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From: "Marsha Monestersky"
Thursday May 27, 1999

Return of 6 Cows from the BIA impoundment yard

News flash: Monday, May 24, 1999, we secured the release of 6 of 7 cows promised for return at no cost from the BIA impoundment yard.

Carlos Begay, Glenna Glenna Begay and Marsha Monestersky went to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Hopi Agency in Keams Canyon on Friday, May 21 and on Monday, May 24, 1999. We went there negotiate for then pick up 7 cows promised to us by Robert Carolin, Superintendent on Friday, May 21, 1999. However, when we got there we were told to wait for the results of a conference call between Robert Carolin and Heather Sibbison, Counsel to the Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

What we were told is that Glenna could get back her animals but Alice could not because she was not eligible for a BIA permit even though she has lived at her homesite all her life as her parents had before her.

The ramifications for the return of Glenna’s cows created a precedent for the BIA to exercise their jurisdiction and honor (or issue) BIA permits to all non-signers of the Accommodation Agreement refusing to sign for a Hopi grazing permit.

Like it or not the BIA has jurisdiction over grazing. And although the Hopi tribe is currently trying to lift a court injunction, the reality is that they do not have any jurisdiction over grazing. This also brings into question how the Hopi tribe can issue grazing permits for anyone including signers of the Accommodation Agreement when they are under a court injunction that prohibits them from exercising grazing jurisdiction.

So how is the BIA going to exercise their jurisdiction now that we are bringing this to their attention? What we have seen so far is that they have been confiscating poor peoples cattle, selling them at Valley Livestock, a public auction in Holbrook, and pocketing all proceeds made from their sale. The U.S. government has been stealing animals from relocation resisters including, Rena Babbitt Lane, Ella and Anna Begay, Pauline Whitesinger, Glenna Begay and Alice Begay to name a few. The BIA is unfit for jurisdiction as Carlos Begay says, "The matriarchs on HPL have suffered enough and have been abused enough. It is time tnow for us to get out from under the BIA and go under the State Department. This is who we signed the Treaty of 1868 with."

February 1, 2000 is still nine months away and the resisters are suffering, forced to starve, powerless to stop the U.S. government from stealing their property, religious resources and livelihood. The BIA does not even follow their own federal regulations. No five-day notice was served to Alice before her cow was impounded on April 20 and on May 18. Alice and her husband Kee Z. did not even know these cows were impounded, until on both occasions, they saw a public notice stating that their cow would be sold at public auction.

What the BIA is calling a five-day impoundment notice properly served on the impoundment of 2 cows is a notice sent to some unknown person that signed for a certified mail at Low Mountain School in Chinle, AZ and at a post office box in Kayenta, AZ. We have copies of these documents and a signed statement from the Postmaster in Pinon, AZ, the place where they do get their mail.

Alice and Kee Z. want the BIA to give them back the money they collected from the sale of their cow at public auction on May 5 and the return of her cow promised to her on May 21. Alice Begay says, "Robert Carolin, Superintendent of the BIA Hopi Agency promised to give me back my cow. Now he is refusing to give my cow. My cow was in with the other cattle in the holding area when Glenna got her cows back. But when they loaded up the cows for Glenna they took my cow out and put it in the impoundment yard with the others. I need my cow to come back. I will keep it in the corral with the others to avoid impoundment. I don't want my cow sold at public auction."

Alice Begay continues, “I was born here and have lived here all my life. My family, all of them were born here and my grandmother and mom before me. We have 5 girls, 3 boys, and more than 50 grandchildren. I am illiterate and do not speak, read or write English. I depend upon my animals for my survival.

How can the BIA tell me I am not eligible for a permit to graze my animals and continue to steal my animals when they refuse to give me a permit? Doesn’t that just make them cattle rustlers, stealing my animals then keeping the money they make when they are sold? I have no money to pay to get my cow out. It is making me sick thinking about my cow in the impoundment yard.

Robert Carolin lied about giving me back my cow. It made me depressed. Everything is bad. I can't eat at all and the stress is putting me down.

All this just gives me heartache. Both me and my husband are already sick from the stress.”

Glenna Begay says, “The BIA is just backing us into a corner and even though I got my cows back I am forced to have my sheep exiled on the other side of the fence (NPL) where they are denied access to water that is on the HPL side of the fence. How can I live like this? I need to have my animals near me.” She continues, "I see how they feel about us because when I was at the BIA, Fred Chavez and Robert Carolin said they know everyone of my horses and their colors. And if they see them on the range they will impound them. It seems that everyday they are watching us. We have no privacy."

She continues, "When we were just finishing loading up my cows to bring them home - the BIA Rangers and Hopi police brought in 2 bulls and 1 Heifer brand (IGB) Brand impounded from HPL. The officers said they captured them from Range Unit 451. They were just standing there laughing, happy that they could impound our cattle. How could the US government be allowed to make us starve?" “We are just like the people in Kosovo, refugees on our land with no choice but to leave. We are being told that we must leave our land empty handed and leave all our animals behind. I fear for the end of my ways of life and my ability to survive.”

Because the BIA has jurisdiction over grazing issues on Hopi Partition Lands until February 1, 2000, we need your help to ensure that the BIA honor old BIA permits for all those non-signers not holding a Hopi permit and issue new temporary BIA permits for all non-signers that do not hold a BIA permit like Alice and Kee Z. Begay. The irony is that the non-signers need these permits so they can stop the BIA can stop impounding their animals.

