Posts Tagged ‘Big Mountain’

 Walee Crittendon stands with her family's livestock after the initial theft by armed rangers. (Photo Credit: Censored News)

Walee Crittendon stands with her family’s livestock after the initial theft by armed rangers. (Photo Credit: Censored News)

Click here for coverage from our friends at Censored News

From Emergency on HPL – BIA war against Navajo Grandmothers:

URGENT-PLEASE HELP-PLEASE SHARE-SIEGE IN BIG MOUNTAIN: When John Benally’s cows were confiscated on April 5, 2016, he filed a case before the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) to request a Stay (Moratorium) on all livestock confiscations. While this suit was pending, the Hopi Tribe using BIA money funded by US taxpayers invaded John Benally homesite in Big Mountain on what is known as Hopi Partition Land.

Today, 6/7/2016, Hopi police and Hopi Rangers invaded John’s home. They came in police cars, trucks, panel trucks and trailers. They rounded up John’s cows and horses used 4-tracks to round up his livestock while they placed John Benally, his companion Tracy, his niece and nephew under house arrest to keep them from interfering with the impoundment. They also served John’s companion with a Notice of No Trespassing requesting she vacate Hopi lands immediately in spite of the fact she has lived with John in Big Mountain for the past 25 years.

John is appealing to you to make phone calls to the Secretary of the Interior and the Hopi Tribe to protect his rights to his property. John has a lawsuit pending and is supposed to be protected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs if the Hopi Tribe is violating his rights. The BIA has the power to issue John a grazing permit but has refused to.

The Hopi Tribe must respect the Stay John filed which requires as a matter of law stop all livestock confiscations as automatic. The Hopi Tribe must respect the great efforts John has taken in collaboration with the Navajo Nation – Leonard Chee from the Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice-President and the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture. These agencies helped John put ear tags on the cows. A Vet has come on several occasions to John’s to give the cows shots. At their advice, John purchased loading chutes for cows so they could more easily load them up.

The Navajo Nation Department of Justice was supposed to be working with John. They helped bring some of his cows to market last week. They were supposed to help John bring some more cows to market tomorrow. Then on Friday, they were supposed to help John transport most of the cows to a Tribal ranch the Navajo Nation and John were talking with.

Instead of helping John, the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture and Leonard Chee did not answer their phones and when contacted the Department of Agriculture said they were just following orders and were told not to interfere with the livestock impoundment.

John calls these people economic terrorists and is concerned that the Navajo Nation is working in collusion to help the Hopi Tribe sell cows at public auction and keep 100% of the proceeds because cows with ear tags and shots are worth a lot of money.

The BIA must step in and stop the Hopi Tribe’s abuse against John Benally, rescind the trespassing notice against John’s companion, return his cows and horses, and Stop the Genocide in Big Mountain!
Please call:
• Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior (202) 208-6416
• Priscilla Pavatea, Director, Hopi Tribe Office of Range Management (928) 734-3701
• Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture (928) 871-6605
• Leonard Chee, Office of Navajo President & Vice President (928) 871-6352


TEXT OF Notice given to John Benally’s companion: No Trespassing

Be advised that the Hopi reservation including the Hopi Partition Land (Hopi reservation) is closed pursuant to Hopi Ordinance # 46 and access is restricted to members of the Hopi tribe and those persons authorized by the Hopi Tribe to be on Hopi reservation lands in accordance with Hopi and federal law and regulations. If you are present on Hopi reservation without a valid permit or permission you are hereby advised and ordered to immediately leave the reservation.

Any individual who is not a member of the Hopi Tribe and who is not authorized under provisions of Hopi law to be present within the Hopi reservation is in violation of tribal law and is subject to a civil and criminal penalty.

Any individual who fails to abide by this notice will be subject to arrest and/or a civil fines under tribe’s civil and criminal law

By Herman G. Honanie, Chairman, Hopi tribe

Notice No Trespassing



Black Mesa banner during impoundments,(WNV / NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

Black Mesa banner during impoundments,(WNV / NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

By , Global Justice Ecology Project

In Waging Nonviolence, Liza Minno Bloom reported on recent federal campaigns to forcibly impound sheep herded by Navajo living in the Hopi Partition Lands (HPL) of Black Mesa in NE Arizona. (Yep, impound, like a car, for us city folk.)

