Very difficult to understand are people's reactions to any talk about sacred lands. Their reaction is enough to cause some to question if these people really understand what this means, if they have any conception whatsoever, or if they are so caught up in their own lives or so threatened by any mention of this topic that their way to deal with it is to ignore it. When will they see that this affects them as well?
I've seen this a lot, even more so lately. It appears that any time I mention sacred lands being threatened no matter where they are or the People being at risk, the reaction is "that's nice." That's nice? I wonder if they really hear what I say. Then, they smile, and continue on their way, thinking "this woman has definitely lost it," or "there she goes with the sacred lands routine," or "I need to find a way to avoid her so I won't have to listen to this."
There was a slim chance with the passage of the sacred land bill, SB 1828, a bill that may have made them realize that they need to listen. It would have protected sacred land in California while it sat on Governor Davis' desk, awaiting his signature to make it law. Many had hopes that he would do the right thing by signing this bill, thus setting an important precedent for others to follow. It could have protected land embroiled in controversy now facing desecration, sacred burial grounds, with the building of a Catholic high school. It could have stopped recent policies that will desecrate Medicine Lake. But he didn't have the foresight to sign this bill. Instead he vetoed it on the last possible day. Of course, it was a campaign move, and empty promises were made about protecting particular sites. It was the usual political doublespeak.
Some might say things about there being a lot of problems in the world, that not everything is Indigenous, and, yes, they are correct, because it is obvious that the world is out of balance. People have gone mad in many places. But they look to everything else happening globally, and refuse to see what is happening at home. When will they open their eyes? When will they take the time to take a good hard look around them, and try to come to some kind of understanding about what is happening at home, what has been happening for a long time, that needs to stop now? When will they see that it is something that should be their concern?
Try talking to some, and see what happens. Ask them about what is happening in their own backyards. See how they will respond. They have no conception whatsoever because they say it does not concern them. They are blind to it all.
They have never heard of Black Mesa. Mention Big Mountain, and nothing more than a blank stare will result. But the Government knows, and laws have been enacted, so that the People, both the Dine'h and the traditional Hopi, are once again at risk, have been for many years, all as the result of this greed for the low sulfur coal there, and, of course, those who live there do not matter. Such has been the way of things every time any kind of mineral deposits has been found on Indigenous land. The Government works quickly, silently, creating laws proclaiming "land disputes," and no one knows what is really going on except the People who live there. Such was the case with the passage of the first law, PL 93-531. It snuck through Congress while everyone focused on Watergate. The People didn't understand what was happening. No one bothered to tell them. But it is they who suffer as a result. But this was not enough. More had to be done to protect the interests of big business, so another law presented itself more than twenty years later sponsored by a man who proclaims to represent the best interests of the People in his state, who said, once the law was passed, that it was out of his hands. But why did he sponsor this bill if he did not know its consequences, and those who would be affected? This man, Senator John McCain, acted in the best interests of Peabody Energy Corporation, in his own self-interests, but will deny it to this day as well as his culpability for what continues to happen on Black Mesa. Should anyone take the time to dig into this, searching for the true reason PL 104-301 came into being, more than likely it will be found that it was the contributions to his campaign coffers that initiated this law, that and his hopes for the future. He knew he would be running for President, making this action one to please big business, to gain its support. He tried to cover himself with some support for Native American Heritage Month. But again, the People have been ignored, and they suffer as a result. Still many easily believe that it is out of McCain's hands (after all, this is what he says and he only speaks the "truth"), that the only contact is the Hopi Tribal Council for anything about this. We already know what they will say. They welcomed this bill, giving them the impetus to begin calling those who remain on Black Mesa trespassers. Why not, they think? The public will fall for this. The public doesn't care anyway. And who is their spokesperson? Some woman from a country that finally rejected apartheid so she brought it here to Black Mesa. This woman is Claire Heywood.
Many do not understand what is so important about preserving Black Mesa. It is known by other names like Big Mountain, the Altar by those who live there and by their supporters. The latter should shed some light why this land needs protection. To the Dine'h this land is sacred. They are tied to the land in many ways, often beginning at birth with the burial of the umbilical cords here. The Dine'h People are the caretakers of this land, something known and respected by the traditional Hopi who also live here. The two live in concert with each other, respecting the lives of each other. But the Government steps in for the "good" of the nation.
