Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Extreme Drought Conditions on Black Mesa: Support Urgently Requested

April 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Latest Posts

This spring on Black Mesa, the wind is blowing more dust than moisture, which can be typical this time of year. However as a result from the below average monsoon season in 2017 followed by a winter that netted only a few weak storms, the indigenous resistance communities of Black Mesa are facing extreme drought conditions.

According to official weather projections, the long-term dryness is expected to worsen throughout the summer. Regional supplies of water, hay, and feed on the Navajo Nation are already low and shortages can only be expected to persist.

Although the President of the Navajo Nation has declared a drought emergency and has applied for federal funds to assist Navajo farmers and ranchers, families resisting relocation at Black Mesa within the HPL are unlikely to receive any of this aid.

At this time, Diné families resisting relocation at Black Mesa are issuing an urgent international call for support. Supplemental resources such as water, hay and nutritional support will need to be delivered in order to sustain the herds of sheep and other livestock that families depend on. On the ground assistance from volunteers with sheepherding and sheep shearing experience is also needed, to help maintain the herds of the community.

Diné residents at Black Mesa are currently organizing to support the elders of their community. Local Diné people skilled in sheep shearing will be traveling between households that are requesting shearing assistance. Other volunteers and community members will be collaborating to purchase and distribute essential supplies for livestock including hay and nutritional support for lambs and expectant ewes. There will also be an ongoing need to haul and deliver drinking water to elders living in remote areas. As hotter summer temperatures set in, there will be a continual need for assistance with water and supply delivery. Donations are urgently needed to make these essential efforts possible.

Due in part to the impacts of Peabody Energy’s massive coal operations at Black Mesa, the indigenous communities of the area suffer from perpetual water scarcity and are forced to haul water over great distances for household and livestock needs. Meanwhile, the energy extracted from Black Mesa mining has, for decades, powered key water-delivery infrastructure for Phoenix and other metropolitan areas through the Central Arizona Project. Epidemic drought conditions can only be expected to worsen in coming years, as fossil-fuel induced climate change continues unchecked, driving up global temperatures and accelerating a trend of precipitation loss in the southwest.


What can you do?

  • Donate funds to sustain on-land assistance efforts at Black Mesa that seek to ensure the well-being of elders and the ancestral sheep herds. Funds are needed to cover the cost of gas money and supplies.https://supportblackmesa.org/donate/   Specify: BMIS-Dineh Drought Relief Fund
  • Come to the land and stay with a family at Black Mesa. Come prepared to herd sheep and work under the direction of Diné matriarchs. https://supportblackmesa.org/take_action/
  • Find ways to lend your support to Diné people and organizations that are working to shut down the Kayenta Mine and Navajo Generating Station forever. Support Diné and other indigenous organizing against fracking and other extractive energy projects.


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