Conversation Between Crow and Leonard Benally

Crow's Words | Leonard Benally's Message

Why help the Dine'h? Why should you be concerned. Below you will find out through some information from an e-mail  I received on January 26, 2000. This is posted with permission

Now everyone can personally experience the wisdom of Leonard Benally's message. To me, his words are gold. Some of what he says coincides with what others, facing similar problems, have said in the nineteeth century, in particular Chief Speckled Snake. You will see that the impending forced removal of the Dine'h is an unconscionable act. It must be stopped.

After February 1st, continue your support. According to an article written by Beth Newberry at, "the latest deadline of February 1, 2000 is not an eviction deadline. ...enforcement cannot happen until a United States court orders forced evictions of the Dine'h." She described February 1 as a turning point. This is why the letters need to be written, and the phone calls made. Print the petition located on another page at this site, and collect signatures. Every little bit helps. I also ask that you keep the Dine'h of Black Mesa in your prayers.

Greetings all. Shalom.

My name is Crow, & I've been actively supporting the Dine' resistance for about 3 years now. At first, my focus was on-land support, & my experiences on the altar has changed me in ways that words just can't really express. I don't look at anything the same anymore: everything I see, hear, & do, I automatically weigh against what I experienced briefly (8 months) while helping various masani's (grandma's) & their families. Since I'm now working on becoming a full time Montessori teacher, most of my support is through out-reach: mostly pleading with various federal "higher-ups" to look into this matter in a new light. I strongly encourage all the recipients of the BIGMTLIST to actively do more than you are doing now. Write some more letters & e-mails, make a few calls, get your friends involved, spread around info.  Public pressure is what get's attention in "washinDONE". I was informed that the president needs to get at least 30 messages a day on any given topic for it to be brought to his attention. Public pressure is largely up to us, the BIGMTLIST recipients. While I visited Black Mesa over x-mas break, I asked my friend Leonard Benally if he has any message for the support community. He shared much wisdom about the present situation, why this is happening and where it's heading. Please share this message, long as it is, & contemplate what the world is on the verge of losing forever. This struggle represents what is occuring all over the world, because you know if it's happening right here IN America, it's definitly going on elsewhere. 


Leonard Benally's Message

And now they talk about genocide here and that's what it is. I mean, moving people against their will, saying, "This is the law here." Right now, for some of us, we're treated like foreigners. They ask us for papers, and an ordinance, that's what they ask for, called the laws, and justice, and which is pretty much what we ignore. This law here that they impose on us, it treats us like we are a nobody, like som,ebody who doesn't have the right to exist in these areas.... I know out there what they say about the people here. It doesn't work; it doesn't make sense here.

But again here, like with our animals, we talk about these things. Just like in here, where we're sitting... we call it the circle of life, which is... in the western way called a hogan. But in our ways it's called "hho-wan" (spelled phonetically). This is a female style "hho-wan", that's what it is. And there's a male type too, a different design.  But something like this is for a family.   Like everything, these stories here, we don't leave anything out here. In our culture, in TRADITIONAL ways of thinking, the knowledge here, noboby's left out because, you know, we're all inside a circle here. From the door, and then it goes all the way- clockwise and back out that way (the door). And it's called the universe, here, the center of everything. And then from the outside, you go (to) the outside world. And this world we share with our feathered friends, the 4-leggeds, the insects, the reptiles. All these things, they are kinship here, you know. And with our ceremonies and everything, this is what we pray for. And then we know there are people out there too, to the east, south, west, north. We know that people are all 4 cardinal directions. And when we pray, we don't pray for ourselves. We pray for these people. We bring them in together into a place like this, into the center of everything. Nobody is left out. It's not like these church things, like where you're reading the Bible. In our ways of life, it has to do with these environments here. The environment, which is the air, the water, the land, the fire, this is what we call life and this is what GIVES us life here. I know it's different in the western perspective. {Yeah, there it's supermarkets & shopping malls}. This is what we call the Great Spirit, the Creator, because these are the life givers here. But I know it's different out there. Who we call the Great Spirit, it's out there, it's all around us, the air, the water.

But now when you hear about these things are being contaminated, poisoned, whatever that's left here by these industrialized nations. By their carelessness for the environment. And again, when you say there's an off-balance, yeah, it's because man is pulling himself away from nature. That's what it is. I don't know, I don't think man can win here, because nature has more power than everything. For us, that's who we offer to, the wind, the water, you know, the sun, the air. This is who we pray to. And if we hear about big winds or whatever in the area, we ask for them to protect us, help us here. And yes, in a way they respond; they listen here. This is the other way of life, a traditional way of life. This is walking in harmony with nature. And then you got the animal here, everything. A circle of life.

