John Redhouse: Hate crimes and uranium mining
By Brenda Norrell
When longtime Navajo activist John Redhouse speaks of the hate crimes against American Indians in northwest New Mexico, he knows what he is talking about. He has lived it.
Redhouse, who has lived with the racism in the Navajo bordertown of Farmington, N.M., writes about the recent hate crimes by non-Indians against homeless Indians in Grants.
Redhouse said the recent racially motivated beatings began after Mount Taylor was designated as a Traditional Cultural Property.
As Native Americans prepare for the Indigenous Uranium Forum at Sky City on Acoma Pueblo to battle new uranium mining in Indian country, Oct. 22-24, Redhouse points out that the new wave of hate crimes in the Uranium Belt of Grants, west of Albuquerque, is not the first.
"As an old civil rights activist and veteran of the bordertown wars in Gallup and Farmington in the early 1970s, I don't think these beatings are an isolated incident. I think they are directly related to a non-Indian backlash against the TCP designation and what it means in terms of protecting and defending our sacred mountain from more uranium mining and milling," Redhouse said.
When Redhouse was on the New Mexico State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in the late 1970s, the Commission made a similar connection with the rise of anti-Indian groups in Grants and northwestern New Mexico and growing Indian resistance. At that time, leading the resistance in the Grants Mineral Belt were the American Indian Environmental Council, First Mount Taylor Gathering and Mt. Taylor Alliance.
Now, American Indians are taking action to halt more uranium mining and destruction to their sacred mountains and homelands.
The Ninth Circuit Court first took action to protect sacred San Francisco Peaks from snowmaking from sewage water for tourists, then the Ninth Circuit reversed its decision, allowing the defilement of the places and plants used by medicine people of at least thirteen Indian Nations for ceremonies.
At the same time, Navajo, Pueblo, Ute, Hopi, Hualapai, Havasupai, Yavapai and Apache, in this region of northern Arizona and New Mexico, are beaten and killed in hate crimes.
Redhouse remembers Clint John, Navajo, shot and killed by a Farmington police officer in a Wal-Mart parking lot in 2006. Farmington police officer Shawn Scott was exonerated by the police department and found not guilty of using excessive force in court.
Redhouse said it is time for action.
"And now in light of the recent outcomes of the Clint John and San Francisco Peaks cases, I think we need to put these recent anti-Indian developments in context and start a regional intertribal movement to deal with all this shit because it is getting more violent and deadly as we are still fighting the continuing Indian Wars as we have since 1492."
"We need another Pueblo Revolt, a Navajo revolt, a general uprising among our people and nations."
Redhouse's words are more in demand now than ever.
Within minutes of Redhouse's comments appearing online, other Navajos responded. Navajo filmmaker Arlene Bowman questioned why other media are not covering the issues on Censored News.
Bahe Katenay of Big Mountain, publisher of Sheep Dog Nation Rocks, said it was good to hear from his friend John Redhouse.
"It is so nice and uplifting to hear from John. He may call himself an 'old activist' but only if we, the current indigenous movements, can truly rely on 'old' wise activism, we can all be so empowered. Yes, Viva Pueblo / Dineh Revolt! Hokahey! Thanks."
Redhouse wrote back, "Bahe, Roberta Blackgoat, and other youth and grandmother warriors were at the First Mount Taylor Gathering. They walked all the way from Big Mountain."
Read more by John Redhouse at http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2009/10/john-redhouse-hate-crimes-against.html
Sheep Dog Nation Rocks: http://www.sheepdognationrocks.blogspot.com/