Sunday, January 31, 2010

Specialized Volunteers Urgently Needed for Threatened Big Mtn. Culture

America’s Fossil Fuel Addiction & Advanced Technology Trends Facilitate Extinction of Land Based Cultural-Spirituality on Big Mountain
By Bahe (Kat) Katenay Keediniihii, Sheep Dog Nation Media

February 1, 2010 Big Mountain, Black Mesa – There is nearly three feet of semi-packed snow that blankets the juniper and pinon woodlands, a country where a few and scattered hardcore Dineh (Navajo) resisters live. It is their ancestral lands and it has been their choice to maintain residency as an only option to resist U.S. government laws to vacate. Out here, there are no electrical lines nor do waterlines something which 99 percent of Americans would not believe exist. You, as an American living most of your daily life with the modern conveniences, probably do not know what to do if your water or electricity suddenly goes off. Try to image also what if your old grandparents lived in a remote place where climate become extreme and there is no phone, no electricity or running water, and finally, would you worry about them as they age year by year and all agency services are denied of them?

Maybe America does not care, or why should they care? These 20 plus home sites, each with traditional elders who maintain culture with the intention of preserving some long-outdated tradition, would be of no importance in comparison to the millions of Americans that subsist on petroleum products. Most caring Americans only look up when thousands of people are impacted elsewhere by disaster, but the undying story of a few hundred souls on Big Mountain on the Navajo-Hopi Indian reservation does not touch hearts deep enough.

Modern society’s desire for petroleum-carbon products like handy-tech-gadgets, food and drink containers, entertainment supplies, and the necessities of transportation far outweighs this Big Mountain human crisis. Furthermore, the official mass media assures the world that ‘government backed Hopis trying to kick out a few dozen lawless Navajos is insignificant.’ Even the corporate controlled Indian newspaper and major television networks have their standard approaches by refuting and downplaying any claims made by these Dineh resisters about how Peabody Energy has a major role in this real estate scheme and relocation law of the 1974.

Everyone is aware that all the so-called, Native Americans, have pickup trucks, carry around cell phones and watch plasma screen TVs at home. That being observed can instantly make the conclusion that, there is no threat of extinction of the indigenous cultural-spirituality. Fortunately, there are still some intelligence human thoughts out there that know that this has always been the American attitude.

Lets invade their country because they are a danger to us and dangerous to themselves. This must be the course and it is all in the name of peace and democracy! They need to be assimilated and be pacified. And when the smoke from the total destruction of their lands and villages has settled, they will be far better off as civilized people, and we will help them to rebuild their economy and make them independent, again…”

These familiar words that were only spoken through military rifles, just a little over a hundred years ago in 1977, still ring in the memories of Dineh elder resisters at Big Mountain. That is why they have chosen to return to the battle and defy the United States Indian Policies of human removal and natural resource exploration. In 2010, these few matriarch and patriarchs try their best, mentality, to rely on the limited physical capabilities to: walk their ancestral land, smell the wood burning from their stove, smell the distance sheep corrals, breathe the little fresh air that earth can still offer, look up at the clouds move across, watch the trees move in the breeze, and to look about their country to only imagine that thriving culture and spirituality of the past.

Extinction is a word commonly associated with vegetation or certain species of animal, but the homosapien equation is always not a factor in this scenario of thinking. With all the intellect of western science, culture can never defined nor can spirituality ever be properly interpreted. America cannot even formulate a list of what ‘their culture is or could be.’ At Big Mountain, the Dineh knew many ways of starting a fire like how fine do you make the juniper bark, or where can you find dry fire starters on a rainy or snowy day? What does one do when the glare of the snow starts to blind them? What wild plant that is in your immediate vicinity is edible, medicinal or is a cure for thirst? How many kinds of foods can be derived from corn –in the Indian way, not in the industrialized American-food-processing way? What kind of clouds tells you if it will snow and when? Which snowfall is unhealthy to ingest? Why are the little blades of water crystals that cover the top of snow in the mornings sacred to the Dineh? Why was it prohibited for the Dineh to say the name of the bear, the sun, the thunder, or the buffalo? What do you do when you see tracks of a snake, when you kill a grasshopper or lizard?