The government claims that the livestock were impounded because there are too many and they were overgrazing and harming the land, but the weight of history and the violence of what’s currently happening suggests a different reason.

The sheep being impounded from the communities on Black Mesa indicate the continued use of scorched earth policies by the federal government and the continued use of Black Mesa as a resource colony for ever more unsustainable Southwestern cities.

More specifically, Minno explains the history and current state of Peabody Energy on the land, going back to the 1970s when the Partition Lands were created, forcing relocation off of the HPL and ushering the way for a grab of the coal-rich land. The herders facing the pressure continue to live on these lands despite the forced relocation.

She also clarifies that Peabody Energy now wants to expand mining into the areas used by the Navajo herders that are being targeted.

The three families targeted so far need to pay about $1000-2000 to get their sheep back, but also have to sign a condition of release and sell the majority of the sheep right away.

Minno writes,

Currently, Peabody seeks to combine the Kayenta Mine [their current coal mine] and the NGS [Navajo Generating Station] leases under one renewal permit that would allow the facilities to continue operating past their 2019 deadline for expiration. Since, according to the Department of the Interior, the Kayenta Mine lease area will provide only enough coal to power NGS until 2026, part of the lease renewal includes expanding mining into the lands adjacent to the Kayenta Mine and reopening the defunct Black Mesa Mine — the equipment for which remains intact on Black Mesa. Instead of calling it a re-opening of the Black Mesa Mine, however, they are referring to the expanded permit area as the Kayenta Mine Complex. Were this approved, it would mean further incursion into the HPL, which is occupied by the Dineh relocation resisters and their sheep. This explains the impetus for the impoundments.

The history Minno gives going back to the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act is definitely required reading, but most important is what’s going on right now and the work needed to keep the coal in the ground and the herders on the land.

A banner that was displayed on Black Mesa during the impoundments in October. (WNV / Liza Minno Bloom)

A banner that was displayed on Black Mesa during the impoundments in October. (WNV / NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

By , Waging Nonviolence

This October, as many Americans returned to work after their Columbus Day holiday, rural Dineh, or Navajo, communities in the Black Mesa region of Northeastern Arizona were rocked by an invasion. SWAT teams descended upon this remote region, navigating unpaved, washed out roads, while drones and armed helicopters flew overhead.

Why? They were there for the sheep.

For nearly two months, Hopi Rangers, with the backing of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, and the Department of the Interior, have been impounding the livestock of the Dineh residents of the area now known as the “Hopi Partition Lands,” or HPL. The official justification given is that residents’ herds exceed the size allowed to them in permits, and that they are, therefore, overgrazing and causing harm to the land in a period of prolonged drought.

Many residents, however, point to the fact that Peabody Energy’s coal mining operations on Black Mesa are the more probable source of land damage and drought than overgrazing. In a letter to the Navajo Nation Tribal Council regarding the impoundments, members of the impacted communities wrote: “We believe this assault on our lives and theft of our only sustenance and livelihood is being funded and instigated by the federal government … through their continued campaign to gain access to the resources on our ancestral homelands by forcing us off the land.”

Currently, Peabody is seeking to expand its surface mining operations on Black Mesa into the areas targeted by impoundments. According to Louise Benally of Big Mountain, Ariz., “Impoundments pave the way for coal development, which is changing the climate forever.”

Scorched earth campaigns — or efforts to weaken a people by separating them from their food source or decimating their infrastructure — have long been employed by the U.S. government against indigenous peoples. These campaigns are always a precursor to a forced removal to open native lands to non-native settlement or corporate use.

The sheep being impounded from the communities on Black Mesa indicate the continued use of scorched earth policies by the federal government and the continued use of Black Mesa as a resource colony for ever more unsustainable Southwestern cities.

The BIA and Hopi Rangers claim that they gave residents ample notice, beginning in mid-August, to reduce their herds. Residents themselves say that the notices were unclear and seemed to indicate that they had a year to reduce them.

