Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
There are no events of cultural empowerment and inspiration that I hear about that are geared toward the little children, our indigenous children. Sure I hear about school programs that are overseen by foreign governments and states. In terms of resistance and de-colonialization, adults and urban youths are all focused on or distracted by confronting the policies of injustice and racISM elsewhere but are not being carried out on the ancestral lands that we still occupy.
Today, a very few of us are putting together a two and half day gathering and celebration that is completely focused on the little children who are descendants of and/or related to the Big Mountain Dineh resistance to coal mining, global warming, genocide, and laws of relocation. On behalf of the few remaining elders in resistance and extended family members that value the continued occupation of our ancestral territories, I ask you to continue reading this very important information about supporting this celebration of: aboriginal status, treaty rights status and two days dedicated to the our little ones. Among the few activities provided for them they will be assisted to be creative and learn about who they are and where they come from. [Nbyk, Sheepdog Media]
RE: October 6 – 7, 2012 Big Mountain Survival School Remembrance Gathering
You are receiving this letter because, in some way, we are connected through the Traditional Dine/ Hopi resistance to the desecration of Black Mesa.
Who am I? My name is Martha Bourke and I have been engaged in raising public awareness of the ongoing issues at Black Mesa and supporting the resistance for 25+ years. First, through the Big Mountain Support Group that included: publishing the “Big Mountain News,” twice bringing caravans to the Spring Survival Gathering (1982 – 1986), assisted as a coordinator for the Weaving for Freedom Project - “Women in Resistance” (1986 – 1996), core facilitator for the Sovereign Dineh Nation (SDN) Survival School 1989 – 92, and helper on two delegations to the Peabody shareholders meetings (London, 1999 & NYC, 2001). In 2007, I raised the funds to provide a kitchen at the 30 year anniversary for the Big Mountain Resistance.
Today, I am reaching out to you to help support this October’s SDN Survival School. This is an anniversary of sorts; it’s been 20 years since the last Survival School. But I am raising funds/supplies with the intention of this being a NEW beginning.
The SDN survival school was a traditional and contemporary arts and crafts day camp that was held for several weeks each summer 1989 – 1992, and which was hosted by the SDN-Big Mountain Survival Camp / Resistance Outpost. We served 50+ children (including providing shuttle, snacks etc.), creating a space where families from “both sides of the fence” could experience multi-generational recreation in a culturally supportive context which provided respite from the stresses and divisions created by relocation policies. As well as develop opportunities where families on the Land, visiting family members and supporters could experience positive outcomes in the face of what continues to be the slow grind of Genocide.
A young woman, a mom herself now who saw me at this year’s Big Mountain Sundance, was reminiscing and told me, “I’ve never tasted a cheese sandwich as good as the ones you made at Survival School.” I hugged her close and said, “Sweetheart, it WASN”T the sandwich…it was the GOOD feelings!” In the few weeks that I have been working on this, here are some comments from people who participated as children between 1989 and 1992….
“Awee, I remember those times.. fun crafts and pottery making... my all time favorite was making masks.. n decorating em... also candle making on the roof of the underground storage room....”
“I think this might have been my initial inspiration for community based youth programs and youth empowerment. FUN TIMES!”
Each time I have been to Big Mountain in the past decade, more grannies are speaking English and less children refer to themselves as Dineh. Also more recently, numerous requests from some resister, family members about activities of this sort has made me feel committed, again, to make the SDN Survival School happen again. Thus, I look forward to once again work together with these Dineh and other new faces.
Support we are looking for:
Funds - for foods, art supplies, to haul firewood & water, rent a generator, canvas shelter,
Materials - Art supplies in general and specifically, watercolors, brushes, ass’t paper, beads, bath towels and straw mats for felting,
Instructors / Helpers - Folks who have a traditional or contemporary art/ craft/ skill to share either half or full day projects geared towards elementary, middle school and youths.
I have a gifted elementary art instructor (who has a history on the land) interested in doing watercolors and printmaking; paper and t-shirts. I’ve spoken with a Dineh from the land re: herbal knowledge and another Dineh person spoke with me about felting and beading.
Audio/Visual Assistance -We want someone to manage and setup for an outdoor movie night, or either taking complete responsibility or working with me (so I can know what is needed and try to get equipment here in Taos).
