Forgotten People

Forgotten People (FP) is a Grassroots Organization on the Navajo Nation dedicated to rebuilding.  FP utilizes a bottom up participatory approach to development which focuses on community wide identification of needs and then works with each community to engage them to solve their problems.  This methodology allows the people to become empowered and healed from a legacy of oppression. In order to achieve this ‘agency’ the community had to evolve from a needs-based or dependency approach to the agencies into an assumption of full responsibility for their own development.   Forgotten People has been recognized by their willingness to solve their own problems and has gained recognition as one of the most pro-active areas on the Navajo Nation.

#Navajo #Peabody #Coal #KeepitintheGround  #navajonation #animasriverspill

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Environmental Justice Case Study:

Navajo-Hopi Struggle to Protect the

Big Mountain Reservation

http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/parker.html

 

Table of Contents
Above map taken from http://swcolo.org/Family/FourCornersMap.html, 1997.
The Problem

In 1974, the federal government partitioned the Big Mountain reservation, 
where the Hopi and Navajo tribes currently reside, and transferred some of 
the land to private ownership. Many Hopi and Navajo were relocated to other 
lands, but some 300 families remain at Big Mountain to fight the continued
exploitation of their lands by private mining companies. Currently, those 
300 families are living on land that holds over $10 billion worth of coal. 
The Peabody Mining Company would like expand its operations by 13,800 acres,
thus intruding upon the Big Mountain residents' sovereignty and potentially 
threatening the reservation environment. If Peabody is successful in gaining
a federal permit to mine the reservation, the remaining 300 families face 
relocation.

Back to Table of Contents

Background

The Hopi and Navajo have co-existed for generations in the American Southwest, 
long before Spanish or American explorers and settlers arrived.  The Hopi are 
generally agriculturalists, and had settled in small villages. They are 
descendants of the Anasazi, the first Native Americans to occupy the area. 
The Navajo are pastoralists, and traditionally have lived in hogans distant 
from one another.The concept of land ownership is foreign to both tribes. In
1882, the United States began a series of land boundary decisions which 
adversely affected the natural resource rights of both tribes. As stated, 
the federal government partitioned Hopi and Navajo reservation on Big Mountain
in 1974, thus allowing private mining companies to strip mine on or near these 
reservation lands. Many families were relocated, and many more on Big Mountain 
still may face relocation as Peabody Mining continues its efforts towards
expanding its mining operations.

If Peabody is successful, the Navajo and Hopi lands will face water quality 
decline and depletion of water supply, devastation of the landscape, and 
desecration of sacred lands. Coal is transported in water slurry pipeline 
more than two hundred miles to a power station in Nevada. Water is in short 
supply in semi-arid regions, and using it for the transportation of coal 
depletes the water supply dramatically. This can in turn disrupt the fragile 
hydrologic cycle. Further, a lack of water can make agricultural and livestock
production nearly impossible for both tribes. Also, sacred areas would be torn
apart by strip-mining or altered by decreased water supplies. An Environmental 
Impact Statement addressed the cultural effects of land degradation on Big 
Mountain Reservation, and stated that the effects "could be mitigated through 
careful consultation with tribal members and payment for spiritual ceremonies 
on sites that will be destroyed" (Bullard, 1994). This is clearly insufficient, 
as there is no market value that can be placed on spiritual ceremonies, and the 
statement lacks any sensitivity or respect for Hopi-Navajo culture.

The relocation site that has been selected by the federal government has its
own environmental problems. This site is near Sanders, Arizona where 100 million
gallons of uranium-contaminated water broached a dam and spilled into the 
surrounding area.

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Key Actors

Goverment Agencies

Several government agencies are currently involved in this conflict. They include 
the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Effects (OSMRE), the Bureau of Indian
Affairs, the Department of the Interior, and the state of Arizona. In part, the 
position of these agencies is to promote development in the West and expansion of 
coal mining operations.

Peabody Coal Mining Company

Peabody is a multi-national corporation, and is currently interested in expanding 
its mining operations onto Hopi and Navajo reservation lands.

