From the Hogan 2
Notes from Big Mountain
First off I need to correct something I stated in my last missive. I said that there were 5 resisting homesites. It seems that further Eviction Notices are being sent out. When one considers that at each homesite there are many relatives, the number of people that are going to be forcibly removed becomes quite large. The Government and Hopi Tribal Council have consistently understated how many people are involved here. For instance, when Congress was first considering the Relocation Act (PL935-51) they were told that a "few" thousand Navajos will have to be moved. a "few thousand" ended up being ten thousand. Again, when the Accommodation Agreement was being discussed Congress made it clear that if 85% of the people did not agree with the agreement then another solution would have to be found. Magically the Hopi Tribal Council and the Relocation Commission juggled the figures (and lied) so that 85% signed. In an extended family that may include up to 20-30 people, all it took was for one person to sign for the government to count ALL the people as signing. Imagine if a distant relative of yours committed a crime, but you, your parents, siblings, and children all had to do the jail time! This is the reality of the situation here. So if you hear statements that "just a few troublemakers" are holding out, don't believe it.
During the time I have spent here on the land it has been my great privilege and extreme good fortune to meet many fine human beings who support here. By and large these people quietly and anonymously do the things that need doing. There are a couple of dangerous notions that seem fairly prevalent "out there", one being that human beings have a natural proclivity for greed, selfishness, and fear. The other notion is that as mere individuals we are powerless to change the horrific abuses that are being perpatrated against human beings and life itself. The supporters here, and the elders, expose these notions for what they are, not universal truths, but social constructions. So I would like to extend my heartfelt and sincere thanks to those people, whether I have met you, or just know you through the results of your work here. The world is enriched by your existence. ( 2 questions come to my mind concerning the aforementioned notions. Who benefits by us believeing these notions?, and why would anyone choose to have such a low opinion of themselves?)
The supporters who were arrested during the recent spate of livestock counts and impoundments have had all charges against them dropped. This is par for the course. In the time I've been here whenever supporters are arrested the charges have always been dropped. The reasons are obvious, the charges would not stand up in court, and the authorities do not want the public scrutiny of their actions that a trial would bring. In my experience abusers prefer privacy to publicity. That arrest has become a commonplace and acceptable form of political repression must be a source of shame to all American citizens who profess a belief in Democracy.
A Education/Witness camp has been set up on the land. Young people and students are invited to come and spend a week or two on the land between June 1st. and July 15th. Classes and demonstrations will be offered in traditional skills such as weaving, dyeing, gardening, silversmithing, plant medicines, Navajo Language, etc. Also participants will have the opportunity to assist the Elders with such chores as herding the sheep, planting corn, hauling water etc. Sounds like a really good deal for all concerned. As I understand it there is no charge, but there are obvious conditions, No drugs, No Alcohol, No weapons, and come self sufficient. More info can be had from firstname.lastname@example.org or thru this address.
I recently came across the letter that has been circulated on the Net from Senator McCain to Janet Reno and Bruce Babbit. At the same time I also happen to be re-reading the Senate Indian Affairs Committee oversight hearings on the Land Dispute, and as Senator McCain was the Chairman of these hearings I thought a couple of qoutes from him may help to clarify what his position is. On March 25th 1996 in his opening address he had this to say: " I understand that there may be other families who decide not to enter into an accommadation agreement and who reject the relocation benefits, I'm sorry to have to tell you that Im afraid that these families will do so at their own risk." Later, during questions about how many families this might be, he states: "If we can't even get an estimate from you as to the number of families that we'd have to deal with in a very unpleasant fashion that would cause significant problems.....". Its hard not to read these remarks as a threat. Later he states "my colleagues in the senate will rely on me for some judgement as to the prospects of leading this issue to a successful conclusion.". For sure McCain is "very interested",... very interested in getting these people off the land. All things considered I would say that Senator McCain is someone that should be written to with your opinions and feelings on this issue.
Low level military overflights continue. On Sunday, June 6th, 2 military helicopters flew low directly over the witness camp. On the next day a formation of three large helicopters flew directly over the homestead, low enough to cause the flock to panic. A little over an hour later the same thing happened again, and I was able to ascertain that none of the three helicopters carried any markings whatsoever. I have photos, so if anyone could help identify the aircraft and their agency I would appreciate hearing from you. Also if anyone knows the procedure for making official complaints about this kind of thing. With millions of square miles of space to fly around in, it goes way beyond the bounds of coincidence that they keep passing over the heads of the resisters. More taxpayers money being wasted. More harassment.
Back in the real world, the weather has turned hot. Summer is here. It seems like every few days I come across a new type of flower, now the Cactii have joined the chorus. Most of the birds have left (after having gorged on many of my gardens seedlings), the sheep are happy to be shorn of their wool. The corn is in the ground waiting for the summer monsoons. From visitors we are hearing that there is a lot of media focus and concern "out there" about events surrounding the ethnic-cleansing in Kosovo (something you can do very little about), in the mean time ethnic cleansing in a corner of Arizona goes ahead (something you can do something about).
But then, what the hell do I know,........ I'm just a sheepherder.
"those who resist find peace"
Your prayers, support, and correspondence are invited.
For all my relations
reachable via email@example.com