will be a substantial catalyst for media attention and a powerful source of pressure, mostly through quiet diplomacy on U.S. policy. CNN and Time Magazine are working on stories that will culminate with a possible confrontation over grazing rights in the course of the next several days or weeks. Other media organizations have demonstrated interest and one law firm has offered assistance as a networking resource.
a. The Manybeads case is pending in the 9th Circuit. Remand would be to the U.S. District Court of Arizona. Otherwise, there will be a Cert. Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Dineh need help in the court case.
b. There is also a need to support the substantial activity on behalf of the Dineh taking place at the United Nations (New York and Geneva).
c. A lobbying presence needs to be established in D.C., in connection with the authority of various federal agencies, Congress and the White House.
d. There also needs to be a legal, or quasi-legal presence on the reservation i) to assist people with day-to-day issues arising in connection with livestock confiscations and with the ongoing abusive activities of the Relocation Commission, and ii) to act as a link between the clients and advocacy efforts taking place on their behalf.
e. Finally, there is another urgent need that if addressed, will help the people immeasurably, and without regard to the success of efforts to prevent their relocation. The Dineh resistors life consists of an intolerable web of jurisdictions and regulations affecting their ability to graze livestock, to repair and improve their homes, to gather firewood and to maintain sources of potable water. The law recognizes different degrees of right and privilege in these matters for those eligible to sign accommodation agreement than it does for the non-eligible. Of the eligible, it distinguishes those who have signed from those who have not. Of those who have signed, it creates sub-classes of privileges based on distinctions concerning full-time presence vs. temporary absence from the land. Of those who are ineligible or who choose to not sign, it creates distinctions based on a familys indication of desire (or lack) to cooperate in their relocation. Since only heads of household are recognized as eligible to sign accommodation agreements, survivors of deceased signors loose their beneficiary status.
Only a police state can enforce such intrusive regulations that meet with understandable resistance because they have such a dramatic impact on the ability of individuals and communities to survive. Armed Hopi, Navajo and BIA police and rangers who maintain constant surveillance. One eighty year old womans horse was impounded while she attended a meeting. Thirteen armed rangers in four vehicles arrived at her home and physically held back her non-resisting son while they removed the horse. She then received a bill for over $800, the cost of the impoundment operation. There are many such stories, akin to the Chinese governments humiliating tactic of sending a bill for the cost of the bullet to the family of its execution victim.
A complex and abusive bureaucratic machinery, now of at least two generations duration, has imposed a heavy psychological burden on the Dineh. It has lead to great fear and loss of hope and dignity. The sense of desperation and depression is pervasive. In addition, the existence of different classes of rights accorded by law or regulation to different categories of Dineh people has created confusion and divisive schisms in the community. Quite apart from assistance and advocacy designed to improve their legal situation, the Dineh need and can benefit from psychological intervention and community mediation efforts.
1 Those rights were explicitly secured in the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, 1848, by which Mexico ceded its territory north of the Rio Grande to the U.S.
2 48 Stat. 984
3 Healing v. Jones 210 F. Supp. 125 (D. Ariz. 1962), affd, 373 U.S. 758 (1963).
4 The case also alleged illegal construction and operation of a 275 mile coal slurry pipeline.
It pumps 1.4 billion gallons of water per year out of the limited Hopi aquifer, to deliver coal to the largest power plant in the U.S. They are running the Hopi villages dry to light up and air condition the hotels and casinos of Las Vegas.
5 In violation of the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act.
6 25 U.S.C. 640d, et seq.
7 The notion that this is merely an inter-tribal or intra-tribal dispute has been offered to distract from the reality of federal abuses. In fact, this is a case of traditional Hopi and Navajo people combining to oppose not only the BIA and the mining companies, but also the tribal governments that were established by the U.S. and commercial interests seeking to exploit (continued) mineral resources for cheap.
8 730 F. Supp. 1515 (D. Ariz. 1989)
9 Replaced by the Office of Navajo and Hopi Relocation
10 Treaty provisions may be deemed evidence of customary international law, binding even if the treaty is neither signed nor ratified by the U.S., or if the treaty, although signed and ratified, is qualified by reservations, understandings or declarations.
11 Johnson v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 573 (1823).
13 Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1, 17 (1831).
14 No act of Congress relating to Indian affairs has ever been voided by the Supreme Court.
15 See Rachel San Kronowitz, Joanne Lichtman, Steven Paul McSloy, Matthew G. Olsen, Toward Consent and Cooperation: Reconsidering the Political Status of Indian Nations, 22 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 507, 587 (1987).
