I have an alarm clock. Its called the Peabody Mine Plane. Most days it flies by a little before sunrise, so if I am still in bed when I hear it I know I’m running late. Its not a little 2-seater, but large enough to have cargo doors in the rear. A couple of years ago it took to “buzzing” the Altar way below the legal altitude. Twice it was so low it caused the flock to scatter to the four directions. Maybe the pilot had recently watched Top Gun, or maybe the bosses told him how much fun it is to frighten old ladies. So, why does Peabody need a plane? Well, it takes a full 3 hours to drive from the office in Flagstaff out to the mine on Black Mesa, and, as we all know, time is money, so those poor old executives have to fly themselves and the mail out there. The thing that strikes me each time it flies by is just how much it must cost to operate. Keeping an airport at the mine going, a facility at Flagstaff airport, the wages for the pilots and mechanics etc and the fuel costs. A damn sight more than is made by ALL the people on the land that the plane flies over I suspect
And to continue on the theme of the Absurd, I want to talk about cows.
(Appearances to the contrary, this is not a Cowboy versus Sheepman scenario, so popular in the old western movies)
A lot of people don’t like cows.
Considering the damage they have done to western lands, that’s not surprising.
One of the Grandmas here refers to them as ” four-legged vacuum cleaners.”
I remember way back when THE RAINFOREST replaced the whale as the Poster Child of the mainstream environmental movement. Seems like huge acreage of virgin forest was being cut down daily to provide grazing land for cows to feed the american burger franchises. Admittedly there were some huge bucks behind the campaign, but millions of americans “voted with their pocket books” and applied pressure to the burger chains and caused some minor changes in the corporations habits. (Having a tendency to cynicism on occasion, I suspect the changes were primarily cosmetic). Seems like people thought the diversity of the forest habitat was more important than the sacred cow. A couple of years ago I was listening to a radio interview with a Native American woman who had an organization that helped indigenous peoples with economic start-ups. She went on to explain that they had now moved into the international arena with a project in Botswana. Apparently the Bushmen of the Kalahari were being moved off their land to make way for…… cows. Once again, american support was mobilized to stop this travesty. (though I believe the Bushmen are still being moved off.)
So what’s this got to do with Big Mountain? Well, there used to be over ten thousand virtually self-sufficient people living here. Mostly living in a good way without needing to plug into the cash economy too much. They’ve been moved off. And what has replaced them? Cows. A damn sight fewer than ten thousand of them. These cows are owned by a very small group of individuals. These individuals and their friends ARE the Hopi Tribal Council. The parallel to Public Lands ranching in the western U.S. is obvious. A small group of individuals get to engage in uneconomic profit making because the US taxpayers, and in the case here the Hopi people AND the US taxpayers, are footing the bill. And the land and the people suffer.
The second of the “Exclusion” trials has taken place. Still no word on the result of the first one, though Hopi people say there is no way of getting a fair hearing from the HTC. They should know. What is obvious is that the HTC is selectively applying this law against supporters of the resisters. If they were to apply the law to everyone then their courts would be full.
On a totally unrelated subject, A Hopi Tribal judge just got busted in Flagstaff for DUI.
A delegation of resistors are in Geneva (that’s Geneva, Switzerland, not Geneva, Wisconsin) testifying before the U.N. It’s worth remembering that back when the U.N. was setting up the process to include the worlds indigenous people in its apparatus, that President Bush threatened to pull the plug unless the U.N backed off from the relocation issue here. After Geneva the resisters are going to a town in Germany where a Coal Company is planning on relocating some people to make way for a mine. Lets hope the delegation of resistors gets there before the HTC parachutes in a crack SWAT team of propagandists to teach the Coal Company how to manufacture a land dispute.
People here have been receiving a new round of impoundment notices. I guess the good guys at the Hopi BIA figure there is no-one watching here any more so its back to the usual daily grind of harassment.
