Alleged U.S. Human Rights Violations
Against the Dine'h and Hopi People
Is it Possible in This "Enlightened Age"
If you think that the days of genocide and human rights violations against American Indians ended at Wounded Knee in the 1970s, or that racial and religious discrimination by the U.S. government no longer occur in this "enlightened age," you are sadly mistaken.
Today, deliberate starvation, denial of water, confiscation of livestock, and forbidding elders to gather firewood in wintertime are tactics that are allegedly being used by the U.S. government to force the Dine'h people's compliance to rulings by Clinton and others to allow Peabody Coal Company to continue to rape Dine'h sacred lands and deplete their water supply in violation of federal regulations that require the replacement of water used in the mining process.
Get the Illustrated History of the Dine'h/Hopi Plight
at these locations:
Where IS Big Mountain, Arizona?
UN Delegation Holds Hearings on Dine'h Relocation
From "Shawn Ewald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date Fri, 6 Feb 1998 16:13:42 -0700
Comments Authenticated sender is <email@example.com>
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
UN Human Rights Delegation Holds Hearings
Forced Relocation and Religious Persecution
of the Dine'h People
by Shawn Ewald and Lyn Gerry
for The A-Infos News Service
BIG MOUNTAIN, NORTHEASTERN ARIZONA -- On Febuary 2nd and 3rd, at
the home of Glenna Begay, a tradtional Dine'h elder, hearings were held by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and several UN affiliated NGO's, investigating charges of the forced relocation of traditional Dine'h people from their homes, religious persecution against those who practice traditional Dine'h beliefs, and environmental degradation of traditional Dine'h lands by Peabody Coal Company.
The hearings were the result of a complaint filed by the Dine'h in 1997 charging the US Federal Government with human rights violations. The hearings are an attempt to pressure the US Federal Government to repeal Public Laws 93-531 and 104-301 which have legalized the denial of access to water, livestock confiscation, the denial of the right to gather firewood for the Dine'h to heat their homes in winter -- even in cases of life threatening illness, and the denial of the right of the Dine'h to make improvements in their housing. The Dine'h filed the complaint because the US Federal Government has consistently blocked any attempt by the Dine'h to address their grievances in a US court.
The Dine'h also hope that the United Nations will formally charge the United States with human rights violations.
British-owned Peabody Coal Company (henceforth, PCC), the world's largest privately-held coal company, operates the Black Mesa/Kayenta strip mine in the heart of the Black Mesa region of the Dine'h reservation. Over 4,000 burial and sacred sites have been destroyed as a result of strip mining. There is no protection given to Dine'h burial grounds and sacred sites. Their religion, which is land based and site specific, is the foundation of their way of life. The Dine'h state that Public Laws 93-531 and 104-301 were written specifically to promote PCC's interests in the region.
Mr. Amor and the visiting NGO's heard the testimony of Dine'h elders from all over the Black Mesa region of the Dine'h reservation. They gave their accounts of their forced eviction or the eviction of their neighbors from their land, the demolition of theirs and their neighbors homes, as well as accounts of harassment by the US Bureau of Indian Affairs. The hearings for both days lasted well into the night.
Elders from the neighboring Hopi reservation also gave their testimony. They verified many of the statements of the Dine'h elders, especially the accounts of the increasing scarcity of water in the
The Dine'h and Hopi reservations sit on top of one of the largest aquifers in the South West. PCC has been using massive amounts of water from the aquifer to operate coal slurry pipelines that transport coal to Las Vegas and Southern California without replacing the water they use, which is a requirement of US mining regulation. The result of these mining violations has meant that well's are rapidly running dry all across the Dine'h and Hopi reservations.
The Hopi elders also came to publicly dispel the myth of a Dine'h/Hopi land dispute, which the traditional Dine'h and Hopi say has been manufactured by the Hopi and Dine'h tribal councils in an effort to prevent solidarity among the Hopi and Dine'h in this struggle. The traditional Dine'h and Hopi regard their tribal councils as nothing more than puppets of the US Federal Government who merely rubber-stamp any proposal made by the Federal Government and its corporate backers.
