Jack wrote this in February, 2005:
I was reading a feed on one of the Native American blogs this morning. The story was about Hopi runners joining the run to Mexico City to draw attention to environmental matters, particularly water. Other tribal runners from the SW US will also be joining.
After reading the feed I walked out to my front porch to savor the new dawn across the Rio Grande Valley. Cold, beautiful morning. A blessing.
I can see across the tribal lands of the Zia, the Santa Ana, the Santo Domingo, and a bit of Sandia Rez, along with that owned by whites and the US government. Probably some of the promontories jutting up are on Jemez tribal lands.
All that land is in the grip of a sustained drought lasting several years. The lowest common denominator in moisture for the ability of soil to support life in a normally desert clime has been reached. Over the past five years we’ve averaged five inches of moisture per year, as opposed to the normal nine inches.
Plant life is dying back, soil eroding by wind. When the rains do come the water will channelize quickly and the arroyos will widen and deepen even more…. the land will be carried away to accumulate in the basins and raise the surface flooding in the rivers.
But on the Santa Ana tribal lands there’s a spot of green. The huge Santa Ana resort complex, Casino, golf-course is ten miles from here, but the green is visible by the naked eye. Every day a cloud forms over the complex that can be seen from here, sprayers pumping precious water from the ground, spraying it into the sky to water the golf-course and the lawns.
I’m glad the Hopi, the Din’e, the Mescalero will participate in the run to Mexico to help whites become more aware of water. The environmental destruction caused by over-grazing on Navajo lands over 150 years of their stewardship is so severe it might never recover. Erosion from the Navajo Rez carries siltation into the Zuni lands, filling the channel and causing flooding. Today.
There’s no moral high-ground here. Whites and Native Americans are acting in concert to destroy this land we love. We’re doing it out of greed and short-sightedness.
Maybe during that long run to Mexico the realization will dawn among some of them. No one but the tribes can do anything to change things on the Rez where the environment’s concerned. If the tribes want to act as a conscience for America on environmental issues (and we desparately need one) it can’t be accomplished from a promontory of hypocrisy.
In the end, we all have to look inside what we are, what we have, and what we CAN change for any change to occur.