And again, here, when they want to take our animals, they want to confiscate, impound our animals. The campaign is elimination, the permanent elimination of our herds, of our animals. They're violating our religious freedom rights. Because our belief in our ways of life are in THESE THINGS, AND WE ARE NOT SEPARATE FROM THEM. WE ARE ALL ONE HERE. We're supposed to be, but I don't know about the outside world. We are all one because we might have different skin color, different eye color, but we all share the same air, the same water. We all live here so we are all one like that. Now people don't think these, they don't think like this no more.

Sometimes I just wonder about all these politicians here.  They're like aliens... because they don't care what's on the planet. They'd rather see the dollar sign. That's what's destroying everything.  And they say, the government's saying, "Ooh, this is gonna happen here," (Y2K), you know, the millenium, and this is their saying, and some people are probably freaking out about these things.  But in the indigenous prophecies, it talks about all these things, all the natural things. It's just gonna take place, naturally, when it decides to do it. It's not gonna tell somebody in Washington, "Hooray, we're gonna do that," you know. Nothing like that.

In today's world, we live in an artificial world because there are no more real things. But in a place like this type of environment, I think it's the only place you find the real things, the reality of life. Like having respect for one another. Having respect for whatever that lives around you, especially the plants, the trees, too, (they're) just like us. They depend on water, they need air to live here. They need the sun, too, to live. But now, man don't think that way, man is the alien here. They think they can clear out everything. And when they do they see where they are gonna go next, I mean, I don't think there's a tree or whatever on the moon (and) all that. I think this is the only place, for us, even too.

Right now with all this eviction and everything they talk about here, as far as I know they got blood on their hands with these things. That's the way I see it. And BIA, yes, they're "evil empire" here. They don't care (about) Indians. They want to extinguish these things. That's what's going on, turning people against people, their own kind, Indians against Indians here. All the Hopi and Navajo Tribal Councils (HTC and NTC) are thinking about is money here, and that's it. Because what Peabody gives to them, $45 million a year, funnels from Peabody to Window Rock, and we dont' see a cent of it. Yeah maybe for people who live across the fenceline, across the wash. Because we're divided here, the fenceline here, everything stops at the fence. And here we're stuck with no rights like we're in a box, and they say they're looking down on us here, saying the only way you're gonna come out whole is if you sign the AA (Accommodation Agreement). If you do, you sign your life away. Whatever you consider right, they say you cannot talk about these things; other than that you go to jail. But me, I've seen their jail.

There are times I get threatened with a jail sentence and all that and I say don't care 'cause I know what a jail looks like, the inside. I especially like that one in the Hopi P.D. (police dept-I'm assuming). They feed you 3 times a day (laughs), (you) get to watch T.V. (laughs). Sometimes you see them (Hopi Rangers and BIA) in the area here, sometimes it gets to me. Sometimes these things are on my mind, my conscience. This Feb. 1st thing, it's still a question mark.

If I have a world to choose, I'd rather stay in my traditional world because the outside world, the western way, everybody just wants to out-crazy each other.  It's because all things are related. Because it's the off balace of nature... I know out there, you hear of a lot of prisons going up, a lot of jails being built. {The real AA}. Yeah, that's where it's headed.   And here they try to impose it on the people here, but hey!, WE JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE. We just want to be living the way it was, peacefully. We just want our dignity here. That's it. We aren't hurting nobody (or) in nobody's way.

They say there's a land dispute and the Hopis are on the edge of Black Mesa. (There are) maybe 25 miles between us. That's where my Hopi neighbors are at. And in between, I don't see none of them moving out here. (You) see it's the "Hopi Tribe" here. They say it's a progressive, the progressive Hopi Tribe. I'm not talking about the traditional people of the Hopi nation. They say they don't recognize the word "Hopi Tribe" because if you say somebody's Hopi tribe, you're thinking with a progressive mind. Because these guys, the real Moqui here, they stick to their prophecy, philosophy which stands for PEACE. They say "Hopi," that's what it's about. And yes, I believe them, I respect their culture because me, myself, I got friends in the village, and they are Hopis. And I like them for who they are. I know they got a unique culture there too.  It's this whole government what they are doing because of Peabody up here. And we're impovershed because of Peabody. It degrades both cultures.

