We hope that this finds you well and enjoying the winter months. We are writing with updates about Black Mesa, a new group Indigenous Youth for Cultural Survival, and BMIS.
From the Land:
On Monday January 4th Hopi Rangers and BIA Impounded 21 cattle on the so-called “Hopi Partition Land”. The cattle were of Betty, Billy, and Emerson Begay and Trudy Johnson’s herd.
From Trudy Johnson Begay:
“While we (my brother and I) were out looking for our cattle we found them on ‘HPL’ I proceeded to push them back over the fence on foot, to NPL. I had to walk about 200 yards when a Hopi Ranger (BIA) drive up and call me over to his vehicle. When I approached him, he asked ‘what are you doing?’ I answered I’m getting my cattle. He told me to leave the area because they were in the middle of impoundment in the area. He stated, ‘If you don’t leave you could be arrested for interfering with impoundment.’ (All this in a harsh and argumentative tone of voice). He insisted that the animals were trespassing and impounded twenty one of them. We are tired of this kind of harassment on our ancestral homeland.”
Please donate here to a fund dedicated to releasing impounded sheep and cattle from holding.
There is a fierce new Diné youth organizing project that is working on Black Mesa! They are called Indigenous Youth for Cultural Survival (IY4CS)–check out their statements:
Action Statement: Indigenous youth for cultural survival is currently a volunteer based collective led by young Diné and supporters. Our purpose is to empower indigenous youth through education, to reconnect to our traditional ways of life, and inspire action that addresses environmental and human rights issues, indigenous sovereignty, and the protection of sacred sites.
Vision statement: From inspiration within our own communities and resisting families of Black Mesa, we seek to protect Nímá Nahasdzáán (mother earth) and regain Hózhó (harmony) within ké (kinship) relations. With each passing generation, our traditional knowledge is being lost due to colonialism,genocide, and desecration of sacred sites. We remain resilient in the teachings passed down from our elders to maintain our cultural survival for the generations to come.
IY4CS is planning a cultural survival gathering this spring on Black Mesa. This will be a time focused on Diné youth connecting with Big Mountain elders and sharing cultural practices. Please help make this gathering happen by donating. You can donate to BMIS and designate IY4CS in the memo.
A word about BMIS. The BMIS collective is shifting roles and is once again focused primarily on running the volunteer sheepherder/human rights observer program. We also will continue to fundraise for projects and gatherings on Black Mesa/Big Mountain, for IY4CS, and for impoundment funds, among other things.
Tree will continue to live in Virginia and come back and forth to Black Mesa with her family. Berkley will be back and forth between Flagstaff and Tucson as of early 2016. Liza and Derek recently had a baby and have just moved back east to Asbury Park, NJ and aim to be back on Black Mesa annually. Since we are no longer a locally-based collective, we are stepping back from organizing or co-organizing gatherings on the land and instead hope to move resources and help make connections between local organizers. And we are thrilled to be able to work with and support the work of IY4CS as they are central to the future of this resistance!
A note about getting involved:
There are always requests for sheepherder / human rights observers, so fill out the registration form and get in touch.
Additionally, we are looking for collective members interested in helping with the volunteer sheepherder program, media/ social media updates, and fundraising. We are excited to support folks who want to organize their own small gatherings on Black Mesa by putting you in touch with community members and playing an advisory role with logistics, preparation, and political education. We will continue working to connect the larger network to community members for speaking engagements, attending protests, action camps, gatherings, etc.
The BMIS Collective: Berkley, Liza, Tree, & Derek
Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is a currently non-Native all volunteer, grassroots collective committed to working with the resistance communities of Black Mesa/Big Mountain.