The pre-dawn impoundments are often carried out aggressively and, in several cases, there have not been Navajo translators present for the Navajo-speaking residents. According to Milayia Yoe, the Hopi Rangers came to her homestead on the morning of October 28 and impounded 120 of her aunt’s sheep.

“They had barricades set up at the top of the hill with two police units,” she recounted. “When we tried to get around the barricade they chased us for two miles, trying to hit us with their trucks, and then they drew their guns at us.”

Impoundments are causing fear and stress amongst the Dineh on the HPL.

“The way that the rangers are treating the people goes against the Dineh way,” said Big Mountain resident Marie Gladue. “It is very taboo to point a gun at somebody. They are traumatizing an already traumatized community. If overgrazing was actually the issue, they could educate people. But it’s not.”

Beyond being a major food source, traditional Dineh consider sheep sacred.

“Ever since I was a baby I was carried on a horse to herd sheep,” said Jack Woody, an elder from Red Willow Springs, Ariz. “I have herded all my life and I am in my 80s. You have the livestock in your heart, and they want to take that away.”

NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii of Big Mountain described how livestock are a part of ritual life on Black Mesa, saying, “Sitting and sleeping on a sheep skin once represented identity. Rubbing mutton grease on your legs in prayer, and using the wool for fiber are central aspects of Dineh culture.”

Thus far, rangers have impounded three families’ herds, totaling over 300 sheep. In order to get their sheep out of impoundment, families are required to pay, on average, between $1,000-$2,000, and some — as a “condition of release” — are being made to sign a statement identifying themselves as trespassers on their own homelands. To make matters worse, the rangers are telling residents that they cannot return their sheep to the HPL. As a result, many of the impounded sheep have been auctioned or sold.

Residents are organizing against this current threat to their sovereignty with several strategies. Some are securing their homesites and some are researching what legal recourse they have. They are calling for unity during this time and will soon be releasing a national call to protest at BIA and Department of Interior offices.

On October 30, several community members gathered in Window Rock, Ariz., the capital of the Navajo Nation, to meet with Navajo Nation President Ben Shelley and demand an end to impoundments. Others stayed at home and figured out ways to hide their herds, in case they were targeted next.

The wide-scale impoundments and the charge of trespassing point to the threat that the Dineh living on the HPL have faced for the last 40 years, namely forced relocation.


704901_493045424050316_1076545837_o_218x30057fa18e7fbfbFrom Black Mesa Indigenous Support:

MAY 16th-23rd, 2014


“What we are trying to save—the Female Mountain—is alive. She is alive, she has blood flowing through her veins, which is the Navajo Aquifer, and the coal they are digging is Her liver. They are destroying Her.” –Marie Gladue, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

“We need to exercise our right to be human. To gather on the land and have our words be heard by the ground, the trees, and each other.” –Louise Benally, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

During this moment of peak visibility around climate change, we extend this invitation for a training camp on Big Mountain. We’ll gather to honor 40 years of Indigenous resistance to cultural genocide, forced relocation, and large-scale coal mining.

*Application link at bottom of email*

The Elders Circle of the 40-Year Sovereign Dineh Nation Resistance, with Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS)–a collective working in solidarity with the Big Mountain and surrounding resistance communities–as well as Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS),  Missourians Organizing for Reform/Revolution & Empowerment (MORE), and Save the Confluence are collaboratively organizing this camp.

Background on the Training Camp

Building on alliances made during last June’s gathering on decolonization, the collaborative planning process for this gathering has been a combination of conference calls and in-person meetings. Since September, there have been five community meetings on Black Mesa with elders, second generation resisters, and collective members from BMIS. Additionally, monthly meetings are held in Flagstaff with youth and local organizations. Through these meetings, community members have guided the tone, outreach, messaging, goals, and ceremonies necessary for the preparation of this camp. When asked what kind of action elders wanted to see, they shared examples of the different forms of action they have taken while defending their right to remain on their ancestral homeland. They expressed looking forward to sharing their stories as to inspire next generations.