So this year while most will be enjoying a three day weekend in “honor” of Columbus…let us come together to Reactivate, Revitalize, Rededicate the sovereign oriented efforts of Dine land-base learning.
Who Is Invited: Non-Native volunteer and instructors, Dineh kids and youth with their families who are affected by relocation and cultural displacement. It is emphasized that you provide your own camping supplies and transportation.
Agenda Overview - Saturday Oct 6th will be devoted to crafts, games and a movie night. Sunday October 7th we will be ecological, culture hike to the original Survival Camp site and have more activities.
Twenty years after the last Survival School…..Twenty years after the great swell of awareness re: indigenous struggle in the face of the celebrating Columbus…..Won’t you support / join in honoring the Dine spirit of resistance…..
Contact: Martha Bourke - 575-758-7045
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I, as an indigenous being that face transition in this fast moving, fast deteriorating techno-modern world and as well as, a being witnessing his former land-base culture dying, I have some hope for planet earth when I see some isolated humans still living in balance and sustainably.
I shall only continue to hope and pray that there will be some sense of indigenous humanity left in this capitalistic monster, the US of A, when I am long gone. Meantime, I only pray for my own and my children’s positivity that we will carry on the natural fires, the prayer stones, the skill to make stone points and its arrows and bows, and to carry the knowledge of cooking over the right kind of wood charcoals and to make the proper prayers to the Great Grandmother Fire.
Finally, this quote:
“Another world, unsettling, the one from which they come probably.”
I am amazed that my fellow adventurer states this even as a French citizen and I feel that such a statement is so contrary to the American thought or the Native American thought of today. Majority of modern Native Americans think they only come for that materialistic consumer world and have no clue of ever coming from a natural, harmonized eco-system. –Nbyk, SDMmedia.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“How are you?
“I just come back from Papua where people still cut stones like in Palaeolithic age
“Next year, I plan to cross Mexico on the "silver road" and to finish in the USA around Santa Fe. Maybe we'll meet again.
“Tell me more about the future of your people. How do you manage with the mine? How is it going for Mary Lou and Clarence?
(Photographs from filming accomplished for documentary series “The New Explorers – Christophe Cousin in Papua.”)
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Written by Jessica Davies, Thursday, 02 August 2012
“It is not only the task of the independent/alternative media to circulate the truth, but rather it is the responsibility of us all to do so.”
“Our compas from San Marcos Avilés are suffering this violence because they are indigenous, because they are Zapatistas, and because they have opened their own autonomous school."
Terror hangs in the air of San Marcos Avilés, a small indigenous Tzeltal-speaking community located in the highland region of the state of Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico. The women, men and children from the community have sent out an urgent call to the world for support, a call that echoes in our very heartbeat and demands our solidarity, “as if it were said in the very language of our being”.
This urgent message comes from the nearly 200 Zapatista support bases members (BAZ) in San Marcos Avilés, who are fighting to live according to their own indigenous culture and struggling for freedom, justice, democracy and a dignified life for all. But they are faced with men with firearms and other weapons who intend to eradicate all that the Zapatistas represent and believe in.
The nightmare of terror began in August 2010, when the BAZ constructed a small wooden building to house their new autonomous school, named ‘Emiliano Zapata’. The Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Education System is, along with their other autonomous systems of health and collective work, one of the most well-known achievements of the organisation, and of crucial importance as the BAZ work towards the construction of their own autonomy. Not only can the children learn according to their own culture, knowledge, and traditions; wear their customary clothing, speak their own languages and eat their traditional foods; but they can also learn the truth about their own history and situation. Learning is a shared experience, enjoyed together, without competition, judgement, or hierarchy.
“We attach great importance to the autonomous school”, say the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés. “We want a good education for our children, good learning, a good example. We see that the government has its schools, but it is not good education, nor do they teach our children well; they do not provide good learning, and what they teach has nothing to do with us. So we opened our school ...”
The attacks on the BAZ began immediately after the construction of the school. Members of the Mexican political parties the PRI, PRD and PVEM, in armed “attack groups”, encouraged by the three levels of government, began to threaten and harass the community, attempting to rape the women, steal their land and possessions, and plunder their crops and livestock.
Within two months the attacks had reached such a level of violence that 170 BAZ, many of them women and children, were forcibly displaced from the community and had to take refuge on a mountain in the area. Here they lived exposed to the elements—under pieces of plastic sheeting, sleeping on the ground in the mud without any basic necessities, “we had no tortillas to eat; we had no pozol to drink”, through 33 days of wet, cold and hunger. During this period two of the women gave birth.
