Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hopi Rangers seize Navajo horses on Black Mesa

Navajos resisting relocation not allowed to retrieve their horses

BLACK MESA, Ariz. -- On Friday, November 6 Hopi rangers confiscated 2 large stock trailers of horses on Hopi Partitioned range unit 257. The horses belong to 2 HPL homesites and some Navajo Partitioned Lands residents. The HPL families went to Keams Canyon on Monday, November 9 and a family that had signed the accommodation agreement was allowed to buy back their horses; however they only had enough money to buy back half. The HPL family who is a non-signing family was not allowed to retrieve any of their horses.
The livestock are the families' livelihoods, their bank accounts, their retirement.... These horses in particular are an ancient ancestral line. They are more than just horses, they are a legacy that belongs to all of the residents family's children...
Legally, the residents are supposed to be notified and notices posted before any impoundments. These families did not receive any sort of warning.
The Hopi Rangers stated that they would be continuing livestock impoundments throughout the whole HPL.
Horse photo courtesy Best Horse Photos


Anonymous said...

This is certainly sad, unfortunate, and I sympathize. We all know what it is like to have your property taken or stolen. I do concur with a little bit of the previous message alert.
As a sheepherder and horse rider, horses on "HPL" and "NPL" have become a huge problem. They roam freely and have increased in numbers, they are not ridden like in the old traditional times, they try to break into hay barns because of the drought and no vegetation, they drink from troughs that were built for the sheep, and all this because their "owners" let them roam. I built troughs and try to have a hay stash, but these free, un-ridden and ignored animals take what was not provided for them. There has to be a much serious and broader change or goals made by the Dineh of the future, and we have not begun to try and become independent nations yet. It is sad to say again, but these horses may have a better destiny rather than roaming wildly and being a pest among peoples' homes.
I grew up on a horse: my mom was pregnant with me while she rode, I was in a cradleboard while she rode, I began riding at six years old, and I have always ridden only to do the work of ranching and for not leisure-riding. Yes, horses are sacred animals to all indigenous nations and that belief was inherited or has evolved from the ancient horses. All ranchers and dedicated horse owners like my father know to look after their horse(s) on a daily basis if they are let out to range. My dad is almost 90 years old and he still rides. On the other hand it is a sad world we all live in especially at Big Mountain/Black Mesa. Horses seem plenty but most families have turned to motorized means of travel like taking an ATV to fetch the sheep or cattle, and horse are less relied upon for ranching purposes.
-Kat of SDNrocks

RCT said...

I just read this comment and it deeply saddens me. I am an in-law to one of the HPL families who had their horses taken. We had 6 horses taken without warning or notice. 4 of these horses were branded and trained, 2 were born out there and are very young and essentially wild. Horses are let out to graze and eat a healthier diet of wild foods. It is also difficult to provide hay especially for elders who are out there alone, so as in the olden times, they are let out to graze.
The other HPL residents who had horses taken are incredibly responsible horse owners and it is despicable that they have been essentially stolen and can not be returned.
We have scrambled to come up with the money to pay the ransom to get our horses returned and had to leave one.
The Hopi Rangers take these horses to auction and sadly the reality is that most will end up as dog food and I really don't see how that is "a better destiny rather than roaming wildly."
Out horses are not a problem to you, and never have been. I'm deeply saddened that you would put out this type of comment on the web. We should be standing together to support the elders in maintaining their traditional lifestyles. These horses are how my in-laws not only get around when they need to ride, but how they pay for essential ceremonies, or even pay for basic essentials. They are as was stated above, "their livelihoods, their bank accounts, their retirement.... These horses in particular are an ancient ancestral line. They are more than just horses, they are a legacy that belongs to all of the residents family's children... "
So, please, Kat, and everyone who may read this, stand with the elders who have suffered through not only the land dispute, the loss of being able to have their children have homesites near them and have close extended families, but the divisiveness and gossip of the other residents.
The rangers said this was just the first of many impoundments throughout the whole HPL. The families out there need help in preventing the loss of their animals. When the impoundments hit a range unit of one of your loved ones, we all need to make sure they are prepared, all of us together, in unity.
If you want to talk more, call me, you have my #. Let's keep these discussions within our community not world wide.
In Respect.

RCT said...

Oops Typo - That should read "Our horses are not a problem" not "Out Horses."

Anonymous said...

This is very sad indeed. It was mentioned on our local talk radio that "the horses were being seized because they were a problem for the "ranchers". I was shocked. Isnt this the same ole argument used for centuries. They also stated that many will be corraled and held in those corrals "hoping" someone would buy them, if not many will be sold for horsemeat and dog food.

I believe this is a crime in the making. Is there nothing we can do to bring the national press in on this matter. I know many millions will object to this outrageous seizure.

Anonymous said...

The damn blue coats still ride the ranges. This is an outrage.

Anonymous said...

This was mentioned on local radio. They claimed the horses were a pest to ranchers and they were taking them to a corral where they would be offered for sale. they also said, this has happened before and many ended up as slaughtered for dog food. This is the horror that exists in the mentality of many who havent a clue what wonderful animals horses. I have ridden my whole life, dont have horses anymore, but I object to this outrage.

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