August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Navajo Elders Locked Out of Navajo Council During Vote on Helium Mining on Sacred Mountain

Dine' elderly were locked out in the cold today, while the Navajo Nation Council voted on new helium mining on the sacred mountain at Sanostee.

Navajo Elders Locked Out of Navajo Council
During Vote on Helium Mining on Sacred Mountain


Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Dine' CARE said Dine' elderly were locked out of the Navajo Nation Council chambers today, and prevented from viewing the vote on new helium mining on the sacred mountain at Sanostee. If passed, Navajo Oil and Gas will bore wells one mile deep into the sacred mountain.

The resolution for the new mining was tabled after a peaceful march and protest to the Navajo Council chambers. 

Dine' CARE (Dine' Citizens Against Ruining our Environment) warned that it was not right to sacrifice the sacred for beeso (money.)

"It is not right to sacrifice the people of the mountain, the descendants of revered leader Narbona. Our holy male mountain Ch'ooshgai, and all the plants, animals, and offering sites would be desecrated for béeso that will only go so far. The impacts of helium drilling will cause long-term harm to our land and water. Helium is extracted the same way oil and gas is extracted. More often these days, it is hydraulic fracturing (fracking)."





Diné C.A.R.E. said today, "Amazing! Only one delegate ( Elmer Begay) voted against tabling the helium legislation 0232-21. It was tabled till the Spring Session. Your comments to the delegates definitely had an impact!

"The Navajo Council needs to hear your concerns about the helium extraction/fracking in the Sanostee area. It is not right to sacrifice the people of the mountain, the descendants of revered leader Narbona.

"Our holy male mountain Ch'ooshgai, and all the plants, animals, and offering sites would be desecrated for béeso that will only go so far. The impacts of helium drilling will cause long-term harm to our land and water. Helium is extracted the same way oil and gas is extracted. More often these days, it is hydraulic fracturing (fracking). When they drill, everything comes to the surface: methane, oil, brine, including the release of many toxic and deadly gases like hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and (H2S) hydrogen sulfide.

"Don't allow this rush for a quick buck to destroy our communities and sacred places. As water and climate effects intensify across Diné Bikéyah, the consequences of helium fracking are too heavy of a price to pay for our future and generations to come."

The Navajo Nation Council said in its statement that the exploration contract if passed, will be for 10 years. "Navajo Nation Oil and Gas will be drilling within a foot radius, a mile deep into the ground." https://www.facebook.com/navajonationcouncil

Council will go over this legislation today (1/27/22)

Posted by Dine' CARE'

LEGISLATION 0232-21: An Action Relating to Resources and Development Committee; Naabik’íyáti’ Committee, and the Navajo Nation Council; Approving Oil and Gas Operating Agreements Between the Navajo Nation and Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company for Tohachee Wash, Beautiful Mountain, and Porcupine Dome. SPONSOR: Seth Damon

Sponsor of Legislation: Seth Damon
Delegate that represents Sanostee: Amber Crotty
Resources & Development Committee: Rickie Nez (Chair), Kee Allen Begay, Wilson Stewart, Thomas Walker, Mark Freeland, & Herman Daniels
Navajo Oil & Gas Shareholder Reps: Seth Damon, Elmer Begay, Otto Tso, Charlaine Tso, & Herman Daniels
PUBLIC COMMENT
Provided is a comment that people can cut and paste and email to the Council Delegates. You can also reference these points in your texts/calls to Council. Modify this letter or send it as is.
Email: comments@navajo-nsn.gov & Council Delegate emails (contact info is attached). ______________________________________
RE: LEGISLATION 0232-21
Yá'át'ééh Navajo Nation Council Delegate,
I am requesting that you VOTE NO on LEGISLATION 0232-21.
I ask that you rescind all previous resolutions that support helium, oil and gas extraction, development, drilling, production and processing in the Tohachee Wash, Beautiful Mountain, and Porcupine Dome areas.
I ask that you vote down this legislation and rescind any approved agreements, leases, and contracts for the following reasons:
Ch’ooshgai and Beautiful Mountain are sacred mountains and are of prominent Nihookáá' Diyin Diné'é historical significance.
We the residents, voters, constituents, citizens, and allies OPPOSE helium extraction. We were not adequately consulted and did not consent.
Porcupine dome has a tsenaamaji'i (a sacred site) and there are many other sites in the area.
The Nihookáá' Diyin Diné'é oppose the extraction of helium, oil, and gas in the Beautiful Mountain, Porcupine Dome, Littlewater, and surrounding Nihookáá' Diyin Diné'é Bikéyah indigenous habitat including our homelands, farms, grazing, cultural, religious, ceremonial areas, grounds, sites, and trails that are protected under Nihookáá' Diyin Diné'é values and fundamental laws as well as the American Indian Religious Freedom Act which is a federal law protecting American Indian religions, lands, and traditions.
Navajo Oil and Gas is only talking to the chapter officials, not residents. Community and residents left out. Why weren't the residents included in the Albuquerque and all meetings? The residents oppose. Engaging with the chapter doesn't mean community and residents Engagement. Many signed the petition opposing helium and the Dine Medicine Men Association resolution opposing it.
Navajo government is violating our rights, fundamentally, under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Ahéhee',
Full name
Community you are from.

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