Camp organizers are connecting with trainers and workshop presenters from organizations such as Multicultral Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), Save the Confluence, Palestinian Youth Movement, RAMPS, MORE, No One is Illegal (Canada), Puente Human Rights Movement, Sixth World Solutions, Black Mesa Water Coalition, Anti-Uranium Groups, and the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. The camp offers a variety of  non-violent direct action (NVDA) skills and workshops grounded in legacies of land-based resistance. Spiritual, cultural, artistic practices and healing will be foregrounded.

The workshops and trainings will include:

  • Introduction and History of NVDA

  • The History of the Struggle and Land Dispute on Black Mesa

  • Cultural Work as Resistance to Colonialism

  • Frontline Movement Updates

  • Cultural Sharing and Storytelling

  • NVDA techniques

  • Decolonial visioning

  • Art and prop making

  • People’s Media and Communication (including messaging, social media, and live-streaming)

  • Know Your Rights and legal training

  • …and many more

“During this gathering, we want to re-create harmony between Indigenous peoples who have been harmed by relocation policies. We want to re-spark the cross-movement connections made at last June’s Gathering by taking action at the site of disruption–the coal mine itself.” – Danny Blackgoat, community organizer and son of Resister Matriarch, Roberta Blackgoat.


*To honor 40 years of resistance on Big Mountain and confront resource colonialism

*To build on strategic alliances between anti-extraction struggles in Appalachia and Black Mesa

*To strengthen connections between Indigenous communities on the front lines of land defense

*To build on cross-movement connections made at last June’s gathering for decolonization (on Black Mesa)

*To expand the solidarity network

*To center cultural and spiritual elements of resistance


The training camp is free, including all food, lodging and training. However, we are encouraging participants to fundraise and donate as they are able to help offset costs. BMIS has limited funds for travel stipends and we are prioritizing funding for Indigenous and frontline communities. There will be limited indoor space for sleeping; most participants will be camping.  The camp will be in a remote area with no running water, paved roads, or electricity.  More details are provided in the application (below).

Call for Sheepherders/ Human Rights Observers:

Resistance community members are requesting returning sheepherders/ human rights observers this spring. Because this camp is held on actively disputed land (see background), it will not be possible without human rights observation during and following the camp. Your involvement will make it possible for the resistance community to participate in the camp and will help mitigate further harassment.

Contact us if you are able to come a week early and help set up base camp!

Click Here to Apply

Contact: with application questions

In Honor of 40 Years,

The Elders Circle of the Sovereign Dineh Nation, The BMIS Collective, RAMPS, MORE, & Save the Confluence


Read more about this film work in progress, and the work of Bahe Katenay of Big Mountain and the filmmakers at

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News

This is what education should become in the future, sharing the voices of Dine’ grassroots people who know the real story of Black Mesa, and the real history of Peabody Coal, corrupt politicians, the dirty coal industry, and how it resulted in Navajo relocation.

This is also what the media should become, uncensored and reporting the voices of truth.

Bahe Katenay was one of those censored by Indian Country Today, before I was terminated as a staff reporter. In that interview, Bahe spoke about the oil and gas drilling in Dinetah, the sacred place of origin, and the role of the “puppet” Navajo Nation Council, which signs energy leases, is coopted by the US government and threatens future generations of Navajos with water rights loss, pollution from dirty coal power plants, and destruction of the earth.

In the interview censored by Indian Country Today concerning those oil and gas leases, Bahe Katenay said, “I am also saddened when I think that, because these lands were given away for profit, the rest of our sacred lands everywhere are being desecrated, today: Mount Taylor, San Francisco Mountains, and Big Mountain.”

Click here to read more…

BMIS Fundraiser - 11.21.13

Click here to donate!

All funds will go directly to purchasing supplies, tools, food, and building materials for Dineh (Navajo) elders and families at Big Mountain who are in their fourth decade of resisting forced relocation and coal strip mining on their ancestral lands.

To be clear, these donated funds will *not* be used to cover transportation/food/etc costs for the supporters/organizers (us) who will be heading out to the land to volunteer our labor. We will each be paying our own costs out of pocket in order to be self-sufficient on the land.

This fundraiser is hosted by Santa Cruz Indigenous Solidarity, in partnership with Black Mesa Indigenous Support. If you have any questions, please email sheepandsagebrush [at] – Your donations are so greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Click here to donate!

