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Fairness Hearings

Feb 97

Ziegler: What are your concerns regarding the Accommodation Agreement?

Roberta: Our religion is not something that is just recent or small. It includes many ceremonies and many prayers and chants. It is located within the four sacred mountains area. It's the area where our prayers and chants and ceremonies come about --- we think about it as our altar. So we wonder why an entirely different religion is coming into our area, and why the government is giving funds to the Hopi. I don't agree with that. As we think about it, this is our sacred area where the chants come from. It's like when you give birth to a child you hold the child to your heart. The land holds us to its heart. That's where we all live, the Navajo people. The earth holds us to its heart. I have been initiated into many ceremonies, and I rely on my religion. My religion is my teacher. And I will not sign the agreement.

Ziegler: No further questions

Roberta (turning to judge): I'd like to speak to you. At the present, the law that is made is causing us to suffer. We don't know the law. It is foreign to us, especially those of us who have not gone to school. Papers are put before us, yet without knowing what it's about we put our thumbprint on it. I don't think that's right. Our law is our religion......and it was put here a long time ago by the Holy People. The Holy People gave us the law. That is what we agree with. What is called the law that we don't understand puts tears in our eyes and brings fear to our lives.


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