Alert: Diné Face Arrest & Livestock Theft on Black Mesa
UPDATE: Due to public concern the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Office (NHLCO) issued a statement on Oct 24, 2014: “To avoid creating a situation that will harm both tribes and the HPL residents, (NHLCO) requests that the Hopi Tribe cease and desist from further impoundment activities and allow NHLCO an opportunity to confer with the residents to request they remove their livestock in excess of permitted from the HPL.”
October 23, 2014 – UPDATE from HPL (Hopi Partition Land) residents: Shirley Tohannie and elder Caroline Tohannie had their entire herd of 65 sheep impounded by the Hopi Rangers (US federal government) Tuesday, October 22, 2014.If the fines aren’t paid the sheep will go to auction, and the family is being told that the sheep will not be able to return to the family’s rangeland. The cost to release the livestock is nearly $1,000.
Jerry Babbit Lane, the Tohannie’s neighbor on the HPL, was arrested by Hopi rangers when he attempted to check on his neighbors and was charged with disorderly conduct. He was released this evening, 10/23. Rangers told Shirley they plan to take Rena’s (Jerry’s mother) sheep too and that they’re going to start impounding across the HPL.
As we’re writing, another family on Big Mountain has had nearly their entire herd impounded.
PLEASE DONATE HERE for an impoundment fund.
Residents are requesting human rights observers and sheepherders during this time of escalated harassment. If you or anyone you know can come be a human rights observer to support the Dineh resistance on Black Mesa, now is the time. Doing human rights observation work can help stop or slow down the impoundment process. Families who will be potentially impacted by impoundments are requesting solidarity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can come out.
“Call the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Hopi Rangers, and the Department of Interior. Ask they stop impounding sheep on the HPL. This is current day colonialism, our food sovereignty is being attacked. Call the BIA superintendent Wendel Honanie (at 928-738-2228), the Hopi Rangers Clayton Honyumptewa at (928-734-3601), and the Department of Interior at (202 208-3100) and ask that they stop the unjust impoundments.”–Louise Benally
Although these orders are coming from current Hopi policy, ultimately the relocation laws and livestock impoundments result from the federal government and Peabody Energy’s divide and conquer strategy used to open up the land for massive coal mining. “In the 1970s, Hopi elders encouraged the Diné elders to remain on their homelands, saying if they did relocate, the coal mine would expand. The Hopi elders said it wasn’t them who wanted the land.”–NaBahii Keediniihii
A July 2012 report by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission classifies the relocation as a massive human rights violation and demands the immediate repeal of PL 93-531 and an end to relocation efforts and harassment in the form of surveillance, livestock impoundments, and disruption of gatherings and ceremonies that the resistance community experiences.
The sheep sustain the vitality of the people and the land, and traditional grazing practices need to be supported not severed. Impoundments are nothing less than harassment and human rights violations.
For background information on the resistance of the HPL communities, click here.
***Please forward this request far and wide by re-posting or sending this to ten people***
Editors note: This action is occurring as winter approaches and sheep and other livestock are the livelihood for many Diné facing oppressive conditions imposed by PL93-531. The update below uses the controversial term “HPL (Hopi Partitioned Lands),” some Diné resisters recognize this area as Sovereign Diné Nation and not HPL.