16 See Tim Giago, Indian Gaming is the New Buffalo, Omaha World Herald, Oct. 9, 1995 for the reference to buffalo as metaphor for source of Native sustenance.
17 42 U.S.C. 1996
18 42 U.S.C. 2000bb, et seq.
19 Like the miners canary, the Indian marks the shifts from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith.Magic Cookie Ari Halberstadt email@example.com
Back to TOP
From BIGMTLIST JULY 9,1999
The following information comes to me From Jim at Media Island International.
Louise Benally tried to call me, but couldn't get through, so she called
However, I would like to comment, first. No disrespect is intended toward
the Hopi people or the Hopi tribal government by making this post. The
intent is to emphasize the spiritual importance of this Sundance. Permit
or no permit, this Sundance is too important to be closed down. The Hopi
are asked to respect the sanctity of this ceremonial camp and not to cause
disruptions or stop invited guests From attending; just as they wish to
keep disruptions From their own ceremonies, they should show this same
respect toward this Sundance. The Hopi are spiritual people. They recognize
sacred things. They try to guard their religious practices From exploitation
and degradation. Therefore, they should understand this and realize that
spiritual commitments take precedence over man-made laws. The Dineh must
not be bound by Hopi Tribal decisions that infringe or their spiritual
right to sponsor this sacred ceremony, regardless of whether or not it
is part of the Dineh religious tradition. Politics, government, laws,
race, and economics aside, we are all human beings. We have a connection
to the Creator. When we pray, that is a sacred thing. That is between
us and the Creator. The place where we pray is sacred, too. Its spirit
supports us in our prayers. (Maybe it is praying at the same time, too..I
don't know.) To tell someone that they cannot pray in the way that they
choose is wrong. If the place where they choose to pray is sacred, and
they are told that they cannot pray there, then that is wrong, too. It
doesn't matter what race or tribe you are, you have a right to pray. I
urge the Hopi Tribal government, which is made up of fellow human beings,
to recognize this right. To the Hopi Tribe, I say, in the depth of your
humanity, you know that what I say is true. You are not losing face by
allowing this Sundance; you are showing that you really do have an understanding
of what is sacred.
The media contact information at the end is provided for those who wish
to voice their concerns about any one or all of the Big Mountain issues.
From: Media Island International firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Sundance Banned at Camp Anna Mae
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 22:43:48 -0700
Louise Benally called me after reviewing the posting about the Sundance
at Camp Anna Mae.
She thanks the list and would just like to add that they would like public
pressure directed toward the Hopi Tribal Council, the Navajo Nation, and
the Department of Interior to remind them (a paraphrase excuse me) that
religious freedom will not be interfered with by politics. Separation
of church and state will be respected at the Sundance at Camp Anna Mae. She
says they are going on with the ceremony without permits at this time,
and they don't need permits for religious ceremonies.
If people could write and call the Hopi Tribal Council, the Navajo Nation,
and the Dept. of Interior, and ask them to respect the Sundance at Camp
Anna Mae at Big Mountain, and not continue the threats to disrupt the
Also, the HTC (with BIA assistance and "blessings") has threatened to
bulldoze two hogans that belong to the Benally family there at/near Camp
Anna Mae. This unconscionable threat must be removed as well, and no more
structures of spiritual, cultural and social significance can be allowed
to be destroyed. Far too much damage has already been done in the name of
this genocidal relocation policy.
Thanks to everyone who can help bring more awareness and needed pressure
to the officials involved so they may feel the eyes of the world watching
Media Island International
(360) 352 8526
Wayne Taylor, Chairman, The Hopi Tribe
P.O. Box 123,
Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039
Phone: (520) 734-3000.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY - INDIAN AFFAIRS
Navajo Area Office
(Navajo Res. Only, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico)
Bureau of Indian Affairs
P.O. Box 1060
Gallup, New Mexico 87305
(505) 863-8314 FAX (505) 863-8245
Robert Carolin, Acting Superintendent
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Hopi BIA Agency
P.O. Box 158
Keams Canyon, AY 86034
Phone: 001 (outside the U.S.)
Phone: (520) 738-2249
Fax: (520) 738-5187
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs
1849 C Street, NW
Mail Stop 4140
Washington, DC 20240
Phone: 001 (outside the U.S.)
