Tag Archives: First Nations

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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A Few Things Zuni – Part 1

During the early 1990s the Coincidence Coordinators conspired to make Zuni Pueblo and the geography surrounding it a major focus in my life.  I mentioned a bit about Zuni here:  This is Zuni Salt Lake, but over the next couple of whiles I’d like to tell you a bit more about them. 

At the time the overwhelming part of my salary was paid by FEMA and a part of my job involved mitigation of recurring natural disaster damage behind federal disaster expenditures.  In New Mexico a huge percentage of the recurring expense was located on Navajo lands, but flooding on the Zuni River reared its head as a concern during the same time period.

Meanwhile, the Coincidence Coordinators got into the act.  The search for the lost gold mine was being driven by documents from the US Archives, New Mexico State Archives, fragments of mention from 19th Century newspapers, later-in-life memories of men connected to the events and documented in books, topo maps and other researched sources.

Keith and I, examining and submerging ourselves together during that phase of my search, concluded the areas to the east of Zuni, and to the south were prime candidates for the location.  Candidates based on what we knew at the time.  Wilderness Threats.

By my own recollection that phase of the search lasted only three, maybe four years, maybe less.  But it led by numerous routes, into more than a decade of closer association with Zuni, both as a tribe, and as a geography.  I’ll be posting more about that, about Keith’s and my explorations, about the Zuni pueblo and the people living there, and about some aspects of the history and culture.

But I’ll begin by posting this piece of doggerel I wrote a long time ago about my first visit to the Zuni Rez and my first encounter with the Zuni and Ramah Navajo.  That meeting with the Zuni Tribal Council burned itself into my memory as few things I’ve experienced this lifetime have.

Flooding on the Zuni land
Tribal chairman calls
Upstream Ramah Din’e band
Over grazing galls.

Ancient ruins I travel past
Forgotten tribes of old
And finally arrive at last
On Zuni land as told:
Tribal council meets, he chants
A time warp history.

I Listen long the raves and rants
And river mystery:
Navajo must have his sheep
To have his wealth, it’s plain.
Too many kids, too many sheep
Too little grass and rain.
Forgotten white man wrongs and deeds
The raids of Navajo
Corn that didn’t sprout the seeds
And stumbled Shalako
More sheep grazed than in the past
Arroyos grew wide and deep
Siltation settled hard and fast
In riverbed to sleep.

Navajo siltation choked
An ancient channel bed
Water rose above the banks
200 cattle dead
Houses flooded, ruined cars
Fields of grain were lost
A playground field a channel mars
And who should bear the cost?

The tribal chairman Ramah band
Listened to my tale
Stony silence, steady hand
Informed me I would fail.

“If those Zunis don’t like floods
Tell them to reduce the chances;
We’ll hold back our streams of muds
If they’ll call off their damned rain
dances.”

(Doggerel to smile by)

Old Jules