Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 14, 2017

NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL -- Go Solar Wind, Drop Peabody Lease

From Black Mesa Coal'tion

Dear Navajo Tribal Council 

We are at the dawn of the liberation of the lease from a private corporation who obtained this mine and these generating stations at the cost of the human rights of the Navajo residents and traditional lease holders.

We wish to remind the council of the powerful position and historic time you are now representing us in.  This is the time, where all relocatees and impacted residents from the permit area, and who have endured the decades of the Bennett Freeze, can be added to the "employees" of the mining complex, in restoration, repatriation and reclamation.

We also wish to remind the council that as we all know Peabody Energy is battling in Federal Bankruptcy proceedings, and has been removed from trading on the New York's Stock Exchange. We suggest that in today's economy, it is disallowed to trust such leases and projects to partners who have poor credit, and a poor track record of sustainable business management practices.

It is time to harvest the sun and the wind, and preserve our coal reserves, for the Navajo people #Beyond2044.  It is unfortunate the squandering of the political predecessors of the greatly missed economic development on a community level, that we can see demonstrated today in the poverty of elderly and children in the Black Mesa area.  The schools are 3 grades behind regular curriculum in the State of Arizona.  It is unimaginable to pursue a broken business model in unsustainable mining and to instead look to our future.

Reclamation and reclamation funds were a part of this lease, from its inception, and we are at a crossroads to produce visible results from the partners on the terms of reclamation 2019, to 2044.  According to the AZ Conservancy, we expect to lose four rivers in Arizona, by 2044 as a result of the mining and plant operations.  Mohave, Navajo and Four Corners Power Plant reduced visibility in the Grand Canyon, and other environmental Tribal treasures, and greatly impacted other streams of economy vital to Navajo, tourism and community development.  

Further, it seems appropriate to revisit earlier decisions by former council representatives, in allowing these bankrupt partners to keep 1.4 million artifacts and 250 human remains, off tribal lands.  These are 250 native human beings whose burial remains are being held in card board boxes, while their children and grandchildren are restricted from returning to their homelands.  Its time to release the old, and embrace the new.  "Separate and equal collections" was a clause in the contracts that mandates a museum for both tribes on tribal lands.  The original contract mandated this return, a return of the history of Black Mesa, was a prayer of the people.  

We are the first and only Tribe with a massive solar project, being built as we speak in Kayenta and providing jobs.  Its time the Tribe, create emergency measures to push through wind and solar projects to replace those jobs by 2044.   

Embrace the power of sustainable energy, its time to cast away old business models that just didn't work, that never worked.  And return us to our homelands, allow relocatees to return, to repatriate our ancestors, to focus on sustainable futures in energy. 
Most importantly, the enforcement of the Reclamation upon our bankrupt and fleeing "owners" who after years of human rights abuses, political bullying and suppression of federal section 106 process, are just not there for the Tribe, when the market turns.  Diversity in the energy portfolio is especially relevant to not depend on power derived from a finite resource like coal.  If you can't recover from a plant closure in 2019, how could you possibly recover in 2044?

You don't have to tell Peabody, good bye; they still have a job, called Reclamation, Restoration and Repatriation that they can conduct without mining, from 2019 and on.  If they can't initiate reclamation commitments now, how will they in 2044?  These "owners" call themselves, the "Bureau of Reclamation" and they can't pull out of that job.  Reclamation is a pot of money that should be there right?  Now's a good time to see what their commitment to reclamation is really like.  Lets start Reclamation!

Its unusual to see the representatives of this Nation issue letters of support for NoDAPL, and yet continue to ignore our communities of relocatees who are waiting to return to their homelands, and take on the work, of healing the mining of our culture and people for wasteful desert metropolis's.  Who violate the human and civil rights of our people stranded, unable to return to their homelands.

The Tribe has the ability to at this minute - institute a can and bottle deposit, on all recyclable materials which create revenue to address community impacts of garbage on our roadways and in our communities.  We have a junk food tax, and yet nothing to address the problems of the lack of recycling infrastructure and garbage management, much less any real active reclamation.  

Coal is finite.  Uranium, finite.  Once its gone its gone.  Extinct Economy.  The sun and wind are infinite.  Our future and our communities demand unconventional leadership willing to take diversity into a challenge to address our community infrastructure and issues into the realities of today.  

Everyone is signing water rights, CAP, utah water rights settlements.  But the one right to water that no one talks about, that no one seems to care about is the water rights to the Jeddito, Moenkopi, Dinnebito, and Oraibi.  I mean, we don't have a contract for those water rights that were taken away?  Why?  Water wasn't free then, and it isn't now.  Why would we stand for missing water rights, or the restriction of water to our entire region, without a single regulation, document, contract, or a piece of paper mandating reclamation compliance in this eco system's restoration?

The four rivers that we will lose by 2044 from mining are four historic wash systems with a mine directly on top of their headwaters, that are being restricted from flow into the Colorado River EcoSystem.  Its time to let those waters flow again, through our communities, to benefit the people who live here, and have lived a generation, and more, restricted from accessing surface water flow, that created the communities that exist today.  Our children are restricted from access to their own history and ancestors being held in Las Vegas and Carbondale.  

We implore the council to redirect your energy to address our future, and repatriate, reclamate and restore our communities, mined by these special interests who have abandoned you.  They abandoned us all on a project that was given to them by sacrificing our human and environmental rights, at rates, generated from the 20's.  

WE have to catch these "owners" like a tiger by the tail, and demand they fully fund the repatriation and reclamation, NOW.  HDR, Inc.  Where's your report on the repatriation and 5 year plan?  BoR, where's the 5 year plan?  I'm believe we all know the date the 5 year plan began says a lot about the agenda we are seeing and this game that's being played on shut down media.  

It was extinction economics that built that lease, world war political agendas, get out of the lease!   There are clearly better customers, better rates that can be negotiated, and better directed policies, for a stronger future.  

Bring our ancestors home, bring our relocatees home, its been a long war against Navajo civilians in the AZ-0001E permit area.  Its time to start new, in the sun, with the cool wind in our faces, seeing the prayers of our ancestors finally coming to existence.  We are their dream, its time to act on those prayers.  

Jennafer Waggoner Yellowhorse
Black Mesa Coal'tion

Black Mesa, El Capitan, Monument Valley, Halchita

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