ride for renewable energy begins today
By Kathy Helms, Diné
BURNHAM — In 2005, Delegate Leonard
Chee and his band of elders protesting the use of C-aquifer
water the Black Mesa Project, along with protesters
from Black Mesa, and did not receive the warmest of
welcomes when they joined with other delegates on the
annual Navajo Nation Council horse ride.
As a matter of fact, Chee and protesters
from Leupp and Black Mesa, including grandmas who walked
the entire way in temperatures well over 100 degrees,
eventually branched off from the other riders they met
in the vicinity of Dilkon, so as not to mix political
Eventually, however, all riders converged
on Defiance Plateau, giving the appearance of one big
happy family as they rode the final downhill stretch
into Window Rock.
The annual Council ride, which honors
past, present and future leaders, is designed for delegates
to meet first-hand and hear the concerns of people living
along the various routes they take to Window Rock.
But like Chee and his group which preceded
them, Dooda' Desert Rock Campaign members might be coolly
received by Navajo Nation Council riders who support
the 1,500 megawatt coal-fired plant as they journey
their separate ways this week on horseback to Window
However, considering the opposition
they have received thus far in their battle against
the Sithe Global Power/Din Power Authority project,
that's no big deterrent as they head out this morning
to raise public awareness for renewable energy.
Supporters of the Dooda' Desert Rock
Campaign (NO Desert Rock Energy Project) left the Dooda'
campsite in Burnham around 5 a.m. today to participate
in a four-day trail ride to the Navajo Nation Council
Chambers in Window Rock.
This ride represents one direction in
a larger, four-direction ride involving organizations,
individuals, and communities from Flagstaff to Albuquerque
and Blue Gap to Burnham, according to Elouise Brown,
president of Dooda' Desert Rock.
"The purpose of the ride is to
raise the public's awareness of the negative effects
of fossil fuel energy development and the urgent need
for investment in renewable energy alternatives, such
as solar and wind power, on the Navajo Nation,"
Dooda' Desert Rock riders coming from
the north will be drawing attention to the proposed
Desert Rock Energy Project, slated for San Juan County,
N.M., and their community-based campaign to stop it.
"Our ride will raise awareness
about this issue along the way, as well as when we join
other riders in Window Rock," Brown said. "We
are doing this trail ride to urge Navajo Nation leaders
to listen to us and take our message back to their communities,"
"We hope that Council delegates
will oppose the Desert Rock Project and encourage all
chapter houses to pass resolutions opposing this proposed
power plant," she said.
The riders also will be distributing
fliers announcing upcoming dates of public hearings
on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and encouraging
the public to attend and submit comments to the Bureau
of Indian Affairs.
The broader "Go Renewable Energy"
Ride, with riders coming from the four directions, will
culminate in a press conference at 8 a.m. Monday at
the Navajo Nation Council Chambers for the opening of
the Council's Summer Session.
The public and media are invited to
join the Dooda' Desert Rock riders at any point along
The first in a series of public meeting
on the Desert Rock EIS begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Farmington
Civic Center. Meetings are set July 18 in Cortez and
Durango, July 19 in Albuquerque, July 20 in Santa Fe,
July 23 in Shiprock and Nenahnezad, and July 24 in Burnham