Sovereign Dineh Nation January Update (Call for letters)

Sovereign Dine' Nation (sdn@primenet.com)
Tue, 7 Jan 1997 09:56:27 -0800


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the following is a plea for support by the sovereign dine' nation (often referred to as the navajo). i post it to this list because i think, as anarchists, we have a strong interest in the preservation of indigineous people's cultures from the colonialist actions of our governments. their situation seems tragically similar to that of australia's first peoples.

love, rage and solidarity,

scott figgins oakland, ca, usa

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Call for Letters Janauary 7, 1997

We urgently need you to send a flood of letters to your home state Senators and Representatives and Representative Don Young and George Miller on the Resources Committee. Telephone calls and faxes would also help. Communication with your home state Senators and Representatives has great power when it comes from their constituents.

You can help us make sure there s a Congressional Oversight Investigation this session of Congress. It would help most if this investigation was begun before the Fairness hearing in Arizona District Court scheduled for February 11, 1997.

Please use this Sample letter, adapt one of your own, and spread the word.

For more information and to keep in touch, please check out our SDN Web page: http://www.primenet.com/~sdn/ and the link to other home pages.

A street address for you to send clothing and material aid donations is:

Larry Wood 19 S. Agassiz Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Please specify 'Big Mountain'.

Thank you for your help,

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SAMPLE LETTER

Your name: ______________________ Your address: ____________________

Date: __________________

Your home state Senator ________________________ U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510

Your home state Representative __________________ U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Representative George Miller U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Representative Don Young U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

Re: Forced relocation of Dineh Families

Dear Senator or Representative _______________________

I first became aware of this problem from public affairs programs and Internet. I am writing to you because I am deeply concerned with the role the U.S. government is playing in the forced relocation of traditional Dineh (Navajo) people from their ancestral homeland. I am concerned about precedents set by passage of S. 1973 "The Navajo Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act of 1996" that allows intervention by the U.S. government that threatens the Religious, land and water rights of all Indian nations. The Dineh who would live under Hopi jurisdiction are concerned because it is unthinkable to imagine that they will not be able to pass on a home to their children and grandchildren. They want assurances that they will be able to live their lives in peace and security, in their traditional manner, and will not be persecuted by zealous Hopi rangers. For some of them, after the hardships of the past decade, asking them to live under Hopi law is a little like the Bosnian's being asked to trust the Serbs and live under Serb control and jurisdiction. Or as likely as Palestinians singing the praises of Israeli rule of the West Bank.

The U.S. government, though a vocal supporter of human rights around the world, and out spoken against forced relocation and cultural genocide in other lands, has a terrible record at home with their own native people. How can forced relocation be tolerated in 1997 within our own nation's borders? The Dineh ordered to relocate are the most traditional members of the Navajo population. Most live much as their great-grandparents did one hundred years ago. These people and the continuation of their way of life is endangered.

I am concerned because I have heard in their sacred ways, the traditional Dineh cannot be separated from the lands of their birth. Their right to free worship is tied not to one particular site but to every inch of the land they live on. Living a subsistence lifestyle, herding sheep, weaving rugs, unable to speak, read or write English, they are being told that they must either sign the proposed 75-year lease, and accept living as tenants under a government that is openly hostile to them or face forced relocation by U.S. Marshals. The 75-year lease never even went through the executive branch of the Navajo and Hopi governments. This is equivalent to the President of the U.S. signing a bill into law without first going through Congress.

I believe it is important for you to find out what is really going on there. I want to know why if Congress said that the people had 5 years to accept the 75-year lease agreement endorsed by S. 1973, why are Hopi rangers are doing radio, news broadcasts and visiting the people in their homes, telling them they must decide in the next 60 days? I want to know why the Hopi are allowed to do this when the hearing scheduled for February 11th in Phoenix District Court to determine if this lease is fair has not occurred yet? The number of resisting Navajo homesites is believed to be 253, rather than the 112 cited, with the number estimated to be about 3,000. How can census data provided demonstrate such incredible discrepancies?

I do not feel that U.S. government should be helping oppressors. It is a terrible mistake that the U.S. government must rectify. It is the actions of a malfunctioning U.S. government when it actively participates in violating its own Constitution.

I heard that Congress was lied to prior to passage of Public Law 93- 531, the Relocation Act in 1974, and that the whole land dispute was manufactured by Peabody Coal Company. I am concerned about Peabody Coal Company's 103 square mile strip mine. It is owned by Hanson Holding Company, a multi-national corporation, and has contaminated the land, air and water resources of the Dineh people. How could Peabody have tricked the U.S. government into funding relocation, with over 350 million tax payer dollars already spent? As a U.S. taxpayer, citizen, and voter, I am outraged how our tax dollars is being spent. I certainly do not want my tax dollars funding relocation.

The Dineh people are unalterably opposed to Relocation because they believe their Sacred land is their Church and Alter and cannot be destroyed. Is their Church and Alter less Sacred than a white person's church? How could our government be unaware of the high costs paid in human suffering for both those that relocated and those who continue to resist. Estimates of death due to relocation has cost thousands of lives. Thousands more became homeless, unable to adapt, with significant increases in alcoholism and emotional trauma.

The Hopi have clearly demonstrated what they have in mind as landlords. Radio broadcasts describe many hogans that have deteriorated so much from a decade of neglect that in middle of winter there is as much snow inside as outside. They describe water wells that are fenced off and capped off, denying people access to water in a desert environment, a 100 year old ceremonial hogan bulldozed during a Religious ceremony, a person arrested and thrown in jail for breaking and entering his own home, numerous illegal livestock confiscation's and abuse of the peoples' animals in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) impoundment yard. How can Congress say their rights are not being violated? What about the youth? They continue to have no rights at all. Failure to consider them, now grown, with children of their own, has created a vast class of refugees, people on their own land. What concerns me is that these atrocities will continue because there are no services offered. And in defiance of their religion, there is still no burial of their dead. In fact the only avenue of appeal offered them is in Hopi tribal court, denied a jury of their peers. Why can't an arbitration dispute mechanism be created?

I am concerned that the prime site for relocation is knowingly uranium contaminated "New Lands". I question the fairness in U.S. governmental laws, created and maintained, when funds used to purchase this land for HPL relocatees were released one year after the largest radioactive spill in this Nation's history, second to Chernobyl. The Superfund investigation conducted there must be re-opened and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued on all relocation to the "New Lands" until an adequate study is done to determine adverse health effects. The people living there must be immediately informed of the health risks they, and their children face.

I believe that the U.S. government has committed terrible mistakes against its own citizens. Isn't it time that the government rectify these mistakes? There is not much time yet. Human lives are at stake. I believe it is our responsibility as mindful U.S. citizens to stop this travesty of justice.

I pray that the Dineh people finally be given an opportunity to participate in drafting a permanent Accommodation that will allow them to remain on their ancestral land free from the tyranny of Hopi jurisdiction. The Settlement Agreement was drafted without the participation of the Navajo families and the Navajo Nation since December, 1995. Isn't it time?

I pray for justice,

Please copy Sovereign Dineh Nation on all letters sent:

Attention: Bonnie Whitesinger P.O. Box 1073 Hotevilla, AZ 86030 and Attention: Sam Tso P.O. Box 31410 Flagstaff, AZ 86003

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