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by Carina Gustafsson, SENAA Sweden


As our daily walking-sleep life goes on, I have found another truth.

High upon the winding dirt roads on Black Mesa in Arizona, our car climbed the pristine landscape, home of the traditional Navajo and Hopi People. It's a wild, barren landscape, beautiful in the truest sense. It feels like going back in time, thousands of years, just to be here. You can imagine seeing a dinosaur slowly walking in one of the valleys between the mountain tops.

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.

Who are the people behind this? Can they sleep at night? Don't they have children and grandchildren? I wonder if they ever consider the generations that is yet to be born. I simply can't find any excuse.

Uranium-mining has been performed here since the 60:ies. Everywhere you go, you see huge piles of tailings lying alongside of the road. People have them in their yards, surrounded by radioactive waste. Totally exposed to the wind, it flies everywhere. You can just imagen the effects on the eco-system and peoples health, all life here. Its almost too much, just to think about it, let alone live in its midst.

Meeting the Dineh People
Im so impressed by the unbreakable strength these people posess. You can see in their eyes that they will never give up. What they have endured, all the hardships you can ever think of, have not made them give up their firm goal to save this Land and their people, preserve the history and culture alive. I'm over and over amazed by the incredible intelligence displayed in the way they talk. And those people have been considered to be primitive??? Beats me!

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.

I will write more soon.

Love and Unity Carina


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