“I speak for all my fellow women: we are suffering a lot with our children. They do not take us into account, they see us like animals, like dogs. So I was told when I had my son in the mountains. That's what really hurts in my heart. We hope to move the hearts of our fellow women when they see this video”.
When groups from neighbouring communities and the local Human Rights Centre assembled to escort the BAZ back to their homes, the BAZ found that their dwellings, belongings, plantations of corn, beans, bananas, sugar cane and coffee, and their few chickens and cattle, had been destroyed, plundered or stolen. Since that time the Zapatistas of San Marcos Avilés have lived in a state of trauma and terror, enduring constant threats, attacks, violations and insults. The emotional and psychological well being of the women, unable to provide for their children, is one of especially profound concern.
“We denounce,” they wrote in July, 2011, “the events now occurring in this community. …..Our compañeros and compañeras, the Zapatista support bases of San Marcos Avilés, are living in a very difficult situation, in their own community, caused by people affiliated with different political parties and by the authorities of the same community…… they are facing death threats, harassment, loss of their cultivated lands, and evictions from their own community, purely because they started to set up an autonomous education system for their people.
“The aggressors also put our coffee fields up for sale, at a price of 14,000 pesos per hectare, in order to get money to buy more firearms….. The amount of land our compañeros have now been deprived of is 31¼ hectares and 8,500 coffee trees; all of this is now in the possession of the aggressors from the political parties.
“In this situation of aggression, threats and theft of their land faced by our compas …..they have endured many injustices made against them and have shown great patience in not responding with violence. And neither have we….responded violently in word or deed to these attacks and threats, because the Zapatistas are people of reason and principles and we do not want to fight our own indigenous brothers and sisters. But the bad governors of our State and our country seek at all costs that among the indigenous we see our brothers and sisters as enemies and kill each other.
“The bad government has done absolutely nothing to resolve and prevent the serious problems which could happen in this community; what the state and municipal governments have done is to support and back the attackers so they can continue provoking, threatening and stripping our Zapatista support bases of their belongings. There are no signs of this aggressive and arrogant attitude of the bad governors and their people coming to an end.
“All the aggressions, persecutions and provocations are committed by those people affiliated to the different political parties, and by the paramilitaries supported, advised and paid by the municipal, state and federal governments who are the masterminds of these human rights violations.
“Our support base compas of the community of San Marcos Aviles …….have the right be in their own community and to work the land which belongs to them…….They should not think that they will stop the struggle of the Zapatistas for the construction of our autonomy and for national liberation with provocation, threats, assaults and persecution, because whatever the cost, and whatever happens, we will continue to go forward, as is our right…..And we demand that they [the BAZ] be respected and that their stolen belongings be returned to them”.
What are the Issues Here?
The words of the newly released Call to Action leave no room for doubt:
“We stress here that these attacks are not isolated incidents, but rather are integral components of the prolonged war of extermination that the bad government of Mexico, together with capitalist interests, has carried out for the past 18 years to wipe out the Zapatista movement and all it has given to the world.
“The objectives of this war have been and remain to continue the colonial project and destroy at any cost indigenous autonomy and resistance, and take over their ancestral lands, and in this way, exploit for the exclusive benefit of those from above the natural resources with which our Mother Earth provides us.
“Repression, violence, and death are meted out by the bad government of Mexico to those who resist this, who defend their lands, their identities, their cultures, and autonomy – their very existence.
“Our compas from San Marcos Avilés are suffering this violence because they are indigenous, because they are Zapatistas, and because they have opened their own autonomous school.”
There is also the issue of land, the most basic and essential resource, vital to people’s sense of history and identity, home of their ancestors, source of their culture, and means of their survival. In this case, the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés bought the land twelve years ago and have the title deeds to prove it. As throughout Zapatista territory, however, this does not stop the governments from giving the land to others in return for driving out what the powerful most fear: the threat of a good example.
"We want there to be happiness in our lives and in the lives of our children. We want to have corn that is no longer stolen. We want tranquillity to be able to grow our pumpkins on our land. We want to find peace again in our hearts, and we want to eat with love what we have."