Terrorism in this country is not a new concept as many would like to believe. It did not begin on 9/11. Terrorist actions have been occurring for a long time on Black Mesa. They take the form of harassment, of livestock impoundment, of falsified arrests, of sacred land desecration, of eviction notices, of lies in press releases, in kangaroo courts. All occurs as the result of greed, not for the oil of the Middle East, but for the low sulfur coal and uranium deposits here. Considering that many have no idea what happens here or show little interest if they do, these terrorists have been successful while they whittle away at the support and the People. No one seems to care. No one knows. It is the government's best-kept secret. So, it continues under the veil of silence.
In the meantime, Peabody Energy Corporation is hard at work, first trying to force the resisters out by bulldozing the plants indigenous to that area, plants depended upon for medicines and food. It continues its deception along with its partners, the Hopi Tribal Council, and the BIA, also known as puppets of the Beast. Anything necessary to keep it in operation will be done no matter who or what suffers as a result, anything to keep strip mining that coal, and sending it through the slurry pipeline fueled by N-aquifer to the Mohave Generating Station to provide the growing needs for energy in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Get that energy source, dirty as it may be, no matter the cost, but who cares? The ill effects visited upon the People with each new arrest, with each new impoundment of livestock, with each new eviction notice tacked to the doors of the resisters' hogans, with the fencing of sacred grounds, with grounds desecrated after Sundance 2001, with the disregard for sacred ceremonies, interrupting them in progress. Surveillance by their goons, the Hopi Rangers, adds more stress to the lives of the Elders who live there. Contaminated water, capped wells, the N-aquifer depleted at alarming rates. The ground is cracking, evidence of the effect on this pristine water source, one that serves the needs of the People on Black Mesa, indication of its collapse. Plans of expansion are quickly denied in spite of the evidence to the contrary with eyes on new pristine water sources to continue its operation. Eyes are now on the Colorado and the Grand Canyon, and another arm of the Beast arises in the form of Senator Kyl of Arizona again but he lost this time as well as another soon after. Grandmother Roberta Blackgoat knew this was wrong, and spent a good part of her life fighting it. Now with her passing, it's almost as if the center is lost. Many of us worry about what will happen now, those of us who continue to be supporters. Who will carry the torch once the Grandmothers are gone? It is very quiet on Black Mesa.
Bulldozers have been said to have gone in on another destroy mission. Stack trailers are in the area as well, yet none of this is heard on the outside. There is no warning. It seems they are on a destroy mission, destroy the resisters, destroy their support channels. The center is missing without Grandmother Roberta, and another who worked hard in her support of the People, Arlene Hamilton, gone as the result of a suspicious accident. To some it appears the resistance is falling apart. But there is little news lately from the People on the land. All that has been said is the land is turning brown, as are the junipers. Everything is dry. Mother Earth is said to be cracking. There is talk that the prophecies from long ago may now come to pass. These are very troubled times. Prayers are needed as well as action and support for the Dine'h People. Prayers are said on a daily basis here for all concerned, even for those who continue their abuse. The BEAST will not win here, no matter how malevolent it may be or how many puppets dangle from its strings.
But the outsiders say this does not concern them. They turn their heads and look away, ignoring the signs. All eyes are turned in another direction with war imminent in the Middle East. It is really about the oil. The whole world has gone awry. But there is a different war happening here, one that has continued for over 500 years, one that has been ignored, one in which sacred lands have been stolen by those who have no right to them. This has happened in the past. It is happening now. But this need not continue. It is up to you and everyone else out there.
I don't know about you but as someone once told me, "You can never have too many ghost beads." I have mine, keeping them with me always. And, no, it's not a thing about superstition. It's because of the nightmare we are all living now.
the wolf is my messenger
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will be known by the tracks we leave behind."
22 November 2002, by louve14
revised 26 january 2004
Many thanks to BoPeep@hoganview.com for permission to use pictures on this page.