Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Thank you from Black Mesa Indigenous Support!

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Latest Posts

To everyone that participated in and supported the Fall 2011 Caravan in Support of Frontline Indigenous Communities of Big Mountain, Black Mesa,

On behalf of the Black Mesa Indigenous Support collective (BMIS), thank you all for joining us this year in support of the traditional resistance communities of Big Mountain and Black Mesa! This year’s caravan was a huge success and we extend deep thanks to all who participated for their effort in making it happen. Most importantly, we recognize and express our gratitude to the families of Big Mountain/Black Mesa for opening up their homes to us and for protecting all of us as they stand on the frontlines of resistance to ecological destruction and corporate colonialism.
This year’s caravan succeeded because of all of our collective work and dedication to the struggle. We were able to get direct, on-land support to 31 families and bring together over one hundred out-of-town supporters to learn about and lend their energy to the resistance efforts on the land. Long-time Black Mesa supporters shared their commitment with those coming to the land for the first time, and new commitments and relationships were established.  We were joined by many family members who helped us with translations, guidance, support, and inspiration.

After the caravan, many participants went to Phoenix to join in the indigenous-led protests against the gathering of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Peabody Coal has a seat at ALEC’s table, so this was an important opportunity to confront the systemic nature of the local desecration happening on Black Mesa.  You can read more about the protests here.

Looking Ahead

As supporters ourselves, we’ve been profoundly impacted by our time on the land. We also recognize that at the heart of this struggle is an attempt by elders and families to maintain their traditional way of life on their ancestral homelands, to protect their relationship to land, and preserve their culture.  These goals inherently necessitate an inter-generational struggle. This doesn’t mean we are going to stop building the supporter network of folks from outside Black Mesa, it means that we see the need to do that in conjuncture with supporting community power.

Lessons from the elders and second generation community members lend a vision to youth from these communities. Currently, grandchildren visiting their grandparents on the Hopi-Partitioned  Lands (HPL) have the opportunity to learn traditional life-ways such as raising livestock; learning about plant medicine; participating in ceremonies as well as speaking Navajo; learning various skills such as carpentry; butchering; carding wool and weaving; learning about the history of resistance and attending meetings about Peabody Coal. The youth’s involvement and connection super-cedes the genocidal policies of forced relocation that have severed the inter-generational connections to place, history, tradition, local economy, and family. We are looking for more ways to support the youth’s involvement.

While we are still in the visioning stage of this project and are taking time to seek guidance and input from the elders and extended resistance community, we are beginning to raise money to fund the travel and the other overhead involved.

If would like  to donate money you may do so through our Website, or by sending a check made out to “Black Mesa Indigenous Support” to our P.O Box.  Stay tuned for updates as this exciting project develops.

In the past year, our website has been completely redesigned and revamped!  We’ve also updated our mission and vision statements (we’re still fine-tuning the details), points of unity, the cultural sensitivity & preparedness guidebook put out fundraising guidelines (that are still being revised) and are about to complete accountability guidelines for supporters and media as well. Please keep checking our website for the completed documents.

We are looking to use the riseup social networking forum, called Crabgrass, as a regional network internal communication system. Although we’ve sent out many emails about this forum–and many regional coordinators have signed up to use Crabgrass–it still isn’t being utilized as desired. Per the feedback of many about their difficulty using Crabgrass, we want to do a conference call about how to best use Crabgrass to build this movement. We will be sending out an email shortly about this call.

Supporters held report-back sessions and fundraisers around the country after the caravan.We are encouraging people to stay in touch with regional coordinators and to continue supporting Black Mesa resistance from their home communities. As always, the elders are requesting direct on land support so please consider coming and spending a month or two on the land.`

As members of BMIS traveled to different elders’ homes and listened to what they had to share, it was clear that they were thankful for the work we all did and for the reminder that their struggle isn’t forgotten. The relationships that were created and deepened during the caravan will help to sustain the elders’ continued fight for dignified self-determination and against the isolation brought on by forced relocation.  To the supporters and resisters: we thank you for giving us a reason to continue the work we do and for continuing to struggle and fight for the systemic changes we all want to see. Our hearts and souls were nourished while enjoying the conversations, laughter and relationships that were built this year. It was wonderful to reconnect with the families and deeply encouraging to hear about the great work that supporters are doing back home for decolonization, the planet, and all people. As a collective, we look forward to working with you all in the future and strengthening the networks of solidarity that we seek to grow.

With gratitude,
BMIS collective members- Berkley, Hallie, Liza, Tree & Derek

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