By the Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) Collective
Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is a volunteer-run collective, in solidarity with the Diné families and elders in Black Mesa/Big Mountain, AZ who have been resisting cultural genocide for over thirty-five years — targeted for unjust large-scale coal mining operations and forced relocation policies of the U.S government. Throughout those thirty-five years the US government and Peabody Coal have forcefully relocated thousands of Diné people away from their ancestral homeland, the land that they belong to, in the name of greed, energy and progress. Many families and elders have refused to leave, even though they are under constant pressure to do so. Their daily lives have become a direct action to save their land base, maintain their traditional life ways, and take a stand against global warming and globalization. They are not creating a new way of sustainable living, but are struggling to live as they always have — with the earth and not against it.
The resisting families are encouraging people to come to Black Mesa now. They request support all year long. One of the primary ways that non-native people who support the Diné live out solidarity is to honor the direct requests of these families and extend an invitation to all people interested in supporting their resistance, to come to Black Mesa, to their threatened ancestral homelands, walk with their sheep, haul water and wood, and do whatever they ask. By coming to Black Mesa, supporters can assist the elders and their families in daily chores, which helps visitors to engage with the story that they are telling, as well as to claim a more personal stake against environmental degradation, climate change, and continued legacies of colonialism and genocide. One can assist by being there so they can go to meetings, organize, weave rugs, visit family members who have been hospitalized, rest after a difficult winter and regain strength for the upcoming spring. With spring comes planting crops, shearing sheep, and lambing. Come for a month. Or longer.
Supporting these communities, whose very presence stands in the way of large-scale coal mining and further environmental degradation, is one way to work on the front lines for climate justice and against a future of climate chaos. There are also opportunities for long-term, committed supporters and organizers off the land.
BMIS is looking for Regional Coordinators to organize year-round support and work towards movement building, which would maintain and enhance communication channels between the Big Mountain resistance communities and networks that are being established to support the Big Mountain resistance, as well as other local forms of indigenous resistance, while building shared analysis, vision and movements for the liberation of all peoples and our planet. We are looking for organizers to connect to local climate justice, anti-racism, and decolonization projects, set up sheepherder send-off parties which can double as political education and fundraising events, put on screenings of “Broken Rainbow”, as well as host speaking engagements, give report-backs from the land and coordinate other educational events to spread the word about the struggle. We hope to connect with folks who will organize local responses to calls to action from the land, look into and spread information about corporate and political connections to Peabody Coal, and build a local capacity to fight racism and participate in multiracial movements for justice.
Contact us for more information if you are interested in supporting this struggle, and please visit our website for a deeper analysis and more info: www.blackmesais.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 928.773.8086, P.O. Box 23501, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002