Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Statement by Glenna Begay 02/01/01

February 1, 2001 by  
Filed under Voices from the Land

I’ve been living here all my life, I am over 70 years old. I was born and raised here. The “land dispute” is only about a hundred years old and we’ve been here longer. We’ve been born and raised here for a long time.

Since the time that my ancestor’s have been here, since the beginning of Time, we did not bury our dead like they do today. They stayed in the house and the family moved away and no one lived there. Or they were put under a tree and covered them with sticks. And so, with that in mind, today you’ll see around many old abandoned homes/structures. They are not just abandoned homes, they are burial sites.

Not far from my house, an old lady passed away, and she was left in the hogan and covered with sand. Resently, about two months ago or so, the Hopi Rangers dismantled and hauled it away. I don’t know where they took it.

My question is, why would they do such a thing, dismantle a burial site and haul it away? What did they do with the bones? Did they haul them away too? I want to know Why. They have no business here destroying burial sites or taking bones if that’s what they did. I want them to leave old structures, dwellings, burial sites alone. They have no business being here, no right to come and destroy burial sites. It is theft. It is steeling from us.

There was also another home, right up there on the top of the hill. The roof was dismantled and hauled away without our permission. Since they started doing that, we took the walls away because we didn’t want them to take the whole thing.

And not far from that structure where the roof was taken away, there is an area where we used to haul our garbage a long time ago. It is an area where water does not run, where the garbage would not flow away. It was a land fill. We have not used it for a very long time, for about 15 years. The whole land fill is burnt to the ground. And since, to my knowledge, only used old housing material has been discarded there. We have not used the land fill since Peabody has put out public disposal units, years ago.

Now recently, they apparently have been rummaging there and supposedly found my daughter’s prescription medicine bottle, and a piece of paper with my granddaughter’s name on it. Now I’m wondering how they could have found something that had legible writing still on it after years of harsh winters. I’m assuming they planted them and then took pictures.

As a respectful Dineh (Navajo) woman, I do not go to the Hopi Reservation and dig around in their landfills. I mind my own business.

Why are they digging around my back yard for so called evidence? I am not a criminal.

And the person who stopped here to show me what he had found, and show me the pictures, I’m assuming he’s Navajo working for the Hopi, because he spoke Navajo to me. And he told me that the things he had picked out were being sent away to be tested. He told me that the sheep or any animals that grazes here could eat it and die from it. I am suspicious that he is sending them away for evidence, to make us look like criminals on our own land. He had them in plastic bags. The bags were so clean, there was no dirt in them. I asked him for them, but he refused.

I would appreciate it if all these harassments, threats, stealing/thefts, lies and any suspicious acts around my homestead be put to a stop.

I am just living/ surviving here the way I know how, on my land and none of it is a criminal act, and therefore they need to stay on their land where they belong.

This is my homeland.

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