Dirty Coal and Power at the Navajo Blockade

By Brenda Norrell
Human Rights Editor
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

BURNHAN CHAPTER, N.M. -- As Navajo elderly camp in the cold at a blockade of a planned power plant, the Navajo Nation Council plans to meet in special session to allocate millions for the Desert Rock Power Plant.

At the Navajo blockade Thursday night, the sheepdog of the Navajo elderly protester who lives on the land was skinned alive, run over by a car and thrown next to the blockade.

It comes as no surprise that the power plant parent company Sithe Global LLC is linked to the elite Skull and Bones, the world power elite that the Bush family belongs to.

Lori Goodman, spokesperson for Dine Citizens against Ruining our Environment described the torture of the Navajo’s sheepdog.

“Sometime after 10 PM last night her sheep dog was skinned alive, run over twice, left for dead and tossed next to the blockade encampment. The dog is still alive and the distressing job of putting the dog out of its misery now lay with the resisters. We have taken pictures and are reporting this terrorist act with the proper authorities. This is plain brutal and intent to intimidate the camp. The elders put a lot of value into training their sheep dogs and an act such as this is elder abuse.”

While the Navajo resisters are camped in the cold, the Navajo Nation Council plans a costly special session to allocate millions for the coal-fired Desert Rock Power Plant project.

Meanwhile, Navajo traditions tell of a time of monsters, when greed would bring about the destruction of Mother Earth. Navajos say coalmines and power plants are part of that greed. Further, they say gambling, in the form of casinos, will steal the future from their children.

The Navajo Council and Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., support the Desert Rock Power Plant. However, it would be the third in the Farmington area, and Navajo residents say the air, land and water are already too polluted with coal mining, hundreds of oil and gas wells and scattered unreclaimed radioactive tailings from Cold War uranium mining.

At the Navajo Nation Council’s planned special session on Dec. 21 – 22, the Navajo Council will consider allocations of $2 million for Diné Power Authority and another $5.5 million to the Navajo Nation Equity Investment Task Force for equity investment in the Desert Rock Energy Project and Navajo Transmission Project.

The salaries and travel funds of the 88-member Navajo Nation Council primarily come from tribal energy leases, royalties and fees.

While the Navajo Nation creates a Sithe spin-off company and plans to invest millions in Desert Rock, the largest financier of Sithe Global LLC is the Blackstone Group.

It comes as no surprise that Blackstone was cofounded by Stephen Schwarzman, a member of the small group of Skull and Bones that the Bush family belongs to. The Yale secret society includes former presidential hopeful John Kerry.

The following link shows the Bush family and other members of Skull and Bones and links to other global corporations, including former President GH Bush’s position with the Carlyle Group.

Schwarzman and other elite financiers are linked to Lehman Brothers, which previously financed Peabody Coal and coal mining at Black Mesa. Earlier, a delegation of Navajo, Hopi and Lakota appealed to Lehman Brothers stockholders in New York.

The link shows the longtime CEO of Halliburton, Thomas Cruikshank, was also with Lehman Brothers. Now, Halliburton’s Kellogg, Brown and Root, accused of misspending funds in Iraq, has been awarded $385 million from Homeland Security to build migrant prisons in the US.

Other links reveal corporate financiers of parent companies exploiting Indigenous Peoples and their lands around the globe:

Voices from the Blockade Blog

Elder Voices from Blockade: Lucy A. Willie, Henry and Betty Dixon

While the DPA/Sithe Representatives sit barricaded apart from the proposed Desert Rock site, Navajo elders are standing ground and refusing to move. Since Tuesday afternoon, the elders have battled extremely cold weather, sickness, and are being forcefully handled by Desert Rock proponents. Byfar, the worst act of intimidation against the elders occured on Thursday (Dec. 14) night after an elder woman's dog was brutally "skinned," run over by a vehicle, and left for dead at the blockade site. Below are comments from elders blockading the entrance of the proposed Desert Rock Site.

Lucy A Willie, Burnham, NM:
"I was here from the start saying no to the project. There is religious significance to the area. We are protecting our land because it is sacred to us. Our songs, prayers, and chants are woven into this area. We respect Mother Earth and President Shirley has no heart for the community. All of us older folks are forgotten out here. Please help us..."

Betty Dixon, Burnham, NM:
"President Shirley should be leading us instead of causing chaos. Why are we voting for leaders that won't protect us? He's disrupting our community and causing a bunch of trouble? We have burial sites in the area and he wants to destroy all of it!"

Henry Dixon, Burnham, NM:
"We voted for Shirley to represent us and speak out for us and help us. He is not keeping his word. We shouldn't be out here doing this. We're tired and cold sitting out here. Instead of sitting out here, I should be feeding my cattle and livestock. We're being polluted to death! We shouldn't be out here; we should be doing other things."

Sarah White, Burnham, NM:
"Who do these people think they are?! We said "No" and they refuse to listen, they won't even show us proper documentation. It's an absolute shame that our grandmas and grandpas are sitting out here--They didn't ask for this! Because of the DPA/Sithe, our elders are getting sick and are freezing out here. And, poor thing, one of the lady's dog was skinned and left for dead--Who does that?! We need all the support that we can get to be out here. T’áá shodídí nihík’á oo’jee’ (Please Help us)."


originally found in the UN Observer & International Report
posted with permission from B. Norrell


Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html