A caravan of work crews will once again be converging from across the country in support of residents of the Big Mountain regions of Black Mesa. The aim of this caravan is to honor the elders and to generate support in the form of direct, on-land support: chopping and hauling firewood, doing minor repair work, offering holistic health care, and sheep-herding before the approaching cold winter months arrive. These communities continue to carry out a staunch resistance to the efforts of the US Government and the Peabody Coal Company, which have devastated these communities and ecosystems.
Peabody Energy, previously Peabody Coal Company, is the world’s largest private-sector coal company, operating mines throughout North America, South America, and Australia and is the twelfth largest coal exporter. In 30 years of disastrous operation, Dine’ and Hopi communities in Arizona have been ravaged by Peabody’s coal mining, which has taken land from and forcibly relocated thousands of families, drained 2.5 million gallons of water daily from the only community water supply, and left a toxic legacy along an abandoned 273-mile coal slurry pipeline. Peabody is proposing new coal-fired power plants in several states. Peabody’s coal mining will exacerbate already devastating environmental and cultural impacts on local communities and significantly add fuel to the fire of the current global climate chaos! to the global warming crisis!
More than 14,000 Dine’ people have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands due to the U.S government & Peabody Coal, under the guise of the so-called “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.” Families are now in their third decade of resistance to this travesty. Many residents are very elderly and winters can be rough.
“The Big Mountain matriarchal leaders always believed that resisting forced relocation [would] eventually benefit all ecological systems, including the human race,” says Bahe Keediniihii, Dineh organizer and translator. “Continued residency by families throughout the Big Mountain region has a significant role in the intervention of Peabody’s future plan for Black Mesa coal to be [a] major source of unsustainable energy, the growing dependency on fossil fuel, and escalating green house gas emissions. We will continue to fight to defend our homelands.”
At this moment, decision makers in Washington D.C. are planning ways to continue their occupation of tribal lands under the guise of extracting “clean coal,” which does not exist. Ignoring protests from Dineh and Hopi communities and their allies, the U.S. Government (Office of Surface Mining) has permitted Peabody Energy to extend its massive strip-mining operations until 2026 or until the coal is gone. Peabody Coal Co. plans to seize another 19,000 acres of sacred land beyond the 67,000 acres already in Peabody’s grasp at Black Mesa.
We are at a critical juncture and must take a stand in support of communities on the front lines of resistance now! Indigenous and land-based peoples have maintained the understanding that our collective survival is deeply dependent on our relationship to Mother Earth. Victory in protecting and reclaiming the Earth will require a broad movement that can help bridge cultures, issues and nations.
This caravan is an important opportunity for people of all backgrounds to listen and work with the families of Black Mesa to generate more awareness that relocation laws & coal mining need to be stopped, that these communities deserve to be free on their ancestral homelands, and to come together to strengthen our solidarity and find ways to work together to protect Black Mesa & our Mother Earth for all life.
There is a lot that you can do to help out. You can join one of the volunteer work crews, host or attend a regional organizational meeting in your area, Organize fundraisers or donate directly
If you do want to come to Black Mesa, there is a lot to know in order to be adequately prepared and self-sufficient for your visit, which is a very remote area in a high desert terrain. Our Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness Guide has you crucial information about what to expect, what to bring, how to be adequately prepared, background and current history and culturesafety and legal issues.
We also strongly urge participants to attend or organize regional meetings. Caravan coordinators are located in Prescott, Phoenix, Flagstaff (Taala Hooghan Infoshop), Colorado, Ithaca, NY, and the San Francisco’s Bay Area. For meeting locations and dates and to preregister and read the Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness Guide you can also check out our Projects Needs List! Building materials, tools, & supplies are needed for projects.
*We can’t wait to see you in November!* * *