by Bahe Y. Katenay
08 August 2004
with appropriate Big Mtn. update outlets and friends. Author's
Note: I have tried to make a couple of visits into the Heart of
the Resistance Territories to get a sense of what is going on and
what the resisters are saying. This is my info gathering in the
last three weeks. I do my best to convey and translate the words
and events to the best of my ability. Thanks for your
understanding. BYK, (UAP/August2004)]
Watchman: The herds are healthy despite the drought and there has
been a good lambing season. Unfortunately, the BIA-Hopi Rangers
and Police are planning on conducting a livestock count and they
are obviously going to issue out orders to reduce all the herds.
This only applies to those residents who have the Accommodation
Lease Agreement but for those who never signed that Agreement are
still "illegally" grazing and they have no permit.
like for you young people out there to become aware of what is
happening to us. All the laws that this Relocation policy has
brought to us threatens our language and the practices that are
associated with our ancient culture. These laws have separated the
traditionals and the youth, and many of the youth don't want to
live on the land or come to visit and stay for a weekend. As time
goes by, the old ones are forgetting the many aspects of wisdoms
and we have no young people to retain such knowledge about the
language and the religious values of the land.
society has recorded how our language is spoken and has recorded
the religious significant of our lands --lands that are being
taking away or have been abandoned, already. You see what is wrong
here? We, the Dineh society are not making any efforts to preserve
our Big Mountain culture. Only a few of us who are educated in the
western ways believe we should do something. We must make things
right and begin to put out an interest so that our own youth can
return occasionally to study the wisdom of the old ones.
Niz Begay: I will start by mentioning some experiences that I
witnessed in my youth. There were many men in those days that I
should have looked up to. But there were not many and only a few I
looked up to as role models. I saw many of our men being misled by
the new American mindset. They like the alcohol of the Whiteman
and they like to act out an attitude which made them have fights.
Today, none of these men are around! Other men chose to work hard
by making a corn field, raise livestock, and established home
sites within their grazing areas, and these sorts of men still
live to this day!
my old age, I have discovered that if you do not value life and
land your future as a human person can be limited. My greatest
role model was my grand father who happened to be a medicine man.
In my spare time or while I had a break from herding sheep, he
taught me how to assist in making Sand Paintings for Healing Chant
Ceremonies. And since then, I must have sand-painted every
category of these sacred diagrams and symbols. I feel I have
acquired a discipline from this type of role model, and this has
led me to work the cornfield to make sure that the crops survived.
This has made me rise at dawn each day to greet Great Spirit and
to fulfill that, that day will be accomplished with the
continuance of life -- in the Way of the Dineh.
modern world has something which we call, "the
Counting/Measurement Method" (western education). Perhaps,
those of you who know this new knowledge method can acquire
another form of discipline to help the indigenous society better
their futures. Maybe use these disciplines to nourish the environment so that it becomes pure again and so that, we can provide a
better life for our families and for the future generations. So,
humble yourself while you are young because the challenges in the
latter part of your life are harder and you will have to endure.
Begay: As we continue to reside out here, we feel very much alone.
My husband's relatives have all been relocated so I'm sure he
feels more alone. But we are a few. The old age has come upon us
and that makes it more difficult in addition to the loneliness.
Our communities were so alive before the relocation policies were
forced on us. Families would invite each other to ceremonies and
other celebrations. Now, life is so quiet and year round we try to
carry on the Dineh life ways.
news I have are that we manage the animals on a daily basis. We
try to herd our sheep and plant a little patch of crops. In the
winter time, it becomes hard to do the work outside in the
elements. Sometimes the weather might be too cold and if we have
extra hay we will just give it to the animals and not try to herd
nice when we get visits from our relatives and our grandchildren.
That gives us much joy to hear noises of children and sounds of
play. Then, most of the time it is back to quietness and perhaps,
the police will come around just to see if we are doing something
We go to
community meetings at our (former) district center but then, some
Dineh at those meetings will tell us, "You are Hopis; you
have no say in the community affairs." So, we come back to
this side of the partition line and the BIA-Hopi Rangers tell us,
"Because you are not Hopis, you will Not do this and
that!" This is loneliness. What else can you call it? This is
how we live, today, under the federal government's
"humane" relocation laws.
The late Roberta Blackgoat homestead is still there! A big Thank
You for all your Prayers and thoughts! 20 sheep and goats with
their guardian dogs still roam the range, the birds still sing
joyfully, and the bunnies still play about. The corn, squash,
melons, and tators are doing wonderful even though
"Dave" had to replant. Please, visit __ for further
Energy Department and the Great White Fathers in Washington have
prescribed coal as the further source for at least 90 percent of
the US's electrical needs. This means Mr. Peabody will be
leisure-jetting all the way to the bank and of course, laughing
COMMENT: There had been recent questions or issues regarding
"Unity" at Big Mountain in terms of "No unified
voice comes from the resistance." This refers to, also, the
relocation resistance and the anti-mining fronts not acknowledging
that they are all in the same boat.
support groups need to be cautious of judgments they make about
"which Dineh," because this "disunity" is
reinforced by the belief that a distinction should be made. Based
on this, it makes the Partition Line (that the U.S. Judicial
System ordered) more sacred than the land and its life forms.
now being drawn to signify as to who are the 'real' resisters and
who are Not. It seems possible that one can, perhaps, define how
the other suffers worst than the other, or the good and the
impostures. Then, at the same time, activists who use these
"borderline distinctions" resist the corporate greed or
the mechanism of International Monetary Fund and accuse such
institutions for dividing nations, the poor and the rich, or the
natural environment and its natural habitats. Similarities should
be drawn between corporate globalization and relocation at Black
those who are caught up in the idea of what is "too
radical," or "what is not true representation of the
issues," they are just assisting the unbalances of human
societies: Black and White, Islam and Christians, a
"Free" society vs. an anti-democratic society,
tree-huggers vs. loggers. It is an American mentality to judge Big
Mountain between a true and dignified resistance for survival and
where a family is located in accordance to some colonial
demarcation. (Pondering upon personal issues should definitely be
eliminated from the issues of universal survival.) Lets face it
there is unity at Big Mountain!
among the global movements might exist, or maybe not. This type of
movement is so massive that it could be hard to distinguish an
obvious disunity. However, at Big Mountain, there are 250 or so
residents who are resisting on lands that have been partitioned
and where, disunity can be so obvious. Lets take these residents
and see what they all disagree on: _ _ [?]. There are no clues as
to what the disagreements could be except and perhaps, deep-rooted
petty issues. What is clear is that they all want: to stay on
their ancestral Lands, to keep their ancient religious practices,
for Peabody coal mining to go away, and to allow the homelands to
be an indigenous world forever.
still one voice in regards to the core issues of the struggles.
So, let's try to continue on with the resistance as Dineh, Hopis,
and non-Indigenous relatives. We have not put a dent in Lehman
Brothers and Peabody, yet. And already, the great,
"Free" American society has chosen coal as the answer
for next, brief future until all is exhausted. Dineh elders,
despite their old and frail conditions, are thinking far into the
future. How many generations into the future do the rest of
activism think of?
information, go to: http://www.geocities.com/louve14/Blackgoat_homestead.htm.
[UPA, Unpopular Activist
Page, August 2004, Bahe Y. Katenay] email@example.com