Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

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An Open Letter from the Dineh of Big Mountain
 

Ladies & Gentlemen, the Old, the Young, the Coming Generation, and Relatives:

 

As we speak, there exist a state of fear and anxiety in a traditional community at Big Mountain in the heart of Black Mesa. And as we speak, the federally deputized officers of the BIA Hopi Agency Police and Rangers are patrolling this region where a few traditional elders continue to live and also resist federal mandates to relocate. I want to bring your attention to one particular situation that is an example of the wide-spread acts of injustice, human rights violation, religious intolerance, and threats of property destruction.

 

Dineh resister and elder, Pauline Whitesinger, has stood her ground since 1977 when the BIA tried to build a range unit fence within the lands partitioned to the neighboring tribe, the (modern and progressive) Hopis. Pauline still believes in the old ways  by  upholding aboriginal rights and treaty rights and because of BIA-Hopi restriction on new contruction and her deteriorating ceremonial hogan, she replaced and rebuilt a new hogan. The BIA Indian police are constantly taken photographs of her residence, her neighbors that come to see her, her non-Indian volunteer helpers, and her grandchildren that come to visit. The police do not attempt to talk to her or answer to  her concerns and requests.

 

This area known as the Hopi Partitioned Lands still has Dineh residents and has been made an isolated area, and this is allowing the federal government to do as they please with these last, traditional peoples. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr. has even made numerous comments that the Dineh resistance at Big Mountain "a lost cause and a closed case" meaning that these Dineh are to never be thought of, again. Meaning that these Dineh, who are my Big Mountain relatives, need to be erased from the state of the Navajo Nation and perhaps, Pauline is right when she says, "we are in way of Peabody, profit, revenues, and industrial jobs." 

 

The last few elder resisters and their few supporters (native or non-natives) will continue to provide the much needed humanitarian aide to our surviving history: traditional Dineh living and maintaining on their ancestral and sacred homelands. However, we all need to act in the best means possible and stop the daily Gestapo tactics and the potential demolishment of a sacred hogan or earth lodge. We all need to prevent any harm that may be committed on our elders or their helpers and most of all, prevent this growing hostility from getting out-of-hand.

 

All legal recourses are no longer an option since this is a challenge against a U.S. Executive Order, and The Peoples are the only option to bring about attention, focus and restoration.

 

I have attached a petition with addresses of officials and I am making a plead to you all, my relatives, to sign it and either send it directly to the listed officials or send them to the Black Mesa Indigenous Support. This situation is very urgent. These elders are very old now and they truly deserve much honor. They have lived in a way that, we or our future generations may never see humans live in this country. These traditional elders must live their naturally-given, old life in peace and harmony, Hozhon goh. Yaa'at'eeh goh. 

 

Thank you for your time.

 

Sincerely & In the Spirit of Chief Barboncito,

 

Bahe Y. Katenay (Naabaahii Keediniihii)

Dineh of Big Mountain

Black Mesa Indigenous Support -  blackmesais@gmail.com

 

 

 

 


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