(Sysop's Note: The following three flyers were given to me at the 1986
International Pagan Spirit Gathering, and concern the dispute between
several AmerInd factions and several mining companies over a certain amount
of land in Arizona. In my personal opinion, some of the "facts" presented
here are debatable or unsupported, and not all of the opinions are well
thought-out or reasonable, but one thing is certain: if no action is taken
to stop this relocation IN ITS CURRENT FORM, it will literally be an act of
genocide. Please read this information and make up your own mind. - Brad)
B A C K G R O U N D
July 7, 1986 is the deadline for the removal of more than 10,000 Dineh
(Navaho) Indians from their ancestral homes in the Southwest. Their
removal is dictated by Public Law 93-531, the Relocation Act, passed in
1974 by a largely misled and uninformed Congress.
The law partitions a 3,000 square mile "Joint Use Area" (JUA) within the
"1982 Executive Order" area, constructs a 300 mile fence imposing the
partition, and requires the removal of all Navaho residing on 1500 square
miles of land. The lands are in the heart of the Navajo reservation in
Arizona. A Relocation Commission was established under the Act to
implement the relocation.
P.L. 95-531 supposedly was passed to "settle" a "land dispute" between
Navajo and Hopi Indians. Several investigations have shown that the
"dispute" was manufactured and fought out between white attorneys represen-
ting Peabody Coal, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and a number of
electrical utilities and coal gasification compaines operating in the Four
Corners, high atop the Black Mesa.
Within the Tribes this struggle is reflected in the split between the
traditional Indians and their pro-development "progressive" chairmen.
Traditionals United in Resistance
When the U.S. fencing crew reached Big Mountain in 1977 is encountered
the literal resistance of the Elder women, who ever since then have
continued that resistance, tearing down every fence post and becoming the
inspiration for the resistance movement throughout the JUA.
These Traditional Dineh refuse to be separated from their Hopi neighbors
with whom they have shared the land and religion since before the White Man
arrived in North America. Their resistance is supported by the solidarity
of the Traditional and religious leadership of the Hopi people, none of
whom recognize the legitimacy of the law or the "Tribal Chairmen" who act
in their names.
The Relocation Act
The purposes of the legislation were (1) to transfer "quieted title" for
lands to the Tribal chairmen so the lands could be leased, (2) to allow
access to the massive Black Mesa coal seam in order to strip mine it and
supply power for the Central Arizona Project (CAP) and other projects, (3)
to remove the traditional Indians living above this coal seam who were
opposed to the industrialization and devastation of their land, culture,
This legislation was godfathered by Sam Steiger and Barry Goldwater of
Arizona, and literally written by the past and future attorneys for Peabody
Coal. The law was passed in 1974, in the midst of Watergate and an "energy
crisis," by a Congress which adhered to its own tradition of not overruling
the "home state" Congressmen.
The entire "relocation" is being carried out on behalf of the "Hopi
people." Yet the only Hopi "representative" recognized by the U.S. is
"elected" in pathetic proceedings in which that "Chairman" recently
received the votes of only 908 Hopi people, or less than 10% of the Hopi
people. The overwhelming majority of the Hopi boycott elections, which
violate their customary decision-making process.
Trail of Tears Replay: Genocide
This would be the largest peacetime forcible removal of a people in U.S.
history and would duplicate in scale and effect the Trail of Tears death
march of the Cherokee under Andrew Jackson in the 1830's. There is no
difference. International experts on displacement of indigenous peoples
have found that such uprooting of traditional land-based peoples literally
destroys their lives. The Fourth Russell Tribunal convened in Rotterdam in
1980 and found that this removal violated the United Nations genocide
Big Mountain Resistance - AIM
It was at Big Mountain that the Dineh made their stand, throwing the
fencing crews out as soon as they appeared in 1977. In 1979 Katherine
Smith drove them out at gunpoint again, was arrested and later acquitted
when a jury could not be formed.
In 1979 the Dineh people of Big Mountain declared their independence,
and their total resistance to the removal. In 1981 a Survival Camp was
established at Big Mountain by the American Indian Movement, under the
direction of the Elders of Big Mountain. The people had sought out AIM's
support in 1977, and the Movement put itself at the service of the
Also in 1979 the first non-Indian "support group" was formed, bringing
together anti-nuclear activists, environmentalists and a wide variety of
other persons of conscience working in support of the poeple of Big
Mountain and the JUA who are opposing removal. Presently their exists an
international network of nearly 100 Big Mountain Support Groups.