By Leslie Wilber, The Precarious

02/01/2012 – Rangers employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs rode in on horse back and four wheelers, armed with portable corals and livestock trailers, to take horses and calves from Dineh tribal elders living on Black Mesa, last week. Residents of the traditionally tribal land say the livestock seizure is the latest push in a relocation effort elders have fought for more than three decades.

They’re violating universal human rights,” said Bahe Katenay, one of the Dineh people who lives in the Big Mountain Community of Black Mesa. Katenay grew up on Black Mesa and helps tribal elders maintain their traditions. “These people still have a right to food, to their culture, to safety, to health.”

Rangers with the Hopi Tribal Government told Black Mesa residents that the roughly eight cattle and 25 horses were taken because they were not properly registered, said Derek Minno Bloom, who volunteers with the Black Mesa Indigenous Support collective. The collective is made up of people who do not live in the Black Mesa area and are largely non-native, but have responded to elders’ requests for outside help in order to stay on their land.

Some of the animals have been returned, Katenay said, although he did not have an official tally. Black Mesa Indigenous Support is raising money to help elders get their animals back, Minno Bloom said.

Louella Nahsonhoya, who works for the Hopi Tribal Government, said she would send members of the press a written statement about the livestock by the end of the week. Before then, she will be unable to answer any questions about why the horses and cattle were taken.

“This is part of forced relocation,” Katenay said, noting that the official U.S. policy is to relocate only those Dineh people who willingly leave their land. Approximately 40 tribal elders remain on Black Mesa, many of whom are at least 80 years old, Katenay said. None of them is willing to relocate.

They are trying to maintain their culture, their heritage,” Katenay said.

The back story is convoluted, but the conflict stems from the U.S. government’s collusion with Peabody Coal Company Since the 1970s, the company has steered efforts to remove Dineh and Hopi people from their ancestral homes on Black Mesa, in order to mine coal there. The Bureau of Indian Affairs-approved Hopi tribal government is not so much a traditional authority. Rather they are deputies of the U.S. Federal Government, Katenay said.

Efforts to remove remaining elders from the land have made life there more difficult. Although people depend on animals for their livelihood, livestock roundups happen as often as twice a year. Officials have capped off water wells and destroyed pumps, although water is hard to collect on the arid mesa, Katenay said.

Still, relocating is not a viable or easy solution for the elders. Many do not speak or read English. They have a deep wealth of knowledge, but it largely pertains to traditional life: herding, weaving, histories and rituals.

Those who are relocated are put in modern homes, with less land and fewer animals. The amenities are unfamiliar: Someone who grew up without electricity and running water might not know which foods go in the refrigerator and which go in the cupboard, Katenay said. Younger people often are surrounded by modern distractions, leaving their elders in solitude.

They’re not going to force these people out,” Katenay said of the remaining elders. “These people have been resisting for more than 30 years.”

Elders have seen, first hand, that coal mining leads to pollution, the depletion of clean water and other problems, Katenay said. In a sense, they resist relocation to help everyone. He tells the story of one woman who speaks no English, but has come to understand there is war and upheaval in the world outside Black Mesa.

She is doing it for all the people in the world,” Katenay said. “They’re not only doing it for themselves. They’re doing it for all of humanity. If we allow this coal company to do what they want to do, we’re all in danger.”

Leslie Wilber is a journalist who has covered police misconduct, courts, high school sports and other disasterous things. She lives in Denver and is an editor at The Precarious, a media project with a mission to use in-depth journalism, storytelling and cultural analysis to re-frame the revolutionary as regular. They investigate oppression and celebrate liberation with relentless curiosity, critical minds, style and humor. They’re not here to merely convey information, and they hope their readers aren’t content to idly consume media.

Updated Information: RED ALERT! Black Mesa/Big Mountain livestock impoundments happening now!

Alert! Take Action Now!

From Black Mesa Indigenous Support:

In the last two days, livestock impoundment crews have confiscated calves and stolen and immediately sold horses belonging to several Dineh people of Big Mountain/Black Mesa, Arizona. These livestock impoundments constitute human rights violations against traditional Dineh (Navajo); they take away one of their major food sources and one of the main sources of their livelihood. This is a tactical move to further genocidal relocation policies.

