Dear Friends of the Indigenous Peoples of Big Mountain, Black Mesa, AZ.
Something critical is about to happen concerning the traditional communities on Big Mountain surrounding areas on Black Mesa. Today, more than 30 years after the passage of Public Law 93 - 531, the original Navajo-Hopi Relocation bill, a new bill is before congress that sets a new timetable for the forced relocation of a number of Navajo families on Black Mesa. Senate bill S1003 "The Navajo Hopi Land Settlement Act Amendments of 2005" is now on the senate calendar and may be passed at anytime without debate or serious consideration unless the public acts now. The last major relocation bill was approved by the Senate within a month of being placed on the Senate calendar and stayed in the House Of Representatives less than a week before becoming law. It's difficult to convey the serious nature of these new developments. The passage of this bill would effectively devastate a culture such as the Navajo, or Dineh, stripping them of their identity and way of life which is tied into the land itself.
Native people's lives and livelihoods are on the line!
This bill will permanently displace the indigenous families of Big Mountain and surrounding communities on Black Mesa from their ancestral lands and will relieve the federal government of any further responsibility for the relocated people. S 1003, sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), comes as Peabody Coal, the world's largest coal company, is planning to expand its strip mining of American Indian lands, drawing down a high-quality residential aquifer in the process. Only one thing stands in Peabody's way: indigenous people live on the land below which lies billions of tons of low-sulfur coal. As with their ancestors, the land is the basis for the Black Mesa people's traditions, spirituality, and livelihoods.
There is still time to act!
S 1003 may pass the Senate and the House of Representatives within the next few weeks. Senate Bill 1003 may become law anytime now once again starting the machine of forced relocation. But fortunately, a small window of opportunity exists to stop it. It must first pass the Senate so the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and your Senator must hear our voices today. The indigenous families from the Big Mountain and Black Mesa communities have not been represented in this process.
It's up to us the public and the international community to demand that Congress educate themselves before they vote. After passing an earlier relocation act, PL 93-531, in 1974, several Senators expressed misgivings about the law, but it was too late. We cannot allow this to happen again.The people of Big Mountain are asking us to jump in and shake up the political landscape. Our outcry may be their only hope. We must tell those who would once again sell out the people and the land that there will be a political price to pay. It's easy to make decisions from afar if you never risk meeting the people who will be affected. Demand that Congress listen to the people. Maybe it is possible to reach their hearts.
In an era of transnational corporate dominance, the methods of separating indigenous peoples from their land and natural resources have outstripped the ability of any agency or nongovernmental organization to monitor or regulate. The importance of building alliances cannot be stressed enough. The elders of Big Mountain such as Roberta Blackgoat have shown us the way to the survival of our planet and the danger to us all if sacred lands are destroyed warning us of what is now happening long before global warming and gaia became common words. The people of Big Mountain can not win this fight alone and need the support of all people who love justice, human rights, and the earth.
Please join us, and ask your friends and family to do the same.
Send A Letter to Congress Now!
Thank you and Peace,
Black Mesa Indigenous Support