Monday, June 24, 2024

“Big Mountain is Under Siege Again”–Louise Benally on Livestock Impoundments


“We are asking you to take action. Big Mountain is under siege again because Peabody Coal is losing its income from coal mining, so it is pressuring the tribal government to attack its own people. We’ve been opposed to the mining since 1974 when PL 93-531 was passed.  Now with the coal companies collapsing they are trying to take the only resource we have, which is our animals to eat and sell.

They are stealing our livelihood away and holding them in pens and charging us a lot of money and refusing to bring them back to people’s homes. When the animals are taken away, people can’t return to their homes.

They are holding the animals as ransom, but we don’t have money because we don’t have a cash economy. There is no work except for the coal mine. We need human rights and justice for the environment. This is a fight for human rights — Animals are food. When they take our food what choice to we have? We are calling out to the world to help us apply public pressure. Demand animals be returned to owners and that the owners are allowed to decide how to manage the land and animals.

Call the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, and the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation refuses to help the people who are resisting relocation openly. No one is backing us up because we are resisters. This has always been stacked against us.

They are harassing and terrorizing people and when they take their animals away they can never come back to the land. They tell us we are illegally living here. We are illegal aliens basically. But I am older than PL 93-531. I was born in 1960 and that law didn’t come along until 1974. That’s why I don’t recognize it.  I was here before.”—Louise Benally, Dineh, Big Mountain

Numbers to Call:

BIA superintendent Wendel  Honanie at( 928-738-2228),

Hopi Rangers Clayton Honyumptewa at (928-734-3601),

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye: (928) 871-6352/6353

Department of Interior at  (602-379-6600)


You can donate to a livestock impoundment fund HERE. Please specify “Black Mesa Impoundements” in the designation box.

If you can come out to the land and act as a human rights observer in the face of this increased community harassment, contact



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