Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Wha' izit dat U all don't get about the Big Mtn. Struggle?!
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