In 1985 the House Appropriations Committee released its investigation of
the relocation program, concluding that the program was a massive failure
and that it (the investigators) could not see how the program could be made
to work. Also in 1985 President Reagan assigned ex-Secretary of Interior
William Clark to search for an alternative to relocation. After 6 months
Clark concluded that the Hopi Tribal officials would never willingly
compromise. He suggested that "other agencies" of the government should
develop alternatives which would halt relocations, and provide a
"comprehensive" solution to the entire issue of Navajo and Hopi use of
lands in the Four Corners.
Key demand of the people resisting removal, and of the support network,
is (#1) REPEAL OF P.L. 95-531 to bring a halt to the forced removal of
these Indian people. The people also demand (#2) that those already
removed from the land be allowed to return, (#3) that the U.S. government
redress the complex mess of issues it has generated with its 100 years of
boundary-drawing between the Navajo and Hopi people, and (#4) that those
who want to move should be assisted in doing so.
In the face of continuing plans U.S. plans to remove the people in July,
there is a national Mobilization underway to confront and resist any
attempt to remove the people. The Mobilization is directly accountable to
the Elders on the land.
PROCLAMATION OF THE BIG MOUNTAIN
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
From the Beginning, the Great Spirits set forth sacred Laws for the
children of Mother Earth, the Dine. Great Spirits created the Sovereign
Dine Nation within the four sacred mountains: Sis naajinni (Blanca Peak,
Colo.) to the east, Tsoodzil (Mount Taylor, N.M.) to the south,
Dook'oosliid (San Francisco Pk., Arizona) to the west, Dipe' Nitsaa'
(Herperus Peak, Colo.) to the north. Within this Natural boundary the Dine
Nation lived in accordance to the Spiritual Laws to live in Harmony with
all the Natural Life. The Great Spirits provided us with the Nitliz
(sacred stones) as offerings and the Dzil laazh (sacred mountain soil
Bundle) representing the universe. With prayers and songs we offer the
Nitliz to the trees, to the hills, to the wind, and the thunder beings in
the sacred rain. The Dzil laazh is our power to live close to our mother
the Earth and father Sky. These are our sacred ways to survive in this
universe and to communicate with the unseen forces in Natural life.
As Dine, we wander the grounds of Mother Earth along with the Eagle, the
Deer, and the little ants; together we survive in the natural state. In
our sacred existance we seek no changes to our livelihood, because this
Natural life is our only known survival and it's our sacred laws.
In this Natural and Spiritual way we nourish from the fruits and
vegetables of our fields and meat from the mountains. Our thirst is
moistened by the sacred Springs and our injuries and pain are healed by
the medicines of the canyons and hills.
From the beginning Bii Ochidi (spirit for the four legged) gave the Dine
the sheep, cattle, and horse to be part of our Survival and our spiritual
ways. As a Dine Nation our prayers and songs are offered to the Great
Spirits of the Universe, so we, the natural life wish to continue to live
in balance of the Natural life.
We speak for the winged beings, the four legged beings, those that crawl
upon the grounds, the water beings, and those who have gone before us and
the coming generation.
This 28th day of October 1979, the Big Mountain Dine Nation is
"Declaring Independence of the Area known as "Big Mountain," via Arizona."
Our interpretation of "Declaration of Independence" is that the United
States Government and the Navajo Tribal Government have violated the sacred
laws of the Dine Nation by allowing exploitation of natural resources. Our
Mother Earth is continously raped by the exploitation of coal, uranium,
oil, natural gas, and helium. Our Father the Sky has been contaminated by
the poison from burning coal and the radiation from uranium mining. Our
sacred water has been abused, so that now there is no certainty for the
Our interpretation of "Declaration of Independence" is that the United
States Government has divided the Indigenous people by the boundaries of
politics, Euro-American education, modernization, and christianity. The
United States Government denies our rights to exist as Indigenous people on
our Mother Earth.
Our interpretation of "Declaration of Independence" is that Public Law
95-531 has divided the Sovereign Nation of the Dine and the Hopi and is
therefore disrupting our spiritual and traditional ties. The livelihood of
the Dine, the livestock, has been exterminated, thereby starvation exists
among the traditional elders. Our sacred shrines have been destroyed by
attempts at land restoration and mining. There are continuous threats of
relocation which disturb the hearts and minds of our traditional elders and
weakens their health and longevity. The supremacy and the genocidal system
of the Federal Government is destroying our true existance as a traditional
Dine Nation here in Big Mountain.
Unconditional Demands to the Proclamation
of the Big Mountain Dine Nation:
1. We demand that the Navajo Tribal Council immediately convene a special
session to act on the recent situation in the Former Joint Use Area; and
2. We demand that the Navajo Tribal Council reconsider the sacred Laws of
the Dine for the protection of our sacred Mother Earth from the exploita-
tion of the Natural Resources; and
3. We demand that the Navajo Tribal Council support Congressional legisla-
tion in order to void and nullify all court decisions and administrative
actions concerning the partition of the Joint Use Area, relocation of
certain Dine residents in the affected area, livestock reduction and
partition fencing, and
4. We demand that the Navajo Tribal Council appropriate funds to assist in
legal defense for and the development of the Big Mountain Dine Nation.