The Current Crisis
In recent weeks, the situation of threats and aggressions has intensified to the point where a repetition of the events of 2010, or worse, is feared at any time. The lives of the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés are seriously at risk, along with their dignified struggle for a better world.
Their urgent call for solidarity has been taken up by one of the most effective, experienced, admired and inspiring campaigning organisations struggling for justice at a grassroots level, the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB), of the Other Campaign New York.
“Particularly in the past few days, more threats against the Zapatista support base members have taken place in San Marcos Avilés. The culprits remain an attack group of political party members, who have stated that they will kidnap authorities of the Zapatista community, and in this way, forcefully displace the support base members from the ejido. They have also made threats against those who denounce these acts of aggression and harassment, claiming that they will incarcerate them. It is feared that another wide-scale displacement of the community, similar to the one that took place in 2010, will occur”.
The MJB first released a powerfully moving and shocking video, in Tzeltal with Spanish and English subtitles, in which the compas of San Marcos Avilés tell their own story.
“They think we are worthless. They treat us badly, like animals. They do what they want with us. That is still happening now. When we sow our maize, we cannot take it home. They come to steal our beans, cane ... bananas, they steal everything. All we do is sow and work and there is nothing….
“We cannot enjoy the fruits of our labour with our children, because…members of the political parties PRI, PRD, and PAN are eating it ….on the orders of bad government.
“The parties do not want the Zapatista organization in the ejido San Marcos. According to them, we set a bad example. They showed they want the organization to disappear. We will continue our struggle, there is no choice, because we are not committing any crime ... because we have the right to struggle to be taken into account. Freedom, justice and peace is what we are asking for. But we are not afraid because we know quite clearly what we are looking for and how we want to live”.
This story evoked a response from all corners of the world. The MJB followed it up on July 27th, 2012, with the launch of a worldwide campaign: “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López”
The campaign will be in two phases. The first, an intense period of education, dubbed “Walking the True Word,” of which this article is part, is to be followed by a phase of direct action.
The call also symbolically includes all Zapatista support bases, especially those from other communities which are also under attack. For this reason the MJB also calls for freedom and justice for the Zapatista prisoner of conscience Francisco Sántiz López, who has been imprisoned since December 2011 for crimes it has been proved he did not commit. Francisco comes from the community of Banavil, Tenejapa. In the video message, the BAZ of San Marcos Avilés call for the liberation of all political prisoners.
In true Zapatista fashion, the MJB call on the people of the world to set up Committees of the True Word, in whatever ways they can, in order to inform, educate and help raise awareness of the current situation of crisis in San Marcos Avilés. The Movement also undertakes to “share all reports we receive with the community of San Marcos, so that they know they are not alone”.
“We believe that the true word and knowledge are very important for the struggles of those from below—it is not only the task of the independent/alternative media to circulate truth, but rather it is the responsibility of us all to do so…..Education and knowledge are also tools and weapons in the struggle for justice, dignity, and democracy—they are nothing less than the forms in which we will construct this new world we seek.”
And in the words of the BAZ of San Marcos, "perhaps one day, together, we may attain what we are fighting for - that there be a dignified justice."
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
- Watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg
Show it to everyone you know. Organise a screening. Circulate it widely.
- Inform yourselves. Look at the website http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/
Circulate the Call for Action to all your contacts and social networks.
- Set up a Committee of the True Word
Let the MJB know you have done so on
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Those modern indigenous Dineh activists, as I observe, are following that false road of the colonial method of citizenship where they are provided a narrow avenue to voice and express their grievances. That is certainly fine to try and turn the table back on the “white men’s foreign” laws, but does modern “Navajo” activism need to despise their true roots of Native Resistance like: Big Mountain Sovereign Dineh Nation, Coalition for Navajo Liberation, former AIM – Dineh Chapter, Navajo-Hopi Unity Committee, and the 70s National Indian Youth Council?
What is wrong with the Creator’s Path, The Red Road – The Road of Good? Or does that sound too militant or uncivilized, barbaric?!
Our past or my past was these histories and inspiration that still drives my hopes and compassion to save our identities and ancestral territories. However, us humans face another aspect of an uncertain future which is our natural environment. Not only thinking horizontally but omni-presently: beneath us (Ke’yah), deep-center beneath us (Ni’aal’nii’) and above-universe (Yaa’al’nii’).