Well over one hundred Dine'h supporters from all over the United States also came to attend the event, and donate food, clothing and their labor. Members of Free Radio Berkeley (Berkeley, CA) and Radio Clandestina (Los Angeles, CA) set up a temporary micropower radio station, Free Radio Dine'h, for the UN visit. For three days, interviews and commentary from Dine'h resistors as well as testimony from the hearings were broadcast to residents of the Black Mesa/Big Mountain region. The members of FRB and RC hope to set up a permanent micropower station for the traditional Dine'h in the near future.
The event was universally considered to be a success, and the Dine'h are hopeful that they will see a positive result from the hearings. In his opening remarks, Mr. Amor told those in attendance at the hearings, "I will listen with an open mind and an open heart". Whether the UN General Assembly will listen with open minds and hearts and have the strength to charge the United States with human rights violations remains to be seen.
For more information on the plight of the Dine'h, go to: http://www.solcommunications.com
The A-Infos Radio Project:
Public PGP Block: http://www.radio4all.org/pgp/
The Following Open Letter is From
Visit them for more stories and more detail.
Open Letter to the BIA
May 2, 1999
Subject: Open Letter to BIA
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 08:20:16 -0800
From: BIGMTLIST <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Dave and Candy Rotering" <email@example.com>
Subject: Black Mesa
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 19:07:50 -0700
The following letter from a supporter of the elders on the HPL at Black Mesa in NE AZ brings out some very good points. Thank you, Candy Rotering
An Open letter to the Management and employees of Hopi-B.I.A. Range Management Department, Keams Canyon.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you with some questions about your recent activities on the so-called Hopi partition Lands (HPL), the livestock count and impoundments.
I am sending copies of this letter to the local press, and posting it on the Internet, as I believe the current Dept. of Interior/B.I.A. corruption scandal makes your activities of concern to the tax-paying American public, and also because when questioned face-to-face you have a tendency to arrest the questioner.
The first question is quite simply, why do you need to count the livestock when you already know exactly how many animals the people have? Your "monitors" have been observing, counting, and photographing the people's flocks for years now. Could the reason be to harass and intimidate these elderly, traditional people?
To "count" sheep, why is it necessary to come to the people's homes with a veritable convoy of armed law-enforcement officers from a variety of police agencies? Once again, could the reason be to harass and intimidate?
When you come to "count" sheep, why is it necessary to come loaded down with cameras and video equipment? Are you hoping to get on the "Cops" TV show, or is it to harass and intimidate the people in their home? I notice that when entering Hopi villages there are huge signs warning people NOT to photograph as it is disrespectful. Do not the residents of the HPL deserve a similar courtesy?
What is the cost of this massive paramilitary operation to the taxpayer? Or maybe the funding is coming from misappropriated Indian Trust accounts?
As to the rational behind this operation, is the Range management Study with which you are basing your land carrying capacity available for public perusal and study?
Would you be prepared to have an independent Range management study conducted by an outside agency, to verify that your study is not biased toward your own desired results?
While I admit I am not a scientist, I have traveled over areas of the HPL where no stock has been grazed for many years, and I see no discernable difference between that land and the land where residents are grazing their flocks. However, across the fence on land that the Hopi Tribe is grazing cattle, the difference is immediately obvious. Several visiting stockmen from off the reservation have expressed amazement at the limits you are trying to impose on these people.
Are you ashamed of what you are doing?
If not, then why don't you honest about your aims?
Last century, when the U.S. Government ordered the extermination of the Buffalo, they did not hide behind the excuse of "Range Management, they simply told the truth, that it was to "starve the Indians into submission."
To the people on the HPL, and to their many visitors, you are appearing to behave like terrorist thugs. Hopefully we are mistaken.
I look forward to hearing your answers at your soonest convenience
P.O. Box 23501
Flagstaff, AZ 86002
This site was created and is maintained by Al Swilling.
The Author is a member of