Seems the advantages of being out of sight and out of mind for most of the population aren’t necessarily advantages when the out-of-sight geography includes something a multi-national corporation wants. All those city folks needing to keep the air conditioners turned down to 70 and to be able to light up the hair dryers every morning probably never ask themselves where the electricity popped out of the ground and hopped into the wires they plug things into.

One more bug on the windshield of civilization.  Old Jules


Beyond the Mesas

[The following letter was written by former Hopi Tribe chairman Benjamin H. Nuvamsa from Shungopavi.  He presented the letter to the Hopi Tribal Council on Friday January 13, 2012]

January 13, 2012
Hopi Tribal Council
Hopi – Tewa Senom

It is time we have a serious discussion about coal mining on our reservation, our water rights and our environment.  For far too long, we have pushed these issues aside, not willing to talk about how these issues impact our lives.  We must talk about how the Peabody Western Coal Company and Navajo Generating Station are affecting our lives.  Since the mid 1960’s, Peabody Coal has been mining our coal, pumping our precious Navajo Aquifer water and paying us pennies on the dollar in return.  Navajo Generating Station is emitting dangerous and harmful particulates into the air we breathe.  Our coal resources are being depleted.  Our Navajo Aquifer has been damaged…

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13 responses to “

  1. Hi Jules,
    Quite an interesting blog post you pointed us readers to.
    As to your sentiments about the use of natural resources: well, it’s not only the use of air-conditioners and hair dryers, it’s also, e.g., you and me using our computers. And even should we return to the old ways and put pen to paper to communicate, we’d use coal [the graphite in the pen] and wood [the pulp in the paper]. Sad as it is, to my mind there’s no human activity that is not detrimental to the environment. Just be breathjing, we use up oxygen and leave carbon dioxide. And even after death, when decaying, nowadays we leave some heavy metals in the soil that have accumulated in our liver.
    That being said, I agree with you that it is imperative that we try to limit our ecological footprint as much as possible.
    I wish you a wonderful day up the in the Hill Country,

  2. Hi Pit. Thanks for coming by for a read. There’s a lot of truth in your observation that we have a personal footprint, as well as a collective one and that our personal ones can’t escape the mark they leave. I am probably not reading you correctly if I sense an implied splinter of meaning in your words carrying a message that personal conscious choices are rendered moot by the collective footprint.

    Individual human beings run mainly on autopilot, seems to me, with all the settings tuned to habits driven by comfort zones. We never notice the choices we make until something interrupts the process in such a way as to demand our acknowledgement we live in a web of interdependent threads and wires running into our existence that have to come from somewhere.

    In the case of hair dryers and AC units, they’re identifiable as the nail holding the horse shoe carrying the entire US power grid. Those surges of use every morning when the sun comes up, when everyone hops out of bed for a shower and shampoo at the same time, are the controlling piece of a huge necessity for over-design, over generation of power and over-dependence on fuel for a relatively brief time, at huge cost.

    In this instance the folks paying the price happen to be the ones living on the land where the geography hides the fuel and the water required to get it out of the ground.

  3. I won’t pretend to know what’s best for the Hopi, but I’d much rather they make a conscious decision on things over which they might actually have control. As you noted, the real danger is not what we decide, but that we decide not to think about it.

    • Hi Ed. I can’t even pretend to know what’s good for the cats and chickens. I reckons the Hopi will have to do their own figuring, thank goodness. If I were in charge of all this the only thing I’d get was richer than 18 inches up the backend of a bull, a burden of guilt going over my karma spillway and a confused look on my face. More confused than it looks with me just out here not knowing in a more passive, harmless way. Thanks for coming by. Gracias, Jules

  4. Couldn’t agree more. Minings corporations (Rosemont Copper) want to do the same in southern Arizona.

    • Thanks kenneturner. Probably happening all manner of places where people aren’t paying close attention. Someone mentioned a while back something of the sort was happening in Wyoming on one of the comments, I think. Gracias, Jules

  5. I agree, the reservations are their own countries… they need to manage their own water and mineral rights too.

    • Marvin: I don’t know whether the Rez anywere qualifies as its own country, given the FBI does a lot of law enforcement on the Rez, the dept of agriculture distributes commodity cheese, the surrounding states provide emergency services and disaster relief, and most serious legal offenses on the Rez get handled by a Federal Magistrate, as opposed to courts on the Rez, along with health services paid for by the US government largely. Tribal sovereignty tends be less sovereign whenever the sovereignty has a pricetag. The Rez status probably needs to be clarified and consistent for the sake of honesty, but honesty is riding along somewhere back toward the end of the baggage train and always has been. I don’t know the answers but I know a lot of questions.

  6. Old Jules, many thanks for sharing this post with your readers. I truly appreciate it. This discussion involves much more than the Hopi and Navajo. It’s ultimately a discussion for all of humanity. Thanks again.

  7. Pingback: A Lovely New Word | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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