“Yaa’at’eeh Aa’anoli’t’so, Sh’ Dine’eh do’h Sh’ K’ee’h (Good Greetings Everyone, My Peoples and My Relations…) Why is it that we, indigenous peoples, are the subjects of another great destructive plan like this attempt to mine the dangerous uranium? It is just like the great destructive plans that we face where I come from where (they) wish to yank the lands from underneath our feet so that (they) can get our waters and cut out the fleshes of our Mother Earth. One thing that we indigenous must remember is that greater Laws watch. This wind that we feel in our face today can become very mighty if these destructive plans don’t stop. This great power of the wind watches us, too, and if we human beings forget our prayers and begin to dishonor our ancient ways, The Great Wind will decide to take away that comfortable world that we once knew. It will make our lands dry up, our waters will disappear and the moisture will be no more. The climate will change. Our foods will become less. These were prophecies that were told to us when I was growing up.
“’Someday, might be that time of Transition-Into-Another-Era, it was called. If we decide to lose our prayers to the morning and evening dawn, if we transform our ceremonies to our own pleasing, if our language become no more, that is when strange diseases and famine will come. The wind and the Great Hail are upmost dangerous,’ it was told. Just remember that, My Peoples. Thank you for listening to me.”
The Great Winds and Moisture, I believe, are listening and watching us as we make our faltering more obvious. As a result, perhaps, we are noticing that corn and squash have become harder to grow. Pests are more intense as the rains are much less. We miss the natural foods that we once gathered and grown ourselves. There is now too much petro fuel exhaust raining down on us from the sky and too much synthetic rubber blowing across our lands from the heavy use of automobiles. What do we tell our children now?
In contrary, America has parades and holidays to honor their past ‘destructive military’ culture and leaders even though they are occupied daily with the latest trends and celebrities. They have even printed the images of their past war mongers on currencies which are in our pockets right now. America has named mountain peaks after their lost pioneers like Fremont, Doyle, Agassiz, and Humphrey. Or military points like Fort Carson, Fort Garland, Fort Wingate, and Fort Sumner.
So why can us indigenous Dineh try to do the same within the territories that we still have true sovereign control of like at Big Mountain, renamed Big Mountain to Asdzan’ Dzil N’lt’saa’ after my great grandmother. But first let us honor our past great, traditional leaders. Celebrate the victories of the Big Mountain Sovereign Dineh Nation (SDN). Then unite and retake control of our own destiny with our proper ancient ways and divine-given natural resources. And if we wish to not unite, today, with trust, let us all, as diverse colored human beings of diverse Ancient Cultures, reinstate that ancient ways of prayer to the original Makers. Hope will be for our children of today and the coming generations.
Friday, February 10, 2012
THREATS BY U.S.-BIA HOPI POLICE AND RANGERS TO TAKE AWAY MORE DINEH PROPERTY
Red Lake, Black Mesa – February 9, 2012 – It has been just over two weeks ago that these U.S. backed tactics of harassment and assault were committed by deputized Indian authorities. Back in late January and under the direction of the progressive and BIA supported Hopi tribal government, 75 animals were seized and taken for impoundment. This operation was done using new tactics by first marketing the potential number of animals for slaughter then carry out a deliberate stealing of animals.
Again, America and its modern Indians like the Navajo Nation government continue to stand by and watch these last traditional indigenous peoples lose their economic stability and securities by force.
Two traditional Dineh (Navajos) home sites were just informed that “all” animals ranging on their ancestral lands, which the U.S. government partitioned as “Hopi Lands” in 1977, will be confiscated. Elder matriarch, Rena Lane, lives by herself and is a long-time, sovereign resister who has lived with such intimidations and assaults, and now she may face the final assault. She broke a couple of fingers and dislocated her wrist about 12 years ago in a scuffle with the police while she was trying to protect her animals. The police only responded to the doctor’s claim of her injury by stating, “it was her own over reaction by jumping into the livestock trailer that caused her own self injury.” How would you react if you were at your own bank and saw the police literally withdrawing from your account? Matriarch and elder, Rena B. Lane (L), when her fingers were injured, and Sovereign resister means that she never gave-in to the U.S. coercion to sign up for Relocation benefits or the Accommodation Agreement. Note (R) her home site still intact as the original and in need of repair which the government prohibits also.
