Fwd: Big Mtn

Larry London london at metalab.unc.edu
Thu Jul 15 02:08:33 EDT 1999

Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 22:16:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: Clea A Woelfle-Erskine <cawF95 at hampshire.edu>
To: Permacltur at aol.com, Erskinep at aol.com, LIZARDM at aol.com,
GWoelfle at aol.com,
        StuPort at aol.com, Bill Carpenter <CARPENTR at ecology.coa.edu>,
        Critical Mess Media Collective <messmedia at rootmedia.org>,
        pam davis <opalbright at hotmail.com>,
        Sara Zia Ebrahimi <sazF95 at hampshire.edu>,
        Lisa Gonzalves <lgonzalves at powerlight.com>,
        Morgan E Kennedy <mekF95 at hamp.hampshire.edu>,
        Laura Lincoln <llincoln at antioch-college.edu>,
        Emily B Nepon <ebnF95 at hamp.hampshire.edu>,
        Shon Punk <shonpunk at hotmail.com>,
        Bruce A Rockwell <scorch at cats.ucsc.edu>,
        Dalia Sapon-Shevin <dalias at earth.goddard.edu>,
        Aura Woelfle <auradror at wxs.nl>
Subject: Big Mtn (fwd)

Hi y'all,

ok so there's some people on this list I haven't seen or spoken with for
quite some time & I hope you all are well.  This is some info from my
friend Jake @ Big Mountain who herds sheep for Roberta Blackgoat.  Please
forward it to anyone who has the patience to read it & who might be
inspired pissed off or moved by it.  Also I know you all are really well
connected, I mean world wide! so feel free to forward to lists or

I myself am still in Santa Fe-- probably either gettng a ride back to oak
town tehis weekend or going south for a bit.

in transit,


p.s. if you are bugged by the length of these messages i'll take you off
the list.

"The shoes are ready but the feet are dragging behind."

 ---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 10:25:34 MST
From: Jake Davies <unclejake74 at hotmail.com>
To: clearwaterfnb at hotmail.com
Subject: Big Mtn

On the 14th April, 1999, Roberta Blackgoat made the following statement
she wishes to be distributed. Roberta is an 82 year old Navajo Elder and
one of the resisters at Black Mesa under threat of imminent eviction.

My name is Roberta Blackgoat, I am speaking to you from Thin Rock Mesa,
place where I live, the place where I've been born, and raised, and been
taught how to live in this area.
For twenty five years I've been dealing with the government trying to move
me off my ancestral lands. My great, great ancestors have been born here,
and they've been buried in this area, around here there is a lot of my
ancestors graveyard sites.
My grandfather had taught me how to care for life on the land in the
ways, with the sacred prayers and the sacred songs, and he told me how in
the very beginning the world was created and how the Great Spirit has
surveyed it for the Dine people in this area, between the Sacred
Mount Blanca in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, San Francisco peaks
Arizona, and Mount Hesperus in Colorado. Between these four Sacred
is a room for the Dine people, where it has been made like a church, and
out on the west side, by the San Francisco Peaks, inside the room is our
And this is the main point, that we are being told to move off the land
This is our altar that we can't give up. We can't sell it, we can't buy
we just have to take care of it and have people live in this area.
And now we're being told to move off from our altar.
This is why I really need it to be understood. That the government.
what they want this land for is what the Mother earth is living on. She is
supposed to have a liver, and lungs, and a heart, and all these things are
what we are sitting on. Just like our bodies, the Mother Earth has
organs, these are the precious and valuable minerals that she needs, and
so, all the equipment and things they make, all our food, even ourselves
made out of the Mother Earth, and even money is a part of her body that
been turned into money. And now the greed is always working against our
Mother Earth, and Mother Earth is suffering.
We've been hearing a lot about tornadoes, and earthquakes,.. a lot of
these warnings have been going on. That's Her breath, because She is
suffering and her breath is giving us warnings.
These are the main things that we need to have understood. That the people
need to be allowed to live in the way that they have been all their lives.
PLEASE.. I am wanting to have this understood..by writing letters to the
Congressional leaders, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and all these people
know we have a pain feeling for our Mother Earth. She's getting more
surgery, and no patch to it. It's just when a human being has surgery, and
something is patched, but I don't believe Mother earth has any patches,
just keep on killing her more and more.
I believe more understanding is needed in this way. I am just needing for
to be heard. I am not begging for money or anything, but I'm really
hanging on 
to the world for my Dine people and every living thing. There is a great
on the mountains, the wildlife people are living there, and the people
that fly, 
they live on the trees, and they all are losing their homes and, and the
of the wildlife four-legged people. And even the water, the people that
live in 
the water are struggling with all the pollution, and the sickness in the
of the water, and also all the human beings, us indians, all the different
tribes, they are all facing the same struggles with their land and their
food, they are suffering also, not just the Navajos are suffering, it's
indians living in this Indian Country are suffering.
I do hope to be having a great help from all you people who are aware, by
having you write to President Clinton, and Also Senator McLain, and Bruce
Babbitt. Please let them have their hearts to be touched.
I have heard of the Whitemans story, how the Creator made the first man,
and He saw that he was lonely and so He created a woman for him, and He
told them that all the things they could see were for them, BUT they must
not eat the apple on the tree, so it is for us Dine people,.. the Creator
has told us we MUST look after the land in between the four sacred
so write to the politicians and tell them that if they want us Dine people 
to move off our sacred land they should SUE THE CREATOR.
I think this will be all.

