Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Statements From Dine’ Elders On Black Mesa, March 2002

February 13, 2002 by  
Filed under Voices from the Land

I wonder if you can understand what these people have been facing over all these years. Some people lose their lives over the worrying–and so the government is doing the reduction. The main old story always starts from this executive order that’s been drawn in 1882 up through 1960, then they start working on this territory and gotten so many names and numbers here on our alter. Mainly I’ve been thinking about the Long Walk all the way to New Mexico and when they were over there nobody got the notice for this executive order to be drawn. The main issue I got in mind is that they have never been taught how the Great Spirit been set the Navajo between these four sacred mountains with the song and prayer, with all the relations, with all living beings. So I need for people to turn around and know that this is the Dine’ room. The Hogan is between the four sacred mountains, for that reason I’ve been comparing the Long Walk and the Longest Walk. The Longest Walk was made from San Francisco to Washington D.C. A lot of elders been along on that and because they hear about us being arrested for cutting the fences and soon they told us we should have the Sundance here to help us out with that. So I’ve been comparing these and thinking that it needs to be renewed. Because we are still walking –we need to renew back and let people live the way they been living before. Have them fill their hearts and rejoice again because they’re sad and worried and we’re loosing a lot of elders still because of being told you’ve got to do, do, do. So let the people and the land be free and our alter. This is our alter we are living on.

I have a real powerful respect for my sacred bundle, the four sacred mountains bundle that I’m holding onto and inside is the mountains and the hogan–the ceremony cannot be made out in Utah or Nevada or somewhere, its on the alter here, so our traditional way is not being respected. We have a song and in it tells about the horses and the sheep and that’s what they wanted to destroy–our livelihood. I told these women to say, “why do you do this to us on our birthplace? We were just looking around here for our belly cords.” If I was on trial that is what I’d say first. They were trying to have these things be heard but then they been dismissed.

We need to have our mother earth to be healed. The land is the mother and even the water is the mother, I with the fishes are being fed. The peoples, the indigenous peoples need to be healed, the birds, the endangered species, are being disappeared. Every spring they are being harassed. The eagles used to make a lot of nests in the canyons and now not as many. Hopi Tribe comes in with the government vehicle and takes babies right out of the nest and back to the village, keeps them up on top of the roof tied up until they’re full grown and kills it. In our way we don’t kill the eagles for the feathers. In the early days I heard that some of grandfathers they knew the song and the prayers of how to bring down the eagles to get a feather if they needed it and they offer with the corn pollen and they turn them loose instead of to kill them. Today not many Dine’ medicine men know about this and they order it from the Navajo government, that picks them up when they get killed by the power lines. So the medicine men they want a bone or a feather, they go and get it for free. This is even better than to take their young people to the nest, disrespect it that way. When their babies are getting taken away they just leave the area.

To my understanding the Hopi Tribe and U.S. government are in the same boat saying the Navajo just came yesterday. They say the Hopi been living on the Mesa three thousand years, but you do the research and hear the story here from the elders and you look around at the ruins and the old structures, there is no mention of anyone here but the Dine’. There’s an old story about one time there was a war with the Ute from the north there’s no mention of Hopi there. There’s an Ute trail there south of Fo rest Lake Chapter still being used–the Ute trail they call it. This is many, many years ago. Hopi says this is ancestral homeland, but they never showed us the evidence of where or what year they been here. There’s no burial site of a Hopi grandmother. But us, we understand and know all our great grandmother’s burial sites, the place of all the ceremonial water gathering springs–we still have to respect them–we still use them. And we notice that some of the Hopi and Navajo Tribal governments are saying that this is the United States’ governments’, the great white fathers have given over this land. But we don’t know about the U.S. government being occupied this area way back–how do they own this land to give it away to the Hopi Tribe? What we know is that this land has just been stolen just because of the royalties, what our grandmothers been sitting on–and they still want move lease to be lookingat it to the south–Cactus Valley, Red Willow Springs, Big Mountain. AndI think that this is what the Hopi Tribe is looking at and they call it the Comprehensive Land Use of the Hopi Tribe. This ancestral Homeland, they’re pointing they’re fingers to the Anasazi Ruins. And why if it is their homeland why did they move up to the Mesa–they should have stayed there, live in Forest Lake or something.

So this so called Hopi/Navajo land dispute is only the government interested in digging out the coal or some other royalty that they perceive. And the Grandmothers that are still with us, they have their right to stand for the land instead of digging up more coal beneath their feet, to drain the water and pump it many miles away to make power, electricity to light up a different big city. I think this is where Peabody Coal Company and both tribal governments, the Hopi and Navajos need to understand, they are making a lot of money out of this, to wear a nice shiny boots, to wear a fancy bowtie and carry around an expensive briefcase–running around with it. So this is the biggest problem that we have–Peabody Coal is causing a lot of problems. They are destroying the lands, the sacred sites the burial sites to contaminate it…the natural springs. They drain it away in millions and millions of gallons every 24 hours and send it with coal to Mojave generating station to contaminate the air quality from there, to contaminate the vegetation for the livestock that used to eat it. To cause all the disappearing of all the other endangered species; spotted owl, eagle, squirrels even to move people came up from the U.S. government. And they are the one that invented what is called a “terrorist attack”. They did it to us many years ago–now they use our tribal governments to carry it out.

The Sundance needs to be carried on the lands where it happens, the people that live there are being arrested, that is not right. We never know how thick of the bones of our ancestors that we been living on, their prayers and song and their teachings are still with us. We want to let the world know to see where the HTC is standing. We want to know that if they have no prayer or sacred songs of their own how are they going to respect the people’s Sundance here? If they are Peaceful people…we’ve been told that they can’t buy or sell the land. It’s really important. The Hopi Tribe is getting overpaid on our alter, without our consent.( And then they’re arresting ladies, crushing up the arbor, they got too much money, plenty of gas and don’t know what to do with it I guess.)

Voices of Thin Rock Mesa/ Cactus Valley/ Red Willow Springs
Sovereign Communities

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