Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 28, 2023

Chili Yazzie -- Navajo's 'transitional energy' company is damaging the earth, encroaching on Hualapai land

             Photo courtesy Tó Nizhóní Ání Dine' protest Navajo Nation Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Chili Yazzie -- Navajo's 'transitional energy' company is damaging the earth, encroaching on Hualapai land

By Duane 'Chili' Yazzie

Censored News

To the Editor

Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Navajo Oil and Gas Company and the Navajo leadership who support them are helping to damage planet Earth. Coal mining/burning, oil/gas/hydrogen/helium development with the inevitable fracking are the greatest causes of the climate crisis. NTEC is now encroaching on Hualapai lands to do more exploitation. What happened to the energy transition NTEC was created for.

In Feb 2019 I approached NTEC with a proposition to sit at the table to dialogue about our opposing positions. I suggested there might be middle ground we could agree on. My brother Ernie Zah responded with a positive note that NTEC might be willing to talk. The bilagaana (anglo/caucasian) corporate management shut Ernie down and that was that. 

In Sept 2022 I challenged James McClure, CEO of NOGC to come to the table, again suggesting that there may be some middle ground. McClure agreed publicly that he would collaborate with me to organize a forum. I followed up with two letters, there is only silence from NOGC. 

NTEC and NOGC reject the opportunity to talk in an open, civil, deliberate, and objective forum. Not sure why they will not come to the table. I suppose they figure they don’t have to talk to me, after all I am nobody important. Maybe they think THEY are too important. Perhaps they know they won’t have all the answers to our questions. I suspect they are afraid to come into our hogan (traditional dwelling) because they lack the comprehension to meet us on our cultural spiritual terms. If it is simply their outsider bilagaana arrogance, they are way outta line, they have no business disrespecting any one of us who live here on our own lands.

These companies and supportive Tribal leadership are driven by their perceived need for more money. They are the essence of capitalism (yes, capitalism is a bad deal). Capitalism is destroying God’s creation. 

NTEC and NGOC believe Tribal leadership has the authority to allow their exploitation, they are wrong. The colonial imperially imposed Tribal government does not have the final say. Nor does the US Federal government. The people of the land who will not abandon the Creator’s law to take care of the earth have the final say. 

As important as more revenue and jobs development may be, they are not as important as defending the life of our Earth Mother and thus the world of our grandchildren into the future. 

chili yazzie


Diné bi Keyah

Read more at Censored News:

The Navajo Nation's "energy transition office" plans to operate the lithium mine that will devastate Hualapai's sacred spring used for healing since time immemorial. In a deal with the Australian company, Vern Lund, the CEO of the Navajo office in Farmington, N.M., would join the lithium company's board. The lithium mine will deplete and poison the water on Hualapai sacred ancestral land in northwest Arizona. Hualapai elders point out their sacred plants and the animals will be poisoned.

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