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Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Mtn. On Land Supporter: In His Own Words

A LITTLE INSIGHT: On Land Supporter with Dineh Resisters: In His Own Words
Big Mountain, Black Mesa - April 2009 Yaa’at’eeh (Good Greetings). My name is Owen and my Mom’s side of grandparents were from northern Ireland, County Armaugh and Newry. Do you want to know my last name? What for? How about my social security #? She'aad diil adin! (Myself, don’t possess such item!) I was raised Catholic in New England by lower-middle class parents. They are retired teachers. I have a blood son with a much better BMIS (Black Mesa Indigenous Support) volunteer than me and two step kids: ages 6 and 8.

I have not wanted to say a lot about me/us on this web page (http://www.blackmesais.org), but this is for the purpose of what we are not as much as what we are. There are other websites out there connected to Big Mountain/Black Mesa. This organization is called, Black Mesa Indigenous Support. We know a number of (Dineh) families/individuals on/around black mesa well, and we channel support to them-mostly in the form of live-in helpers. We like to live in and help, too. And we do our best to get their stories heard by people not from there, especially the aspects of their story that are the result of ongoing genocidal laws and policies of the dominant society. Though, we get a lot of help in what we do from people that were born on Black Mesa or were born into the struggle against relocation and coal mining/resource extraction, the core of this "Black Mesa Indigenous Support" are people not born on Black Mesa or inside the fenced (partitioned) line. People who are from there have their own organizations.

As for me, anybody looking at me will consider me a white guy. So that makes me white with all the privileges and burdens that attend to it. One of those privileges and burdens is to be a sheepherder and to work for the elders of Black Mesa. Most of my work for them has been time and physical labor and listening. But I am also a second-rate organizer and propagandist. As far as my propaganda goes, it is mostly printed stuff and I try to show it around to people on the land when I can and translate for elders who can't read. They deserve to know and they have given me many good insights on how and what to put in to it or not. I think BMIS's web page is like that, too, to the credit of the volunteers who mainly have worked on it (not me).

But overall, I don't like these new technologies ‘cuz’ they are being used against us. They are reducing the possibilities that we have to choose from. And it is getting worse. So that’s all I'm ‘gonna’ say about myself, here. If you want to know more hopefully, we can meet up out on the Rez --especially if you are native or connected to this struggle in a further way than I am, I have nothing to hide from you. I prefer face to face communication. The struggle at Big Mountain has been an inspiration to me for many years, and I will continue to give it every ounce of energy that I can muster until someone can convince me to do otherwise. I have been schooled many times on aspects of how to do this by people associated with this struggle, but I have many more to go. So be it. I give thanks for the privilege of being called and called back to Black Mesa by elders of these clans: Bitter Water, Many Goats, Near Water, and Red Streak into Water. I especially encourage young and healthy folks from other nations around the world to do this support in the way as I have or better! We cannot afford not to.

My apologies for saying so much, and bottom line: I am not Red. I am White.
-Owen

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