Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Winter On-Land Supporter: "Resistance not Isolated & Continues at Varied Degrees"

A Literature Piece on Big Mountain, Black Mesa by Nephew Jake


I recently left the land, in which i had spent the winter with elder Pauline Whitesinger. This experience inspired me to write a short essay that i wish to distribute hand to hand and through magazines or websites that may wish to publish my writing. To be accountable to you and the resistance on black mesa I am sending a copy for your comments. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hagoshiin (Until Next Time), Haastiin Yazhie' (/s/nephew jake)

This winter I lived with a Dineh (Navajo) elder on the west side of Big Mountain. She was born there and continues to walk about the same land as she did when she was a child, more than 80 years ago. While at her homesite I primarily herded sheep through the rough, high desert terrain. I followed this grandma's wisdom, knowing her directions were ways of survival in the face of determined removal by the U.S Government and American Corporations. She taught me skillz in animal husbandry, wood cutting, and hogan care. It was an honor to live under her guidance and training.

I am a young person of mixed european decent. My late mother was an artist and student, my father is a vegetable farmer and a long time War Tax Resister (has widtheld all income tax from the US Govt since 1980). I am a child of activists yet I found the Dineh resistance on Black Mesa from my own journey. I first began to sort the debt I have as a white living on indian land when i came out to Black Mesa the first time a few years ago through Black Mesa Indigenous Support. But enough about me, lets get to the issue that remains; Dineh resistance to American imperialism.

Since 1978 Dineh communities n Black Mesa have resisted US relocation laws and Bureau of Indian Affairs policing strategies to remove them and their way of life. Washington has supported 'relocation' as a solution to their self-created, make-believe navajo-hopi land dispute. A closer reality seems to be American energy corporations partnered with Washington to manufacture a cultural divide that is used to sustain corporate land grabbing on Dineh sovereign territory.

The latest example of imperial landscaping was in December 2008. Despite protest from Navajo, Hopi, native, and non-native people; the Office of Surface Mining approved a Life-of-Mine permit for the Black Mesa Complex operated by Peabody Energy. This permits Peabody to continue strip mine Black Mesa coal and water. In addition Peabody has the opportunity to seize 19,000 acres of sacred land beyond the 67,000 acres already in Peabody's grasp.

I gathered from this decision that mining and burning coal, which threatens catastrophic climate change, is not a real concern to Washington. Their attitude remains war mongering towards the earth and indigenous people, which are both considered collateral damage in the wake of National Security. It appears that neither the OSM or the tribal governments intended to stop Peabody and support traditional Dineh sovereignty on Black Mesa.

Certainly the few sheep camps that are left since relocation and mining began could not be a serious threat to national security? However, in my short time on Black Mesa, grandma and myself came into contact with BIA deputized rangers on several occasions. We were confronted about the activities going on around her home. This type of harassment is not isolated and has happened over the coarse of 30 years. But resistance is also not isolated and continues each day in varied degrees. All acts on Black Mesa under traditional Dineh authorization for survival are direct actions of resistance to American imperialism. The bottom argument I wish to make is relocation = imperialism. The sheep, horses, cattle, deer, birds, elders, youth, and sheepherders all stand in the way of Mr. Peabody's coal train and American progress.

Nephew Jake

For more information to become a live-in supporter/sheepherder on Black Mesa please visit: or contact: vm 928-773-8086

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