Fax: (202) 208-5320
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Phone: (602) 379-6600
Fax: (602) 379-6835
THE FOLLOWING MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED BY ELLIS SMITH:
From: "Ellis Smith" email@example.com
Media Contact Email, Numbers and Templates
Here is one place, just click and type or paste in your favorite letter/template,
then print and call/fax media and govt.
RADIO STATION EMAIL ADDRESSES
GENERAL MANAGERS, NEWS DEPT'S AND CONTACT ADDRESSES
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com; WAMH@amherst.edu;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; KVCU@colorado.edu; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com;
Fox News Now
Fox News Watch
NBC Nightly News
Write Media and your government rep's and the white house with relative
ease. It's at
My Turn submissions should be sent to:
My Turn Editor, Newsweek
251 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019-1894
or e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or faxed to: (212) 445-4120 (Attn: My Turn Editor)
For your reference, here are some other e-mail addresses at The Globe:
story ideas, suggestions
letters to the editor (please include full name and address)
comments on our coverage (to Globe Ombudsman)
submissions to "Ask The Globe"
submissions to "Confidential Chat"
City Weekly section
NBC Nightly News email@example.com
E-MAIL ADDRESSES AT NBC NEWS - Our Fleecing of America segment
can be reached at Fleecing@nbc.com.
The Today Show can be reached at
Dateline can be reached at
Sunday Meet the Press
You are on the BIGMTLIST, a moderated mailing list
of Big Mountain relocation resistance information
(not discussion or debate). To unsubscribe, email
firstname.lastname@example.org with "unsubscribe" in the
subject header. For non-list members receiving
this post as a forwarded message, you may subscribe
by emailing email@example.com with the word
"subscribe" in the subject header. For Big Mountain
and other activist internet resources, visit "The
Activist Page" at
Also, for great internet tools please visit:
This message was sent to you by
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
IP Address: office32.theofficenet.com
Please come visit any of the sites below and
rally to help save these
elderly people from having their homes bulldozed and run off their
land. Time is running out and the B.I.A. is pressing the issue.
HELP STOP BULLIES and call the HOPI Tribal Chairman
NOW, get your friends, your families, your neighbors, everyone.
If we can bomb Serbia and spend billions, we can certainly
make some calls and tell some friends.
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 1999 4:04 PM
Subject: Possible Exclusion Order
The following was reported from participants of the Witness Camp at
Pauline Whitesinger's place. The call to inform was made to Black Mesa Indigenous
Support(B.M.I.S.) to spread the word. This following message originated
from B.M.I.S. office. (Cetandi Bolger email@example.com
and Dixie Lunac9@aol.com).
Date sent: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 23:03:13 EDT
Subject: Proposed exclusion order on Hopi Partitioned Land
URGENT ALERT!!! NEWS JUST OFF HOPI PARTITIONED LAND!!!! (H.P.L.)
Two days ago the Hopi rangers visited Arlene Hamilton's Witness Camp and
said that a permit was being granted for people to come and stay. Everything
looked O.K., but yesterday a Proposed Exclusion Order was served to Arlene
which would have given her 15 days to explain in writing the reasons why
she should not be excluded.
However, today Wednesday, June 16th at 5:45 PM,
Hopi Rangers came to the Witness Camp and told Arlene Hamilton that if she didn't leave
tomorrow, she'd be escorted off Hopi Partitioned Land. This could be the beginning of
enacting a Proposed Exclusion Order to remove all non-Navajos. Please note that a
"Proposed" Exclusion Order may not be
a proposal. It means that whoever it is served must leave on the date
specified. Please do not react to this lightly. THE ELDERS NEED OUR HELP!
We WOULD urge you to call Hopi Tribal Chairman Wayne Taylor, however he
is out of town for the week (how coincidental), so please call his Chief of
staff Eugene Kaye and talk to Eugene directly@ 520-734-2441 x107, and tell
him that this camp is only educational, does not pose a threat to anyone
and to please not remove Arlene Hamilton from Hopi Partitioned Land. Also give
Mr. Taylor a call next week when he drops back into the office@ the same # X 107.
We must take action now so that this doesn't set a precedent so inform
all you know and have them call too and forward this message.
