Its been a while since I have sent anything out, and there is a lot to tell you, so I am splitting this VFH into 2 more-manageable sections.
This first part consists of recent statements from Dineh and Hopi resistors.
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. So I would like to suggest that if possible, you print out their words. Read them later, when you are perhaps in a more receptive frame of mind. Also, consider printing out a few copies, and hand them on to others who don’t have access to the internet. Only a very small percentage of people do.
Apologies to those who may have already read some of these statements on other lists.
This first statement comes from Kee Watchman, and is his address to:
United Nations Human Rights Commission
Fifty-seventhSession, March 19 – April 27, 2001
OralIntervention, International Indian Treaty Council
Agenda Item 11 (e) Religious Intolerance
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
My name is Kee Watchman. 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 ourlivestock, 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 evection from the lands of our clans have called home for thousands of years. I believe what I had said, applies to all Indigenous communities who are also subject to these same laws in the United States.
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. There have been three Special Rapporteur’s reports, two in 1989 and another in 1998 on the situation we face.The issues are clear. 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.
Lately, we had heard strong rumors that PeabodyCoal 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 force relocation policy by the United States government. We in our communities still face the ever encroachment of Peabody’s mining operations towards our direction. Even with those families who had signed face yet, still another relocation policy of the future generation’s.
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 Sài) or Big Mountain without any consultation. This desecration of our Holy Mountain will only add further insult to a deep injury caused by this force 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) or also known as Mount Graham. This Holy Mountain is being desecrated by telescope projects by the University of Arizona, the Vatican andby Max-Planck Institute of Germany.
The United States government is far from protecting our rights, as it promised in the Treaty of 1868, is the major violator of these rights. We worked for years on a mediated “settlement” whichin the end took from us even more of our land, livestock, and our cultural andreligious 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 ofhuman rights violations in the Dine’ Country;
B) make provision for rendering adviceand guidance from the international community to the United States on itsresponsibilities under existing treaties, the UN Charter and otherinternational instruments;
C) providing an avenue of appeal tosome international tribunal where the United States and its officials could beheld accountable for their actions.
We are well aware of the pressures the United States has brought to bear in the past on thisbody, the Sub-Commission and the Working Group. We have faith, however, that those who hear and understand our words will take this opportunity to protect our rights, and by doing so the rights of all indigenous peoples and of all the peoples of the world.
In closing Mr. Chairman, IITC would like to state that Indigenous peoples worldwide regret that Executive Clemency was denied to an Indigenous and environmental rights defender, LeonardPeltier. This case is an example of the injustices Indigenous peoples are facing today.
We want to renew our call for the immediate release for Leonard Peltier and we are asking the Commission to request the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Working Group on Arbitration Detention to visit and investigate the care of Leonard Peltier and report to next Commission’s session.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and all my relatives,
CactusValley-Red Willow Springs/Big Mountain region.
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 3rd
Anonymous Hopi Traditional,
VOICES FROM OUR ANCESTORS AND OUR GREAT CREATOR
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 percent of the Hopi people vote to elect the Tribal Council this will be a legitimate council. But this did not happen. Less than 30 percent of the Hopi people voted, and some of the voters were not even Hopi.
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 by-laws instead of the Hopi Laws and Constitution. I am glad that our ancestors never signed any treaties with any Government. Maybe someday someone will help the Hopi by investigating the Hopi Tribal Council, and revealing the injustice.
I cannot understand the Hopi Tribal Council. They claim that they helped stop the Vulcan Mine in the San Francisco Peaks at Flagstaff, Arizona. But it wasn’t the Hopi Tribal Council that stopped the Vulcan Mine. It was their boss, Bruce Babbit. Babbit, as secretary of Interior paid one million dollars to close the mine. Maybe this can happen at Peabody Coal too. But I doubt it. Bahana, or white men, have obligated themselves to man made laws, instead of Creators Laws. By this he has neglected his original vow. This means not only his downfall but damage to the Earth as well.
Today the rights of Native peoples are being violated all over this country. 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. Many people no longer recognize the true path of the Great Spirit. They have in fact no respect for the Great Spirit or for our precious Mother Earth, who gives us all Life. Now our Brothers and Sisters become well educated in the ways of the Bahanas. They turn against their own leaders. They say they are going forward, not backward. They say the leaders never do anything good for them in material ways. Now they are disregarding the Great Laws. They ignore the advice of the traditional leaders.
We know from the previous worlds; there are warnings that people go out of balance. They no longer listened to their leaders and priests who warned them of danger and many times tried to guide them on the right path and repent. Instead they were laughed at and made fun of. One day the great destruction began to. People panicked. Some ran back to the Priests begging, “Oh, Great Ones, please help save us, we will reform.” “We have warned you many times,” the priests replied loudly. “Nothing can be done now. The time has come for you to depart, but you all deserve on least thing. Take your riches and your wealth and go down.”
