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Updated 24 May 2004

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The PATRIOT Act's Impact on Your Rights - ACLU

Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, a panicked Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which has directly infringed on many of the rights and freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights. This new interactive feature summarizes the impact of the PATRIOT Act on some of our most cherished rights.

Main Street America Fights Back

Resolutions opposing the USA PATRIOT Act's erosion of our basic liberties have been passed in 325 communities in 41 states, including four state-wide resolutions. From major cities to rural towns, these communities represent nearly 52 million people. Click to see which communities have taken a stand and how you can pass a resolution in your town.

Big Mountain Resident Famous for HPL Resistance Passes On
by Krista Allen, Navajo Times - 30 MAR 2017
    TUBA CITY—Katherine Smith, a cultural educator, a relocation crusader and resistor from Big Mountain, Ariz., has died. She was 98 years old, according to records, but her family says she was more than 100 years old.
    Mary Katherine Smith, the daughter of Katherine Smith, said her mother passed away at 11:18 a.m. on March 29.
    Behind a fence holding a rifle outside her Hogan, wearing her traditional outfit, is an iconic photograph of Katherine Smith that shows her amid a territorial dispute between the Diné and the Kiis’áanii.
    This Diaspora is also the focus of “Broken Rainbow,” an Oscar-nominated documentary that she took part in.
    Katherine Smith was Tábąąhá, and born for Chíshí Dine’é. Her maternal grandfather was Tł’ízíłání and her paternal grandfather was Naakaii Dine’é.
    Katherine Smith often drew on Diné philosophy to explain her profound connection to her ancestors’ traditional land she called home, and played an indispensable role protecting it when the federal government removed thousands of Diné families from Hopi Partitioned Lands.
    In the mid-summer of 1979, a Bureau of Indian Affairs crew set out to fence her property in Big Mountain – Dziłntsaa in Diné Bizaad – only to find themselves staring into the muzzle of her .22 caliber rifle, according to history. She fired over their heads, and when they scattered, she began pulling apart the fence.
    Katherine Smith at that point in time was arrested on serious charges, only to receive a directed verdict of acquittal from a judge.
“That was just a representation of what she stood for,” Mary Smith said in an interview with the Navajo Times on Wednesday night. “One of her last words … a couple of days ago was, ‘I never sold out. I never sold my land, I never left, I never took payment, and I never got a relocation house. I stayed on my land where I was born, and I feel like I won this battle.’”...  
Tribe Ramps up Freeway Fight over Sacred Mountain Today with Prayer Walk
Ahwatukee Foothills News - 27 SEP 2016
by Paul Maryniak, AFN Executive Editor
    Native Americans are escalating their fight against the South Mountain Freeway with a “peaceful resistance camp” on the Gila River Indian Community side of the mountain and a protest walk this afternoon to a presentation on the highway.
    The camp, called Moadag Thadiwa, also is the staging area for a 10-mile prayer walk that Native American protesters and members of the Ahwatukee-based Protect Arizona’s Resources and Children plan prior to the 6 p.m. freeway meeting conducted at Desert Vista High School by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
    The Native American protestors plan to walk along Pecos Road, eventually meeting up with PARC members as they head toward Desert Vista.
    ADOT has stressed that the meeting will not include questions from the floor in an “open microphone” format. Instead, attendees will have to write questions on cards. Design team representatives also will be on hand for one-on-one discussions at various stations in the school’s multipurpose room....
Ceremony Memorializes Reburial of Indigenous People’s Remains at Cal State Long Beach  
Press-Telegram  -  23 SEP 2016
    Gathering-songs of the Chumash people, sung to the rhythm of a rattling gourd, filled the air Thursday morning at the opening of a ceremony commemorating the reburial of human remains and artifacts belonging to the indigenous Tongva people who inhabited the lands now developed as Cal State Long Beach and surrounding shopping centers and neighborhoods.
    “It’s good to hear the songs of the indigenous people of this land, the place we call Cal State Puvungna, known affectionately as ‘The Beach,’ ” said Craig Stone, director of the American Indian Studies program at the campus officially called Cal State Long Beach....
SENAA International & Louise Benally  -  13 April 2016
   Thank you Friends, Relatives and Supporters! My family got their cattle back today, all except a four month old calf that wasn't branded, they tell my aunt Ruth Benally, 97 years old, "your permit expired, therefore you are illegal with your animals"; then they decide the baby calf wasn't branded, so it can't go with its mother. It is still was nursing. These people are so evil. It's too young to brand.
   We are given 30days to do away with all the animals, cattle, horses and sheep. we will be keeping you posted... — Louise Benally
Dead at 27
The Shocking Truth behind the Police Shooting of Navajo Mom Loreal Tsingine
by Jorge Rivas, FUSION - 11 April 2016
Native Americans living near the Navajo reservation in Arizona are asking why a “big white male” police officer had to shoot a “petite Native woman” five times. Native American leaders in the town of Winslow say police left Loreal Tsingine’s lifeless body on a sidewalk for hours, lying there with bullet wounds on her hand, arm, and neck and exit wounds in her back.