Thank you.

After a short break Roberta decided to speak some more.

This is Roberta Blackgoat, and I've been travelling for my people for all
these years, over twenty years now. Now is my time to give you some of my 
presentation to be sent out to those people who are aware of my struggling 
on this land where I was born and been raised.
We are being told that we have to move off, but we are struggling for over
twenty years now,and I'm tired of it, travelling and talking and all these
things make me so that sometimes I get sick and I get angry and all that.
And so then I am making a comparison with the old stories, that how we are
walking now is similar to to the Long Walk of last century.
My own Grandparents used to tell me about the Long Walk. The Long Walk was
made in 1864 and all those people had been gathered and herded over to New
Mexico, this Fort Sumner. Among the walk I had only one of my Great Great
Grandmothers, and she had seen what went on, and this is what I have been
Along the walk a lot of these people,... a lot of the ladies were
and some were disabled, and still they had to walk, and some got tired and
they just fell to their knees on the ground, and then they were beaten or
bayoneted to death,... a lot of these people were beaten to death along
walk to Fort Sumner.
And when they were in Fort Sumner, the concentration camp, a lot of them
have also died there, with the Flu and other kinds of sickness, and some
them died of hunger, and some tried to escape and then were shot to death,
so a lot of people were killed in different ways.
The relatives of the prisoners in Fort Sumner, the people who hid out and
didn't get taken, conducted many ceremonies, and the people in the
concentration camp too, they conducted ceremonies also, and eventually the
hearts of the people in Washington were touched, and they said they could
return to their homes,
So after four years the people left Fort Sumner, but much fewer than went
there, and yet my Great Great Grandmother returned with a lot of scars on
her face from the measles or something that caused all those scars, and
returned to this place where I live,... the prayers were still there when
she returned. And this is what her story is.
And now for over twenty years we've been struggling with this Relocation
Act that has been forcing my people to leave,.... and along these years
since the Long Walk was made, it seems like we're walking in the same way. 
A lot of people,... Elders,... even the young ones, a lot of them have
relocated and moved out to a place they are calling New Lands, but this is
place I call a concentration camp,... that's where they are now, and a lot
of them lose their lives there,... under alcoholism,... and a lot of them
have worries,... lonliness,... this causes them to lose their lives,
they are not used to that land. And this is why I compare the Long Walk to
the struggling we are having now.
I want to have PL93-531 (the Relocation Act) repealed, like it happened in
1868,... and this is what I'm trying to have the Congressional leader to
think of all of this.... the Treaty was signed after the Long Walk..... we
miss all the treaties that have been promised,... and now I need to have
people return to their birth place, and then live the way they've been
living, with their sacred prayers and sacred songs on the altar again.
I do hope that a lot of you people are aware from my speaking and
presentations everywhere I go,... and please do help us any way you
writing letters, calling to the Congressional leaders, Senator McCain,
Babbitt. I really have a heart to face them and talk to them,.... they
allow me to visit them.
If the Congressional leaders and all these officials,.... If they don't do
anything..... keep on warning us and sueing us and all this evicting us,
then I really need them to sue the Great Spirit who has set us here and
surveyed it for us at this place. And I really need to have them sue The
Creator so they can do whatever it is they wish to do with us.
This is one main important idea that I have.
They can put this idea into their hearts and think on what they're doing.
They are wanting to take our sheep away from us,.... and then we'll stay
here and have nothing to eat..... thats the way they want us...... to
us,... this is what I do think. They are taking our animals,... our
transportation is the horse, and they are wanting to get rid of them,....
and sit here and freeze to death,.... hungry to death. This is what I've
been looking on to and saying,.... what in the world are they going to do
with us?
In another word,... if I end up dying here, they come around saying the
bodies not going to be buried here,... you have to go somewhere way out.
This is something I can't believe. Why? This is our altar, we can't step
and be away from it.
This is the main thing that I can't set my mind on,.... I want to have
understood what our religious act is,... to take care of this land because
when we have a Medicine Man, we need to have him to do an offering,... we
offer to a tree, or even to a tree that's been struck by lightning, or a
rock, or a spring, or a mountain,..... all these things, it's not only to
one place. We offer to a certain place for the rain or either for a Beauty
Way,.... and all these things, thats what has been given us by the Holy
People and the Great Spirit....we are strong enough to hold this room
he has surveyed for us, ... and our Home Song, and this Mountain Song,...
and now this is not being respected at all. I need to have this be known,
and have all these wildlife people to get back to where they belong,...
people living in the water,.... they can change everything,.... in
the water,.... people that live in the water,... He's the only one that
do all these things,... and if anything comes in any better way again,...
they understand,... if they keep on being greedy for money I don't believe
it will never ever change,.. BUT the only one person thats going to change
everything,... is what is coming close,... is what I would say,... it's
important that our ways of being, having a prayer still going,.... and its
still sacred for us,.... the way.....
I had a dream, .... I dreamed that I was talking to these people, the
wildlife people, Tigers and Bears and Lion,.... they were listening to me,
lying down, and they were looking at me and I was talking to them in my
prayer, .... I was still talking when I woke up,... and so I think it's
still a way of our sacred ways, so I do need to warn , or teach, our
leaders,... so the policemen wouldn't handle us here,.... having us, ...
throwing us around, ... dragging us, out here on our own ancestral land.
This is mighty hard, .... spoiling our sacred ways,... especially our
bundles. We have sacred bundles that shouldn't be bounced, ... they should
be taken care of real easy, ... have a song for it, ... a prayer for it,
with the animals, ... it holds the animals, and it holds the humans, in
this, the whole indian country.
It's more important, but now it's not being respected, ... we have them
here, ... I have two, ... and I mean its really important to me, and I'm
holding on, ... I won't give up. I pray for the animals and every human
being. There's a lot of meaning in the songs, ... and the prayers. This is
what I think, ... to get back into the safe way again, ... it's half
destroyed already, the way I figure because the mine is going, ... uranium
mine, ... coal mine, ... and oil drilling, and other mining has been going
on in our room, between the four sacred mountains,... so thats what I
used to say, ... the mice are digging in the room, ... and here and there
there are lots of mice making holes in the room, ... I need to have a
room again, that's what I do think, ... and have a peace fire, ... have
sacred medicines, ... the sacred Sage burning, ... I need to have
to be sacred again, .. this is what I do pray for. Not only for myself,
for all my people in this whole country here, .. no matter what tribe they
are, ... they are brothers and sisters all over the whole universe, ... no
matter how painful she is, I do pray for him or her to be healed, ... with
the medicine that grows in the universe, ... and their food needs to be
enough for them, ... and the people that fly, ... they're homeless, ...
wanting them to be enjoying their home again, ... like our four Sacred
Mountains, on the west side the San Francisco Peaks has a big scar on its
back, ... they call it "Snow Bowl", ... we need to have our Sacred
sit the way she is normally with her prayer, ... she's praying sitting to
the east, ... that's the way its been set We all pray for all these sacred
mountains according to the songs and the prayers.
Thank you.

