Republished below, an article about Dineh Elder Pauline Whitesinger, who’s faced with increasing threats and harassment from BIA Police forces at her home in the traditional lands of Sweet Water, northern Arizona.
Looking at Pauline’s situation, and the clear need for on-the-ground support, the article raises an important lesson that we should all take note of: Resistance is more about living our own lives despite the hardships we will face, than objecting to those hardships through protest.
Beyond the obvious corruption of authorities, this is why Pauline is in this situation now… She chose to live her own life.
For more information on Pauline’s situation and to learn how you can help, please contact: email@example.com or visit: www.blackmesais.org.
By Bahe Y. Katenay, Sheep Dog Nation Rocks
Sweet Water Stronghold, Big Mountain. February 9, 2009 – Dineh elder resister of the traditional lands of Sweet Water is bundled up for the chilly winds as she takes some hay out to her sheep and goats. The herds need a little extra feed before going out to graze. The non-Indian, volunteer supporter is dressed warm and ready to follow the sheep as he chops some wood for grandma, Pauline and while the herds nibble on the scattered hay on the ground. Not many non-Indian volunteers do occasionally make themselves available from their busy lives to come out for short stays and help traditional, elder resisters. Very few traditional elder residents are now left throughout such regions affected by the harsh relocation laws of 1974.
When asked, “How is everything out here?” The well-outfitted supporter says, “Just a lot of babies, and that is why I’m carrying this!” He wears a large, hand-sewn canvas bag which he referred to is to be used in case any of the sheep or goats have “babies.” Soon the sheep and goats are done feeding and they head towards the great pristine canyon of Sweet Water, and the supporter suddenly quits all chit-chat, grabs his stick and runs off toward a herd that is disappearing into the juniper forest.
Each non-Indian supporter that make these short stays with traditional elders have unique and deep sense of passion that is more than just positive, but they have the understanding of the suffering from injustice and the presence of environmental destruction. Though these kind of ‘hardcore’ supporters are becoming rarer, they value the human connections to nature or to the eco-systems rather than connections to corporate entities and its policing/policies. They see and appreciate, more than most native Americanas, what still exist out here at Big Mountain especially where an elder like Pauline lives. Supporters like this one at Sweet Water do have ‘profound’ commitments to stay two weeks or more to learn and experience a glimpse of natural survival skills and maybe a very small bit of ancient human ritual ways. Within their profound commitments they know they may encounter at any moment the ‘terror-threats’ of the U.S. sponsored, BIA Indian Police Gestapo.
Grandma Pauline moves about slow as she closes the “hay barn” doors that are made from frames of a single-bed, and the barn’s roof is of tattered plastic tarps and the walls are of leaning juniper logs. She greets with a friendly and joyful hand shake as she adds a little sense of humor to her greeting. Grandma is still strong but age is still giving her a challenge, too. She is like a story teller as she makes numerous comments about things and about the conditions out there. She also knows that she is part of a situation which is the struggle for liberation at Big Mountain—her birth place.
A few supporters are very concerned and that is why this independent monitoring of human rights violation and religious intolerance is being carried out. The Arizona-based, Black Mesa Indigenous Support had received a phone message on behalf of Pauline in January about BIA Police personnel posing threats to demolish a traditional earth lodge. Because of the lack of resources, it took a while for the support network to finally establish contact and get the information. This situation with her re-building this sacred lodge should be a natural process but the regional BIA Hopi Agency saw it as a violation of U.S. Court decisions in the name of the federally-supported Hopi council. Grandma Pauline who still lives according to her ancestors’ ancient, cultural lifestyles completed the earth lodge and which is another, direct-action that is obviously missing in Indian country, true Native Resistance!
Grandma recalls what happened on January 20th as she also refers to a radio announcement, “It was about that time, 10 AM, when the radio said that in the east ‘the hand shall to be raised,’ when my grandson beckoned me outside because there were some visitors. It was those BIA-Hopi Police, again, and one officer got out of the vehicle followed by a female officer. I sat down on the bench against the house and they both sat on either side of us, the man who spoke Dineh sat next to me. As he said, ‘we hear you are out here sitting in the mud and we come to check on you,’ the third officer got out of the vehicle and started to walk over towards the newly rebuild lodge.
“My response to the officer next to me was, ‘I’m sitting in the mud out here? You say that as if you spoke with someone that lives with me and knows about my situation.’ Then we all noticed that the third officer was taking more pictures of the earth lodge like (they) do not have enough pictures of it by now.
“I begin to ask the officer sitting with us, why do you all need more pictures and you all should just stop these picture-taking of my home? The officers both ignored my request but the third officer came over and took a couple pictures of me and my grandchildren. The police said nothing more to us but left to return and drive by my resident again, and they drove slowly like they were still up to something. About a week ago, (they) did not come here but (they) again drove by very slowly like they were making some intense observations. I believe these (BIA) police are going to start doing as they please because the actual Hopi council is in defunct…”
The protests in the American streets where Starbuck, Bank of American and GE own the concrete-n-steel sidewalks are hopeless! Come to the place of opportunity to show the American Police State that you support the natural humans pay homage to, not control, the Mother Earth. At Big Mountain, you will see and understand what real resistance is and experience being part of defending the profound ancient ways of life that are threaten into extinction. Come out, rough it, have patience, find that humbleness within you, and you will be in the human circle for revolution. Help, Save the Microcosm of the Universe at Big Mountain, the Whitesinger Earth Lodge!
© Sheep Dog Nation Rocks, 2009
For more information about how you can help, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.blackmesais.org and / or leave a voice message @ 928-773-8086.
Photo by Kenneth Diner
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