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 23:53:41 EDT
Subject: Update: Alice Begay will try to buy back her cow at auction
Dear Big Mountain Supporters,
On Wednesday, June 16, Alice Begay will travel to Valley Livestock auction
in Holbrook Arizona with family members and Marsha Monestersky, their
Consultant, to bid for her cow at public auction. Proceeds from the sale
of her cow will go to the BIA, not Alice, but the cost is expected to be
substantially less than the BIA charges for animals to be released from
the impoundment yard. Alice is hopeful that she will be able to return home
with her cow. But once home, she will have to corral her cow to make sure the
BIA does not confiscate it again. The reason is because the BIA refuses to
grant her an interim grazing permit.
On Tuesday, June, 8, when Alice went to the BIA to plead for the return
of her cow, Robert Carolin, superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs,
Hopi Area Agency, he told her "If you want your cow you can pay for its release
from the impoundment yard or buy it back from the public auction." As
of Tuesday, June 8, the BIA still refused to issue her an interim permit.
All of Alice's animals remain subject to massive impoundment.
However, under the terms of an existing court injunction and according
to Hopi Tribal Grazing Ordinance #43, the BIA is the sole agency with
jurisdiction over range management. They have the power to issue interim
grazing permits for all non signers of the Accommodation Agreement (AA)
known as "those awaiting relocation" but refuse to do so.
Alice, a great grandmother says, "I was born here and have lived here all
my life. My family, all of them were born here and my grandmother and mom
before me, since before the Long Walk to Fort Sumner. We have 5 girls,
3 boys, and more than 50 grandchildren. I am illiterate and do not speak,
read or write English. How can the BIA tell me I am not eligible for a permit
to graze my animals and then continue to steal my animals from me? Doesn't
that just make them cattle rustlers, stealing my animals then keeping the money
they make when they are sold at public auction? Both me and my husband
are sick from the stress. I can't eat and I can't sleep thinking about my cow
in the impoundment yard. I don't want my cow sold at public auction. I want
the BIA to give it back to me."
The US government program is being executed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) and plans to remove all animals for which valid permits are not
obtained as in the case of Alice Begay. People who either have refused
or were ineligible to sign leases under terms of the 1996 law with the
government are not allowed permits for their livestock. People who signed
leases are eligible for permits and are not threatened with eviction, but
even they have found that many of their livestock will be taken, as the
number of permits issued is less than needed to cover their livestock.
Under the lease (Accommodation Agreement), the Dineh were granted 2,800
SUYL (sheep-units-year-long), which is substantially less than the 5,000 SUYL
estimated as being needed for current herd sizes. The Dineh object to this
quota system because the number requires the reduction of current herds
and because the distribution of available permits among the Dineh unfairly
rewards a small number of families who have cooperated with the authorities.
The range management system also prohibits traditional methods of range
conservation such as the use of summer/winter camps which would enhance
carrying capacity. The BIA currently has jurisdiction over range management
on HPL, but this authority will be transferred to the Hopi Tribe on February
1, 2000. The range management issue also reflects the discrimination
affecting Dineh who would remain on HPL under terms of the Accommodation
The 2,800 SUYL allocated is less than a fair quota. The 1996 range inventory
used by the BIA establishes a carrying capacity of 12,547 SUYL on HPL.
In compensation for their allowing Dineh to remain on HPL for 75 years, the
US government is giving the Hopi Tribe 500,000 additional acres of additional
land. The Hopi will also receive grazing fees from the Navajo Tribe for
the use by Dineh on HPL. Under these circumstances, restricting the Dineh to
20% of available permits is not an appropriate share, especially when this
limit will require a substantial reduction in the livestock of traditional
Range management jurisdiction will be transferred to the Hopi Tribe on
February 1, 2000, and their proposed range regulations discriminate against
the Dineh. Dineh must apply for annual permits, while the Hopi receive
5-year permits. If an SUYL allocation is not used one year by the Dineh, such
as because of the death of an animal, the Dineh loses the right to the
allocation. When new allocations are required, such as for the birth of
new animals, the Dineh only receive permits if no Hopi ranchers request permits.
The natural fluctuation in herd sizes can be expected to erode the 2,800
SUYL available to the Dineh families over the 75 year period of the leases.
Glenna Begay who got back 3 cows and 3 calves that were impounded on Monday,
May 18 says, "The BIA is just backing us into a corner and even though
I got my cows, I am forced to have my sheep exiled on the other side of the fence
(on Navajo Partitioned Lands-NPL). How can I live like this? When we were
at the impoundment yard just finishing loading up my cows into the trailer
to bring them home the BIA Rangers and Hopi police just brought in 2 bulls
and 1 Heifer impounded on HPL. They were just standing there laughing, happy
that they could impound our cattle. How could the US government be allowed
to make us starve?"
