Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In the Spirit of Big Mountain at Alcatraz Island: 'We Discovered ColumBUSH'

In the Spirit of Big Mountain at Alcatraz Island: “We Discovered ColumBUSH!”

By Sheep Dog Nation Rocks
Photos: Longest Walk 1978 by Beverly Powless

October 14, 2008 When the opportunity came along for me to take time off work and go to the San Francisco Bay Area, I decided that I have to attend the Sunrise ceremony to honor the Longest Walk participants from 1978 and 2008, and join my indigenous relatives and other non-Native allies. I particularly wanted to remember and honor my mother, Zhonnie Chii Diil’ Katenay, who passed on into the spirit world eleven months ago. My mom has been on Alcatraz Island before for two “Thanksgiving holiday” events.
My dad, Jon Keediniihii, told me before I went to the Bay Area and Alcatraz that, he went once but my mom had been to Alcatraz twice: “It has been years ago that we took a boat filled with mostly Indian people and we went out to ‘a small piece of earth’ that was situated in the middle of a large bay. The people made a fire and everyone gathered in a circle around that fire, and your mom was asked to do a prayer for that special gathering of nations. Mom made a beautiful and strong prayer as she always did. After the ceremonies on ‘that little land,’ the late Arlene Hamilton told us that a family from the Berkeley hills had invited us to a feast, and so we all went up into the hills that were across from the city of San Francisco. That was how my travel went back then with Arlene and your mom. Now, it is good to hear that the Indians are still returning to ‘that little piece of land’ to do the ceremonies.”
What is happening at Big Mountain today is a traditional struggle to resist US policies of human removal and corporate occupation by Peabody Western Coal Company. First, image yourself thinking about your ancestry whether it happens to be Celtic, German, Slavic, Irish, or indigenous of Turtle Island. Think about them as they might have seen their elders and how those ancestral elders might have tried to stay on the lands, to keep the language, to continue farming, and to freely hunt game. Then at the same time a greedy empire with military-might is forcibly taking over their lands and sometime back in that history, your ancestors are witnessing the loss of sovereignty and the control of their own cultural and ritual destinies. Today, this is the very experience that is taking place at Big Mountain.
Since my childhood, I have seen the rapid changes in our indigenous lives at Big Mountain. Once upon a time, the mode of travel was mostly by horses and horse-drawn wagons even though there were occasional automobiles. The Dineh of Big Mountain were still having their large ceremonial gatherings, and communities were overseen by the authorities of the Clan Mothers. That was just over forty years ago! Today our youth do not speak the language, U.S. laws prohibit us from gathering the herbs, spring water, tobacco, and the necessary minerals for the endangered healing ceremonials that we try to conduct. The morning twilight and the evening twilight that we still pray to today at Big Mountain are tainted and obstructed by brown haze of global, industrial pollution. There is only a very few of us left on Big Mountain, and our aging elders and matriarchs are trying their best to encourage us to keep up the fight for mother earth and the future.
The U.S. official story continues to broadcast the same lies about American history like about that starving, filthy, and diseased pirate, Christopher Columbus. When are we going to wake up to the 516 years of deception that ColumBUSH was good for the new world? What Columbus did, after he was nurtured back to health by the aboriginal peoples, still continues. At Big Mountain, Peabody Western Coal Company along with John “Wayne” McCain have re-sharpen their swords to further threaten the traditional existence of the Dineh and Hopis. McCain and Peabody also have their $24 worth of glass beads to give out to the progressive, local tribal officials to sell out Dineh-Hopi ancestral lands for coal mining and aquifer extraction. The McCain Bill, Senate Bill S1003 still waits for reintroduction so that it will complete, once and for all, the relocation program of 35 traditional Dineh families off Big Mountain. Peabody also expects to have its new and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) approved before Bush leaves the presidency. This FEIS will facilitate large-scale mine expansions on a monumental level.
The future of all humanity could be in jeopardy —big time. The last human-connection to mother earth that is left within the U.S. maybe severed at Big Mountain. Peabody and major utility companies of the western states will be emitting millions of tons of toxic pollution and greenhouse gases within the next two and half years, in addition to what is in the atmosphere already. How can (they) get away with this, you might ask? Deception, and no “free speech” or “right to vote.” The cover-up used here was that the U.S. government said “it had to settle an Indian land dispute” which was supposedly happening between the poor nations of the Hopi and Black Mesa Dineh. If that deception is so true and if you know something about American Indian Policies then, this would be the very time in the history of U.S. – Indian relation that the Indians were able to invest into the manipulation of the U.S. Congress. But remember that the Dineh and these Hopis were poor and had no means to be financially influential.
© 2008 Sheep Dog Nation Rocks

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducated the person who learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours!”
--Cesar Chavez, (activist & educator)

No comments:

Censored News Special Edition

Censored News Blog Radio

Donate to Censored News

. Censored News is free of advertising and has no sponsors.

Censored News Homepage

About Censored News

Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008: www.earthcycles.net/
COPYRIGHTS All material is copyrighted by the author or photographer. Please contact each contributor for reprint permission. brendanorrell@gmail.com
Audios may not be sold or used for commercial purposes.

"O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold." --Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Faith