Winslow Police claim the 27-year-old mom, who was shot dead on March 27th, resisted arrest and threatened officers with a pair of scissors. Witnesses recount a much different story.
Hundreds Attend Funeral of Joe Medicine Crow, the Last War Chief of His People,
Who Earned the Title During WWII and Died at 102

Daily Mail - 08 APR 2016
   Prominent state leaders and tribal officials in ceremonial headdresses crowded around the flag-draped coffin of the last surviving war chief of Montana's Crow Indian Tribe.
   At least 700 mourners on Wednesday packed into the one building on the Crow reservation large enough to fit them all, viewing the coffin of Joe Medicine Crow flanked by his World War II uniform and a picture of him in a massive feathered headdress.
   Medicine Crow, who died Sunday at 102, spent decades cataloging Crow history and became a renowned Native American historian who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.
   Medicine Crow attained the title of war chief for a series of deeds performed during combat in World War II. During the war, he wore an eagle feather under his helmet and war paint under his uniform.

APRIL 2016

Impoundments: Big Mountain Under Siege Again
Censored News - 07 APR 2016
   We are writing to report more attacks against the communities of Black Mesa in the form of livestock impoundments.
   One Big Mountain resister who had several cattle impounded in this latest round says:

"They are asking $435 per cow per day and they are even counting calves that are less than a month old. They aren't being fed hay.
They run all the animals with four runners and some cows got separated from the calves and left behind. Stop abusing the animals,
Tell the Hopi Rangers. End the harassment. Where are our human rights? Our animals need their rights. They don't need to be pinned up and abused. Stop separating the calves from their mothers.
My animals have been here for many generations. They said we are looking for trespassers but these animals are not trespassers, they have always been here."--Big Mountain Resister (who they are calling trespasser)

   Louise Benally, of Big Mountain, made this statement:
   "We are asking you to take action. Big Mountain is under siege again....

Photos of Navajo Who Have Refused to Leave Their Land
VICE  - 08 SEP 2015

   Big Mountain is a time-soaked corner of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, a high-desert plateau where the Hopi and Navajo tribes have lived for centuries—but the natives are being forced out by the US government in an eviction process which began 50 years ago and continues to this day.

   Also called Black Mesa, the plateau follows the outline of a prehistoric lake, and over the long millennia the life supported by the water decayed to form the largest coal deposit in the US. ...

Louise Benally: Big Mountain Terrorized as Peabody Coal Goes Bankrupt
Censored News - 06 APR 2016

Benally Cattle Seized at Big Mountain
US holds Dineh hostage with huge fees to release cattle
by Louise Benally

    We are asking you to take action. Big Mountain is under siege again because Peabody Coal is losing its income from coal mining, so it is pressuring the tribal government to attack its own people. We've been opposed to the mining since 1974 when PL 93-531 was passed. Now with the coal companies collapsing they are trying to take the only resource we have, which is our animals to eat and sell.

   They are stealing our livelihood away and holding them in pens and charging us a lot of money and refusing to bring them back to people's homes....