Because if it wasn't for Peabody, there would be no "land dispute." {They say the land dispute is between the Hopi and Navajo people, but it's actually between the Hopi and Navajo TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS, they each wanted to sign most of the mineral rights to themselves.} Yeah, but when the royalty checks come in, there's no dispute. They laugh (on) their way to the bank. Because as far as I know, 80% of Hopi tribal revenue comes out of Peabody, so it's probably hard to push somebody aside like that. And over here for the Navajo (Nation), they say it's like 60%. And that's what makes you neglect your own people here. But, on the other hand, you're just like the government here, saying you're "walking in beauty," or sovereign (while), on the other hand, you got people suffering. This whole area here is called the "National Sacrifice Area." Just like I was saying, in the fall of this year, we had 4 people pass on. So it's a sacrificing area. That's what happens when you talk about genocide. That's what's going on. This is America's genocide, like it or not. This is what most of the American people need to know. The politicians, they're just a bunch of screw-ups. They got their heads twisted on the wrong way. They say, "You got the power, you're the voter here."  Yeah, it's time to exercise these things. That way, with the struggle here at Big Mountain, if we can get a lot of people behind us here. Between the traditional people, there's just a handful on both sides, threatened with cultural extinction, a cultural genocide. That's what's about to take place here.

And you got the entire Navajo Nation who just doesn't give a damn about the people, like on the HPL side, and the very few on the Hopi side, too. They say on the Hopi side, only 30% stick to their traditional philosophy, and 70% are christianized. It's very complicated, hard to tell the story about legal theft here when these corporations have the power to make and pass laws here. {Just like they signed away the water, the land.} Anyway they want it. They make it into law here. But for the traditional people, especially the elders, somebody who doesn't speak English language, they don't know. They see a paper that's black and white.

For me, the way I see it, all avenues are closed up ahead of me, and I'm sure for us, the resistors, it's like that. They expect to drag us into their court saying we're going to get a fair hearing. But this is the SYSTEM THAT WE'RE GOING AGAINST, so how could it be FAIR?! {Exactly!} Unless you take it outside the border of the U.S., into an International level, then we can see justice here. According to International law, looking into these national laws here, it's a big violation here. You're talking about genocide here, of a culture. That's what's about to take place. (The U.S. government) preaches to the world outside the border of the U.S., they tell them not to do these things: religious intolerance, genocide, human rights violations, and what-not. They say don't do that but this is what's going on in the 4-corners region of the U.S. And it's time to turn this thing around. Because, you can turn a man-made thing around, but if it's a natural thing, the weather, or the changing of the seasons, yes that we cannot turn. But if it's a damn clock we can turn the damn thing back. Get all these political things, we can turn it back. Because the American public paid for this whole relocation package. $350 million of American tax payers money to accomplish this human rights abuse here. "Your tax dollars at work," I guess you may call it. (laughs) But me, I'm not moving. I'm going NOWHERE. This is where I stay and that's that. We're just like everybody else. I don't know about the outside world, but we breathe air, we drink water, and I'm sure everybody does that out there, but I don't know. Maybe the outside world might be into genetic engineering where they get their pill on the water, and their oxygen pill. It's heading that way. (laughs)

In our ways here, only witches do these things. Because when you're talking about genetic engineering, you're messing with creation, creation of life. And they say there's a lot more evil in the world than good. So, I mean, the good has to come out. They say the good is stronger than evil. Yeah, it is, even here in the natural world. (Good and evil) collide with one another, everyday and every night, here. But sometimes the good always wins. If the good starts winning out there again, it's gonna be a better world for everybody - not only for us.

I went to the ancestral land of the oppressors here (Europe), and I know what it looks like, where all the rules, all these laws are coming from. These are coming from the castles, from the deep, dark dungeon days. That's where they used to torture and kill people because these people were resisters to the laws that were made up. And this is the same thing, it came over to this side. And they're doing a good job, conquering people, dividing people.

And here they say it's the "Land of the Free." Who's free? I'm not free. I don't know who is. I don't think so, because when you're born, somebody has to pay.  And when you go, then somebody has to pay again. So where's the freedom? All these laws.  They're trying to do everything they can to us out here, especially (to) the elderly people who are not complying with them. It's just because we don't depend on them. This is the most oppressive code ever; it's so absurd.  You have no rights and they come at you and say, "it's the law here." I think the (Hopi) Rangers and BIA need some education. These people are the oppressors out here. It's the Hopi Tribe, and then it's the U.S. government behind them. Window Rock is guilty, too.   They try to keep their hands clean, but sometimes they get their hands caught in the cookie jar. These people are all alike out there. It's hard. 