Now might be a good time to once again offer to you a variety of ways you can help with the situation here on the Altar. First thing is,… educate yourself about what is and has been happening. Watching a video and reading a few emails is not enough. Research, cross-check, verify,… dig and learn for yourselves what is going on. Draw your own conclusion…. anything you learn for yourself has more power than simply repeating what has been told you. As you learn it should become more obvious in what ways you want to help. Secondly, talk to people about what is going on,… friends, family, colleagues, and especially media contacts… it can only help all of us the more people who are aware of what is actually going on. Third, write to the Clowns…. tell em what you think and feel,… ask em what they think they are doing. I can send a list of addresses and suitable topics if you want. Fourth, on land support,…. material and physical. There are a few material things that can help the people here live as they should. Bodies are needed to herd sheep and act as witnesses, drivers etc. Finally, Pray. Whatever your spiritual persuasion.
Back in the real world, Spring has sprung (as the saying goes). Spring is in the air (as the song goes). Many friends writing recently have commented on the arrival of spring in their neck of the woods. It seems like no matter how insulated from the non-human world we get, whether by TV, artificial light, concrete and steel, or supermarket food, the rhythms and cycles of life tug at our cells and stir something deep inside. For those , like the people on the Altar, who lack no awareness of our dependence on the land, Spring means one thing. The gift of Life.
The grass has started to grow again. First one species, then a week later another, then another. The bright green against the red/pink/salmon/ochre/white/grey ground paints a pretty picture indeed. The wild carrots now are topped with delicate purple and white rosettes. I even saw the first scarlet bud of “Indian Paintbrush” poking up. Somehow, the hummingbirds down in Mexico know this and are starting their journey back here. The peach trees are blossoming, and two other species of flowers are about. Just below the surface of the ground, the melted snow and rain sits and waits for the corn to be planted in a moon or so. The sheep are happy to be getting fresh green… as will I be in a couple of weeks when the first produce from the garden comes in.
I’d like to introduce you to some of the individuals I spend my days with.
Great great great Grandma is very old. I remember overhearing a young girl at a swimming pool ask her mom, when an old lady came out of the changing room, “mommy, why doesn’t that ladies skin fit?”. That’s great great great grandma…. all skin and bone. For the past year she has always come along in the rear of the flock. She refuses to hurry (an admirable trait), and arrives at the corral after everyone else. For the past couple of weeks she has decided to march to the beat of a different drummer than the flock and makes no attempt to keep up with them. She comes and goes as she pleases.
At the other end of the age spectrum is Baby. For some reason Babies mom had no milk, and none of the other mommies had any to spare, so I have been bottle-feeding Baby. Problem is, instead of following the other sheep she just hangs around me, and whenever her belly is anything less than empty will bleat incessantly if she can see me.
Then there are a pair of twin sisters. If it were not disrespectful to name the animals, I might call them Dumb and Dumber. They are real pretty, with black, white and brown coats, and they sure like to eat. So much so that they don’t bother watching the rest of the flock wander off,… after 10 minutes or so they will look up, and not seeing anyone, will wander around making noises like a car horn with a dying battery. I constantly have to keep back-tracking to find them.
Soon be time to plant corn, so I went down to check out the corn field recently, and was horrified to discover a family of moles have moved in. Simplest thing would be to spend a day or two sitting outside their homes entrance with a gun or club, problem solved, quick and easy. But that would be cruel. So I have decided to instigate a “Voluntary Relocation” program. Already I have written a legal document (in english and navajo and Hopi) explaining their illegal trespassing, and the necessity of them to move elsewhere, and left it in their doorway. So far they have decided not to reply or comply. The next step will be to hammer a couple of metal fence posts into the ground near their burrows, and repeatedly throughout the day bang furiously on the posts with a hammer. If that doesn’t work I will stomp on all new construction and repair of their homes. Then I can pour water down the burrows. If they still haven’t left I resort to the Ultimate Secret Weapon….. I’ll slap an “exclusion order” on them.
