(en) Relocation of Dineh

International Action Center (International.Action.Center@flatiron.org)
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 09:58:12 -0500


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Friends, What follows is pertinent information regarding the forced removal of the Sovereign Dineh Nation from Big Mountain by March 31st. Enclosed are two versions of the recent SDN release, one as a press release and another packaged as an action alert.

-----------SOVEREIGN DINEH NATION: PRESS RELEASE: MARCH 13, 1997 + Hopi Chairman sets March 31 deadline for 2000 Dineh (Navajo) families facing forced eviction and seals off reservation to outside parties.

Hopi Tribal Chairman Ferrell Secakuku announced that Dineh families will have only until March 31, 1997, to sign the Accommodation Agreement or faced forced eviction. The Accommodation Agreement offers 75-year leases to Dineh families which allow them to remain on lands which were transferred to the Hopi Tribe in a 1974 Act of the US Congress. The families object both to the terms of the Agreement and to the original 1974 transfer of jurisdiction over the land to the Hopi Tribe.

The US Congress bill S1973, passed last fall, offered the Hopi $25 million if 85% of the Dineh families signed the Agreement. The original Senate bill also stated that the families should have until the year 2002 to decide whether to sign the Agreement. This was amended in the conference committee to the Feb 1, 2000. This 3 year period has now been shortened by the Hopi Chairman to three weeks.

In defiance of the concerns expressed by human rights groups over the situation, the Hopi Chairman has ordered the region closed as of April 1, 1997 to all outsiders, so that supporters of the families and impartial observers will no longer be allowed into the area. The Hopi Tribe needs 250 signatures on the Accommodation Agreement to obtain the $25 million, and it does not wish the methods it uses to obtain these signatures to be subject to outside review.

The US Department of Justice, which has strongly supported the Hopi Tribe and opposed the rights of indigenous people, lobbied actively in support of S1973 and told Congress people that over half the families had already signed the Agreement and the rest were ready to sign. Administration officials called SDN representatives "liars" when they reported to Congress that the families were overwhelmingly opposed to the Agreement. But in the recent Fairness Hearing on the Agreement in Phoenix in February, the court records showed that only 6 families had signed the Agreement, while hundreds of others had registered strong opposition.

On Feb. 7 the Navajo Tribal Council passed a resolution 74-0 condemning the Accomodation Agreement which was worked out between the US Dept of Justice and the Hopi Tribal Council. The Dineh families and the Navajo Nation have been excluded from the negotiation process since 1995.

Prior to 1974, the communities in question had been governed as a Joint-Use Area for both the Navajo and Hopi. This arrangement, and the religious opposition of the traditional Dineh families to strip mining, complicated the issuance of coal leases. A consortium of mining and utilities engineered the passage of the Navajo and Hopi Settlement Act of 1974, which ordered over 10,000 Dineh families to be forcibly relocated from the mining region at US government expense. Approximately 2,000 Dineh still remain in 45 communities in the area desptie all attempts to move them away from their traditional homeland.

For further information, contact: SOVEREIGN DINEH NATION c/o Bonnie Whitesinger New York Support Office c\o Margaret Decaires PO Box 1073 718-859-8757 855 East 19th St Hotevilla, AZ 86030 Brooklyn, NY 11230

-------------------------------------------------- SOVEREIGN DINEH NATION: ACTION ALERT: MARCH 18, 1997 + Hopi Chairman sets March 31 deadline for 2000 Dineh (Navajo) families facing forced eviction and seals off reservation to outside parties.

Hopi Tribal Chairman Ferrell Secakuku announced that Dineh families will have only until March 31, 1997, to sign the Accommodation Agreement or faced forced eviction. The Accommodation Agreement offers 75-year leases to Dineh families which allow them to remain on lands which were transferred to the Hopi Tribe in a 1974 Act of the US Congress. The families object both to the terms of the Agreement and to the original 1974 transfer of jurisdiction over the land to the Hopi Tribe.

The US Congress bill S1973, passed last fall, offered the Hopi $25 million if 85% of the Dineh families signed the Agreement. The original Senate bill also stated that the families should have until the year 2002 to decide whether to sign the Agreement. This was amended in the conference committee to the Feb 1, 2000. This 3 year period has now been shortened by the Hopi Chairman to three weeks.

In defiance of the concerns expressed by human rights groups over the situation, the Hopi Chairman has ordered the region closed as of April 1, 1997 to all outsiders, so that supporters of the families and impartial observers will no longer be allowed into the area. The Hopi Tribe needs 250 signatures on the Accommodation Agreement to obtain the $25 million, and it does not wish the methods it uses to obtain these signatures to be subject to outside review.

The US Department of Justice, which has strongly supported the Hopi Tribe and opposed the rights of indigenous people, lobbied actively in support of S1973 and told Congress people that over half the families had already signed the Agreement and the rest were ready to sign. Administration officials called SDN representatives "liars" when they reported to Congress that the families were overwhelmingly opposed to the Agreement. But in the recent Fairness Hearing on the Agreement in Phoenix in February, the court records showed that only 6 families had signed the Agreement, while hundreds of others had registered strong opposition.

On Feb. 7 the Navajo Tribal Council passed a resolution 74-0 condemning the Accomodation Agreement which was worked out between the US Dept of Justice and the Hopi Tribal Council. The Dineh families and the Navajo Nation have been excluded from the negotiation process since 1995.

Prior to 1974, the communities in question had been governed as a Joint-Use Area for both the Navajo and Hopi. This arrangement, and the religious opposition of the traditional Dineh families to strip mining, complicated the issuance of coal leases. A consortium of mining and utilities engineered the passage of the Navajo and Hopi Settlement Act of 1974, which ordered over 10,000 Dineh families to be forcibly relocated from the mining region at US government expense. Approximately 2,000 Dineh still remain in 45 communities in the area desptie all attempts to move them away from their traditional homeland.

The relocation was mandated by a bill passed by Congress in 1974. Congress has the power in 1997 to pass another bill to stop it. The forced relocation of the Dineh has been condemned by the European Parliament, other national legislatures, and United Nations NGOs. Congress is immune to international pressure, but many legislators will pay attention to their own constitutents. Please contact your Congressional representative immediately and let them know that the US should respect international treaties which forbid the forcible relocation of indigenous people. For further information, contact: SOVEREIGN DINEH NATION c/o Bonnie Whitesinger New York Support Office c\o Margaret Decaires PO Box 1073 718-859-8757 855 East 19th St Hotevilla, AZ 86030 Brooklyn, NY 11230

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