Tribal Councils

The tribal council system is the only formally recognized representative of the 
Native American community by the state and federal governments. The council makes all
decisions regarding the natural resource base of the reservation. However, tribal 
councils do not always represent the interests of the community on the reservation, 
and often have much to gain financially when coal mining operations expand onto 
Navajo and Hopi lands.

Traditional Tribal Members

There are many members of the Hopi and Navajo communities that wish to preserve 
their cultural integrity, and prevent the destruction of their native lands. They 
hold that Americans have no understanding of what it means to belong to the land, 
rather than own it. They simply desire to left alone by Peabody, the Tribal Councils, 
the federal government, and the state of Arizona.

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Demographics

The map in Appendix I shows the general region and location of the Four Corners area 
of the American Southwest. The second map in Appendix II is a closer look at the area
of interest. (Click here to see both appendices). One can notice the proximity of the 
Peabody leasing area to the Big Mountain reservation, where 300 families currently 
reside. Many of them are elders, and have no electricity, heat, or running water. They 
live in family hogans, and subsist on farming, herding, and weaving.
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Strategies

Several strategies have been employed by the Hopi and Navajo on Big Mountain to prevent
Peabody's mining expansion onto their lands. Navajo elders have engaged in non-violent
civil disobedience. They have placed their bodies in front of bulldozers, torn-down fences, 
and turned away government officials. Also, there has been a great deal of effort by the 
elders to increase community awareness and involvement in the struggle to preserve and 
protect their lands. Building sites on the internet has been a valuable tool in keeping the 
community informed, as well as frequently holding meetings to discuss tactics and strategies. 
They have staged letter writing campaigns, email campaigns, and engaged in other forms of lobbying. 
Also, they have pushed delegates of the Navajo nation in D.C. to prevent the expansion of Peabody's
operations.The Navajo have also filed several lawsuits concerning land use and water rights, 
claiming that Peabody has infringed upon Navajo rights to water on reservation land. Other lawsuits
have addressed the Navajos' inability to perform religious ceremonies and other practices due to 
destruction of the land. Land dispute lawsuits began in 1958 and continue to the present. On March 11,
1996 federal judge Ramon Child ordered the cancellation of Peabody's mining permit. According to 
Native American Support Group, Judge Child "pinpointed the cozy relationship between the mining 
companies, the tribal councils, the OSMRE and BIA and the complete disregard for human and 
environmental rights of the local residents." The mine remains open as Peabody appeals.
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Solutions

The current definition of environmental justice is "the right to a clean and safe environment
in which to live, work, and play" (Bullard, 1994). That definition might be expanded to include 
the right to preserve one's cultural integrity, and to free from techno-environmental changes that 
inhibit such preservation. Unfortunately, none of the current tactics have ensured this right. 
Although Judge Child's ruling has prevented Peabody from mining on Hopi-Navajo reservation lands, 
there is still a chance that Peabody's appeal will be successful, and thus allow them to expand 
their operations.
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Recommendations

Co-management of natural resources, and the conflicts that emerge from defining rights to their 
use, is a highly recommended approach to resolving the Hopi-Navajo struggle. The Hopi and Navajo
communities must be empowered to participate in decisions which directly influence them. For example,
the Hopi and Navajo communities should be allowed to participate in a more thorough social and 
environmental impact assessment that will reflect the interests of not only Peabody and the federal
and state governments, but also the Hopi and Navajo. This will foster a more complete understanding 
of interests between parties, and potentially provide an acceptable resolution.
Back to Table of Contents

Works Cited

Brugge, David. 1994. The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute: An American Tragedy. Albuquerqe, N.M.: 
University of New Mexico Press.

Kramer, Jerry. 1980. The Second Long Walk. Albuquerque, N.M: University of New Mexico Press.