That's why we ask for support people here, supporters to stand with us. These environmentalists out there too, they're doing a good thing. For me, I admire them because whatever they do, like trying to protect these trees, especially up in the Redwoods area, for us in the indigenous ways of life, these are all in these (same) things. So when (corporations) clear-cut the trees, they wipe out a culture... Now it's sad when you're in the area, and (it's) all wiped out. Sometimes you still see big trucks in the road carrying Redwoods. So whatever that's left, try to hold on. But I don't know. These corporate people. When I say aliens, I think these corporate people, the politicians, they only think about themselves. Period. If they wanna give something they may throw you a little chump-change & then tell you to get lost! The people doing these things, they have to be educated or you can cut them down from the saddle.  If they're too big, on a horse, you just cut the strap.   Naturally that whole thing's gonna take it's course. (laughs) That's what needs to happen here, not only for us, for everybody out there. And that's the only way because these laws I was talking about, it's the people.

If we have the voice, an outrage here, of the people everywhere asking their government, "hey what's going on here, inside the border of the U.S.?" On the news, you hear what's going on outside the border, and people look at it with their long nose, from the tip of their nose on down. Maybe at China, or Pakistan. But this thing here (relocation) is going on in their backyard. The American government needs to clean up its own act; needs to do its homework. Start doing its trust and responsibility here. They're neglecting, big time here. It's a giant, a predator. It eats people. And as far as we know, this giant here wants to be humbled, which we CANNOT, because what we know, this thing is historically loaded with contempts and neglects, especially for indigenous people across the country.

And justice is blind for the people of Big Mountain, and for indigenous people around the world. That's how it is, and that's what you call justice. Justice is not equal here. {It's set up for corporations, gives them justice to do whatever they want to do.} Yeah, check out the symbolism for justice here: you know, that lady who holds that sword- SHE WEARS A BLINDFOLD! She cannot see. Simple. Everybody should see this thing, because she's wearing a blindfold, she doesn't know what the hell she's doing.

Speaking of symbolism, what the gov't uses here- the American eagle. They say when the time the government went into treaty with the Indian people, saying he's gonna protect them.  In respect, they say a bird was given to him, which was the eagle. And now, you can start a campaign saying we want the eagle back! Because check it out: 1400's, 1500's, 1600's, 1700's, 1800's, 1900's- GENOCIDE! So it's time to give that bird back, in the last minute of the millenium here. And then in the 21st century they can find their own bird. {It'd probably be genetically altered.} (laughs)

It's so crazy! It's all these laws being imposed on us. Even in Window Rock, they just draft up anything without the consent of the people here. Then they come over; everything's finalized, putting their fingers together saying, "Look, this is what WE decided for you."  Who are these people?  They should come over (and) make their outreach through here. So crazy, people in Window Rock, sometimes they say they don't know where (a) grandma lives. But maybe some white lady from Los Angeles or the Bay area, they know where this grandma lives. (laughs)

Here they say these are our Tribal Council, they are our government. I don't recognize them because they don't help me! They never did. They say they want to talk on our behalf. I don't believe whatever they say; you're talking about somebody with a forked tongue. On the one side, they want to give you something, but, on the other hand, they want to TAKE something from you. They call it fair, but I don't know. Everything's not fair here, because it's up to the American people, to correct this thing. That way, if we get more people behind us, we're gonna be everything. But if we stand up to this thing alone, what's been happening (for) 3 decades here, we're nobody, we're nothing to them. But if we stand with the people. then they know they're being looked at from the outside. That's why we try to keep up the pressure from the national and international level. That's the only way. Other than that we have no alternative.

Politicians, forget about them, man. This is what you call a politician's sweet dream and a poor person's nightmare. We're forced to live in poverty. I don't have a choice but go & look to the outside. Not at Window Rock, forget about them. I'd rather look the other way to the support people here. They come in and there's a lot of good people.  They make up our backbone in this struggle. That way we stand strong.

Things (are) heavy here; like I say, it's a burden. So with the support we get, it makes these things a little lighter and then that way we do all our own talking up there on the front. We talk for ourselves. Too many years, the people in Window Rock were saying they were talking for us and then these Navajo-Hopi Land Commission people were saying they were talking for us, but it's getting nowhere. It's an endless thing. But now, we just want to settle this.

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the wolf is my messenger

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created by Louve14, January 26, 2000
updated July 24, 2001