Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 22, 2013

Peabody Coal seized 1 million Navajo and Hopi artifacts from Black Mesa

Peabody Coal's Greed: Theft of Navajo and Hopi sacred items

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

BLACK MESA, Ariz. -- While Peabody Coal was raping Black Mesa's coal, and forcing more than 14,000 Navajos into relocation and sorrow, Peabody seized 1 million Navajo and Hopi artifacts from Black Mesa. Those artifacts are are now at the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale.

Louise Benally, Dine' of Big Mountain, said, "They steal the souls of the ancestors that lie in the land, to violate our human rights currently. The taking out of the bones and remains of our ancestors simply points to one thing, the injustice of imperialism that has encroached on our homelands now.

"The only thing we can say is have them rebury the bones from where they took them. To steal the bones of the ancestors just point to one thing, the violation of our human rights.

"They killed the land when they mined it. It is the mind set of the colonials that does not respect the laws of nature.

"Bones need to be left alone. Everything needs to be left alone and to be replanted there. Peabody Coal Company doesn't have any respect for anything or anybody, only their greed matters," Benally told Censored News.

Peabody Coal, with the aid of attorneys and politicians, fabricated the so-called 'Navajo Hopi land dispute' in order to remove Navajos from Black Mesa and mine the coal.

Now, at the University of Southern Illinois, the Center for Archaeological Investigations says the seizure of Navajo and Hopi artifacts was funded by Peabody Coal. The university even brags about the seizure:

We are currently working on a 5.5-year project to inventory and rehouse the Black Mesa Archaeological Project (BMAP) collections. BMAP is one of the largest, longest running projects in the history of North American archaeology. Fieldwork spanned seventeen years, from 1967 to 1983, and at its peak employed more than 200 persons in a single summer. Nearly 2,500 archaeological sites were identified, and more than 200 sites excavated, on the 256-square km of Black Mesa leased from the Hopi and Navajo by Peabody Energy. Fieldwork produced more than one million artifacts, which the CAI curates along with the field notes, maps, photographs, and other associated documents. Carried out in collaboration with the Hopi and Navajo and generously funded by Peabody Energy, this project will ensure that the BMAP collections are properly curated now and far into the future.
Par Brenda Norrell
Censored News
See original article in English
Lundi 22 avril 2013
Traduction Christine Prat
BLACK MESA, Arizona – Alors que la compagnie Peabody Coal arrachait le charbon de Black Mesa, entraînant la déportation forcée de 14000 Navajos et les plongeant dans le malheur, elle s’est emparée d’un million de vestiges Navajo et Hopi sur le site. Ces vestiges se trouvent maintenant à l’Université du Sud de l’Illinois, à Carbondale.
Louise Benally, une Diné de Big Mountain, dit « Ils volent les âmes de nos ancêtres qui reposaient dans cette terre afin de violer de nos droits de l’homme actuellement. L’acte d’avoir sorti les ossements et les restes de nos ancêtres révèle tout simplement une chose : l’injustice de l’impérialisme qui a empiété sur nos terres natales.
« Tout ce que nous pouvons dire c’est ré enterrez les ossements où ils les ont pris. Voler les ossements des ancêtres révèle une seule chose : la violation de nos droits de l’homme.
« Ils ont tué la terre quand ils y ont creusé des mines. C’est la mentalité des colonialistes qui ne respecte pas les lois de la nature.
« On ne doit pas toucher à des ossements. Tout doit être laissé en paix et replanté là-bas. La compagnie Peabody Coal ne respecte rien ni personne, il n’y a que leur rapacité qui compte » a dit L. Benally à Censored News.
Peabody Coal, avec l’aide d’avocats et de politiciens, a fabriqué la soi-disant ‘dispute Navajo Hopi pour la terre’ afin de chasser les Navajo de Black Mesa et d’en extraire le charbon.
Maintenant, à l’Université du Sud de l’Illinois, le Centre pour les Recherches Archéologiques dit que la prise des vestiges Navajo et Hopi a été financée par Peabody Coal. L’université va jusqu’à se vanter de la prise :
Nous travaillons actuellement sur un projet de 5 ans et demi pour inventorier et reloger les collections du Projet Archéologique de Black Mesa (BMAP). Ce projet est un des plus importants, en volume et dans le temps, de l’histoire de l’archéologie d’Amérique du Nord. Le travail sur le terrain s’est étendu sur sept ans, de 1967 à 1983, et a employé jusqu’à 200 personnes en un seul été. Près de 2500 sites archéologiques ont été identifiés et plus de 200 ont été fouillés, sur les 256 km² que Peabody Energy loue aux Hopi et Navajo sur Black Mesa. Le travail sur le terrain a mis au jour plus d’un million d’objets dont le Centre de Recherches Archéologiques est le curateur, ainsi que des notes prises sur le terrain, des cartes, des photographies et autres documents associés. Ce projet, mené en collaboration avec les Hopi et les Navajo et généreusement financé par Peabody Energy, assurera que les collections soient gérées de manière adéquate, maintenant et dans un lointain futur.
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Yum said...

The 1 million Navajo and Hopi artifacts from Black Mesa, need to be returned to the People, at the expense of both Peabody Coal & CAI. They also need to be charged with theft of these artifacts. Their (?) lease, was for coal only, not Navajo and Hopi artifacts!

Yum said...

Mitakuye Oyasin!

Unknown said...

I just wish that other indigenous folks and concerned folks began to understand the different ways Indians might deal with burial remains and its properties. So, to clarify further, the traditional Dineh, the very old ones, who are involved with this BMAP issue wish to not to discuss matters related to human remains or other grave content. (According to old Dineh tradition, death was a prohibited subject because WE are NOW LIVING as we work together for a future of hope and Life.) What we are discussing is the immediate return of NON-grave related items that may hold key information about the colonial histories of the Spanish / American conquests and about the Dineh prehistoric existence. Yes prehistoric, unless you really want to believe in the Bering Strait type theories. Aahxe'eh.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Is there a petiton to sign ? Great sight called Causes gets the word out there.

Mtnwaters said...

Wow, lucky thing Peabody generously funded the cataloging of the "project." That will make it so much easier to Put it Back!!!