Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 5, 2012

Navajos and Hopis protest Kyl and McCain water rights theft scheme

From the frontlines of the water wars: Diné and Hopi water rights at risk, protesters gather on Navajo Nation

Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 2:06pm

Photos and reporting from the scene are courtesy of Outta Your Backpack Media, a collective working for indigenous youth media empowerment.

Image result for Navajos Hopis protest McCain in Tuba City
A group of Diné and Hopi people ( including traditional people and elders) upset by the latest colonial attack on indigenous peoples water rights, gathered to protest the visits of two US Senators to the Navajo Nation today. The people had gathered to say "no deal" to s2109, the bill that would allow for more water to flow into Arizona for the benefit of companies and urban growth.

Protesters chanted "water is life", "free indian water ends now", "let the water flow", "sewage water for McCain and Kyl", other chants were said in Diné.

Protesters are waiting for Navajo president Ben Shelly and US senators McCain and Kyl to exit the meeting in Tuba City, on the Navajo Nation. Earlier protesters marched in the streets of Tuba City, as Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly met with the senators to discuss the further dismantling of Navajo and Hopi water rights. Senators McCain and Kyl are in Tuba City to gain official support from the Tribal governments for their bill, Senate Bill 2109, described in a Native News Network article as:

Senate Bill 2109 45; the "Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012" was introduced by Kyl and McCain on February 14, 2012, and is on a fast track to give Arizona corporations and water interests a "100 th birthday present" that will close the door forever on Navajo and Hopi food and water sovereignty, security and self-reliance.

S.2109 asks the Navajo and Hopi peoples to waive their priority Water Rights to the surface waters of the Little Colorado River "from time immemorial and thereafter, forever" in return for the shallow promise of uncertain federal appropriations to supply minimal amounts of drinking water to a handful of reservation communities.

The Bill - and the "Settlement Agreement" it ratifies - do not quantify Navajo and Hopi water rights - the foundation of all other southwestern Indian Water Rights settlements to date - thereby denying the Tribes the economic market value of their water rights, and forcing them into perpetual dependence on uncertain federal funding for any water projects.
The fight for Diné and Hopi water rights continues as several indigenous struggles persist across Arizona to protect sacred sites, stop cultural genocide, and prevent further destruction of the earth and its people for corporate profit.

One of the officers pictured shoved down former Hopi president Vernon Masayesva

Diné elder speaking, very powerful

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We, Dineh and Hopis, undermine our own sovereignty by relying on Americanized lawyers, its environmental policies, their designed tribal governments, and their "granted limited" rights. The Feds don't even have to do anything to have our sovereignty be undermined. We indigenous peoples (those that have treaties with the U.S.) never think to to use our existing treaties. If we wish to be sovereign, our nations and communities need to first honor their elders and traditions, and began collecting or preventing our waters from draining into their corporate pipelines and dams. Communities need to learn about volunteering and built many dams everywhere! That is true sovereignty. Establish our own support for our sovereign abilities because federally-supported tribal authority will not help us do this. The real "frontlines of the Water Wars" will not be until: We begin with simple shovels and wheel barrels and multiply that by 50,000 individual laborer.