Tag Archives: Hpl

5/19/2012 Bonnie Whitesinger to Mr. James Anaya, OHCHR on Human Rights Violations in Big Mountain, Black Mesa HPL

5 19 2012 Bonnie White Singer to Mr. James Anaya, OHCHR“>

8/2/2011 Forgotten People HPL residents request Safe Drinking Water

Re: Forgotten People and Hopi Partition Land (HPL) residents request for Safe Drinking Water Delivery on top of Black Mesa, in Black Mesa, Cactus Valley, Big Mountain, Star Mountain, Jeddito Island and throughout HPL: From: Caroline Tohannie, Board of Director, Norris Nez, Board of Director, Lucy Knorr, Sec’y/Treasurer, Rena Babbitt Lane, Pauline Whitesinger, Leonard Benally, Carlos Begay, Sr., Hopi Partition Land, Navajo Nation, AZ: Via Email To: Ed Becenti: rezztone@yahoo.com For: President Ben Shelly, The Navajo Nation Venue: Forest Lake Chapter Town Hall Meeting Dated: August 2, 2011: Dear President Shelly: We are blessed that last night as the Board of Directors met to discuss how Hopi Partition Land residents can get access to safe drinking water, Pauline Whitesinger, an elderly matriarch from Big Mountain joined Caroline Tohannie, Rena Babbitt Lane, Carlos W. Begay, Sr. and Leonard Benally to compel the Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly to work with Ed Becenti, Forgotten People’s Window Rock liaison, Forgotten People, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Navajo Department of Water Resources to include safe drinking water delivery on HPL to the US EPA Navajo Nation Pilot Project Feasibility Study and compel the Hopi Tribe to sign off so the Navajo Nation can implement their fiduciary trust responsibility and provide HPL residents with access to safe drinking water and impassable dirt road repair.

Forgotten People is a nonprofit grassroots organization active within the former Bennett Freeze and Hopi Partition Land. We represent communities that span over 2 million acres of remote desert terrain in the northeastern part of Arizona including Hopi Partition Land communities impacted by forced relocation by the US government and Peabody Coal Company’s mining operations. Most of the members practice a subsistence lifestyle of herding sheep. Many elderly community members speak only Dine’.

Pauline Whitesinger, Big Mountain speaks: We want to participate in a water hauling project. The wells throughout HPL have been capped off, fenced off, bulldozed and the natural water source near me is contaminated and unregulated. When I drink the water it hurts my throat and I have a reaction when I swallow it and get sick. I have no vehicle and have no access to safe drinking water. My livestock are thirsty. We are living under a State of Emergency! We are endangered, denied access to water, forced to travel over unpassable dirt roads and endure violations during our ceremonies that the Hopi Tribe says requires a permit to conduct. There are other water sources near me and they are all denied to me for my use. When I was offering a sacrament to the water the Hopi told me to leave the water alone, it does not belong to me. I speak on behalf of my people. We have brought our case and our words (as attached) to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner (see link for UN OHCHR website), Congressional, federal, and tribal forums advocating for our human right to water and sanitation.

Caroline Tohannie, Black Mesa speaks: Our springs were our wetlands with cat tails and other wetlands growth. But they are no longer here. This is where we make offerings and get our healing medicine like cat tails or wreaths for ceremonial purposes. These are our sacred sites. The BIA made wells that had concrete covers and manual pumps. But BIA Rangers came around and disassembled them, taking the pumps out, unscrewing parts, taking off pipes. All the windmills in our region were capped off by the BIA. At first one windmill was capped off but we could reopen it at first but then found the BIA welded the cover shut with dirt over the well opening. There was no longer any way to get water from the well. At another windmill in the area, the BIA disassembled the windmill pump so it would not work. We have been fenced and capped off from access to water. This has created many problems for living things, even insects that need water, animals, birds and people. These tactics are being done to force us off our land so Peabody Coal Company can expand their mining operations.

Caroline and Bert Tohannie and Rena Babbitt Lane live on top of Black Mesa along the route of Peabody Coal Company’s coal slurry pipeline. Billions of gallons of pristine Navajo Aquifer water flowed under their homes but they have no access to water, no emergency access and their vehicles break down traveling long distances over un-passable dirt roads.

