What is particularly troubling is the lack of response to the news that the charges against the Grandmothers, stemming from their arrests in July 2001, at Sun Dance, were dismissed finally, charges that never should have been leveled against them. Why now the silence? Justice was done, a long time in coming but still, after a couple days, nothing. What happened to all the outrage at the time of their arrests? What has happened to the supporters?
Suffice it to say, there were a few who rejoiced at this news, who offered prayers of thanksgiving, those who steadfastly continue their support, not doing this for themselves but for others, for the People. Still they await the outcome of Arrick Crittendon's trial, another unjustly charged.
The next day two articles appeared in the Flagstaff newspaper, the same one which only a few days before was forced to print an apology to answer to charges of racism because of an editorial, which has, as of this point, drawn 103 comments. The news about the Grandmothers appeared as a small link under another much larger one that seemed to celebrate the new acquisition of the Hopi in Flagstaff. There has been response to this Hopi report about their new acquisition, another shopping complex. The news about the Grandmothers has brought no comment at all, only silence; no one has reacted.
It seems that the supporters have gone off in search of other pursuits, because it is quiet. Maybe the reason is because the impending relocation did not take place in February 2000. Perhaps this is not the "popular" issue for those who were there for a minute but have since disappeared. Entire groups have dissipated, whether it be due to internal struggles, or just dissolution because perhaps they thought everything's going to be okay, because the Navajo Tribal Council has acted like it was concerned about the welfare of the Dine'h. But what have they done really? Nothing. I wonder what their motives really were, these who called themselves supporters.
Still there is the need on the land by those who remain at Big Mountain. These needs seem to be ignored by those others. These are basic needs -- help with herding sheep, firewood, hauling water. The local volunteer organization, BMIS, is in need of transportation, since what they have used in the past is now out of commission. What happened to all the food runs? The hay runs? What happened to the support? Is this all to be forgotten?
These needs will not disappear nor will the struggle of the Dine'h to remain on their ancestral lands. There are those of us who will continue to stand by them doing whatever we can to help. More need to come back into the fold. This is not something that will disappear. It has gone on for much too long now. Prayers will also continue here.
But I'm just a simple supporter. What do I know?
copyright 7 March 2002, by Sara Hayes