Big Mountain Resistance Region, BIA-Hopi Impound Animals
Censored News - 06 APR 2016
Photos Cattle Seizure at Big Mountain
by NaBahii Keediniihii
   April 5, 2016 - Old Dams at Big Mountain - Images are a bit unclear as to what animals are being rounded up but its very likely horses. No immediate information came with the photos but one blurb states, "four stock trailers were filled with cattle." Other images seem to show police on horseback chasing horses in the distance. Invasion on traditional Dineh territory and areas of the 40 years of resistance in progress!
   All major (dirt) routes within the Dineh resistance areas were recently improved, a sign of range policing. These are mere attacks by progressive Hopis (U.S.-supported corporate tribal board) against Dineh existence, genocidal tactics to obliterate the last of Dineh Big Mtn history and the ancient Dineh-Hopi cultural relations. Underlining these lands are not only coal but the so-called Mancos Shale (named after Mancos, CO)...
BIA Hopi Rangers Seized Big Mountain Cattle
Censored News - 06 APR 2016
    April 6, 2016 – Big Mountain Dineh Bikeyah: Today, there are up to 40 to 45 cattle impounded at an Indian police stockade on the Hopi Indian reservation. They are being withheld from Dineh (Navajos) owners unless they pay several hundreds of dollars per head, including daily fees. These cattle were confiscated on April 5th in the southeastern portion of the Big Mountain area, lands partitioned in 1977 to the Hopi Tribe by the U.S. government,  despite the historical residency by Dineh herders and farmers. The Hopi Tribe's Office of Natural Resource Protection and Enforcement, backed by multi-agency law enforcement personnel, converged on this little corner of the now contested region that has, in the past, seen hostile confrontations....
Navajo, Hopi Relocation Effort Could End Soon, Decades After It Started
Navajo-Hopi Observer -- 09 MAR 2016

   WASHINGTON - After decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars, the end could be in sight for the federal office charged with relocating Navajo and Hopi families in a land dispute between the two tribes.
   The director of the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation told a House panel Feb. 26 that he expects to have just over 100 families that will have to be dealt with in the next two years, and predicted he will make his final budget request for fiscal 2018.
   Lawmakers and tribal officials alike welcomed that targeted end date - but expressed concern that it will actually happen....

Navajo President Calls for Federal Investigation into Police Shooting of Loreal Tsingine
Censored News - 06 APR 2016


   WINSLOW - Before a crowd of several hundred who had gathered to memorialize the life of Loreal Tsingine, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye called for the City of Winslow to handle the investigation of Tsingine's shooting in an unbiased and appropriate manner.
    Tsingine was shot five times on Easter Sunday as she struggled with a police officer who tried to apprehend her in response to an alert of a shoplifting that had taken place at a local convenience store....

Police Killing of Navajo Woman at Hands of Winslow Officer Sparks Outcry
Azcentral  -  01 APR 2016

   A Winslow police officer's fatal shooting of a woman suspected of shoplifting a case of beer has sparked outrage in Arizona and elsewhere.
   Members of the Navajo Nation, whose reservation borders Winslow, say 27-year-old Loreal Tsingine suffered discrimination and excessive force and are demanding that the officer's name be released....

Medicine Crow, One of the Last Links to Battle of Bighorn, Dies at 102
TheGuardian - 04 APR 2016
   Joseph Medicine Crow, the acclaimed Native American historian, second world war veteran and last surviving war chief of Montana’s Crow tribe, has died aged 102.
   Medicine Crow, who was raised by his grandparents in a log house in a rural area of the Crow Reservation near Lodge Grass, Montana, wore his war paint beneath his second world war uniform....
Honoring the Last Surviving War Chief – Joe Medicine Crow
PowWows.com - 05 APR 2016
   The loss of any of our elders is tough, but this one is especially heartbreaking. As many news outlets across Indian Country have reported, the last surviving Crow war chief, Joseph Medicine Crow, has passed away. He was 102.
   In this post from Matthew Brown with the Associated Press, he details Medicine Crow’s early life.
   “A member of the Crow Tribe’s Whistling Water clan, Medicine Crow was raised by his grandparents in a log house in a rural area of the Crow Reservation near Lodge Grass, Montana....

