Originally Published MAY 2000

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Photo courtesy of SENAA Sweden, Frame by Al Swilling.
Used with permission.


a regular feature of SENAA West. 


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"Is Anyone Listening?"
This month's column was provided by Bahe.
Used with prior agreement from Roberta Blackgoat


Bahe's Preface to This Month's Statement

[Please, forward or post following statement made by Roberta Blackgoat, a Elder Leader of the Big Mtn. (original) SDN resistance. Secondly, please acknowledge and respect my refined translation of her statement, though, she spoke so eloquently in English. Thanks, Bahe]

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. On May 17th, 2000, there was a Public Hearing held at the city council chambers in the city hall. Many non-Indians and Indigenous representatives also spoke out against the Pumice Mining that is currently underway on the slopes of the San Francisco Mountain. There were some very strong words spoken by both non-Indians and local Indian tribal members, and those few statements will be later released. However, the following is of some significance because Dineh elder, Roberta Blackgoat journeyed all the way from Big Mountain, despite truck problems and spending the night on the road, she really wanted her say at this hearing. Ms. Blackgoat proudly spoke in English before a packed audience of mostly those against the mining, some Forest Service Officials and a few supporters for the mine. Though Ms. Blackgoat's quieted voice due to age and throat problems, she tried to be heard and everyone listened very carefully to hear every word that she said. Occasionally raising her fist in the air, she made her 7 minute talk one that was powerful and well received by the audience. Besides being a resistor to relocation at Big Mountain, she demonstrated that it is a cause of all humanity and that whether she is resisting in Big Mountain, she is also resisting the capitalistic industrialization of the earth and sky.

Thank you for your time.

In the Spirit of Chief Barboncito, Bahe


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17 May 2000

I like to speak about how this mountain, Doo’goh’o’sli’d, is sacred to my people. Also, I want to say that, we do not agree to the mining that is taking place on her Being. We want to see this destruction of her body to stop! This mountain is very important to our religious way of life and ceremonies. Not only is it one of the four sacred mountains that surrounds our Dineh Nations, but it represents the four main posts of our sacred Male Hogan (commonly referred to as the fork-stick frame Hogan). This mountain is the base of the western post, and this post leans to the center of the Hogan circle and connects with the other three posts that come from each of the other sacred mountains. Inside this Hogan is our nations, and our nations is composed the elements of what we use to have traditionally in our homes. The doorway is in the east direction of the Hogan floor, and there, the doorposts are an extension of the fifth and sixth sacred mountains of our nations (Huerfano Mesa and Gobernador Knob).

This Holy Mountain, here, holds many ways of worship like many of the prayer chants and songs originates from within her. From this originating place, it comes into each of our traditional homes out on the lands. How did these songs and chants originated? Well, that involves great detailed stories and to tell it correctly will take much time, and it has to be the appropriate time of the seasons. In short, it comes from within her meaning that she is alive and that she interacts with all the natural forces that surrounds her. She holds great powers and also, certain great powers depend upon her. So, these matters of events and activities make up the characteristics and the variations of our ancient Mountain Chant Ways or more commonly used as, The Hogan Song. The Hogan is very sacred, and they are songs that are included and sung in all ceremonies when they have reached their completion time. Besides all the varies healing and rejuvenation Ways of Ceremonies, this particular mountain songs are also use in celebrations or blessing Ways for a newly built Hogan and for a young teen’s entrance into Womanhood.

So as you could see, it is vital for our Dineh people’s ways that this Holy Mountain be protected from any further desecration like this mining. This mining is just cutting into her flesh, right into her abdomen, and she is in tremendous pain. How would you like if I cut into the outer flesh of your mother while she is still alive? So, this is the way I see it. This butchering of her flesh is only being done to make great profit, and that is all everyone believe in nowadays in this country. Money, Money, Money. No one thinks of how the earth or the sky is sacred anymore. I see this mining as something happening in the name of money, and they care less about our Human beliefs about keeping nature in balance. If you keep mining, you are excavating my peoples’ ancient songs and prayer chants, and this affects us within our home –our nations. Our culture becomes more unbalanced, and we are faced with an unstable society. We begin to lose our religion, respect for one another, and we lose our language. Then, our world, the earth and the sky will follow in these same processes of becoming unbalanced.

This is one reason why I have traveled the country and the world. I see it as walking among the world communities. Telling those who wish to listen that my people’s altars are being ripped up from underneath our feet. Ripped up in front of as we still exist with our prayers and ceremonies. Just like what is happening in my community where Peabody Coal Company is digging up our Altar. Not only that, but we have to wake up everyday to the smell of burning oil, sulfur-smelling dust and a scenery hazed by smoke and dust. We are all sick and modern doctors have no cure for our ailments. But I will continue as long as I can walk and speak out. I not only do this for my Dineh but for all of humanity.

Thank you, very much.

END of Roberta Blackgoat's Statement...


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© January, 2000. All Rights Reserved.


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