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Originally Published SEPT 2000

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

   

   

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This month's column was provided by Bo Peep in VFH 11.
Used with prior agreement

 

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STATEMENT BY ROBERTA BLACKGOAT

Feb 2000

My name is Roberta Blackgoat. I am of the Bitterwater Clan, born for Salt Clan. I was born October 1917, thus I am 83 years old.

I am still living on the land that I was born on and the land that my ancestors passed on to me. Oral history tells that this land was given to us by the Holy People; boundaries drawn with prayers and ceremonies between thye sacred mountains with instructions to take care of the land. The four sacred mountains encompass a hogan. The area we are on, Big Mountain, is the altar in the hogan. Dzil leezh (Mountain Bundles) were made to bind us to the earth. The bundles have hooghan biyiin (hogan song) and dzil biyiin (Mountain song) that have been handed down, unchanged through the generations. That is the road to life. Today's colonialist educational system has disturbed these precise instructions.

Our bundle is not respected by the relocation law (PL 93-531) nor by the non-indian society. Our religion is disregarded, discounted and invalidated by laws devoid of understanding of the spiritual ties to land and life.

The U.S. government enlists our Native Americans to serve for this country's ideals. They are using them to protect liberty and justice for their elite few. Our Dine language was even used in World War II to help turn the tide of the war in the South Pacific.

The exploitation of Mother Earth's natural resources is destruction of sacred land and genocide of Indigenous/Dine people. We further grieve the loss of land by Presidential decrees to establish National Monuments. Instead, these lands should be given back to the rightful owners/guardians, the Native Americans.

Many of my relatives have been relocated to land contaminated with radioactive waste. The Navajo Hopi Indian Relocation Commission is still actively pressuring Dine facing relocation to move there. Residents have to buy and transport potable water. Many of the relocatees have died of suicide, homicide, loneliness and health reasons. My relatives are in concentration camps similar to Fort Sumner and Auschwitz. The present action of the U.S. government is a historical repeat of the Long Walk of 1864-1868, when eight thousand Dine people perished.

I am appealing to the American public and citizens of the world to protest our demise and eventually repeal Public Law 93-531 (Navajo-Hopi Indian resettlement Act of 1974) and any subsequent genocidal laws. Your hard earned tax dollars fund these atrocities as well as expanding the police state in America. This fleecing of America is happening unbeknownst to you and your elected leaders. However, a few are even architects of these policies of destruction.

All I want is public support to assist our valiant struggle to maintain our sovereign sustainable lifestyle; free to carry on with our lives, culture and traditions. I want our youth to utilize the land and carry on Dine instructions and our religious traditions. Join me and my Dine people in our quest for freedom and human rights.

I choose to remain on my ancestral lands. If they want to relocate me, they have to "SUE THE CREATOR!" first, because the Creator is the one that put us here.

 

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This page and all graphics were created by Al Swilling
The author is a member of

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(c) January, 2000. All Rights Reserved.

 

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