What can happen if humans do wrong? How should the human repent and make restitution in order to keep the harmony and their relationship with nature?

There is world at Big Mountain that wants to survive, but not with the temporary comforts of technology which are also derivatives of the mineral and water exploitation or ‘the rape of mother earth.’ This has to be seen as our problem and that we can be the solution. This cannot be changed through your votes or your advocacy for Constitutional Rights because these few Dineh elders have lost all rights when that relocation law was passed in 1974. Public Law 93-531 was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President of the United States, and that is known as an Executive Order just like a declaration of war.

An effective solution is to volunteer your time and commit yourself to a challenging environment by assisting these matriarch and patriarch, and work with them to manage the many aspects of human culture in sustainable practices. Natural harmony and balance may only be revived through something similar to volunteer enforcement of a humanistic controlled democracy. It is well understood that contrary to this corporate controlled democracy is only sustained through fear and in the name of maximized profits.

The peoples of Big Mountain have fought long and hard. They have symbolized that natural human pride but which is now diminishing by their old age and confinement to constant hospitalization. This is causing them to abandon those sheep herds, the unfinished weaving looms, the home sites, cornfields, and the living histories of antiquity and ancestry. Help them. Help us. A cultural and spiritual place must not be vacated to allow fossil fuel extraction which will be followed by commercial beef industries.

Our destinies are so inter-related whether we ignore it or not, but seeing beyond the synthetic technical upgrades of our human moment, are we so certain that the information and digital age will be suitable for our great grandchildren?

* * * To find out more about how you can get involved, email: or leave a detailed voice message at (928) 773-8086 * * * * Or write to:

Black Mesa Indigenous Support
P.O. Box 23501
Flagstaff, AZ 86002


© Sheep Dog Nation Media, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wha' izit dat U all don't get about the Big Mtn. Struggle?!

Field sketches by Ira Moskowitz of the southwest in the 1940s.

What is it that You all don’t get about the Big Mountain Struggle?
Written by B.Y. "Kat" Keediniihii - Katenay

January 5, 2010 Big Mountain Dineh Resistance Territory, Black Mesa – Because of that irresistible American culture of Wal-Mart, hotdogs, freedomfries, Opry Winfrey, American Idol, and CNN, the human minds on Turtle Island have been saturated with more materialism, artificial-lie-zation, ignorance with self-reality, and a quick fix for cheap comforts. I have had much conversation with individuals who are sympathetic to the elders at Big Mountain, the Dineh elders who have been suffering under the U.S.-Peabody colonial aggressions. Almost all who know about this issue continue to be influenced by books or by authors that think they can use “rational” facts to interpret what the causes of relocation are. The first ugly words I hear from their mouths is “the land dispute” between Hopis and Dineh, but they do not know who the real parties are that are involved in this real estate fraud or scheme, or was it really a fair justice by the U.S. Congress of 1974?

These rational fact seekers and ignorant Indian “activist” still prefer to believe that Big Mountain is about politics. Let’s correct that first : political activism has to do with an attempt, based on “falsely” guaranteed rights, to influence politicians or corporate CEOs to change legislation or existing policies. That is politics, and politics deals with man and woman-made laws.

The original Big Mountain resistance was about a spiritual way of human existence that (tried to) maintain the unique ways of co-existence with the Universe and Nature. They were ways maintained since from a far distance time by indigenous peoples even before “civilization” emerged. Big Mountain and all other land-based indigenous societies deal with universal and natural orders and as human beings; we do not dare to ask the divine powers to change certain orders of life functions. (I use the word humans rather than saying Hopis or Dineh in particular.) The wise elders who are today incapable of physically leading this fight at Big Mountain were rationally correct when they declared, ‘the fight at Big Mountain is for all children of mother earth’ meaning all races of peoples.

