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Human Rights Violations of Dineh "Indians"...
by Peabody Coal and US Govt.

Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 13:39:40 -0800

From: redorman@plix.com (Dorman, Robert )

Dear list members:

I apologize for the intrusion of this off topic notice, but because (I hope) some of you might be as concerned about the welfare and human rights of some of our fellow human beings as I am, I hope you will read the following and be prompted to take whatever action you feel is appropriate for you. I have started an email mailing list, BIGMTLIST, to distribute timely information on this subject.

To subscribe to this moderated, non-automated list, email me (redorman@plix.com) with the words "SUBSCRIBE BIGMTLIST" as the subject heading. Thank you for your time. --Bob Dorman

I am a member of Sokagakkai International (SGI-USA), a NGO member of the United Nations. I am not writing in an official capacity as a representative of that organization, but being a member of it, I know that it shares my humanitarian views. I and the SGI strongly uphold the UN Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the Constitution of the United States. It is sad that, within the borders of our own country, there are vary flagrant violations of the principles of law and human decency expressed in these documents.

I am very concerned about the forced relocation that has taken place (and will be continuing) of the Dineh (Navajo) Indians at Big Mountain, Arizona (USA). It appears that Peabody Coal Co. and various agencies of the US government have been systematically and deliberately violating the human rights of the indigenous people ("Native Americans") who live in that area and are trying to continue their traditional way of life on lands their families have lived on for thousands of years.

Most of these people do not speak, read or write English. They live self-sustaining lifestyles herding sheep, weaving and dry crop farming.

They are caretakers of their Sacred Land.

A few of these human rights violations are:

--Those resisting the government relocation have been subject to live-stock reduction to levels below sustenance by confiscating live-stock upon which people are dependent for their survival and abusing them in the impoundment yard.

--They have been denied housing improvement and new home construction, banned from wood gathering, and not allowed to repair their homes (hogans).

--Wells and springs have been destroyed, forcing people to haul water on unimproved dirt roads.

--Their religious ceremonies have been violated by Hopi rangers video-taping ceremonies, enforcing an exclusion law, blockading roads, and been disrupted by F-16 fighter jet flyovers "so low that you could see their helmets".

--Rangers bulldozed a 100 year old ceremonial hogan during a religious ceremony.

--Evicted people from their homes, systematically harassing elders.

--24 hour surveillance by government agents.

Many Dineh have been relocated to the "New Lands" near Sanders, AZ., south of I-40 on the New Mexico - Arizona border. The Rio Puerco River, which flows through the "New Lands" was heavily contaminated in 1979 by the worst radioactive spill in U.S. history. Birth defects and radiation poisoning have plagued the relocatees for years. Those Dineh who have already relocated to the "New Lands" have been forced to live in sub-standard tract housing in an area the government knew was heavily contaminated.

The motive behind these atrocities lies in the billions of dollars of coal beneath their land. Peabody Coal Co. and the US government have been harassing and coercing the Dineh into signing away their land and moving onto one-acre plots on radioactive land, where they will not be allowed to practice their traditional way of life, and where they will have no means of supporting themselves once they are removed from their self-sufficient lifestyle.

On March 31, as it stands right now, a forced eviction of the remaining resistors to the relocation will begin. It is impossible to convey to you is such a short letter the abuse and stress the Dineh have suffered at the hands of the Hopi Tribal Council (which is made up of "Indians" that were taken as children and raised in Mormon families and sent to white schools; they have little respect for the elders and native traditions, only the money they can get by betraying their people and others), agents of Peabody Western Coal Co., and BIA and FBI agents.

For substantiation, you should talk to the traditional Dineh elders like Roberta Blackgoat and Paulene Whitesinger (through her daughter, Bonnie Whitesinger who speaks English). I have also listed several Internet references below.

The "legal" justification used for these atrocities is Public Law 93-531.

To quote from one of the Internet sources:

"Public Law 93-531"

"Black Mesa stands on the northern end of the 1882 Executive Order area. Hopi prophecy foretold that one day outsiders would want to devastate it, and that if they were successful it would be the beginning of the end of the world. With the discovery of extremely rich coal fields in this area, Peabody Coal Company's public relations and lobbying firms created a "Hopi-Navajo land dispute", portraying the two peoples who had peacefully co-existed for hundreds of years as being embattled in a bloody "range war". One of the key figures in the fueling the dispute was a lawyer named John Boyden.

Sorry the remainder of this article got mysteriously scrambled... I will try to fix soon.