For more information please communicate directly with the people on the

Roberta Blackgoat
PO Box 349
AZ 86039

What can you do?

Well, what can you do? You tell us. But in the meantime, here's a few

The more you find out about what has happened, and is happening here, the
clearer the issues become, the more you will realize what is at stake
The best introduction is the Oscar winning documentary 'BROKEN RAINBOW".
Though it is now 15 years old, the facts haven't changed. Good video
libraries and universities should have a copy.
CRY SACRED GROUND. Big Mountain U.S.A. by Anita Parlow, published by
Christic Institute, also comes from this time, and is an in-depth,
thoroughly researched book, primarily of testimony of the people involved.
Unfortunately its out of print and hard to get hold of, but most
Libraries should have a copy. Well worth hunting for.
A recent article by Judith Nies, THE BLACK MESA SYNDROME: Indian Lands,
Black gold, in the summer 98 issue of Orion magazine is one of the best
articles we've read on this issue. Clear and concise, she exposes the
connections between the big players. Available by phone, (413) 528 4422,
email orion at orionsociety.org.
Other books on this issue are:
THE WIND WON'T KNOW ME. by Emily Benedek
Once you've read them, pass them on.

Talk with your family, neighbours, friends, colleagues, and especially any
media contacts you have. Whether your concerns are with Native Issues,
Religious Freedom, Human Rights, Racism, Environmental Destruction,
Corporate Power, or Governmental Abuse, what is going on here is of
to all of us. Decide among yourselves what you want or can do. TALK

Write to your Congressman and those listed below. Standard form-letters
distributed by organizations do not have as much impact as a personal
written from the heart. You may not feel like a few letters will make much
difference, but you will feel better for having done it. As American
citizens, what is being done here is done in your name, with your tax

President Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania ave. N.W.
DC 20500

Senator Nighthorse-Campbell
6950 E. Belleview Ave
CO 80112

Senator McClain
Room 111, Russel Senate Office Building
DC 20510

There are a number of Support Groups and events around the country. Let us
know what resources or services you wish to offer, and we will connect you
with a support group that can help you.
VISIT THE LAND. People who spend some time here leave with a much clearer
picture of what is going on and what is at stake, and a personal
with people here. Many of the elders need help with chores such as
sheepherding, hauling water, planting corn, fixing things etc. Also the
presence of outsiders with cameras and tape-recorders tends to limit the
opportunities for harrasment and threats.
HOWEVER you should not just turn up here. Physically and culturally it is
probably very different here than what you are used to. To be here
respectfully involves arrangements and preparations. TALK TO US.
PRAY. For the people here this is primarily a spiritual issue. whatever
your faith, your prayers can only help. Allow your prayers to guide your

Roberta Blackgoat
PO Box 349
AZ 86039
reachable via unclejake74 at hotmail.com


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