Further, by these conditions the Big Mountain Dine Nation, via Arizona,
have stood in solidarity to combat Injustice, Genocide, Racism, and Discri-
"Declaration of Independence" has been declared, our last recourse, and
if necessary Big Mountain Dine Nation will use its Sovereign right to
dispose of any activities pertaining to Federal fencing, land restoration,
and other intents of Public Law 95-531 in the area Big Mountain. From here
on the "Independent Dine Nation" of Big Mountain will present its
conditions and additions to the United Nations.
BIG MOUNTAIN DINE NATION
Signed by Roberta Blackgoat, Chairperson;
Kee Shay, Vice-Chairperson;
NaBane Kadenehe, Secretary;
Lawrence Simonson, Treasurer.
Also signed by 65 of the Council of Elders.
(There is a hand-written address on the bottom of my copy of the above: Big
Mountain Support Group, 3126 Shattuck, Berkeley, CA 94705, (415) 644-3031.)
B I G M O U N T A I N
R E L O C A T I O N I N F O
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Letter-writing campaigns do work. This is undeniably a situation in which
education can result in a change in the law because of the effect of relo-
cation of the people and the tremendous amount of money being wasted now
and in the future if the program is allowed to continue. Write individual
and personal letters, call, or meet with your Senators and Representative.
Write follow-up letters and keep this issue alive. The Big Mountain Legal
Committee will help you write answers to the responses you get, and provide
supporting documents if necessary. Please send a copy of your letters and
all responses you receive to BMLDOC.
Repeal is not a popular idea in Congress. The basic feeling in Congress is
that this issue has been litigated and legislated over the course of nearly
three decades. Repeal is thought of as a radical departure from what they
feel is a hard-earned compromise. It is our job to point out to Congress
the realities of their "compromise"--the evidence that relocation is not
working and that the program is wasting taxpayers' money.
Most Congressional offices respond with a form letter which states their
understanding of the situation, thanks to the letter writer, and goes no
further. In order to get beyond this form response, it is best to ask
specific, direct questions that require an individualized response.
Replies often mention hearings planned or in progress. Congress can study
a problem until the storm blows over. Ask when results of hearings will be
made public and to receive a copy of the reports. Then ask what will be
done about the findings. Keep writing or calling - don't let the subject
be dropped. *Request Senate Oversight Hearings to be held in Flagstaff as
soon as possible.
Someone wrote a short, 4-paragraph letter to the editor in a Florida news-
paper which included the BMLDOC address for more information. Four people
responded asking for more information and volunteering to be letter
writers. The seeds we plant grow quickly and the effects are far-reaching.
There are many effective ways of reaching out to the public.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT CAN BE SAID TO CONGRESS:
- Where do you stand on the relocation of 10,000 to 15,000 Navajo and Hopi
Indians as a result of P.L. 95-531?
- Relocation of traditional indigenous people has never succeeded, accor-
ding to anthropologists and sociologists.
- A recent report by the House Subcommittee on the Interior and Related
Agencies concludes that the relocation program is not working.
- Since 1977 the government has been able to relocate only one-third of the
affected families. Relocation Commisssion statistics show that twice as
many families must be moved in the next year as the total moved in the
past 9 years, if the July 1986 deadline is to be met.
- Navajo and Hopi families have been relocated to cultural situations in
which they cannot survive. Fifty percent of the families relocated to
Flagstaff, the most common relocation site, have already lost their
homes. What are you doing with regard to the growing evidence that
relocation is not working?
- PL 93-531 requires relocation to take place with "minimum adverse im-
pact." Doesn't the present program, which clearly produces a high rate
of failure, violate the law?
- How has the report on relocation by the House Appropriations Committee
affected your position on relocation? What is being done to correct the
shortcomings of the Relocation Commisssion and the problems of reloca-
tion citied in the report?
- The cost of relocation to US taxpayers, originally estimated at $34
million, has already risen to $275 million, and could reach $1 to $2
billion when costs of supporting services and welfare are included.
- How can you justify spending taxpayers' money on a program that is
turning self-sufficient people into refugees dependent on government
services for their survival?
- How can you justify continuing to spend so much money on an ineffectual
program which produces a 50% failure rate?
- Extending the relocation program will only increase the expense to
taxpayers and the agony of the Navajo and Hopi people. Relocation needs
to be ended.