Even though it is Saturday, call now and throughout the week and flood their lines and answering machines.  Say that the elders need their animals to survive, these confiscations are WRONG, that we are watching, and that we see this ongoing harassment as part of cultural genocide.  Also, make sure to ask that they stop driving quads illegally through sensitive environments.

Please Call The Hopi tribal chairman’s office @ 928-734-3102. Ask for the chair, LeRoy Shingoitewa who made the direct order for the impoundments and stolen horses.

We’re collecting funds to pay for livestock reclamation. We know it will be at least $500. The amount increases daily.  You can go here to donate now:

Many Thanks for Your Support. Stay in touch!

The BMIS Collective

UPDATE! Black Mesa: Navajo horses impounded being sold:

Impoundments are currently happening on the HPL

In a phone call, Hopi ranger Ronald Honyumptewa confirmed that animals were impounded from range units 257 and 259 of the HPL from Monday through Wednesday. He stated that all unbranded horses have already been sold, that a buyer was identified so they went out with quads to round them up, then sold them. He also said the order came down directly from the Hopi Chairman. They were all sold to Sun Valley. Ranger Honyumptewa said they have the legal right to confiscate them under ordinance 43 in the Accommodation Agreement and are not obligated to hold impounded illegal animals for the residents to claim. He also said they will be rounding up from the rest of the HPL range units.

Letter of Concern to Hopi Tribal Council regarding the recent impoundments on Black Mesa and Call Out for Human Rights Observers:

Note: Below is the letter of concern we sent to the Hopi Tribal Chairman this morning, January 31, 2012. In light of the impoundments that took place last week and those that could happen this week and beyond, we are putting out a call of support to all persons interested in doing Human Rights Observation and support for the elders on Black Mesa during the harsh winter months. As in the past, cameras, video cameras, voice recorders, and journalism skills are needed to help monitor and document the activities of the Hopi Rangers on the “Hopi Partitioned Lands” of Black Mesa. Please contact us at if you are interested in participating.

We also ask for people to call the Hopi Tribal Chairman’s office letting them know that you are in support of the letter we sent and that you want the impoundments to stop. Ask for Chairman Shingoitewa (928) 734-3102

Thank you for all your support! May the indigenous communities of Black Mesa be remembered and supported, now and always!

Hopi Tribal Council
P.O. Box 123, Kykotsmovi, AZ  86039

Dear Honorable Chairman Shingoitewa,

It is with great concern that we write to you today, January 31 year 2012.

The undersigned are members of a group called Black Mesa Indigenous Support
(BMIS) that exists to promote respect and support for the elders of
Black Mesa/Big Mountain, specifically those living traditionally on the
Hopi Partitioned Land (HPL). We write with support and encouragement
from that community.  As you know, many of these individuals are related
to those of you directly.  BMIS has worked with you at Hopi in the past
on many issues, and have recently been honored to support your work and
the work of others in protecting the sacred San Fransisco Peaks by
stopping Snowbowl.  

It has been brought to our attention that on January 25 and 27, Hopi
rangers impounded animals belonging to Dineh families who live on HPL.
These animals were rounded up by Hopi rangers using quads, on grazing
districts 257 and 259.

According to acting chief Hopi ranger, Ronald Honyumptewa, the order to carry out
these impoundments came directly from the Hopi tribal council chairman.

Mr. Honyumptewa stated that they have the right to confiscate these animals
under ordinance 43 in the Accommodation Agreement (Public Law 104-301),
and said further that the Hopi authorities are not obligated to hold on to
impounded animals for owners to claim.

We are also very concerned to learn that a buyer of some of the animals
was already identified directly before the impoundments had taken place,
and that the animals were transported to Sun Valley for the purchase.

We understand that PL 104-301 authorizes such impoundments by Hopi
rangers, however we are troubled at the manner in which they were
carried out.  

