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Originally Published 08 SEPT 2000

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


Roberta Blackgoat's Page


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"Is Anyone Listening?" Roberta Blackgoat's Message to the World
This month's column was provided by Bo Peep in his February VFH 10 addendum.
Used with prior agreement



This land is a sacred land. The Creator gave it to us to protect it with song and prayers Not only for the Dine People but for all the Universe. The Holy People were praying to the Creator in a sacred hogan and when the praying was done, the Creator blew the four poles that held the hogan together into mountains, creating a space for the Dine. These poles became four sacred mountains in four different cardinal points: Mount Blanca, Mountain Taylor, the San Francisco Peaks, and Mount Hesperus. It is said that when this new hogan was completed it was covered with dirt which the Creator manifested as a rainbow. The Dine People have the spiritual mission to protect this land in order to keep the whole universe in balance. Near the center of the sacred hogan, that is our homeland, is Big Mountain which is considered our altar, where people from the world can come to be healed. The first Navajo words we were taught as children were prayers and that was made it possible for their success in protecting our land, and has allowed us to remain here. Even the Navajo Code Talkers in World War II protected this land using the Navajo language, using our prayer. 

Religion is our road, the corn pollen path. It is a road that we have made since childhood. When we rise every morning we say our prayers and we pray throughout the day. Everything one does is a prayer. We arise with it and with it learn to walk. This is our teaching that is now being taken away from us. 


Culture is our entire livelihood. All parts of our culture have their prayers and songs. We do not grab these ideas from nothing. Even weaving, farming all have prayers. The corn pollen was specifically given to us so long ago. The different types of corn, white, blue, yellow and black all come from prayers. We pray for them and we pray with them. For the traditional Dineh, weaving is an act of soul. When the Earth was created Spider Man taught us how to fashion the loom incorporating the Earth, the sky and the rain. Spider Woman taught us how to weave using symbols, colors, of the natural environment. Since the beginning of time, we have fashioned our clothes with songs, prayers and praise, with heart, spirit and with soul. 


We live on land. The man's law is not our law. Nature, food and the way we live is our law. The plans to disrupt and dig out places that were sacred sites are against the Creator's law. Our great ancestors are buried all over, they have become sand, they have become the mountains and their spiritual presence is still here to guide us. When Navajos were exiled to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico in 1864 it was an attempt to steal what we had, to steal from our souls the depth of who we are. Now it's occurring again.

The Holy People gave us this land without any permits. Now there are restrictions on chopping wood, planting and sheep herding. The Long Walk is still going on. We resist in order to keep this sacred land in place. We are doing this for our children. If we are being relocated we will not only lose our land, we lose our culture, our religion and we will not have anything to leave to our grandchildren to keep our tradition alive. Let our culture live, let our people herd sheep to understand the significance of the teachings that the land gives to us. 

Now the government is breaking the whole belief, destroying our Mother Earth. Everything that man made, including the paper used to make money comes from her, now they've turned it around and using it to work against her. We need a free country so she can be healed. The minerals that is being taken out of Mother Earth is her body. The coal is her liver, uranium is her lungs and heart by which she breathes. The Creator has told us we MUST look after the land in between the four sacred mountains, so if they want us Dine people to move off our sacred land they should SUE THE CREATOR.

There are some very important things coming up in the next few months and I would ask your support for them. On February 22nd there are hearings of the Manybeads lawsuit being held in San Francisco. It is important that many people from the land attend, so gas money and rides are desperately needed to get the people from here to San Francisco and back. Anyone wishing to help should contact Louise Benally on . In San Francisco there will be demos/benefits held, and the people from the land will need help with accommodations. Anyone wishing to help in this way should contact the International Indian Treaty Council on (415) 641 4482, or fax (415) 641 1298.

From March 20th to April 15th there is an Indigenous Peoples Rights conference being held in Geneva, Switzerland. Funds are again desperately needed to allow Louise Benally and Arlene Hamilton to attend. I am told that if some money can be gotten within the next week then tickets can be gotten for $500 each. Please contact Louise Benally on if you want to help. It is important that the people of the land have their voices heard at both these events.


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And now, something completely different. A View From The Hogan
Advertising Special..............

Just before her accident, Roberta had finished yet another rug, so I offered to try and auction it on the Net for her. I am convinced that the prices she asks for her rugs are way below what they are actually worth, so this is a chance to find out what the "market" will bear. The rug is a striking design in red, black, gray, white, and tan, and measures approximately 2 feet square. Bear in mind that because of her broken wrist, it will be a while till another Roberta Blackgoat rug is available, and also bear in mind that over 75 years of weaving experience has gone into this rug. A photo of the rug is shown at the end of this message. Any serious offers should be made to this email address, and highest bid gets it.

Visitors are now starting to leave the land and head back out into Babble-On. My advice to all of you who were here, and to those who have not come yet, is to come back to the land when things are quieter.... your presence will be useful, and you can take the sheep out for a few days and get to know and feel the land as it normally is.

There is a little snow falling right now, but so far we are still way below the levels of precipitation needed. Lambing is peaking. yesterday 3 sets of twins were born to the flock. Soon we will need help with preparing the cornfields and gardens, and then shearing time is upon us. Good reliable help is always needed.

Once again, many thanks to all of you, especially all the readers of VFH that I have recently met here.

For all my relations

BoPeep. (reachable via


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This page and all graphics, unless otherwise noted, were created by Al Swilling.
The author is a member of

The HTML Writers Guild

© January, 2000. All Rights Reserved.


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