Photo: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Thanksgiving on the reservation: Group provides support to Navajos and Hopis in preparation for winter
by Stephen Baxter -- Santa Cruz Sentinel, NOVEMBER 24, 2010
ROCKY RIDGE, Ariz. - More pickups rumbled along the dusty dirt roads of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Indian Reservation this week to deliver food and firewood to residents. More logs were split and stacked in front of homes, and more roofs were fixed to keep out the windblown snow of the high-desert winter.

A group of about 70 volunteers and activists from around the country participated in an annual Thanksgiving week gathering here called Black Mesa Indigenous Support, including 18 young people from Santa Cruz.

"A really solid group came together," said Cat Philips an organizer of the Santa Cruz contingent. "Everyone contributed."

The trip aimed to help the Navajos prepare for winter because many of them live without electricity and running water. Many also face relocation because of a land dispute that stems from the 1970s....

Let there be light
Black Mesa residents revel in new-found power
by Kathy Helms, Diné Bureau, Gallup Independent, MAY 23, 2009
  BLACK MESA, Ariz. — In all of Lillie Chief’s 84 years, one of the most amazing things she has witnessed is being able to flip a switch on the wall and watch her home light up instantaneously. It is the first time in her life that she has had electricity.
  “Now I can see inside here,” she told Navajo Tribal Utility Authority representatives during a May 12 visit to her home atop Black Mesa.
  The kerosene lamps she once used have now been stashed in various corners of the home, and a new electric stove sits in the corner wrapped in plastic, still waiting to be hooked up. A propane stove used for cooking meals sits near the kitchen door. But the new refrigerator her children bought for her can be heard humming away in the kitchen....

Hopis ready nuke suit
by Cindy Cole, Arizona Daily Sun, MAY 22, 2009
  After 12 years of asking various federal agencies to clean up a federal dump they contend is leaching radioactive waste into the local aquifer, the Hopi Tribe is tired of waiting for action.
  The Hopi Tribe filed a notice of intent to sue Thursday, stating that a plume containing uranium and other contaminants leaching from an open dump near Tuba City was within 2,500 feet of contaminating water supplies for two Hopi villages. The pollution left in the unlined dump -- a dump created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- is an "imminent and substantial" threat to public health and the environment, and is a result of multiple federal agencies approving Cold War-era mining and milling operations that have polluted multiple landscapes in Arizona, the tribe asserted.
  The Navajo Nation has already filed a notice that they intend to sue over the same issue....

Churchrock cleanup begins
URI assessment looks for radiation hot spots
by Kathy Helms, Diné Bureau, Gallup Independent, MAY 5, 2009
  CHURCHROCK — Uranium Resources Inc. and Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency began a weeklong assessment Monday of Section 17 in Churchrock where its subsidiary, Hydro Resources Inc., has proposed in situ mining of uranium.
  Rick Van Horn, chief operating officer for URI/HRI, said Tuesday that the two entities are looking at what the radiation values are and how they impact the air, soils, and water in the area of Section 17.
  As part of the field work,0D background levels will be established under the review of Navajo EPA. “We have people that are looking over our shoulders providing oversight on-site, real time, and that will be part of the data set that we collect,” Van Horn said....

'We were denied'
Groups appeal U.S. decision to meld Black Mesa Mine with Kayenta mine permit
by Cindy Yurth, Tséyi' Bureau, Navajo Times, JANUARY 29, 2009
  CHINLE - A coalition of tribal and environmental groups Jan. 22 filed an appeal seeking to reverse the U.S. Office of Surface Mining's recent decision to incorporate the idle Black Meas Coal Mine into Peabody' Western Coal Co.'s existing life-of-mine permit for its Kayenta Mine.
  Citing the impacts as diverse as the spiritual desecration of the mesa, ground water depletion and the eventual contribution to global warming caused by burning the estimated 670 million tons of coal left in Black Mesa, the coalition is asking the U.S. Interior Department to reconsider its Dec. 22 decision.
  The appeal was filed with Interior's Office of Hearings and Appeals by the Enrgy Minerals Law Center in Durango, Colo....