As we have understood it, the owners of these now impounded animals, were
never given personal notice to sell or arrange for said unbranded
animals, nor told in advance that these impoundments were going to take
place. We have learned now, after the incidents, that notices were put
up in the Rocky Ridge store and some local Chapter Houses five days
before the impoundments took place.  The residents report that being
notified in such a manner is insufficient, considering that many of the
elders cannot read English and/or speak English and do not frequent the
Rocky Ridge store and Chapter Houses due to lack of transportation and
funds. In the future, we, on behalf of the elders, urge you to employ
direct, respectful, and personal communication with an aim to reach
mutual understanding and solve livestock problems.

Again, our purpose in writing this letter is to encourage mutual respect,
kindness, and moral responses to the issues that arise on the Hopi
Partitioned Land.  We received reports of Hopi rangers whipping
livestock and speeding on all-terrain vehicles in sensitive environments
in front of Dineh elders while rounding up livestock, and then laughing
at the elders who expressed dismay at the abuse of their land and
animals.  As you well know, life on the Hopi Partition Land has its
myriad difficulties, and we believe, as we know you do, that all people
deserve respect and have the right to live their lives in dignity.  We
value your commitment to stewardship of the earth and respect your
efforts at stewardship in various venues; it is our heartfelt hope that
that commitment extends to the HPL.  

The aforementioned act of selling the impounded livestock without due
process that would allow for the retrieval of said livestock is viewed
as disrespectful by the affected community and can be considered a
violation of Human Rights and a specific violation of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples as articulated by the UN Declaration for Indigenous
Peoples’ Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

As you know, in that Declaration, which was adopted by the UN General
Assembly on September 13th 2007, it is stated that:

Article 20
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political,
economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their
own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their
traditional and other economic activities.
2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and
development are entitled to just and fair redress

Article 22
1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of
indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the
implementation of this Declaration.
2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to
ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and
guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination

Article 24
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to
maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal
plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access,
without any discrimination, to all social and health services.
2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the
necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this

Article 25
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive
spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used
lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their
responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 8
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to
forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

Article 10
Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or
territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed
consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair
compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 12
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and
teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to
maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the
right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation
of  their human remains.

In light of the information above, we the undersigned, urge you, the Hopi Tribal Council to consider:

1. An immediate return of the livestock confiscated on the aforementioned dates to the appropriate families.

2.As per all articles of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms cited above, an immediate revocation of Public
Laws 93-531 and 104-301, and an immediate end to the forced relocation and harassment
of residents of the Hopi Partitioned Land.  

3. That all future impoundments are preceded by notices in Dineh and
English and are delivered in a personal manner at least three weeks
prior to the beginning of the impoundments to the affected parties with
clear proof that said parties understand and consent.  

4. As per articles 20 (1, 2); 22 (1); and 24 (1) specifically of the UN
Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Fundamental Freedoms cited
above, an immediate end to limitation of livestock herd sizes for
residents of the Hopi Partitioned Land.  

5. An immediate end of the use of all-terrain vehicles for livestock
roundups on the environmentally sensitive Hopi Partitioned Land.
6. An immediate assessment by the Hopi Tribal Council of the Hopi Rangers’
capacity for dealing with the problem of wild horse herds on the Hopi
Partitioned Land before any further impoudments of livestock belonging to
individuals are considered.

We thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing a
response within the next two weeks.  Please contact us at

The Black Mesa Indigenous Support Collective: Derek Minno Bloom, Liza Minno
Bloom, Hallie Boas, Berkley Carnine, Theresa Gigante, and Owen Johnson

Film Screening and Dinner Fundraiser for Black Mesa Indigenous Support

Durango Black Mesa Indigenous Support and the FLC Sociology Club present:

“Broken Rainbow” and other films of indigenous struggle

When: Saturday, 11/12 6-9pm

Where: Turtle Lake Refuge, 848 E. 3rd Ave. Durango, CO 81301

*We’re asking for a SLIDING SCALE DONATION OF $3 TO $15 for this event! Also, if you’re able, please bring a baked good for our bake sale during the week.

We are Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS), a volunteer-based organization whose mission is to support the indigenous peoples of Black Mesa, AZ who are in their fourth decade of protecting their communities, ancestral homelands, and future generations from massive coal mining operations & forced relocation policies. In the 30+ years of disastrous operations, Dineh and Hopi communities in Arizona have been ravaged by Peabody Energy?s coal mines. As a result of the massive mining operation, over 14,000 people have been forcibly relocated from their ancestral homelands. This constitutes the largest relocation of Indigenous people in this country since the Trail of Tears in 1883, and it is ongoing today. For more info visit

Come show your support of the Native people of Black Mesa by enjoying a chili (vegan and meat option!) while you watch these important films and learn about the current situation at Black Mesa. We will be requesting a SLIDING SCALE DONATION OF ($3 TO $15) for this event to help ten people from Durango travel to Black Mesa to offer direct support to the families there and to give to the people who live this struggle everyday, the elders and families on the land.

All ages welcome!!

*We’re also hosting a bake sale/donation collection at North City Market on Wednesday 11/16, from 3 to 7. Please stop by and show your support there too. WE WILL BE COLLECTING DONATED BAKED GOODS THIS SATURDAY AT TURTLE LAKE REFUGE FROM 6 TO 9PM. PLEASE BAKE SOMETHING AND LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW TOO!!!

The Films:

“BROKEN RAINBOW” is a 1985 documentary film about the government-enforced relocation of thousands of Navajo Native Americans from their ancestral homes in Arizona. The Navajo were relocated to aid mining speculation in a process that began in the 1970s and continues to this day. The film is narrated by Martin Sheen. The title song was written by Laura Nyro, the theme music was composed by Paul Apodaca, with other original music by Rick Krizman and Fred Myrow. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

*Other films include: Strangers to the Gods, The Canary Effect, Native American Resistance Day, Praying for the Peaks, and more…

Fundraiser Bake Sale to Benefit Black  Fall Caravan

Spread the word! We’ve got some baking to do! Everyone let your friends know that we will be having a bake sale and donation collection in support of the traditional people of Black Mesa.

WHERE: North City Market
(3130 Main Ave, Durango CO 81301)

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 16th, from 3 to 7pm.

HOW: Drop off baked goods between Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 1135 Florida Rd. Apt. B24, Durango, CO 81301. Please call 847-334-7212 for details about dropping off food. If you can’t drop off baked goods before the sale, feel free to drop them off at our table during the sale.

WHY: We are Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS), a volunteer-based organization whose mission is to support the indigenous peoples of Black Mesa, AZ who are in their fourth decade of protecting their communities, ancestral homelands, and future generations from massive coal mining operations & forced relocation policies. In the 30+ years of disastrous operations, Dineh and Hopi communities in Arizona have been ravaged by Peabody Energy’s coal mines. As a result of the massive mining operation, over 14,000 people have been forcibly relocated from their ancestral homelands. This constitutes the largest relocation of Indigenous people in this country since the Trail of Tears in 1883, and it is ongoing today. For more info visit

This fall we will join in a convergence at Black Mesa to aid the traditional families in preparing for the winter. We are generating funds to help us get to the land and to give to those families living in resistance. As volunteers we will spend the days working hard to make a lot happen- hauling and chopping wood, sheep herding, cleaning and repairing sheep corrals, among other things. We expect about one hundred volunteers and will be distributing food and donations to hundreds of families. It takes a lot to support these volunteers and families during Thanksgiving week.

We would love your support in this! Please consider baking an item for us to sell during our bake sale, or drop by the bake sale and give a monetary donation. At our bake sale we will also be collecting food and supplies donations. So dig down into your pockets and cupboards and see what you’ve got to spare. We’re thankful for it all!

We are looking for donations in the form of money, or food (teas, potatoes, oats, beans, brown rice, peanut butter, white flour, blue cornmeal, baking powder, grains, oil, canned foods, fruit & vegetables, dried milk, coffee, herbal teas, fresh vegetables & fruits, dry foods, nuts, etc. Organic whenever possible).

We would greatly appreciate if you would further our efforts to support the resisting communities of Black Mesa. Your help with our event would go a long way to making the supply run successful. Your contribution goes towards a shift that recognizes our collective humanity and our joint dependence on the Earth.

—Durango BMIS