Bullard, Robert D. (ed.) 1994. Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of 
Color. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

Appendices

Back to Table of Contents


Black Mess on Black Mesa

unnamed

What is happening on Black Mesa, Arizona today compared throughout the years to what has happened in mountain communities in Appalachia by the coal industry?

Shared human rights abuses at Black Mesa and in Appalachia abound, and Big Coal and our Government are accountable. How are human rights being violated and who do we turn to for help? How do we create a national public outcry? Why have the abuses of Big Coal gone unchecked?

Hear traditional oral stories of Appalachia’s Mine Wars, listen to the environmental impact, discover the hardships of documentation by film producers, and hear brave, first hand accounts, from Diné (Navajo) people living and actively resisting coal mine expansion on Black Mesa. Be inspired.

This panel will share the history of Big Coal’s human rights violations and actively engage us on how we can take part in protecting against further abuse, terror, and intimidation.

What is happening on Black Mesa, Arizona today compared throughout the years to what has happened in mountain communities in Appalachia by the coal industry?

Shared human rights abuses at Black Mesa and in Appalachia abound, and Big Coal and our Government are accountable. How are human rights being violated and who do we turn to for help? How do we create a national public outcry? Why have the abuses of Big Coal gone unchecked?

Hear traditional oral stories of Appalachia’s Mine Wars, listen to the environmental impact, discover the hardships of documentation by film producers, and hear brave, first hand accounts, from Diné (Navajo) people living and actively resisting coal mine expansion on Black Mesa. Be inspired.

This panel will share the history of Big Coal’s human rights violations and actively engage us on how we can take part in protecting against further abuse, terror, and intimidation.

What is happening on Black Mesa, Arizona today compared throughout the years to what has happened inmountain communities in Appalachia by the coal industry?

Shared human rights abuses at Black Mesa and in Appalachia abound, and Big Coal and our Government are accountable. How are human rights being violated and who do we turn to for help? How do we create a national public outcry? Why have the abuses of Big Coal gone unchecked?

Hear traditional oral stories of Appalachia’s Mine Wars, listen to the environmental impact, discover the hardships of documentation by film producers, and hear brave, first hand accounts, from Diné (Navajo) people living and actively resisting coal mine expansion on Black Mesa. Be inspired.

This panel will share the history of Big Coal’s human rights violations and actively engage us on how we can take part in protecting against further abuse, terror, and intimidation.

https://youtu.be/F4uGCj6knVw

Moderator

Panelists

Rena Babbitt-Lane

unnamed-1We live in on top of Black Mesa above Peabody Coal Company’s Black Mesa coal slurry pipeline. A few times it burst and they welded off the pipe contaminating our land and water. I am a medicine woman and hand trembler. Medicine men ask me to gather herbs and prepare it for them. The canyons where most of the herbs are found, the land, and water sources have dried up from Peabody’s coal slurry pipeline. The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has dismantled four of the windmills near where we live. I am forced to travel an hour each way over rough dirt roads to get water and it broke the frame of our truck. My grandfather built some of these earth dams but they are filled with sediment. All my children and myself want a home.

Glenna Begay

unnamed-2I use the land like I did in younger years. In our tradition you never say this is my land. This is where I grew up with livestock, a cornfield. I am still using a lantern and haul water and wood. I live off my livestock and crops. There is no compensation from Peabody. I have no electricity, no running water. The roads are usually ungraded. I asked Peabody for help and the Black Mesa Review Board on numerous occasions. All the natural springs are depleted from the slurry pipeline. In the early dawn there is a lot of dust and smoke over the valley. We all have respiratory problems.

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VICE NEWS DOCUMENTARY AND NEWS PIECE AIRING ON HBO:

VICE News travels to the Navajo Nation – Cursed by Coal: Mining the Navajo Nation.
Here’s What Coal Mining Is Doing to Communities in the Navajo Nation
March 18, 2015

VICE NEWS: Cursed by Coal: Mining the Navajo Nation

March 19, 2015

There’s a resource curse on the Navajo Nation. The 27,000-square-mile reservation straddling parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah has an extremely high abundance of many energy resources — particularly coal. That coal is what’s burned to provide much of the Southwest with electricity, and it creates jobs for the Navajo. But the mining and burning have also caused environmental degradation, serious health issues, and displacement.