Glenna Begay continues, "I know that the BIA has already been found guilty
of having 3 billion in tribes trust funds with no record of either deposits
or withdrawals. Haven't they stolen enough of Indigenous peoples money?
The excuse that the BIA has for stealing our animals is the condition of the
rangeland. If this rangeland is endangered why don't they just provide
hay and feed to supplement the range. This would be the humane solution to
handling grazing management concerns but all they want to do is make us
suffer and starve so we will give up and just leave our land. We are just
like the people in Kosovo, refugees on our land with no choice but to leave.
We are being told that we must leave our land empty handed and leave all
our animals behind. I fear for the end of my ways of life and my ability to
Carlos Begay says, "For too long, the BIA has been abusing elders and
violating our civil and constitutional rights. It is time now for us too
get out from under the BIA and go under the state department. This is who we
signed a treaty with."
Many of the others on HPL share his concern. Many believe that the use
of livestock confiscation is not being conducted as a mechanism for range
management, rather, it is intended to impose hardship upon subsistence
herders whose options are different from those of commercial ranchers,
and typically results in the loss of livestock without compensation. The Dineh
lacking sufficient permits live in constant fear, not knowing each day
if they will be targeted by the impoundment squadrons which will confiscate
their primary means of survival.
We need your help to stop the BIA from committing elder abuse. Please
keep the pressure up.
Thank you for your help.
Posted by: Marsha Monestersky
Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation
Back to top
Subject: BIG MTN.
The benefit at Aztlan Cultural Center was a great success because:
1-The elders has plenty of time to speak to the crowds and were able to
meet with local activists, leaders etc. in private forums to further the
universal efforts that we all are involved in.
2-Helen Anderson and Rosie fed EVERYONE great food and piles of it too!
3- Andy, John and Eagle, the main organizers, remained calm under
stressful situations and saw to it they everyone that was coming at them
with their hands out got paid accordingly. They managed simultaneous
both inside and outside the center. They organized a prayer ceremony to
begin the show that was outstanding.
4- The Elders were made very comfortable, taken to and from Big Mountain
on a private bus with sleeping quarters.
5- Special thanks to Jennifer Waggoner of SOL for driving that bus,
down, hanging in there and taking heat unduly given her by others.
6- The bands, especially Blackfire, for coming a long way, having great
attitude, a great manager (Berta Benally) and talking about the issues
while on stage.
7- A unified crowd that was respectful during speaking engagements,
remained attentive and pulled through when the finances needed to be raised.
Awareness was raised, a little money (about 800) went to the Dineh. The
money is being carried back to Big Mountain by John Benally to be
presented to the circle of Dineh that he works with. The Elders and other Dineh that
were here in LA decided it should go to the ceremony fund and that is what
they want to present to their brethren back home.
Congratulation Unity of Nations-Los Angeles. Your first time out you
raised the standard.
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 15:40:28 -0700 (MST)
From: Bahe Yazzie Katenay firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Second announcement: Dineh video...
Greetings supporters and concerned individuals,
Here is the first release statement for the "Family of the Great Mystery"
video and which has been revised a little. For those who inquired about
copies or other information, the sale of this video has provided me no
great funding or profit, but will assist me greatly in doing continued
support work by making it possible for my travels to the land. Also, this
is not apart of Solcommunication's "Vanishing Prayer" video.
Running time is 55 minutes and is available only on VHS format, and for
those foreign interest I have PAL format available. Price in the U.S. is
$19 and for foreign orders it is 22 USD.
Thank You for your interest, Bahe
My Mailing Address is:
1109 South Plaza Way Suite 431
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
Please allow a couple weeks for delivery.
RE-RELEASE * * * *
"FAMILY of the GREAT MYSTERY"
Now, at the end of the twentieth century, there is the unfortunate
situation with the Dineh and Hopi nations in northeastern Arizona: a
situation devised by the federal government. The traditional Dineh clearly
explain their ancient coexistence with Hopi nations in accordance to a
Supreme Law of Creation that they do not consider as mythology.
The contents of this documentary depict the Big Mountain peoples
involvement in certain activities since 1985 and up until 1991. The
testimony by the Big Mountain residents is intended to reflect all
aboriginal peoples experience under European colonial rule within the
Western Hemisphere. It also intends to explain the historical aspects of
U.S. governments interest and interventions to divide the neighboring
tribes in order to control and secure accesses to the mineral resources.
