Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Big Mtn: Decreased Humans, Predators Increase & Nature Abounds


The lands of Big Mountain has perhaps returned to its "once upon a time" natural state. Dineh pastoral lifestyles have been depleted and wide areas are now teaming with coyotes, foxes, wolves, deer, elk, and cougars. The diverse vegetation of this high-desert, woodlands are now free from sheep and cattle grazing --"thanks" to the U.S. government's inhumane energy policy of 1974. The lands seem very peaceful in many aspects while you immerse yourself in that month of May's time of flowering, if the winter climate was near normal.

Elder matriarch of Sweet Water Stronghold has just returned with her grandson from checking on the few cattle she still owns. She is dressed for work but not your usual ranch lady as she wears a well dirt-stained apron, scarf, sweat shirt, the traditional skirt, and good walking shoes.

"We covered a big area to see where all the cattle were," she says in the Dineh language. "One cow had a newborn calf but she is without it today so, we drove around more and only found tracks of her and her calf from days ago. My grandson said he noticed fresh cougar tracks. Maybe the mama-cow eventually lead her newborn into the 'mouth of that pedator...'

Some of the few hardcore, elder resisters to the relocation policies have lost their livestock to the these predators particularly the cougar, a skilled and daring hunter. The transformation in the last 15 years is all too real and if Big Mountain people had access to all the monies and revenues that were all stolen by Mr. Peabody, the Dineh would hire ecologist and anthropologists that can explain with much merit the effects of human removal and how nature reclaims the ecosystems. Then this being all temporary because it will all be stripped for the coal and aquifer reserves to meet America's energy needs.

It does feel that this is only temporary even though you behold the beauty of tall green grasses, the white stacks of yucca flowers, and the intense-coloured flowers shooting out of thorny cactuses. Maybe only prayers and more deep searches for understanding by current conscience individuals will help save and restore the endangered ancient lifeways at Big Mountain.

Sheep Dog Nation Rocks, 2009

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