Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Dineh still determined to resist relocation and coal mining

April 29, 2004 by  
Filed under Voices from the Land

Date: April 29, 2004


The litigations as result of and amendments to Public Law 93-531 in regards to the so-called “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute” has only succeeded in making promises of prospects for developing more coal strip mines, coal-fired power plants and cattle ranching. This Public Law, passed in 1974 and with its recent amendments, is supposed to be a humane approach by the United States government to “settle a ‘century old’ land-dispute,” but this law has only brought cultural and environmental devastations, and it has created a wide gap between the ancient communal-ties of the Dineh (Navajos) and Hopi nations –something that has never existed.

The only acceptable information being portrayed by the popular media and its official government voice is that, the Dineh and Hopis have (“for a century”) squabbled over a 1.8 million acre portion of the semi-arid high deserts of Black Mesa. The ‘official words’ state ‘a century old’ dispute which would date back to the 1850s because Mormon lawyer, John S. Boyden, who also represented Peabody Western Coal came in the late 1950s to Hopi country to form a tribal government and facilitate land claims for mineral explorations. It is only appropriate to see what was happening in the 1850s: Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson of the U.S. Army was initiating a scorch-the-earth offensive against Dineh (sovereign) resistance fronts. Dineh were pushed westward as they starved and leaving behind the old ones to die and eventually some Dineh found refuge atop Black Mesa. Some Dineh were already settled on Black Mesa centuries prior to Kit Carson’s occupation because they had previously fought off the Spanish conquests.

The United States’ court case against the Dineh of the 1.8 million acre, “Joint-Use Area (JUA),” never proved that these starving Dineh plundered Hopi villages and squatted on Hopi grazing/hunting areas, or that the Hopis were opposed to the Dineh finding refuge. This can never be proven because the Dineh and Hopis have a long history of alliance. Archaeological evidence and historical accounts from throughout the Four Corners region showed that, Dineh and Pueblos occasionally lived together to deter Spanish colonization (1540-1846). There are further evidences that the Dineh and Hopis escaped together into Canyon de Chelly which is about 60 miles east of Hopi/Dineh country, and when there was a famine in Hopi country in the late 1800s, the Dineh brought food and burros to their neighbors. Certainly, any colonial occupation can cause internal agitations among the indigenous population and because of that, the Dineh and Hopi tried their best to maintain allegiance. In the late 1800s, they established a sacred covenant to live in peace and share stewardship of Black Mesa.

In the eyes of Great Spirit, we as people of the Earth are weaklings too. We can easily be misled if the bribery seems suitable and that is what has happened in recent times as our peoples pledged their allegiance to a foreign government. Some of our Dineh ancestors assisted in imprisoning Hopi resistors to American education in early 1900 and furthermore, a few Dineh may have not wanted to share grazing ranges with a couple of Hopi ranchers in the 1960s. But there was no ‘range-war’ or ‘bloodshed’ as Congress was told by Peabody’s lobbyist in 1974! Today, even the Navajo Nation tribal council recognizes nothing but what the U.S. government fabricated as a “land-dispute” scenario while they refuse to hear the voices of the real aboriginal Dineh and Hopis. As resistors to the relocation policies and to the coal mining expansions, we see that the colonial bribes are too enticing in these modern times. Peabody Western Coal Company contributes 15% its royalties at 7.5% to each tribe and this might be a soothing bribe to these corporate, tribal liaisons. The design of tribal councils is to do away with or not validate traditional Sovereignty and Treaty Rights. Thus, the BIA and the Arizona Department of Public Safety comes to the rescue of the federally-supported, tribal councils when the traditional Dineh and Hopi resistors practice true Sovereignty and spiritual obligations for the Earth.

Today, we are extremely desperate for our future and the future of our environment. We have all suffered long enough under the inhumane implementations of the genocidal laws of the “Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act” of 1974. We are once again wishing to make our stand against the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Interior’s accommodation policies for corporate greed like Peabody Coal and the western states energy consortia while denying us our rightful indigenous-existence. We call this genocide because we, as a traditional society that share a common outlook and culture, are targeted (specifically) for extermination through false litigations and tribal misrepresentation. This is genocide because we have lost several thousand valuable traditional teachers due to them being forcibly removed from their ancestral lands. And it is genocide because there are only a few of us left to preserve the little history, language, culture, and land-based religions that we still hold, and our efforts to do so are continuously hindered by the authorities of the state.

We will continue however long Great Spirit will permit us to defy the American Executive Orders which prefer us to give up being Earth’s people. WE shall gather and hold our sovereign assemblies within our ancestral homelands and we will not adhere to the American-authorizations that these lands are areas forbidden to us to live in a way our ancestors had wanted us to be. WE will rightfully assembly this spring on these so-called “forbidden-partitioned-lands” and honor our fallen and true, indigenous warriors who have fought for our ancient religions, sovereignty and cultural freedoms. WE ask for all peoples of the Earth to join us in solidarity. We, also, extend a special invitation to the (federal) tribal leaders to sit among us in council and rethink what has happened to our history and what can happen for the better or worst. This gathering will commence on May 6 thru 9, 2004 in the heart of the resistance territories of Big Mountain, Black Mesa.

Besides honoring all our Elder Warriors who have passed on, we will especially honor one of the last great Dineh leader and matriarch, Roberta Blackgoat. She had wanted us to stop the butchering of our Altar: Black Mesa — our Female Mountain God. She had wanted us to stop the exploitation of Earth Mother’s liver, the mineral coal, and to stop the shaking and sinking of our lands from the strip mining. She had wanted us to return to the Dineh Sacred Mountain Soil Bundle Way of Sovereignty and spread the words to save indigenous cultures throughout the regions encompassed by the Dineh’s Six Sacred Mountains. So, join us to lay out the foundations for a future of peace and harmony where the future generations’ will journey and thrive.

K’oh’daanii nii’ dzin goh’aat’e.
These are our wishes as stated.

On behalf of the original Dineh resistance movement of Big Mountain,

Bahe Katenay
Reply to:sheep_dog_nation49@hotmail.com

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