The international Indigenous representatives share testimony as well to
support the Dinehs resistance to the inhumane, U.S. Indian policies since
1975, and to bring about further understanding that all indigenous
struggles are similar. Non-Indians in this documentary represent a larger
group who have been directly involved with the Big Mountain issues plus
other indigenous concerns, and these non-Indians are committed to their
own beliefs that is based upon their roots or ancestry.
Thus, this presentation hopes to confront the western concepts of view
that indigenous tribes of the Western Hemisphere as recent arrivals via
simple wandering. By listening to the testimonials from these Dineh
resistors to relocation, one must overcome this type of western,
scientific thought and reconnect their humanity to the forces of natural
evolutions and thereby, acknowledge what exactly dictates our human
destiny. The Dineh prophecy urges that such force relocation off Black
Mesa should be a critical human concern, and if the Four Corners region
is disrupted severely, then purification shall prevail. As of the re-release
of this documentary, the continued devastation of the Dineh culture has
resulted in only 30 families remaining to uphold an ancient covenant to
defend Black Mesa from human-industrial destruction.
This video documentary was co-written and directed by Bahe Katenay (NaBahe
Keediniihii) who is born and raised in Big Mountain, and is a long time,
sovereign activist. A larger aspect of contribution in research and
writing goes to John Redhouse who is cofounder of the National Indian
Youth Council (1968-present), and currently is director of a
cultural/environmental research firm, Wright Productions based out of
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 01:19:26 EDT
Big Mountain elder-Exclusion Order Update-2 Navajo Times articles
Thursday, May 27, 1999
Hopi Tribe's Order of Proposed Exclusion unfolds
By Wendy R. Young
Navajo Times Correspondent
FLAGSTAFF - In response to the Hopi Tribe's Proposed Order of Exclusion,
Kee Shay has sent a letter to Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor requesting a 30-day
extension in order for him to obtain the texts of the Hopi tribal ordinances
that he has been accused of violating.
Kee Shay's wife May Shay resides in the "unauthorized dwelling" on the
HPL, which the notice alleges is in violation of federal, Hopi tribal, and Hopi
village laws. May Shay told human rights activist Marsha Monestersky,
"I have lived here since before I was 18 years old when I married Kee Shay.
I am now 76 years old. My sheep corral, my house, and my ash pile is here.
This is where I live. We are even told that our hogan which we need to
rebuild in order to have ceremonies is illegal. How are we to survive?
"How can the Hopi Tribe say we are a danger to the Hopi Tribe? I am afraid
when I am here alone, the Hopi police come by here and tell me to leave
my home and that I do not belong here. (Or that) They do this to me when
I am sheep herding. Who is going to protect me? How can they do this to me?"
Kee Shay's son Shay Benally has been trying to attain copies of the Hopi
tribal ordinances. Benally told Monestersky, "I went to see the people
at the Tuba City Navajo Hopi Land Commission to ask if they could give me
a copy of the Ordinance 46 and 43 that my father Kee Shay is being cited in
violation of. they told me they have the information but would not give
it to me. How are we supposed to respond to the Exclusion Order? They should
take the word 'Navajo' out of Navajo Hopi Land Commission."
The Tuba City office of the NHLC says that Benally did in fact come to
request copies of the ordinances, however the staff person who handles
legal matters and who holds copies of those documents was out of the office.
Benally was told to come back. Benally also reported that he approached the Hopi Chairman's office on May 21 requesting copies of ordinances, "I asked him if he would give me the text
of the Ordinances that my father Kee Shay is being cited in violation of.
He just told me that he would not give me the information and that he wanted
to keep this information confidential. Confidential from who? My father
Kee Shay and my mother are being told they are going to be excluded from their
When asked to verify Benally's visit to the Hopi Chairman's office,
Administrative Assistant Jackie Nahee was unable to find anyone who had
spoken with Benally.
"We have no record of that," she told the Navajo Times. "Usually they
would fill out a form and we would make copies...It's public record," so the
documents should have been provided, Nahee indicated.
The Shay family has never approached the Navajo Times to promote their
case. The Navajo Times covers this story because it has implications on all
residents of the Dineh HPL, including dual residents of the HPL and NPL,
as well as signers and non-signers of the Accommodation Agreement.
As Benally commented, "Kee Shay and May Shay are afraid of what will happen
to them at the hands of the Hopi Tribe and I wonder what will happen to
us and who they will target next."
View the rest of the stories at Black Mesa Historicals