Traditional resisters of Big Mountain and surrounding areas live completely isolated due to hundreds of their neighbors’ force relocation. That has made it convenient for the U.S. and its BIA Indians to carry out assaults and harassment. These gestapo methods of authority continue to justify their actions as legal enforcements against the Dineh and their non-Native guests because ‘the law’ sees them as trespassers, as well as their animal properties being trespassers, too.
The relocation laws of 1974 and its final forced-coercion law of 1996 (The Accommodation Agreement) are all completely based on force methods that includes overlooking human and religious rights. Dineh once attained a high level of prosperity during the American Depression period in the early 20th Century, and this happened by a full recovery to nationhood immediately after their military imprisonment 40 years before. At Big Mountain, that prosperity of self-sufficiency, cultural richness and community consolidation lasted into the 1970s, and as they resisted certain American modernization. The enforcement of the law of 1974 was an Executive Order which meant that any agency whether tribal, state or federal can utilize any means to establish control over this Dineh population and its “former” territories.
Normally, the popular media and its official statements will only indicate a limited total of Indians affected by this “voluntary” relocation and the tax-payers’ cost amount are usually associated with the appointed Relocation Commission’s progress reports. America and the world are not informed about the numbers of displaced individuals or individuals that lost ancestral grazing range due to the partitioning.
Another interesting factor the news intentional do not report are the amount of tax-payer dollars that have gone into the tri-agency law enforcement operations, equipment, upgrades, attempted prosecution, restructuring of tribal courts and policing, and surveillance. These are the defining elements of the gestapo methods of assaults that are being committed in an isolated region --of another Indian reservation. These methods are assaults because it intentionally ignores universal human rights (In the U.S.ofA!), intrude onto 85 year old, non-English speaking elders’ traditional homes, speak to them in English and issue them warnings written in English, their English speaking non-Native guest are threaten not to take pictures or come near, and eventually the animals are confiscated without their knowledge.
Just imagine your grandmother or grandfather in their late 80s and the city PD shows up with four squad cars, each officer is armed and with a pepper spray, a Taser and night stick at-the-ready. On standby at a near distance are the county deputies and the sheriff, and also the FBI and the U.S. Marshall may have been notified about this operation. Your grandparents are then informed to give up all the family treasures and write out a check so that their retirement savings are drained.
How will you act? What can be done also to save and protect this indigenous (American) treasure, the endangered traditional peoples of Big Mountain? This genocide and injustice certainly cannot be allowed to continue and its time that tax-payer dollars go toward appropriate human and community development rather than paving the way for fossil fuel extraction. These lands are not “legally” Hopi lands because just look at the America way of real estate management that is intertwined with mega-corporations like Peabody Energy BTU. Just understand globalization and do you really think the U.S. government is going to accommodate a few little Hopi Indians with prime real estate properties?
You are wanted to take action on behalf of saving humanity and its eco-systems. Join Dineh elders or make demand to the responsible agencies to halt all inhuman enforcement of corporate laws upon an endangered indigenous lands.
© Written by Bahe Y. Katenay, SheepDogNation Media, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Hopi means People of Peace, But U.S.BIA-Backed Hopis have turned Hooligans & Offenders of Human Rights
[Letter Addressing the Hopi Tribal Council]
It is with great concern that we write to you today, January 31 year 2012.
It has been brought to our attention, that Hopi rangers impounded animals belonging to Dineh families who live on Hopi Partition Land, (HPL) on January 25 and January 27. These animals were rounded up by Hopi rangers using quads, on grazing districts 257 and 259.
According to acting chief Hopi ranger, Ronald Honyumptewa, the order to carry out these impoundments came directly from the Hopi tribal council chairman.
Mr. Honyumptewa stated that they have the right to confiscate these animals under ordinance 43 in the Accommodation Agreement (Public Law 104-301), and said further that the Hopi authorities are not obligated to hold on to impounded animals for owners to claim.
We are also very concerned to learn that a buyer to some of these animals were already identified directly after the impoundments had taken place, and that the buyer was Sun Valley slaughterhouse.
As we have understood it, the owners of these now impounded animals, were never given notice in advance to sell or arrange for said unbranded animals, nor told in advance that these impoundments were going to take place. We have learned now, after the incidents, that notices were put up in the Rocky Ridge store, five days before the impoundments took place. This can hardly qualify as giving personal notice, sufficient time in advance, to the affected owners of these animals. We must also take into consideration that some elderly Dineh persons cannot read English and/or speak English and do not frequent the Rocky Ridge store and Chapter Houses, due to lack of transportation and funds. Direct personal communication with an aim to reach mutual understanding must always be encouraged in attempts to reach agreements and solve problems.
