We are approaching an aspect which evokes the memory of the height of the Indian Removal period. Unless we, as a people, awaken to the travesty and hypocrisy of what is about to take place and do something about it, the patterns of history will repeat. Congressional legislation is in place to remove the final 2,000 Dineh (Navajo) people tenaciously clinging to their ancestral homelands, and the planetary alignments responsible for this blindness are inexorably moving into place. What follows is a synopsis of the Crisis on Black Mesa:
Is this the world we are trying to create?
The Coal Rush Begins
The richest known deposit of coal in the US was discovered on the northern part of the 1882 reservation. The Hopi did not have a government that could sign leases, as the people practiced their traditional self-government and their religion forbade coal mining. In 1951, John Boyden was appointed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a land claims attorney for the Hopi and began organizing a government which would be able to issue coal leases. The Coal Rush had begun. In 1955 his government was recognized by the BIA as the sovereign government of the Hopi people. A similar process was underway on the Navajo Reservation, where their appointed land claims attorney obtained a contract giving himself 10% of all future coal mining revenues.
After the leasing authority was established, a lease was quickly signed with Peabody Coal in 1967 giving them the right to mine the area. The royality rates to the tribes were far below standard commercial rates, as John Boyden, negotiating the leases for the Hopi, also worked for Peabody Coal. The traditional Hopi leaders filed a lawsuit opposing the lease, as strip mining violates traditional Hopi religion. US courts rejected the suit.
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