THIS is a small part of our history. I don’t want this darkness to fall upon us again. The signs are here.
We Hopi don’t believe in Voting. If you speak for the Creator you are a majority because the Great Spirit is the Majority. We don’t believe in voting because if the few believe in Creator, then they become the Majority. The Hopi believe that it will come to that. Maybe one or a few people will left and if they believe in the creator than they will be in the majority. So it is today, when we speak to you, Lehman Brothers. Even though we are just a few here, we speak for the Creator, who is the majority. Therefore we demand you to stop the Peabody Coal Mining and the slurry. We demand again. Stop the coal mining and the coal slurry. I pray for you and hope that we open your eyes and you find the majority in your heart.
These are the voices from our ancestors. Our ancestors prophesized that this would happen. Now, we are repeating this prophecy from beginning to end.
Traditional from Hopi Nation
Big Mountain Resistor, Shawn Benally, 21 yrs old, from the Southeast Foothills of Big Mountain
To the people of all nations around the world, hear this that the Indigenous people of the southwestern states are struggling an Indigenous Struggle. Our voice should be heard as people of this society, as Human Beings. We should be free and live in freedom as Liberty says. Real Justice shall be revealed for the people that are struggling to this day and as days go on. To the press, let this struggle be known to exist, that is happening right now, right here in the continental U.S. My people are here as proof that this message is.
Mae Shay, Big Mountain Elder,
We are going to tell them that they are destroying our Environment and poisoning our air, especially Peabody Coal. Ever since they started mining, they have been polluting the air. Many of us, including myself, are suffering from respiratory problems. There is a lot of hardship and suffering from the mining. Not only the people are having problems, but our animals and vegetation are suffering as well. A lot of disease brought to us by Peabody Coal. Even our animals are suffering. I don’t sleep at night, worrying about the people on Black Mesa. I have very deep concerns. That is why I have traveled here.
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. 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 form poor health.since the mining started on our area, a lot of my relatives have died off; even miners themselves have been dying of Black Lung and other respiratory problems. It is the mining by Peabody that is killing everything around us. We want to live and we want the mining to stop. are suffering and having hardship. Everything was good before the mining started. Now the nines are just killing us off. Even our water, our precious water, is going somewhere else, somewhere we don’t even know. We are watching ecological devastation out on our land. Black Mesa. These mines are destroying our land. They tell us that the land is not ours, and even they they are relocating us. They are the death of our problems. WE ARE HERE TO PUT A STOP TO THE MINING PRACTICES!
Roberta Blackgoat, Big Mountain Resistor,
Elders can not go away to other places, places where we don’t know how to make offerings. I am here to tell of what Peabody has been doing to our Navajo County. The place from where we are is by the San Francisco Peaks to the East. It is an Altar. On this Altar there is a lot of mining, on our church. If we motion together that they are mining a hole in our Altar. I wonder if they would let us make one on theirs. I want to tell people how Indian people protect Mother Earth, our Indian Country. She’s feeding us, a lot of things are coming down with sickness because of all the things that are coming out of her, pollution and so on. That is why I came here, to show people, that they need more understanding. government should realize that Mother Earth is sick. I have been heaving a lot these days, and I really want it to be healed. these officials, they have been starving people, confiscating our livestock. Not respecting the Great Spirit who created the World, how Indian people and their languages were put in different areas. am traveling a lot around the country for my children, grandchildren and generations to come. I want them to grow up in a good way. The mining is too much and there is money. We are suffering from U.S. Energy utilities. All Indians are facing the same, we are all told our; and is NOT ours. We are put hereby creator to be on the land and respect it. Then these “visitors” came to mine the country.you have a pinprick on your finger, just take it off and the pain will go away. But there are too many pins on the Mother Earth. Barbed wire is all over the country, dividing the people.
Louise Benally, Big Mountain Resistor
I came to New York to call for a promotion of energy conservation from fossil burning 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. want Lehman Brothers to invest in renewable energy promoting to renewable, safe fuel. The effects of global warming have no limits; it cannot be stopped unless balance is restored. beings must act and educate each other about disimbalance that is taking place in nature from the global warming and the shrinking of the water supply. The good water if getting less and less and the air has already been under attack. We all need to make that step towards global change in energy development. If we take all the resources out of the earth, it will lose balance with the moon. The moon controls many different energies and elements, including the ocean. It will get out of control if we don’t change things now. can talk to their parents or relatives about the impacts. We are turning to Lehman Brothers shareholders to correct these environmental problems because they are paying for these operations. We want them to pay for the changes that effect all levels of human life including human rights and religious freedom rights. we want to see the future, then we can’t ignore the problem. The poles are melting and we have to do something to change it now. It’s here now!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 an destroy it. the 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.