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February 2000 Statement by Roberta Blackgoat to be submitted to the U.N.
This land is a sacred land. The Creator gave it to us to protect it with song and prayers Not only for the Dine People but for all the Universe. The Holy People were praying to the Creator in a sacred hogan and when the praying was done, the Creator blew the four poles that held the hogan together into mountains, creating a space for the Dine. These poles became four sacred mountains in four different cardinal points: Mount Blanca, Mountain Taylor, the San Francisco Peaks, and Mount Hesperus. It is said that when this new hogan was completed it was covered with dirt which the Creator manifested as a rainbow. The Dine People have the spiritual mission to protect this land in order to keep the whole universe in balance. Near the center of the sacred hogan, that is our homeland, is Big Mountain which is considered our altar, where people from the world can come to be healed. The first Navajo words we were taught as children were prayers and that was made it possible for their success in protecting our land, and has allowed us to remain here. Even the Navajo Code Talkers in World War II protected this land using the Navajo language, using our prayer. Religion is our road, the corn pollen path. It is a road that we have made since childhood. When we rise every morning we say our prayers and we pray throughout the day. Everything one does is a prayer.We arise with it and with it learn to walk. This is our teaching that is now being taken away from us.
Culture is our entire livelihood. All parts of our culture have their prayers and songs. We do not grab these ideas from nothing. Even weaving, farming all have prayers. The corn pollen was specifically given to us so long ago. The different types of corn, white, blue, yellow and black all come from prayers. We pray for them and we pray with them. For the traditional Dineh, weaving is an act of soul. When the Earth was created Spider Man taught us how to fashion the loom incorporating the Earth, the sky and the rain. Spider Woman taugh us how to weave using symbols, colors of the natural environment. Since the beginning of time, we have fashioned our clothes with songs, prayers and praise, with heart, spirit and with soul.
We live on land. The man's law is not our law. Nature, food and the way we live is our law. The plans to disrupt and dig out places that were sacred sites are against the Creator's law. Our great ancestors are buried all over, they have become sand, they have become the mountains and their spiritual presence is still here to guide us. When Navajos were exiled to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico in 1864 it was an attempt to steal what we had, to steal from our souls the depth of who we are. Now it's occurring again. . The Holy People gave us this land without any permits. Now there are restrictions on chopping wood, planting and sheep herding. The Long Walk is still going on. We resist in order to keep this sacred land in place. We are doing this for our children. If we are being relocated we will not only lose our land, we lose our culture, our religion and we will not have anything to leave to our grandchildren to keep our tradition alive. Let our culture live, let our people herd sheep to understand the significance of the teachings that the land gives to us. Now the government is breaking the whole belief, destroying our Mother Earth. Everything that man made, including the paper used to make money comes from her, now they've turned it around and using it to work against her. We need a free country so she can be healed. The minerals that is being taken out of Mother Earth is her body. The coal is her liver, uranium is her lungs and heart by which she breathes. The Creator has told us we MUST look after the land in between the four sacred mountains, so if they want us Dine people to move off our sacred land they should SUE THE CREATOR.