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Synthesis/Regeneration 26   (Fall 2001)

Statements from Dineh and Hopi Resistors

by Uncle Jake

These people are euphemistically known as “traditionals.” They are not members of the dominant society. They are not a part of “the modern world.”

Most do not have electricity. They do not speak English as their first language, and some do not speak English at all.

They are not the kind of people who have a loud presence on “the Net,” or “the Web,” or in any mainstream media.

I believe this makes what they have to say that much more valuable.

This first statement comes from Kee Watchman, and is his address to the United Nations Human Rights Commission Fifty-seventh Session, March 19–April 27, 2001, International Indian Treaty Council, Agenda Item 11 (e) Religious Intolerance.

“I am a delegate from the International Indian Treaty Council. I have been sent here to speak for the community where I have lived my entire life, Cactus Valley-Red Willow Springs. We have been subject for over thirty years to confiscation of our livestock, rules preventing us from building homes or even maintaining the homes we have, continuous police harassment, harsh restrictions on our religion and the threat of forcible eviction from the lands our clans have called home for thousands of years.

“The international community’s attention has been focused on our plight for over 20 years. Every year some of us have come before you to tell our story and ask for justice.

“The United States government, for reasons of its own policy, is actively and knowingly destroying our families, our livelihood, our sacred places and our way of life. It has given itself statutory authority to use whatever force necessary against us to accomplish its goals.

...Peabody Coal Company still wants our rich and low sulfur coal...

“Lately, we had heard strong rumors that Peabody Coal Company still wants our rich and low sulfur coal that lays underneath our feet. Hearing this only reaffirms our own intuition of why we had been faced with this forced relocation policy by the United States government.

“As well, the Hopi Tribal Council recently had given permission to construct a cellular tower on the very peak of our shrine called (Dzil’na Sŕi) or Big Mountain without any consultation. This desecration of our Holy Mountain will only add further insult to a deep injury caused by this forced relocation policy.

“We sympathize and support our Apache relatives to the south, where they are struggling to protect their Holy mountain called (Dzil Nchaa Si An) also known as Mount Graham. This Holy Mountain is being desecrated by telescope projects by the University of Arizona, the Vatican and by Max Planck Institute of Germany.

“The United States government is far from protecting our rights as it promised in the Treaty of 1868. It is the major violator of these rights. We worked for years on a mediated “settlement” which in the end took from us even more of our land, livestock, and our cultural and religious freedoms.

“We have appealed to the President, the Congress and the Courts of the United States, and have not been able to change our government’s course of action.

“Therefore, we have come before this body and the international human rights community.

“My organization will work with the Working Group on Indigenous People and the Sub-Commission for the protection and promotion of Human Rights, in order to develop a new resolution on this issue, to be presented to the 58th Commission session. This resolution should: (a) provide for full-time monitoring of human rights violations in the Dine’ Country; (b) make provision for rendering advice and guidance from the international community to the United States on its responsibilities under existing treaties, the UN Charter and other international instruments; (c) providing an avenue of appeal to some international tribunal where the United States and its officials could be held accountable for their actions.”

The rest of these statements come from the Dineh and Hopi Resistors who attended the Rally and “Friendly Take-over” at Lehman Brothers in New York on April 3.

Anonymous Hopi Traditional:

“I am from Hopi Nation. We have come here to talk to Peabody Mining Company about coal and water. Traditional and priesthood people don’t want this mining. The Hopi prophecies say that we have to protect land and life. If we don’t protect our beautiful Earth our Heaven, our Mother, we will suffer with her. All over the country water will be contaminated and the air will be polluted. Living creatures will die from poisons left by industry.

“Peabody is also depleting our precious water resources. This is what Peabody is doing to the land in Arizona.

“We Hopi are a Sovereign Nation. We have never signed any treaty with the US government, or with ANY government. Yet, the United States government did not see this and created the so-called Hopi Tribal Council. The United States government said that if 30% of the Hopi people vote to elect the Tribal Council this will be a legitimate council. But this did not happen. Less than 30% of the Hopi people voted, and some of the voters were not even Hopi.

We Hopi are a Sovereign Nation. We have never signed any treaty with the US government, or with ANY government.

“Furthermore, John Boyden was a lawyer who worked for Peabody Coal. He was instrumental to the creation of the Hopi Tribal Council. He was biased, and not an impartial advocate for the Hopi people. Our ancestors fought against the creation of a Hopi Tribal Council which was not representative of the Hopi people, but the US government did not listen. Our ancestors warned that someday this would happen. White men will say that it is our own people that sold this land. I will not accept this.

“Because the Hopi Tribal Council was created by the US government, they follow the white man’s constitution and bylaws instead of the Hopi Laws and Constitution. Maybe someday someone will help the Hopi by investigating the Hopi Tribal Council, and revealing the injustice.

“All Native peoples defend land and life as we do, in order to live. Our roots are rooted in our Villages and it goes up to the whole Universe. If we break these roots, the world will get out of balance, leading us to great destruction and judgment. The path of the Great Spirit has become difficult to see by almost all men. Even by many Natives, who have chosen instead to follow the path of white men, for material wealth.

“So it is today, when we speak to you, Lehman Brothers. Therefore we demand you to stop the Peabody Coal Mining and the slurry. We demand again. Stop the coal mining and the coal slurry.”

Glenna Begay, Black Mesa Elder:

“I have traveled over thousands of miles to be here. I have very big concerns about the mining. They are digging half a mile from my house. They are clearing the land for digging coal. They blast the mines, which release many toxins into the air. I live right in the mining boundary area. The huge draglines come to dig up the vegetation. It creates a lot of dust that comes to my house and the whole area. It is creating a lot of respiratory problems for our animals and ourselves. We are all suffering from poor health.”

Louise Benally, Big Mountain Resistor:

“I came to New York to call for a promotion of energy conservation from burning fossil fuels to renewable, environmentally safe energy. Due to Global Warming impacts, which in our case we feel the roots start where we live, where they pull the coal out of the ground, producing chemical contamination in the air and water and then shipping the coal out in all directions using the only clean drinking water source in our region at no cost to the coal company at over one billion gallons per year. This is the amount of water Peabody Coal Co. is using to slurry coal. I want Lehman Brothers to invest in renewable energy.

“The effects of global warming have no limits; it cannot be stopped unless balance is restored. The poles are melting and we have to do something to change it now. It’s here now! The problem with Global Warming is here. If we don’t deal with it, it will only get worse. I don’t think its fair that a few elite people have control of the Earth to destruct and destroy it. Shareholders of Lehman Brothers Corp/Peabody Coal Co. understand maybe they are already suffering from the rolling blackouts or they will be here soon. We create this world to come out of balance then no federal tax dollar can fix it. Nature doesn’t understand money.”

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