It now has been forty years of intense events of force change caused by mineral exploration interest and that, being confronted with physical, spiritual and sovereign resistance. Forty years ago the last of the old time Dineh took their horse-driven wagons into the canyonlands to forever disappear. Today, the few traditional elders who sit in silence alone can only day dream of the past when a visitor on horseback might show up or that they receive some news about a large winter ceremonial event. That kind of visit or news would make their day exciting and would have some expectations that they can discuss with their family.

Big Mountain country is still pristine and in its past, a culture thrived with the Yei bi Cheii and the Mountain Chant Fire Dances in the winter. In summer, there were the Great Gathering Ceremony (a.k.a “Squaw” Dance) and other clan and family rituals. The force changes and the relocation of hundreds of our community members have now silenced the sounds of gourds, drums and the choir of singers. The many campfires and ceremonial fires are no longer present as the land is in darkness and is empty of a living culture.

My father, who is of the great Yei society, recently recalled his elders’ teaching that, the Dineh must always maintain the ceremonies because if the ceremonies die out the moisture and precipitation will also die out. Another matriarch and a resistance leader recalled, too, of a teaching about outside fires for cooking or for ceremonial gatherings that served special purposes in communicating with the night time heavenly lights. One traditional elder man who is also resisting relocation recalled of a teaching: ‘when we Dineh no longer make ceremonial prayer offerings to all the sacred places around Big Mountain, all the Star Chiefs up in the Universe will gather to discuss the final judgment for us…’

The Indian reservation life across Turtle Island (North America) have rapidly transformed despite the last great Indian uprising of the American Indian Movement era. Cell phones and satellite broadcasted, Direct TV have capsulated our Indian world to only an individual realm like all “Americans.” We have either given in or that we do not realize we have been forced into that American culture. All the cheap comforts of altered and synthetic foods and drinks are within short reaches of coffee tables or a couple of steps to the refrigerator. The ceremonies are modified privately with the assumption that the divine powers probably do not care or that they are not watching. The ceremonies are fitted to our adapted life styles of America and so, ceremonies are conducted basically as short cuts almost like the short cuts on your desktop.

The wider community based thought which was once the gateway to universal thinking is no more. Land struggle issues are mostly or overall ignored by the Indian, and they are also determined by legitimacy in terms of influencing politics or legally intervening. Unfortunately, Big Mountain does not meet these requirements because of its illegal approaches of a humanly and earthly stances. To the federally and state regulated environmentalism, the wise notion about supernatural influences on global atmospheric weather and climate are too irrational, but instead the textbook nerd-scientists and lawyers are the real experts in air pollution, hydrology and meteorology. Individual activism is now the impostor of a community and that is why a community like Big Mountain and Black Mesa has disintegrated. I represent a thought that I call “the original resistance” while other former constituent of the original movement individually represent other thoughts. The central fires do not communicate with the center fire. The U.S. government and its corporate entities dominate the communications.

Understand now the difference or what “was” Big Mountain. What was Big Mountain will always be my sole efforts. However, I have only seen those outsiders, the non-natives, who have the dignity and the honor to live with and help these Dineh elder resisters. They were willing to escape America to do something “illegal” to protect a small aspect of universal and natural order. They were somehow educated by the right books to realize that physical on-land, direct action is the only way to confront coal mining giant, Peabody Western. These dedicated and well-committed non-natives are a community and they may not have a way of worship, but they come out by the few and leave enrich with non-text book knowledge, and that required sacrifice. At Big Mountain, we still wait for the Indians to return and be willing to sacrifice that American cheap comfort and desires. There may still be a chance for all clear minded activist and Indians that seek real change toward rebuilding communities by coming out to the great lands of Big Mountain and work with the Dineh, The Peoples.

© Kat of Sheep Dog Nation Media, 2010