Hosteen Nez Begay in Cactus Valley lives 1/8 mile from a water well that has been dismantled for since the 1980’s when the US Bureau of Indian Affiars started dismantling, bulldozing, fencing off water wells. Hosteen has to travel 30 miles each way over rough dirt roads from Cactus Valley to Peabody’s public drinking water stand observing chunks of coal in their drinking water.

Carlos W. Begay in Black Mesa says: In the summer of 1998, on Glenna Begay’s land, Peabody Coal Company installed a sediment pond for contaminated runoff a few yards away from sacred Sagebrush spring planted there by Medicine people. This spring contains a year-round drinking water resource. Bitter Spring in the area, containing a source of water for our animals was bulldozed and Peabody installed a water pump there for the slurry line and a dam to flush the water pipeline. The people and the livestock are thirsty.

These Forgotten People are suffering great hardship and request replication of the Black Falls/Box Springs project to prioritize HPL safe drinking water delivery points and grading of dirt roads and investigate capped off, bulldozed and fenced off water wells throughout HPL.

Forgotten People prays the Navajo Nation President and central government will receive guidance from James W. Zion, Esq.’s application of Fundamental Laws upheld by the Navajo Nation Supreme Court that the land, property, resources and income generated from them are the property of the Navajo People.

Forgotten People compels the Navajo Nation President to work with the Hopi Tribe so they will allow the Navajo Nation to provide HPL residents safe drinking water, livestock water sources and road repair.

On May 6, 2009, President Obama signed legislation HR 956 and S531 to repeal the portion of Public Law 93-531 (The Relocation Act) to lift the Freeze on all Navajo and Hopi lands (including HPL). Unfortunately, this did not address the extensive impact this law had on our people. While the Freeze has halted essential construction, including power line extensions, waterline extensions, and improvements to roads and community facilities, no rehabilitation program was developed to address the effects of the Freeze including access to water and sanitation for water haulers.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is involved in a major effort to improve access to safe water on the Navajo Nation and redress problems resulting from the legacy of uranium mining in the 1950s and 60’s as a result of two pressures. The EPA made a commitment at the 2002 United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, pledging to reduce the number of its citizens lacking access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 50% by 2015. The largest concentration of people without piped water and sanitation is on the Navajo Nation, especially in the HPL communities.

Forgotten People believes reaching our goals will require collaboration with the Navajo Nation President and the central government using a human rights centered approach to development. Forgotten People believes this collaboration will provide tangible improvements for our communities.

Wars of the future will be fought over water, as they are over oil today, as our ‘Blue Gold’, the source of human survival, enters the global marketplace. We pray, you will understand that here, water is the most precious of all resources and our water rights must not be waived and minimized in a Water Rights Settlement when our local water sources have been capped off, fenced off, bulldozed by the US government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. Without water we cannot survive and our livestock cannot survive and we must for our future generations and our continued way of life.

We need immediate action to stop corporate favoritism. While the Navajo Nation allows corporations to export energy, HPL residents are hauling water by small barrels, drinking contaminated water and have not a drop of water to drink.

The Dinè people do not get power from the NGS. It goes to Phoenix and Tucson and other cities. There is a fundamental unfairness and lack of information on the Navajo Nation. The issues addressed by Forgotten People’s highlight the need for strengthening and implementing cross-cutting principles in international human rights law. This is needed by the Navajo Nation in considering a draft Energy policy.

As members of civil society, Forgotten People affirms the right to development and transparency and enforcement of the Navajo Nation’s fiduciary trust responsibility to provide goods and services to HPL residents. Public health is threatened. To implement ‘Water Without Boarders” for endangered water haulers, we pray you will work with Ed Becenti and Forgotten People so we can sustain our lives.

Respectfully submitted,

Norris Nez, Hathalie, Board of Director, Coal Mine
Caroline Tohannie, Board of Director, Black Mesa
Pauline Whitesinger, Big Mountain
Rena Babbitt Lane, Black Mesa
Carlos W. Begay, Sr., Black Mesa
Leonard Benally, Big Mountain
Lucy Knorr, Sec’y/Treasurer
Marsha Monesterky, Program Director
On behalf of Forgotten People with the Support of Black Falls/Box Springs/Grand Falls residents

Copy: Clancy Tenley, Assistant Director, US EPA Superfund: tenley.clancy@epamail.epa.gov
Najam Tariq, Navajo Department of Water Resources: najamhtariq1@hotmail.com
James W. Zion, Esq., Attorney for Forgotten People JZion@aol.com