1977 Federally re-partitioned lands of Black Mesa that now encompass coal fields, prime real estate and high frequency precipitation areas. Prior to 1977, Dineh and Hopi had a commonly and traditionally shared lands and co-existence.
Through centuries of war and colonial government policies, the integrity of Indigenous communities and traditional lifeways have been completely degraded. Actions such as these can easily be seen as an acts of aggression. Furthermore, the act of selling the impounded livestock without engaging due process that would allow for the retrieval of said livestock can easily be considered a gross violation of Human Rights and specific violations of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as is protected by the UN Declaration for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
It is stated in the UN Declaration for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, that was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13th 2007, that:
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political,
economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their
own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their
traditional and other economic activities.
2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and
development are entitled to just and fair redress
1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of
indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the
implementation of this Declaration.
2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to
ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to
maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal
plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access,
without any discrimination, to all social and health services.
2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the
necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive
spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used
lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their
responsibilities to future generations in this regard.
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to
forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or
territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed
consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair
compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and
teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to
maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the
right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains
The traditional Dineh and Hopi communities have peacefully resisted US relocation policies and massive coal mining operations on their ancestral homelands for a long time. They have repeatedly told us that their endurance is founded in their understanding of Indigenous Peoples’ roles as stewards of their ancestral lands on Mother Earth.
Considering the above, we the undersigned, demand:
1. An immediate return of the livestock confiscated on the aforementioned dates to the appropriate families.
2. As per all articles of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Fundamental Freedoms cited above, and immediate revocation of Public Laws 93-531 and 104-301 and an immediate end to the forced relocation and harassment of residents of the Hopi Partition Land.
3. That all future impoundments are preceded by notices in Dineh and English delivered in a personal manner at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the impoundments to the affected parties with clear proof that said party understands and consents.
4. As per articles 20 (1, 2); 22 (1); and 24 (1) specifically of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Fundamental Freedoms cited above, an immediate end to limitation of livestock herd sizes for residents of the Hopi Partition Land.
5. An immediate end of the use of all-terrain vehicles for livestock roundups on the environmentally sensitive Hopi Partition Land.
6. An immediate assessment by the Hopi Tribal Council of the Hopi Rangers’ capacity for dealing with the problem of wild horse herds on the Hopi Partition Land.
We thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing a response within the next two weeks.
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In these times of economic hardship in this country, you can imagine how difficult it has been for traditional Dineh resisters and their non-Native supporters at Big Mountain on Black Mesa. Or maybe you can't imagine it.
First, the resisters have no cash resources and the only means for them to survive is of course their Natural Bank Accounts which have been the sheep, cattle and some horses. But just this pass week the U.S. government and their Indian Agents, the BIA Law Enforcement Agency and the BIA Hopi Office of Land Management, have practically stolen livestocks owned by traditional Dineh. This was not a matter of legal-enforcement of grazing regulations, but it was just like how the U.S. law enforcement attitude has been lately, "make up your own laws and enforce them," these Indian Agents have done the same.
Surviving on these remote lands and resisting the U.S. law of genocide, that has become much harder for these few Dineh resisters:
Over a decade of drought due to Climate Change, scarce water resources due to Peabody Energy's aquifer extraction and BIA Hopi Agency's capping or destruction of wells, lack of vegetation, lack of communication due to traditional elders only knowing the Dineh language, and extreme economic hardship within family homesteads.
To learn more details and how you can help visit:
We are currently coordinating ways to make the BIA Hopi Agency release the animals, but they are refusing to negotiate or make any considerations. They want immediate verification of ownership or else these animals are considerate SOLD. Government or tribal government are scheming to gain some income and revenue by illegally stealing the Dineh's hard earned assets.
Number of animals stolen and being withheld, and the Approximate current Audition Rate in Arizona:
30 horses (if all are untamed) = approx. $16,500 - $20,000
25 Yearlings, Hereford/Angus Breed Cows/Steers = approx. $25,000
What this all comes down to, also, is the severe violations of Universal Human Rights, 'denial of secured right to foods, economic opportunity, health, live in peace, and religious practices.'
Thanks for your time.