VICE News travels to the Navajo Nation to find out how its abundance of coal is affecting the future of the Navajo people.

https://youtu.be/F4uGCj6knVw

Watch “Toxic: Coal Ash”

Watch “Petcoke: Toxic Waste in the Windy City”

Read “Line 61, the Oil Pipeline That Will Dwarf Keystone XL”

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VICE NEWS: Here’s What Coal Mining Is Doing to Communities in the Navajo Nation

By Laura Dattaro

March 18, 2015

For sixty years, the billions of tons of coal found beneath Arizona’s Black Mesa have powered the cities of the Southwest. But getting at all that coal has meant the displacement of more than 12,000 people of the Navajo Nation, one of the largest removals of Native Americans since the 19th century. For those that have remained, the mining process has compromised their health and their environment.

The mesa rises up from the dry Arizona landscape a few miles south of Kayenta Township, where Peabody Energy operates a mine that in 2013 produced nearly eight million tons of coal. The company proposed in May 2012 to expand its excavation, a plan that needs approval from the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSMRE). Locals are concerned because that would add 841 acres of land to the Kayenta Mine complex — which would displace even more Navajo and ensure continued air and water contamination for decades to come.

A VICE News crew traveled to the Black Mesa area to document the effects of coal mining on their health, the environment, and the local economy.

https://youtu.be/F4uGCj6knVw

The conflict between the company and locals extends beyond health and environmental concerns, though. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has threatenedmany Navajo with arrest if their sheep graze on company-owned land, Marsha Monestersky of the grassroots Navajo organization Forgotten People told VICE News. As many as 200 families, she said, remain on land the company has eyed for expansion.

In October, the agency sent SWAT teams to detain Navajo elders for owning too many sheep. Many in the region believe the BIA is using concerns about overgrazing as an excuse to intimidate the Navajo into abandoning their land, leaving the way clear for Peabody Energy to expand.

The Navajo obtained in December a US Department of Justice moratorium on BIA efforts to terminate their permits to keep sheep and other grazing animals. The moratorium expires this month.

“We’re not sure what’s going to happen,” Monestersky told VICE News. “We haven’t heard anything at all. It’s the uncertainty that really is traumatizing for the people.”

Related: Cursed by Coal: Mining the Navajo Nation

——————————————————————————–Oases in Navajo desert contained ‘a witch’s brew’

Rain-filled uranium pits provided drinking water for people and animals. Then a mysterious wasting illness emerged.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-navajo20nov20,0,4270583,full.story

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Broken Rainbow

 

Frankie Rivera: Broken Rainbow (Free Full View Documentary)
Broken Rainbow is a 1985 documentary film about the government-enforced relocation of thousands of Navajo Native Americans from their ancestral homes in Arizona. The Navajo were relocated to aid mining speculation in a process that began in the 1970s and continues to this day. The film is narrated by Martin Sheen. The title song was written by Laura Nyro, the theme music was composed by Paul Apodaca, with other original music by Rick Krizman and Fred Myrow.It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
http://buffy-sainte-marie.blogspot.fr/2011/01/broken-rainbow-film.html
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Vanishing prayer
part 1
 

part 2

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John Benally sings the Big Mountain Song

 

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Swiss Public Radio and TV SRF

 

Streit um die Kohlemine der Navajo

  • Samstag, 4. Juli 2015, 9:34 Uhr
  • Priscilla Imboden, USA

http://www.srf.ch/news/international/streit-um-die-kohlemine-der-navajo

 

Viele Navajo-Indianer leben ohne Strom und fliessendes Wasser. Dies, obwohl unter ihrem Boden reichlich Bodenschätze liegen. Doch die Navajo-Regierung wurde jahrzehntelang um die Einnahmen betrogen. Nun versucht sie, das Heft selber in die Hand zu nehmen. Und riskiert dabei, viel Geld zu verlieren.

http://www.srf.ch/var/storage/images/auftritte/news/bilder/2015/07/02/node_74197

14/90891184-2-ger-DE/image_span12.jpg

Eine Staubwolke steigt aus dem flachen, trockenen Land in der nordwestlichen Ecke New Mexikos. Hier befindet sich die Kohlemine des Navajo-Indianerstammes. Zwei Schürfkübelbagger bewegen sich langsam hin und her. Die Mine gehört seit zwei Jahren der Navajo Transitional Energy Company NTEC. Diese wiederum gehört den Navajo. precher Erny Zah sagt: «Wir haben die Mine gekauft, um unsere Ressourcen selber zu kontrollieren und um Arbeitsplätze zu retten.» Der australische Rohstoffkonzern BHP Billiton wollte die Mine schliessen. Das hätte auch das Aus bedeutet für das Kohlekraftwerk nebenan, das Four Corners Power Station. Rund 800 Arbeitsplätze wären verloren gegangen.

«  Wir haben die Mine gekauft, um unsere Ressourcen selber zu kontrollieren und um Arbeitsplätze zu retten. »

Erny Zah
Sprecher der Navajo Transitional Energy Company

Das ist viel, zu viel für das Indianerreservat, auf dem die Arbeitslosigkeit gegen fünfzig Prozent strebt, befand die Regierung.

Fragwürdige Befreiung von jeglicher Haftung

Manche Navajo vor Ort sehen das anders. Der regionale Präsident Chili Yazzie aus Shiprock wehrte sich vehement gegen den Kauf der Mine. «Man muss die Arbeitsplätze gegen die Nachteile aufwägen, die die Kohlekraft uns bringt: Krankheiten und Umweltzerstörung.»

http://tp.srgssr.ch/p/portal?urn=urn%3Asrf%3Aais%3Avideo%3A4d4eb19c-9f42-44eb-a446-1d50e9f5531a&autoplay=true&legacy=true&width=624&height=351&playerType=

Atembeschwerden und Herzinfarkte sind in dieser Ecke der USA häufiger als anderswo. Yazzie zieht auch den Deal als solchen in Zweifel: Im Rahmen des Verkaufs der Kohlemine wurde der Konzern BHP Billiton von allen vergangenen und zukünftigen Haftbarkeiten befreit. «Das ist haarsträubend», sagt Yazzie.

Auch Victoria Gutierrez kämpft für die Organisation Diné Citizens Against Ruining the Environment (Diné CARE) gegen die Kohlekraft. Ihren Sohn musste sie immer wieder ins Spital bringen, mitten in der Nacht, wegen dem Asthma. Es waren auch andere betroffen, stellte sie fest: «Es lagen dort ganz viele kranke Indianerbabys.»

Die Mine werde niemals rentieren, sagt sie, die Kohle dort sei minderwertig, deshalb habe der Rohstoffkonzern die Mine schliessen wollen. Manchmal habe sie das Gefühl, die Navajo-Regierung arbeite für die Konzerne, nicht für die Menschen hier, sagt sie. «Wir werden am Schluss alles bezahlen müssen.»

Zukunft des Kraftwerks ungewiss

Bereits mehrmals musste NTEC die Navajo-Regierung um Geld bitten, um die Betriebskosten der Mine zu decken, insgesamt um 7 Millionen Dollar. Sprecher Erny Zah sagt, das sei so vorgesehen gewesen. Sie kauften die Mine mit einem Kredit von 85 Millionen Dollar, den ihr die bisherige Besitzerin BHP Billiton gewährte. Für die ersten Jahre würden die Gewinne aus dem Kohleabbau eingesetzt, um den Kredit zurück zu bezahlen.

Doch das ist nicht die einzige Unsicherheit. Neue Regeln aus Washington sollen den CO2-Ausstoss von Kraftwerken deutlich sinken lassen. Das würde bedeuten, dass die Besitzerin des Kohlekraftwerkes Four Corners Geld investieren müsste, um den Betrieb aufrecht zu erhalten. Es ist nicht sicher, dass sie das tun wird.

