Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 10, 2015

Tó Bei Nihi Dziil 'Water is our Power' Teach-in

Image by Julius Badoni


Colleen Cooley,
Janene Yazzie,

Tó Bei Nihi Dziil (Water is Our Power)
A People's Teach-in Addressing: Community Empowerment, Our Homelands,
Water Security, and Sovereignty

Window Rock, AZ - On August 13, 2015 from 10 am – 3 pm at St. Michaels Chapter, we invite our communities to come together for a "Teach-In," where we will present about the multiple issues affecting Diné Bikeyah (Navajo homelands) and collaborate on possible solutions.

We will talk about lessons that need to be learned from the recent Gold King Mine Animas River Spill, the continued Legacy of Cold War Uranium Mining and Milling, the Chuska Fire, the Historic Drought, Climate Change, Navajo Generating Station, Peabody Coal's role in the Navajo and Hopi land dispute, our betrayed Water Rights and the injustices of closed-door negotiations that favor outside interests over the health and well-being of Nahasdzáán Nihimá dóó Yadiłhił Nihita (Mother Earth and Father Sky), and our people.

We will also discuss pathways to solutions that will help us to adapt, as we have always done as a people, by creating real self-determination and exercising real sovereignty; the power of which comes from the People and not politicians acting in our supposed best interests. Let's come together and build REAL WATER SECURITY by protecting, conserving, and respectfully using our Tó (water) for our ecosystems, our soils, our food, and our economy. Let's come together to maximize our rights and the rights of all sacred life that make up our homelands. We must, like our ancestors before us, fight for our rights to live a free and healthy life by protecting our ancestral territories and sacred sites to ensure the well-being of our next seven-generations and beyond.

We should remember the collective strength we showed as Diné people when we were united in our opposition to S. 2109 and H.R. 4067, the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement bills sponsored by Sen. John McCain, Sen. John Kyl, and Rep. Ben Quayle in 2012. The settlement bills were promoted by Navajo Nation lawyers Stanley Pollack, Katherine Hoover, Bidtah Becker, Scott McElroy and more. It required the Navajo and Hopi to, among other things: (1) waive our reserved rights to every single drop of the Little Colorado River, and (2) waive any claims for injury to w
ater quality.

The recent and near criminal-negligence that has polluted the Animas River should teach us once and for all how dangerous a waiver like that is when it comes to protecting our sacred watersheds and the health of our people.

Our land, our Mother, is sacred. We will no longer stand by as she is being pillaged and raped, and as our water, homelands and environmental quality rights are being ripped from us by a few politicians in Window Rock, who actually facilitate the theft of our land and resources to benefit outside corporations and non-Diné societies. We, the people, are committed to developing new solutions to the continuing problems caused by colonization and its effects on Diné people and our lifeways.

JOIN US and let's work together to take back our power. Together we can develop and enforce a Water Rights negotiation process that respects our "Free, Prior and Informed Consent" and helps us claim, capture, use, conserve, and protect our precious water resources so that they are abundant, clean, and available for all the current and future needs of our people and homelands. We must continue to create and strengthen our Diné lifeways, instead of weakening our traditions—our strength—due to the misplaced power we give to the Navajo Nation government.

The People are saying let's unite to develop the movement for our water, our land, and democratic control over our local resources.

Please visit our Facebook page for more information:

No comments: