Manataka American Indian Council

Proudly Presents

 

 

 

 

FEATURE

 

 

REQUEST FOR SHEEPHERDERS & HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVERS

 

“This land is being taken away because they’ve got power in Washington. We were put here with our Four Sacred Mountains and we were created to live here. We know the names of the mountains and we know the names of the other sacred places. That is our power. That is how we pray and this prayer has never changed.” ~Katherine Smith, Big Mountain Matriarch
 
The Black Mesa Indigenous Support Collective and the Manataka American Indian Council has been asked to pass on requests for direct on-land support from Dineh (Navajo) families in the following communities on Black Mesa: Thin Rock Mesa, Big Mountain, Wide Ruins, Owl Springs, Teesto, Mosquito Springs, Cactus Valley, Sage Springs, Horse Corral, Star Mountain, Red Willow Springs, Great Springs, and Buckskin Well.

For four decades these communities have fought to stop the U.S. government and Peabody Energy Company's exploitation of their homelands and communities. Today families remain, steadfastly resisting the mine, colonialism, and forced relocation. Families' resistance to forced relocation puts them on the front lines of the struggle against resource colonialism in the form of large-scale coal mining. 

In the face of colonial laws that undermine sovereign economies and relocation laws that seek to prevent younger generations from living with their parents and grandparents, elders request additional support. You are being invited to the resistance communities' lands and homes, to assist in daily chores tending livestock and the home site, and to act as a human rights observer. In this last month, families have gotten letters and visits from government authorities threatening livestock impoundments and herd reductions. As livestock are at the center of traditional life and economy, people are asking for support in maintaining their herds. Your presence as a human rights observer can help deter impoundments. While extended family provides the most consistent and crucial support for their elders, outside supporters are asked to herd sheep so families can more easily go to meetings, medical appointments, organize, weave, visit family... 
 
Come for several weeks, to a month, or longer if you can. Support is appreciated all year round and especially wanted right now in the face of impoundments. 
 
By choosing to offer direct on-land support, you honor not only these elders, but the dedication of their extended families, and the continued legacy of resistance. 
 
Community members are specifically requesting local Dineh youth's involvement. BMIS will work to prioritize local youth's participation by providing travel stipends and supplies. Please consider donating to support this work.
 
BMIS can assist you in the essential process of being self-sufficient on the land. We are happy to speak with you over the phone or email and we offer important online resources like the Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness Guidebook, as well as a wealth of archives documenting the resistance, all found on our website. We ask volunteers to read the guidebook and register with BMIS to ensure the safety of supporters and as well as families. 

Hope to Talk to You Soon,
The Black Mesa Indigenous Support Collective


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