Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 1, 2022

Remembering our Heroes: Reporter Cate Gilles and Dine' Leroy Jackson

Photo by Cate Gilles. Big Mountain and Black Mesa protest at Navajo Nation Council chambers.
Dine' protested the genocide by the Navajo Nation government, which signed leases with Peabody Coal to mine coal and use the water on Black Mesa for Peabody's two coal mines. The Navajo government also signed the lease for the Navajo Generating Station, the coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona, that used the coal. The power plant was one of three coal-fired power plants on the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico that supplied electricity to Southwest cities that the Navajo government received royalties from -- while many Dine' were left living without running water and electricity.

Remembering our Heroes: Reporter Cate Gilles and Dine' Leroy Jackson

Brenda Norrell

Censored News

Censored News would not be what it is today without the lives, and deaths of two people, news reporter Cate Gilles and Dine' Leroy Jackson. Cate was a reporter covering relocation and Black Mesa and exposed radiation dangers from uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

Cate was working in public relations for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe when she was found dead hanged by her dog chain. Her death was ruled a suicide. However, just before her death, she told news reporters that she had documents on corruption, involving a casino, that she was taking to the authorities.

Leroy Jackson is a Dine' icon. Leroy halted the clear-cutting of the old-growth Ponderosa Pine forests in the Tsaile and Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation. Leroy and his family lived in the Tsaile Mountains, and I lived in the Chuska Mountains. Leroy is the cofounder of Dine' Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, Dine' CARE.

Before his death a threat on his life was made from within the tribal government. Leroy's protection of the mountain forests resulted in the sawmill shutting down, and tribal officials did not want the exposure of spending, such as trips to Las Vegas. I covered his story for Associated Press.

At that time, the presence of endangered species on the Navajo Nation was being discussed, and the need for new environmental impact statements. There were demands for new environmental impact statements in the areas where there are coal mines and coal-fired power plants on the Navajo Nation.

In a telephone interview shortly before Leroy was found dead, he said he had met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, and gained support from a Native within the BIA.

There were paths being cleared for large electric transmission lines through the mountains on the Navajo Nation, from the coal-fired power plants on Navajo Nation to distant cities in the Southwest, while many Dine' were left in their path living without running water and electricity.

Leroy was found dead in the mountains near Taos. Cate and Leroy were friends, and they were my friends. May they always fly high. -- Brenda Norrell, Censored News.

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  Remembering our heroes: Reporter Cate Gilles, Dine' Leroy Jackson. Cate was found dead, while working for Pascua Yaqui Tribe, after spending years covering relocation and Black Mesa, and exposing radiation dangers from uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. Leroy, cofounder of Dine' CARE, halted the clear-cutting of the old growth yellow pines in the Tsaile and Chuska Mountains. He was found dead after shutting down the tribal sawmill, and his life was threatened from within the Navajo government.
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'Bren Norrell'

1 comment:

NaBahii said...

Any of Cate Gilles's photos archived anywhere? I have tried to search. Cate stayed at the Survival Camp and supported the Big Mountain Díneh Resistance. Cate had photos of our Camp patrol activities and of other Elders' assemblies. Thanks, Kat Bahe