Going green for Navajo is all natural
by Karen Francis, Diné Bureau, Gallup Independent, JANUARY 19, 2009
  WINDOW ROCK - The tradition of the Navajo people long ago was to live a sustainable life in harmony with the earth.
  Navajo people would tend to the cornfields to provide nourishment and build hogans out of natural materials for shelter.
  So today’s Navajo Green Job initiative builds upon the traditions of the Diné, presenters said during the Power Shift to Navajo Green Jobs community summit Saturday at the Navajo Nation Museum....

Feds approve Black Mesa life-of-mine permit
by Cindy Yurth, TSÉYI Bureau, Navajo Times, JANUARY 8, 2009
  CHINLE – In a move that surprised no one, the U.S. Office of Surface Mining gave Peabody Western Coal Co. a Christmas present, approving the company's application to roll the closed Black Mesa Mine into the life-of-mine permit for the Kayenta Mine.
  The record of decision, available for download at www.wrcc.osmre.gov/, was published Dec. 22.
  Peabody's spokeswoman Beth Sutton said the move gives the company more "flexibility" in the use of its coal leases, although any new mining in the Black Mesa Complex, as the incorporated leases are being called, will still have to be approved by OSM....

Navajo, Hopi citizens vow to stop Peabody coal mine expansion
by Billy Parish, Native Times, JANUARY 2009
  FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. - Two days before Christmas, officials from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining have granted a permit to Peabody Coal Company to expand their mining operations on Navajo and Hopi lands, despite opposition from local communities and problems with the permitting process including lack of adequate time for public comment on a significant revision to the permit, insufficient environmental review, and instability in the Hopi government preventing their legitimate participation in the process. OSM's "Record of Decision" is the final stage of the permitting process for the proposed "Black Mesa Project," which would grant Peabody Coal Company a life-of-mine permit for the "Black Mesa Complex" in northern Arizona. Tribal citizens protest the expanding mining operations of Peabody Coal Company.
  Black Mesa Water Coalition, a Navajo and Hopi citizens organization working on indigenous sovereignty and environmental protection, has vowed to stop Peabody from causing further harm to Black Mesa. “We are looking into our options for how to stop this process from moving forward, including legal action. The permitting process was flawed and clearly rushed through before President Bush leaves office,” said Enei Begaye, Co-Director of Black Mesa Water Coalition....

The Acjachemen's victory
The Acjachemen quietly marked the win against the Foothill South toll road by honoring land that will not be disturbed.
by Karin Klein, Los Angeles Times, DECEMBER 27, 2008
  On the chilly morning of the winter solstice last Sunday, the sun was just cresting the ridgeline of San Mateo Canyon as the Acjachemen talking circle started. Twenty or so people stood around a campfire. They passed a smoking bundle of dried white sage from hand to hand, then took turns speaking.
  But rather than the cycle of seasons, the topic on everyone's mind was that they had won, they who are not accustomed to winning. The ground on which they stood, site of an Acjachemen village that flourished for more than 8,000 years, would not be traversed by a turnpike. Not likely, anyway, after the federal government three days earlier rejected an appeal to build the Foothill South toll road through San Onofre State Beach....

American Indians threaten suit over Peabody’s Arizona mine
Trend News, DECEMBER 24, 2008
  American Indian tribes are threatening legal action to challenge a federal permit allowing Peabody Energy Co. to extend mining on Navajo and Hopi lands, Bloomberg reported....

Peabody to combine mines, upsetting tribes
by Kelsey Volkmann, St. Louis Business Journal, DECEMBER 23, 2008
  Despite activists’ and tribal objections, the federal agency that regulates surface mining approved a permit revision that combines the coal reserves and facilities of Peabody Energy’s two Arizona coal mines.
  The permit, approved Monday by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, covers Peabody’s Kayenta Mine and now-closed Black Mesa mine.
  The permit runs through 2026, and the possibility of more mining at the site has tribes threatening to file a lawsuit....

On December 22, 2008, the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation quietly made known their record of decision on the Black Mesa Project, seven days after the promised release date for this information. Their "record of decision" is made in five parts, which include the following:
  Endangered Species Act
  Cumulative Hydrologic Impact Assessment
  Technical Analyses

Social and Human Rights Questions Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Information concerning indigenous issues requested by Economic and Social Council, Report of the Secretary-General, UN Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights.