Join the Caravan in Support of Communities On The Front Lines Of Resistance at Big Mountain, Black Mesa, AZ.

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(Jenn on Black Mesa, ca. 1998)

November 21-28, 2009

Greetings from Black Mesa Indigenous Support,

We are excited to inform you that a caravan of work crews will once again be converging from across the country in support of residents of the Big Mountain regions of Black Mesa. On behalf of their peoples, their sacred ancestral lands and future generations, these communities continue to carry out a staunch resistance to the efforts of the US Government, which is acting in the interests of the Peabody Coal Company, to devastate whole communities and ecosystems and greatly de-stabilize our planet’s climate for the profit of an elite few.

By assisting with direct, on-land projects you are helping families stay on their ancestral homelands in resistance to an illegal occupation and working for climate justice. These communities serve as the very blockade to coal mining! More than 14,000 Dine’ people have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands due to spin created by the U.S government & Peabody Coal, under the guise of the so-called “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.” Families are now in their THIRD DECADE resisting this travesty and, as you can imagine, many residents are very elderly and winters can be rough. With their guidance, the aim of this caravan is to honor the elders and to generate support in the form of direct, on-land support: chopping and hauling firewood, doing minor repair work, offering holistic health care, and sheep-herding before the approaching cold winter months arrive.

“The Big Mountain matriarchal leaders always believed that resisting forced relocation will eventually benefit all ecological systems, including the human race,” says Bahe Keediniihii, Dineh organizer and translator. “Continued residency by families throughout the Big Mountain region has a significant role in the intervention of Peabody’s future plan for Black Mesa coal to be the major source of unsustainable energy, the growing dependency on fossil fuel, and escalating green house gas emissions. We will continue to fight to defend our homelands.”

Peabody Coal’s Disastrous Coal Mining Operations on Black Mesa: At this moment, decision makers in Washington D.C. are planning ways to continue their occupation of tribal lands under the guise of extracting “clean coal,” which does not exist.  In 30 years of disastrous operation, Dine’ and Hopi communities in Arizona have been ravaged by Peabody’s coal mining, which has taken land from and forcibly relocated thousands of families, has drained 2.5 million gallons of water daily from the only community water supply, and has left a toxic legacy along an abandoned 273-mile coal slurry pipeline. Peabody’s Black Mesa mine has been the source of an estimated 325 million tons of CO2 that have been discharged into the atmosphere. Coal from the Black Mesa Mine could contribute an additional 290 million tons of CO2 to the global warming crisis!*  Ignoring protests from Dineh and Hopi communities and their allies, the U.S. Government (Office of Surface Mining) has permitted Peabody Energy to extend it’s massive strip-mining operations until 2026 or until the coal is gone. Peabody Coal Co. plans to seize another 19,000 acres of sacred land beyond the 67,000 acres already in Peabody’s grasp at Black Mesa. Peabody Energy, previously Peabody Coal Company, is the world’s largest private-sector coal company, operating mines throughout North America, South America, and Australia and is the twelfth largest coal exporter. In addition Peabody is proposing new coal-fired power plants in several states.  Peabody’s coal mining will exacerbate already devastating environmental and cultural impacts on local communities and significantly add fuel to the fire of the current global climate chaos!
We are at a critical juncture and must take a stand in support of communities on the front lines of resistance now! Indigenous and land-based peoples have maintained the understanding that our collective survival is deeply dependent on our relationship to Mother Earth. Victory in protecting and reclaiming the Earth will require a broad movement that can help bridge cultures, issues and nations.

BMIS wishes for this caravan to be an important opportunity for people of all backgrounds to listen and work with the families of Black Mesa to generate more awareness that relocation laws & coal mining need to be stopped, that these communities deserve to be free on their ancestral homelands, and to come together to strengthen our solidarity and find ways to work together to protect Black Mesa & our Mother Earth for all life.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN HELP, CLICK HERE!!!!!

To see my own story about my time as a supporter of the Dineh elders, please click here.

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Following story By Bahe Y. Katenay, Sheep Dog Nation Rocks

Sweet Water Stronghold, Big Mountain. February 9, 2009 – Dineh elder resister of the traditional lands of Sweet Water is bundled up for the chilly winds as she takes some hay out to her sheep and goats. The herds need a little extra feed before going out to graze. The non-Indian, volunteer supporter is dressed warm and ready to follow the sheep as he chops some wood for grandma, Pauline and while the herds nibble on the scattered hay on the ground. Not many non-Indian volunteers do occasionally make themselves available from their busy lives to come out for short stays and help traditional, elder resisters. Very few traditional elder residents are now left throughout such regions affected by the harsh relocation laws of 1974.
Read the rest of this entry »

Join The Caravan of Support To Big Mountain Resistance Communities of Black Mesa, AZ. November 22-29, 2008!

Hug a sheep Today!

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Here is an opportunity to travel to Black Mesa/ Big Mountain and do the type of work I did back in 1998 – something that made a lasting impression on my life, as it allowed me to do something for others and to work for a cause I believe in with all my heart. A way to help preserve indigenous sovereignty in this country and to help protect our natural resources!
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Greetings from Black Mesa Indigenous Support,

We are excited to inform you that we are currently putting together efforts to bring a caravan of work crews that will be converging from across the country to support residents of the Big Mountain regions of Black Mesa who, on behalf of their peoples, their sacred ancestral lands, and future generations, continue to carry out their staunch resistance to the efforts of the US Government, which is acting in the interests of the Peabody Coal Company to devastate whole communities & ecosystems, and greatly de-stabilize our planet’s climate for the profit of an elite few.

At this moment the decision makers in Washington D.C. are planning ways to expand their occupation of tribal lands to extract mineral & other resources. The coal companies have a long history of and continue to fund both the Republican and Democratic parties because they have huge interests at stake. Peabody Coal, the world’s largest coal company, is currently pushing through plans to massively expand dirty coal strip-mining operations which has destroyed land and water aquifers, completely dug up burials, sacred areas, and shrines designated specifically for offerings, preventing religious practices.

By assisting with direct, on-land projects with these Sovereign communities, you are helping families resist an illegal occupation and to stay on their lands, who serve as the very blockade to coal mining! “The Big Mountain matriarchal leaders always believed that resisting forced relocation will eventually benefit all ecological systems, including the human race.” Bahe Keediniihii, Dineh organizer and translator states. “Continued residency by families throughout the Big Mountain region has a significant role in the intervention of Peabody’s future plan for Black Mesa coal to be the major source of unsustainable energy, the growing dependency on fossil fuel, and escalating green house gas emissions. We will continue to fight to defend our homelands.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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I was recommended to The Present Moment Cafe , by a fellow blogger I know, Inga from Taste Memory. She is a resident of Jacksonville, but comes all the way to Saint Augustine to eat at The Present Moment. Based on that alone, I really wanted to try it as soon as she mentioned it, because she and I have a similar food philosophy – one that I share on my other blog, The Leftover Queen. which is all about local, fresh and seasonal eating. So at her recommendation, I knew that this was a place that I could go and eat and feel good about it.

Now the day we decided to go to Present Moment, it was hectic. I wasn’t exactly sure where it was and we were starving. Two things that generally don’t go well together in this family. So when Roberto inquired about the type of cuisine and I said it was a vegetarian and raw food place, his face fell. Now neither of us are strangers to this type of food, in fact we love it and eat it frequently – but when Roberto is starving he wants something hearty and filling and he was sure that this meal was not going to satisfy his hunger.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Many people these days have begun to look at the travel industry with a critical eye. With gas prices rising and the dollar struggling, people are beginning to see that things in the world are not status quo anymore – things are changing. With that, mindsets are changing and people are starting to travel in a different way. A way that benefits other people who are in need, helps the environment or for cultural exchange. These are not new concepts for me. I took a year after high school to travel to Norway as an exchange student. It was a life changing experience. It changed the way I looked at the world, and helped me to see that people all over the world have ways of life that are unique to them and that I feel should be preserved. That fascinated me and still does. This is one of the reasons that I write this blog – it is because I believe that through travel and cultural experiences we can learn so much – not just about the world, but about ourselves.

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After my Norwegian experience, I officially came down with the Travel Bug. Not just to see other places, but to really experience them. Being an outsider has its lessons. So while in college, studying anthropology and contemporary Native American issues, I found out about Black Mesa and Big Mountain – part of the Navajo Reservation in NE Arizona and their struggle for survival. To read more about the history and my experiences there, please read this.

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I have stayed in touch with some of the people I met there and try to keep myself up to date with what is going on there on Black Mesa. These elders that live there, have a very hard life and they always need volunteers, people to go out to their homesteads, do a home stay, help with sheep herding, carding and spinning wool, cooking, chopping wood, cleaning and doing just about anything and everything to do with traditional Navajo life. I spent 6 months with a family there and it truly was a life changing experience (yep, that is me in the jeans and gray sweatshirt hanging with my Navajo grandparents and their children during a family reunion). Without that time in my life, I would not be the person I am today. I am so thankful for that experience, because even though I was there to help them, I think in so many ways they helped me more.

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Black Mesa Indigenous Support Group - the group that arranged my home stay, is now calling for volunteers to go out to the land and stay with families. They are a small grass-roots all-volunteer group organized to work with and support the issues of traditional, indigenous peoples of Black Mesa who are impacted by the coal mining and forced relocation policies of the US government. There is a lot going on that you can participate in that will help immeasurably. There are people all over the world, struggling and living in third world conditions who face human rights violations all the time. It saddens me deeply, but what saddens me even more is the fact that we have a similar situation going on here in America, and so few people even know about it!

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Continue reading to learn more about how your next vacation can be one that helps people in need.

*On a personal note, I will be getting married very soon, so posts/ updating comments will be more sporadic than usual with gaps – don’t worry I will be back with more travel articles and Saint Augustine Resturant Reviews!* Read the rest of this entry »

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In the spirit of giving, do something simple for those less fortunate:

Please Forward Widely!

URGENT ACTION ALERT!! DEADLINE APPROACHING!
YUCCA MOUNTAIN, SACRED TO THE SHOSHONE & MAJOR FAULT ZONE, IN
IMMINENT DANGER!
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY MOVES PLANS FORWARD TO TURN YUCCA MOUNTAIN INTO
NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD DEADLINE JANUARY 10, 2008.

Public hearings have not been well attended, statements mostly in
favor of the plan to put all of the nuclear waste in the country in
this one sacred place. Activists were told that if we do not go on
record with a statement, we will have no legal recourse later on.
Local papers & media spin have recently stated that opposition to the
nuke dump had dropped of since the passing of Corbin Harney. The
nuclear reps are confident to the point of acting like it’s a done
deal. WE KNOW THAT’S NOT TRUE! LETS PROVE THEM WRONG! TAKE ACTION &
MAKE YOUR COMMENT NOW!!

Yucca Mountain is sacred to the Shoshone as an herb gathering site,
for rituals, and as a part of their stories. Yucca Mountain is known
in Shoshone language as Snake Mountain. Indeed it looks like a
snake. It is said that the snake was headed north when it froze where
it is. Further more it is said that it will move again and “flip
around”. Geologists say that there are thirteen different fault lines
running through it.

Citizens can make an oral statement at the scheduled public hearings
or fill out a form and mail it in to EIS Office U.S. Department of
Energy Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Mgmt, 1551 Hillshire dr.
Las Vegas, NV, 89195-7308 or by e-mail at EIS_Office@ymp.gov.
HERE ARE TALKING POINTS: http://www.h-o-m-e.org/Yucca/index.htm

“The eyes of the elders are on us. The fate of the unborn is
rolling toward the cliff, the voice of Corbin Harney is ringing in my
ears, “It’s on your shoulders now…”. Info from Bear Dyken.
mdyken@goldrush.com.

YUCCA MOUNTAIN FACT SHEET, TALKING POINTS, & MORE INFO: Healing
Ourselves & Mother Earth http://www.h-o-m-e.org/

The DOE released two Draft Supplemental Environmen-tal Impact
Statements related to repository changes and rail transportation of
high-level waste in Nevada.

Inyo County CA- Excellent Draft Impacts Assessment Report Comments
due by 1/10/08

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Here is the latest on the situation in Black Mesa/ Big Mountain. To read more about it read my article My Time With The Navajo Elders here.

Greetings supporters, friends, & relatives of Big Mountain, Black Mesa, AZ.
Here are our fall updates. Details are below.

* ANNUAL BLACK MESA FALL FOOD & SUPPLY RUN BY CLANDYKEN IS STILL MOVING FORWARD DESPITE ONE
OF THE MAIN ORGANIZERS HAVING HAD A MAJOR HEAD-ON CAR COLLISION. YOUR SUPPORT IS ESPECIALLY
NEEDED THIS YEAR!
* 30th ANNIVERSARY OF BIG MOUNTAIN RESISTANCE: A SUCCESS!
* A CALL-OUT FOR SHEEPHERDERS & SUPPORTERS FROM BLACK MESA FAMILIES TO COME & STAY AS THEIR
GUESTS.
* BLACK MESA MINE UPDATE:
* DOODA DESERT ROCK- FOUR DAYS OF SPIRITUAL GATHERING NOVEMBER 8 – 11, 2007:
* RISING TIDE NORTH AMERICA (RTNA) ANNOUNCES FOUR NEW CAMPAIGNS. (Including so called ‘Clean
Coal’)

—————————-

* ANNUAL CLANDYKEN FALL FOOD & SUPPLY RUN TO BLACK MESA IS STILL MOVING FORWARD EVEN AFTER
ONE OF THE ORGANIZERS HAD A MAJOR HEAD-ON CAR COLLISION. YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED –ESPECIALLY
THIS YEAR!
Read the rest of this entry »

house450Due to the large amount of interest on this topic, I have posted the article I wrote for Brave New Traveler. Some of you have already read it, but at the bottom of the article I have posted some updates which were sent to me today from Black Mesa Indigenous Support Group – the group that helped me set up my trip to the Rez, as many of you requested ways you can help.
Thank you everyone for your support on this issue, and I impart everyone to do what you can to help! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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