|REFLECTIONS FROM A
TO BIG MOUNTAIN, ARIZONA
by Carina Gustafsson, SENAA Sweden
As our daily walking-sleep life goes on, I
have found another truth.
I realize the presence of spirits that once walked these lands, as if they waited for someone to see them and listen to their worries about the threat against this sacred place. I have no doubts that this is a special place. If you ever come here, you will know why. Even the colours seem to be brighter and stronger, than anything I have ever seen before.
We have just passed the big slurry-line that Peabody Coal Corp. uses to
haul coal, with aid of the precious ground-water, to powerplants in "babble-on"
land. There is no telling how much water that has dissapeared from this
high-desert-country over the years, never to return again. We only know that a huge amount
of water wells have dried out completely. I don't have to tell you that water in these
parts is the very source of life, the foundation for that life will continue or end ( as
everywhere). We also passed the Black Mesa mine site. A huge water-tank has "have a
safe day" written on it. Isn't that ironic? There is absolutely nothing safe about
Peabody Coals operations here. Strip-mining leaves huge wounds in Mother Earth that will
never heal. In fact I'm sure that, if we allow them to continue, they will not stop until
the whole mountain is gone, and the people with it. The air is heavy to breath. It holds a
lot of coal-dust. The anger inside of me threatens to blow me up. The greed is incredible.
The power hunger points only in one direction: total destruction. What makes man fool
himself into believing that this is right? Money is useless in the end.
Meeting the Dineh People
Most people we meet are elderly. One thing that comes to mind is that they are not fighting this battle for personal gain. No, it would have been easy to sign the Accomodation Agreement, that allows them to stay on their land for 75 years, a longer time then most of these people can hope to wander amongst us, in this life. Only this Accommodation Agreement is personally attached, and leaves out others in the family, so when the signer dies, the right to the land ends. The children are completely left out and the landgrabbing begins. Many have signed the agreement, but most of them have been forced to sign by threats and even forged signatures.This has created much sorrow and I can imagine a sense of shame too. The non-signers and the signers has been divided beacuse of this. Tactics?
At a meeting in Hard Rock, both signers and non-signers attended, and were able to tell about their feelings and situations for the first time in years. Some spoke for a very long time, crying and laughing as they went on. It felt like a dam of feelings broke and a sense of understanding each other took place. Many hugs and smiles were exchanged. A lot of testimonies were taken, all showing devastating impacts on daily life. The meeting lasted for 7 hours, and my pen was almost glowing.
Those heartrending stories make it clear for everyone present that the
horrors from past Indian-wars still goes on. It's like soime dark force is determined to
wipe these people from the face of the earth. I can't write up all the testimonies, only
give you a few examples; unannounced visits from the ploice, threats to arrests for
various reasons, livestock impoundments, surveillance of everything they do in daily life,
aso. It's clear that violations against every human right have been made, and our
politician friends work in high speed right now on this in our government, EP and on the
way into UN. Everything has been made illegal for the Dineh on BM, and I mean everything.
They have to seek permits to gather firewood, herbs, grazing the animals, performing
ceremonies, I could go on and on. They are even denied the right to bury their dead on the
land. Press people were at the meeting, a lot of documentation was made. We are determined
to act upon this in every level we can.
to return to the Newsletter page.