Sie muss zudem laut einem neuen Vergleich mit der US-Umweltschutzbehörde EPA 168 Millionen Dollar investieren, um den Schadstoffausstoss des alten Werkes zu senken. Wenn das Stromwerk schliessen würde, so würde auch der einzige Kunde der Mine verschwinden.

Die Navajo-Indianer

Die Navajo sind mit 300‘000 Mitgliedern der zweitgrösste Indianerstamm der USA. Etwa 170‘000 von ihnen leben in dem Reservat, das etwa anderthalb Mal so gross ist wie die Schweiz und abgelegen im Südwesten der USA liegt, zwischen Arizona, New Mexiko, Utah und Colorado. Rund die Hälfte der Navajo sprechen noch ihre traditionelle Sprache.

Die Navajo-Regierung in Window Rock Arizona ist sich dessen bewusst. Deshalb verhandle man nun mit China, sagt Albert Damon, bis vor kurzem Wirtschaftsminister der Navajo. Die Chinesen hätten angeklopft und nach Investitionsmöglichkeiten gesucht. Sie seien sehr interessiert gewesen an der Kohle auf dem Reservat. Sie hätten auch nicht mit der Wimper gezuckt, als es um die Kosten einer Bahnlinie ging.

Hoffen auf China

«Ich hoffe, dass die Chinesen zurückkommen und diese Bahnlinie bauen», sagt Damon. Doch die Chinesen interessierten sich nicht für die Kohle aus der Mine der Navajos, sondern für jene aus einer Mine der britischen Firma Peabody in der Nähe von Kayenta.

«Ich hoffe, dass die Chinesen zurückkommen und diese Bahnlinie bauen», sagt Damon. Doch die Chinesen interessierten sich nicht für die Kohle aus der Mine der Navajos, sondern für jene aus einer Mine der britischen Firma Peabody in der Nähe von Kayenta.

Ein Besuch auf dem Markt in Shiprock lässt vermuten, weshalb. Menschen haben hier alte Kleider, Schmuck und Hausrat auf kleinen Tischen ausgebreitet. Eine Familie verkauft frittiertes Brot mit Ziegenfleisch, die Leibspeise der Navajo. Ein Mann hat seine Ware auf der Ladefläche seines Pickup Trucks ausgebreitet: Schwarze Gesteinsbrocken. Er verkauft Kohle fürs Heizen. Er hat sie aus Kayenta, eine zweistündige Autofahrt von hier entfernt. Auf die Frage, weshalb er sie nicht aus der nahegelegenen Navajo-Mine holte, sagt er: «Die Kohle dort ist grau, sie enthält viel Gestein und brennt schlecht. Die Leute kaufen sie deswegen nicht.»

Sendungen zu diesem Artikel

International
Navajo-Land in Rohstoffhand

Samstag, 4. Juli 2015, 9:08 Uhr

Die 300 000 Navajo-Indianer in den USA leben in einem Reservat, das anderthalb Mal so gross ist wie die Schweiz.

Sie müssten eigentlich reich sein, denn unter dem trockenen Sand lagern Bodenschätze wie Uran, Erdgas, Erdöl und Kohle.

http://www.srf.ch/news/international/der-grosse-geist-hat-uns-dieses-land-gegeben

Sendungsbeitrag zu diesem Artikel

Streit um die Kohlemine der Navajo

Aus Echo der Zeit vom 3.7.2015

Die Indianerfamilie Lane lebt abgeschieden in einem entlegenen Winkel von Arizona. Vor 30 Jahren bekam sie den Befehl

wegzuziehen, um Platz zu machen für den Kohle-Abbau. Doch die Navajo-Familie weigert sich bis heute. USA-Korrespondentin

Priscilla Imboden hat die Lanes besucht.

PRISCILLA IMBODEN

http://www.srf.ch/sendungen/international

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