Beauty Way Report – March 2006

Here it is March, 2006.

I’ve been asked to update this page as it’s been a while since we’ve added anything. The articles below will give you a sense of the history and such pretty well. Note especialy the open letter from Huck Greyeyes. Huck has an amazing history himself. Born around the turn of the previous century, he grew up following his father’s sheep all over the pinon and sage hills and canyons around Coal Mine Mesa. Educated in the military during World War II, he worked for the railroads after the war. He and his wife Genevive lived in their little stone house for decades raising a family along with their corn and their sheep. All they ever asked was to be left alone. Huck and Genevive have had to move to a trailer in Tuba City now. They’ve become too infirm to live out on the homestead by themselves. In the traditional way they would be the elders in an extended family living together but their kids have had to move off the rez. I suppose their little house will stand empty for a while, much as the Blackgoat house does. No doubt the HTC would love to bulldoze both. HTC cattle have been stealing Hucks water for years now. He pins it just right in laying the blame on corporate greed.

So what’s new on Black Mesa? Well, the answer is complicated. From the outside the immutable cliffs, prairies, and washes, the coyotes, jackrabbits, dogs and sheep all seem to have been there from time unending. Tho i’m told there used to be a lot more sheep.

One small blessing: as a result of the shutting down of the Laughlin Power plant Black Mesa mine is shut down as well which shuts down the heinous slurry line. So the blasting will stop and the toxic dust and chemicals will settle for a while. Oh, they plan on being back in the not to distant future,. Peabody plans to restart as soon as they can begin stealing water from the Loop community. But they are gone for now. Shutting the mine will put a couple hundred people, almost all of them Navajos, out of a job. That will make an undeniable dent in the local economy. And i’m sure the coporate spinners will work up a way to blame the people resisting the relocation. And the resisters will go on as they have, living on the land in the old way, honoring the ceremonies and holding on as best they can.

Meanwhile the Mcain bill makes it’s way thru the congress. This legislation is an amendment to the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act which required the relocation of 12,000 Navajo Families and 100 Hopi. It calls for the eviction of all remaining resisters before ultimately closing the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Office and "bringing the relocation process to an orderly and certain conclusion.", by 2008. The conclusion they’ve been working towards inexorably all along, complete depopulation of the Northern part of Black Mesa and eventualy the whole Mesa. Thus the anxiety level is increased as the threat of eviction at gun point becomes palpable.
It is very difficult to describe in words the connection of these traditional First American people to their specific places on the land. It is only after you’ve looked into their eyes and seen the fierce hardships they must endure in order to remain that you begin to get a glimmer of an idea.

Revered elder Roberta Blackgoat said: "If they come and drag us all away from the land, it will destroy our way of life. That is genocide. If they leave me here, but take away my community, it is still genocide. If they wait until i die and then mine the land, the land will still be destroyed. If there is no land and no community, I have nothing to leave my grandchildren. If I accept this, there will be no Dine, there will be no land. That is why I will never accept it. I will die fighting this law."

And she did. I have heard these same sentiments expressed by every resister i have ever spoken with. They have a saying: "Land Is Life". And they mean it literaly.

We here in the central Cali hills continue to keep the traditional people of Big Mountain and all of Black Mesa foremost in our hearts and minds. We have no intention of halting our work in support of the People. We will continue our yearly fall benefit tour in support of the annual Food and Supply Run. In recent years we’ve begun to make the Spring Gathering a focal point for supporting a small farm in Sand Springs. We will go out there again this Spring.

Our good friends at Black Mesa Indigenous Support (we have a link to them here) are calling for a caravan from the SF Bay area to bring work parties to the homesteads where Dine elders continue to struggle under the yoke of constant harassment from the BIA and the HTC rangers. We say Right On. We’re already planning on being out there and we have room on the buss. So come on, get yer shit together and join with the folks at BMIS to bring support in a very real way. If you’ve been on the rez before you know what’s required. If you haven’t been yet, please do contact BMIS for a supporters packet. You can find the whole sordid history of the relocation on the BMIS web site. It’s highly recomended reading.

A short peice of their call to action: "This is not a conventional ‘volunteer trip’. Participants are not charity providers, and it is imperative that they not view themselves as such. While their assistance will be appreciated, the opportunity to learn from traditional elders is an honor and a privilege that few will ever know." And a privilege we thank the creator for each and every day.