Sheep Dog Nation Media
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
SheepDog's Report on Caravan 2009 to Big Mtn.
Support Caravan to Big Mountain Resistance Communities, November 2009
By NaaBaahii “Kat” Keedinihii
Sheep Dog Nation Media
Sheep Dog Nation Media
[Author’s Note: It is very necessary that I must “try” to make another of the hundreds of clarification that I have made in the past about Identity, Loyalty, Allegiance, Sovereignty, Aboriginality, Great (Big) Mountain, and Resistance. This past Caravan of Support has shown me much inspiration and hope that as human communities we are committed to global balance and survival. The other small aspect of disruption and distraction is that of labeling “who is the real resister” and who is where in terms of a government demarcation boundary. Again, the policy makers of the colonial state are being allowed to have control over how we think and how we decide: who is who, who is what, who is how. These small numbers of individuals who have been influenced by the colonial terminology of status have not questioned the human aspect of resistance and survival, or more importantly contribution to the roles of resistance. Thus, Yours Truly, is questioned or is falsely labeled as a non-resister and non-resident, but that is based on the U.S. government’s official words and on a few disgruntle residents that love dwelling on petty issues of dissensions. You readers must now learn more about the role of Yours Truly: review the long list of resume of physical coordination of resistance actions since 1977 and the endless list of the contribution to consultation of sovereign enforcements that were based on the original, traditional Big Mountain elder council’s proclamations. Now look at any resumes, if any exist, of those making the accusations, complaints and loud-mouthing in the midst of a good-spirited action like the Fall 2009 Support Caravan. Always seek the truth especially during a crucial revolutionary movement because much harm and huge setbacks can result from such rumors and accusations. –Kat of SDN Rocks.]
December 2, 2009 – Big Mountain, Black Mesa (northeastern Arizona) Awesome human beings of all ages but mostly young came from Tejas, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Ohio, New Mexico, southern Arizona, and even from a few foreign countries. All 120 plus individuals were able to come to Big Mountain, a regional territory, where the main brunt of the resistance to force relocation and Peabody’s coal mining expansion is taking place. These well equipped and wonderful inspired, non-Native citizens came to honor Dineh resisters by providing assistance like everything from cleaning around one’s residents to hauling and chopping cords of firewood. Some were able to find out what herding sheep and goats was all about like what to feed the sheepdogs, to graze certain vegetation in a designated area, when to water the animals, what time to head back and put them in the corral, and how to secure the corral gate.
Besides the tons of firewood hauling, there were a lot of repair and building work. The U.S. government through its Department of the Interior and the Justice Department has used the B.I.A. to enforce a freeze on any kinds of repair or improvements. However, every human being has universal rights to happiness and welfare, and any humanitarian aid should not be denied from them –especially in the US of A because the U.S. is supposed to be the leader in honoring human rights.
The well-coordinated and distributed volunteer-support, worker groups were pretty aware that these types of humanitarian aid were crucial to the Dineh elder resisters and their families. They all knew that they must, for one week, give up that “great” American privilege like Thanksgiving Holiday. And instead go out to remote and (somewhat) hospitable resistance communities to make many indigenous families’ lives better. Many of these volunteers are actively involved in their communities’ efforts for justice and peace, and they not only brought their skills but to immerse themselves in a new and alternative experience. All the good hopes and intentions of the local Dineh that collaborated with these outside supporters was such an uplifting and empowering event that took place for one whole week. You have seen people march in the streets but perhaps you have never seen support crews covering nearly 450,000 acres to work as hard as they can to accomplish great tasks within seven days. It was just power and much healing.
The power of a united force is a ritual in its own and if geared towards the positive, that momentum can set its own forecast and outcomes. Family members came to the central coordination camp or base camp and they transported or guided the adequate number of crews to their homes. Volunteers took with them their own foods to eat and share, tools to use and leave with the family, and their camping gear to cope with the unpredictable Black Mesa climate.
The late November, high altitude climate gave noticed to who is in charge, nature. Morning pre-dawn temperatures dipped down to 20F degrees, but the daytime temps made it a comfortable, sunny 60F degree. The below freezing early morning temps greeted the crews each day as they kept up with the elders’ early rise. Far from the thermostat-control environments, supporters manage to cook hot meals for breakfast as they fought off the shivering bites of the nippy air. The sun’s warmth brought a relax calm among the work forces as they carried out the physically demanding tasks which involved nothing but manual labor. Many probably never used an axe or a pick as much as they did before, or have never thought of ever stacking that much cut and split firewood before. Others probably have never realized what it took for the Dineh in remote parts of the reservation to acquire drinking water. The long drives to the well or having to pull buckets of water out of a rock-walled tank, and how important it was to conserve or honor that water. The tonnage of dirt dug and moved, of wood hauled and cut, and of the gallons of water transported were certainly immense and immeasurable.
Two days of road repair used at least 20 hard working individuals, and a two and half mile road was attempted to be fixed but only a mile and half was completed. This dirt and unmaintained road is an essential corridor for the communities that are divided by the low-lying but rugged range of the Big Mountain ridge. The BIA patrols know about this deteriorating road but only the patrol routes are maintained. Also when the resistance outpost once known as the Big Mountain Survival Camp (1980 – 1992) existed, this road was manually maintained by the Camp’s supporter and security personnel. Years of weathering have turned this ridge overpass road into a washed out jeep trail. The Support Caravan 2009 and Black Mesa Indigenous Support finally were able to gather the resources to initiate this road repair project. The crew learned about natural methods of erosion control by using local scrubs and dead tree limbs and by moving large heavy rocks to build a barrier across a large wash. Some large rocks required two to three heavy steel bars and eight pairs of hands to carry it and put in place. Workers instantly learned to coordinate between positioning bars, placing rock spacers and when to have the hands in order to lift or push. All work had some level of learning and experience but most of all, there was a sense of satisfaction.
The struggles within a community or society do however has its down-side as well as its upside. We are only humans no matter if we come from some great indigenous society and more so today because of the fast moving pace of acculturation and assimilation. That American mentality does still take away our normal humanness and there will be those out for personal desire or a quick fix that is unrelated to the potentials for victory of a struggle. There has to be always be this kind of learning and awareness in order to cope and be on alert. A struggle or cause can unfortunately pose the unexpected of individuals that should be recognized for a struggle or cause. These should not let us down if we are smart, alert and wise, and if we are true patriot and fighters for the peoples and nature. We must continue to share the positive and purposeful intentions of winning over the corporate and institutional aggression.
Black Mesa Indigenous Support wishes to collaborate more efficiently with all regional networks that includes the Clan Dyken support caravan. The victories across the resistance territories have been inscribed with stacks of wood fuel, renovated shelters for people and animals, repaired vehicles and water wells, and a main road brought back to life. Imagine if the Caravan 2010 was to be bigger and better.
One week after the Caravan arrived there was the closing circle. Many resisting families and their neighbors came to the huge circle to bid farewell and say thanks to the volunteer crews. As the good voices were said, nature brought clouds and some sprinkles of rain and small soft hail. It was a blessing. Mother earth and father sky must have been content and they also must be bidding a farewell and thanks, too.
© Sheep Dog Nation Media, 2009, Kat-the-Bahe