Been reading a lot on American foreign policy,… not just towards the Red Nations of Turtle Island, but world-wide. It is absolutely clear, that in most, if not all, cases that the U.S. has started a War, “police action”, or invasion of other countries (and there have been many dozens just since WWII), the american public has been lied to about the events leading up to these invasions… while promulgating a high moral stance, the U.S. has militarily intervened in the democratic processes of other countries to further or ensure its own control of the resources necessary to keep the profits flowing to the rich, and to keep the american populace sedated with cheap consumer items. After the event, the truth becomes known, but by then its too late. Question is, how can the american people continue to accept the blatant lies of its government when the facts contradict them… again and again? Theodore Roszak puts it this way “Like all imperial powers, we fill the silence that follows our conquest with assumptions of historical necessity. Whatever holds out against us – we regard as so much cultural debris.” This same colonialist policy has continued, and is evident right here on the Mesa….. …. The Indian Wars didn’t end when Kevin Costner road off the screen in Dances with Wolves….. they continued unabated,.. camouflaged sometimes, but largely invisible to the majority of U.S. citizens. Maybe this is why there is so much support from outside the U.S. for the resistance here…. from outside the dominant culture, history is different…… instead of starting when Columbus invaded Turtle island, the land has a history that goes back to the beginning of time,… this history continues alongside that which is taught in schools…
An update on my companions that I wrote about earlier. Great Great Great Grandma hasn’t been by for a few days now. I suspect I shall find her bones bleaching in the sun sometime soon. I suspect also that she died with the same dignity that she lived with. As for Baby and the lambs-formerly-known-as Dumb-and-Dumber,…. early this morning the flock busted out of the corral. (I know which individual is responsible for this jailbreak), and by the time we found them they were a half mile from home….. rounded em up and put them back in the corral, but Baby and D&D were nowhere to be found. Searched for them all day, and as they weren’t found by sunset I figured they were coyote bait. A couple of hours after sunset I heard a plaintiff bleating a couple of hundred yards out,….. taking a flashlight I followed the sound to its source, and there was Baby and D&D,…. all with fat bellies. I guess Baby has now learned to hang with the other sheep, and D&D are smart enough to find their own way home. Not that I doubted it for a second.
I hear that something called “Earth Day” is coming up soon. I’m sure most of you already know, but here in Indian Country, EVERY day is Earth Day. (Every day is Thanksgiving too.)
With the blinding speed of the Information Super-foot-path, View From The Hogan has gone visual with the addition of photos. I don’t want to clog up y’alls email boxes, so I will maintain a second subscription list for those wishing to get the photos. They will be in JPG format, and not too large. So, drop me a line if you want to get them. This first set are:
VFH12pix1….. Seemingly unaware that they are undocumented trespassers, the flock ponders the eternal paradox… no matter how much they keep eating, the grass keeps growing. (foto credit: BoPeep)
VFH12pix2 …. After crossing through the Fence, the Prayer Walk approaches the final ascent onto Black Mesa. Or, if you’re a fan of the HTC “aggressive and racist outside agitators invade Hopi land”. (foto credit: BoPeep)
VFH12pix3 …The Prayer Walk is moments away from reaching the top of Black Mesa. (foto credit: BoPeep)
VFH12pix4 … Long-time resister and matriarch Roberta Blackgoat. (foto credit unknown)
Walking past a newsstand a while back, I noticed a headline “Los Angeles running out of electricity.”(Or maybe it was Phoenix) Oh dear. what will they do about that? Seems like they have 2 choices. Build more coal-fired power plants (now where could they be thinking of finding the coal do you think????), or build some new nuclear power plants ( it is , after all, a “clean” energy source!!!!). A third option of using renewable energy sources like wind or solar has dropped out of favor in McU.S.A.
There is a fourth option. The inhabitants of LaLaLand (or Phoenix) could DECREASE their energy consumption. But That’s an absurd idea, as that would imply that as “mere” individuals we were capable of effecting change. Much simpler to feel powerless victims of the Mega Corps. Then go out and buy more stuff.
But then, what the hell do I know,…….. I’m just a sheep herder.
Thank you for giving me your time by reading this.
Your prayers, support, and correspondence are invited.
“I look for what needs to be done. After all,
that’s how the universe invents itself”