Friday, January 22, 2021

ELSIE AND MAE SHEII, BIG MOUNTAIN ELDERS STATEMENT

February 24, 2004 by  
Filed under Voices from the Land

2/24/04

(Elsie)This place over here they call the Hopi Land, it was fenced off some time ago. Right near our home here by Big Mountain. Somehow the fence was cut. During the night we see our cows went in there. A week ago or so we heard from our neighbors that the Hopi Rangers were around again doing the impoundments. They didn’t warn us beforehand or anything. We rushed off to try and get our livestock back over. We got some of it but there were 3 cows missing. We went back to look for it and we saw the rangers herding it up. They got some other people’s cows too but we don’t know whose.

They took it to tsetsohk’id (about 50 miles away) where the impoundment place is. We had to pay for it in Oraibi. It took us two days of driving around and a lot of gas to get our cows back. They charged us 270 dollars, they said it was for the labor of the rangers and for the cows to eat their hay and water. The one cow had a baby the day she came back, the other had a miscarriage from the rough handling. We didn’t have much to say to them. The guy on the horse spoke a little Navajo, he was Apache i guess. He said to me, “look you’re grandma’s getting tired.” I said, “Maybe that’s because you’re chasing her cows around for no reason.” These cows of ours mostly stay around the house and eat hay. But in the old days they used to go down there in the winter. Maybe that’s why they went over there. Its part of our old grazing range where the fence was put through. Kii used to take care of the cows but he doesn’t get too far these days. In the old days he would have stopped them.

I just want people to know what’s going on here. It’s hard living under this. (MAE) We barely have enough money to eat, so it was hard to get the cows out. There’s no economy here. (Elsie) We even went to the grazing manager and the chapter officials for Navajo to see if they could help us but they said the money they have is not for that.

That’s all.

(Elsie and May Sheii are grandmas well over 70 years old. Their husband Kii is the headman of the Sovereign Dine Nation and was a longtime spokesperson for the struggle against relocation.)
Statement translated by Rachel Whitesinger and transcribed by Owen Johnson

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