- Shifting the partition line will only exchange the hardship of one group
of Navajos for hardship to another group of Navajos. It could cause as
many problems as it might solve, according to a House Appropriations
- Where is the water going to come from to resettle relocatees on the newly
acquired lands? According to Relocation Commissioner Sandra Massetto,
"It could be ten years before the question of water rights on the newly
acquired lands is resolved." Without sufficient water, the new lands are
useless, and without knowing how much water is available, how can the
Relocation Commission plan for resettlement? A Navajo tribal commsssion
estimated that that the new land can support less than 20% of the
relocatees. To enable the Navajo Trive to acquire the new lands, the
federal government is trading away valuable land to developers for next
- Traditional religious leaders of the Hopi wrote in March 1985, "There is
no need for this bill as there was no fighting, quarelling, nor warfare
taking place...We have never supported the Relocation Program...We see
this as merely a political conflict instigated and promoted for resource
development...Take immediate steps to bring about a total repeal of PL
- A study by Navajo Tribal Attorney Richard Schifter showed the Healing-
Jones decision did not require a 50/50 land partition at all, only that
the "value" of the land and resources should be divided equally between
the two tribes.
- It is the only Indian land claim in US hsitory in which the government is
evicting people instead of offering money compensation. The difference
is that all other Indian land claims would have removed white people.
- If this relocation is carried through, it will be one of the largest
forced removals of Indians in American history, and will add yet another
chapter to the disgraceful history of abuse Indians have suffered at the
hands of the US government, unless Congress has the courage to reverse
its course of action. Repealing the law is the only way to prevent this
problem from becoming an international disgrace.
- The federal government created the problem by approving a hastily and
arbitrarily drawn Hopi Reservation boundary in 1882 that erroneously
included the homes of hundreds of Navajos. Now the federal government
should act responsibly to solve the problem.
- Congress was misinformed when it passed the law in 1974 about the number
of Navajos to be relocated, the conditions under which they would be
moved, and the cost to taxpayers. Now Congress needs to correct its
- The Hopi Tribe should be compensated for the mistakes of the US govern-
ment in some other way, not at the expense of the Navajo people, not by
being given 960,000 acres of land that is the home of thousands of
Navajos. Those Navajos already victimized by relocation should be com-
pensated and should have the right to return to their homeland.
LETTERS AND PHONE CALLS ARE MOST URGENTLY NEEDED TO THESE PERSONS:
Senator Alan Cranston Senator Pete Wilson Congressman Ralph Regula
Senate Hart Office Senate Hart Office Rayburn House Office
Building, Room# 112 Building, Room# 720 Building, Room# 2209
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3553 (202) 224-3841 (202) 225-3876
Senator Bennett Johnston Congressman Sidney Yates Senator James McClure
Senate Hart Office Rayburn House Office Senate Dirkson Office
Building, Room# 136 Building, Room# 2234 Building, Room# 361
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
THESE PEOPLE ARE ON INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEES-
LETTERS TO THEM WOULD BE ESPECIALLY VALUABLE:
IN THE HOUSE... IN THE SENATE:
ADDRESS CODES: ADDRESS CODES:
H = House S = Senate
OB = Office Building OB = Office Building
L = Longworth R = Russell, H = Hart,
C = Cannon D = Dirkson
OB = Office Building OB = Office Building
ex.: Les AuCoin ex.: Senator Robert Byrd
Rayburn House Office Building Senate Hart Office Building
Room 2159 Room 311
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
IN THE HOUSE... IN THE SENATE:
Les AuCoin (Oreg.-D) Robert Byrd (WV-D)
RHOB, Room 2159 SHOB, Room 311
Tom Bevill (Ala.-D) Mark Andrews (ND-R)
RHOB, Room 2302 SHOB, Room 724
(202) 225-4876 (202)-224-2043
Edward Boland (Mass.-D) Dale Bumpers (AR-D)
RHOB, Room 2426 SDOB, Room 239
(202) 225-5601 (202) 224-4843
Norman Dicks (Wash.-D) Quentin Burdick (ND-D)
RHOB, Room 2429 SHOB, Room 311
(202) 225-5916 (202) 224-2551
Joseph McDade (Pa.-R) Thad Cochran (MS-D)
RHOB, Room 2370 SROB, Room 326
(202) 225-3731 (202) 224-5054
John Murtha (Pa.-D) Edwin Garn
RHOB, Room 2423 SDOB, Room 505
(202) 225-2065 (202) 224-5444
Tom Loeffler (Tex.-R) Patrick Leahy (VT)
LHOB, Room 1212 SROB, Room 433
(202) 225-4236 (202) 224-4242
Ralph Regula (Ohio-R) Paul Laxalt (NV-R)
RHOB, Room 2209 SROB, Room 323A
(202) 225-3876 (202) 224-3542
Warren Rudman (NH)
SHOB, Room 530
Ted Stevens (AK)
SHOB, Room 522
SHOB, Room 303