Glenna Begay says, “I know that the BIA has already been found guilty of having 2.5 billion in tribes trust funds with no record of either deposits or withdrawals. Haven’t they stolen enough of Indigenous peoples money? The excuse that the BIA has for stealing our animals is the condition of the rangeland. If this rangeland is endangered why don’t they just provide hay and feed to supplement the range? We have been told that the Navajo Nation

can apply for and receive hay and feed for our animals. So why won't they help us? This is not really about range management at all, it is about starvation tactics. Why do they want to make us suffer and starve? Maybe they are just doing this so we will give up and just leave our land.”

The people had a victory today securing the release of 6 of Glenna Begay’s cows. But what we really need to do is to stop the impoundments altogether and get Alice and Kee Z. Begay back their cow. What the BIA must do to remedy this tragedy is to issue permits to all non-signers not holding Hopi permits and honor these permits until February 1, 2000. What the Navajo Nation must do is apply for and receive hay and feed for the resisters animals forced to remain in the corral.

The BIA is feeling the pressure. There must be a humane solution. Please help us keep the pressure up.

Please call:
Robert Carolin, Superintendent  Phone: (520) 738-2249
U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Hopi Agency

Also please call:

Kelsey Begaye, President  Phone: (520) 871-6000
The Navajo Nation
P.O. Box 9000
Window Rock, AZ  86515


Roman Bitsuie, Director   Phone: (502) 871-6277
Navajo Hopi Land Commission
P.O. Box 2549
Window Rock, AZ  86515

Thank you,
Yours sincerely,
Marsha Monestersky,
Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation

Dear Big Mountain Supporters,

The inhumanity of the tragedy the US government is perpetuating against the Dineh people is demonstrated by the Notice of Order of Proposed Exclusion given to a Big Mountain elder Kee Shay. With the deadline date of February 1, 2000 fast approaching, we need your help to obtain repeal of the relocation laws Public Law 93-531 and 104-301.

Update on Kee Shay's Notice of Order of Proposed Exclusion by the Hopi Tribe

The deadline of May 22 came and went and the Hopi tribe has refused to respond to a letter sent by Kee Shay on May 17 via certified mail, return receipt requested. The basis for the letter sent that was released previously on the Big Mountain list, is that Kee Shay says he needs copies of the Ordinances he is being cited in violation of by the Hopi tribe before he can make a proper response. But the Hopi tribe has refused to provide him with this information.

As you know, Kee Shay and his wife, May Shay are being told they are trespassing on their land. May Shay says, “I have lived here since before I was 18 years old when I married Kee Shay. I am now 76 years old. My sheep corral, my house and my ash pile is here. This is where I live. We are even told that our hogan which we need to rebuild in order to have ceremonies in is illegal. How are we to survive? How can the Hopi tribe say we are a danger to the Hopi Tribe? I am afraid when I am here alone, the Hopi police come by here and tell me to leave my home and that I do not belong here.

They do this to me when I am out sheepherding alone. Who is going to protect me? How can they do this to me?”

Shay Benally, Kee Shay’s son says, “I was concerned with the deadline for response to the Exclusion Order approaching that we would not receive the information we needed to make a response so I went to see the people at the Tuba City Navajo Hopi Land Commission to ask them if they could give me a copy of the Ordinance 46 and 43 and the other Ordinances that my father Kee Shay is being cited in violation of. The people at the Navajo Hopi Land Commission told me that they have this information but would not give it to me. How are we supposed to respond to the Exclusion Order? They should just take the word Navajo out of Navajo Hopi Land Commission.”

Shay Benally continues, “Kee Shay was concerned when the Navajo Hopi Land Commission would not release the information he needed and we still had not received any response to our letter asking for copies of the Ordinances, so I went to the Hopi tribe to see the Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor on Friday, May 21. I asked him if he would give me the text of the Ordinances that my father Kee Shay is being cited in violation of. He just told me that he would not give me the information and that he wanted to keep this information confidential. Confidential from who? My father Kee Shay and my mother are being told they are going to be excluded from their home.”

We need you to contact the Hopi Chairman and tell him to stop the Exclusion process against Kee Shay and release copies of all Ordinances he is being cited of.

Call:  Wayne Taylor, Jr.   Phone: (520) 734-3000
Chairman of the Hopi Tribe


Kelsey Begaye, President  Phone: (520) 871-6000
The Navajo Nation
P.O. Box 9000
Window Rock, AZ  86515


Roman Bitsuie, Director  Phone: (502) 871-6277
Navajo Hopi Land Commission
P.O. Box 2549
Window Rock, AZ  86515

Thank you,

Marsha Monestersky
Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation
Phone:  (520) 673-3461
Web site:

Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 00:06:52 EDT
Subject: Part III-Call Rep. J.D. Hayworth to support repeal of section 10(f) of P.L. 93-531

Dear Big Mountain Supporters,

Please act now to support repeal of section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531 and tell the Representatives you speak with that the whole of Public Law 93-531 must be repealed.

URGENT URGENT URGENT URGENT Representative J.D. Hayworth is currently introducing legislation in the House of Representatives to repeal Public Law 93-531 section 10(f) commonly known as the "Bennett Freeze".

Section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the Bennett Freeze is the part of the law that has legalized the denial of Dineh people to any infrastructure, including access to water, housing improvement, new home construction, dirt road maintainence and all services. The Bennett Freeze makes it illegal to even fix a broken window or a leak in your roof .

Public Law 93-531 as a whole is the Relocation Act passed in 1974. It is responsible for the relocation of over 12,000 traditional Dineh people with those trying to hang on facing a relocation deadline of February 1, 2000 authorized by Public Law 104-301. Both of these laws are inhumane. How can any legislation condone forced relocation within the borders of the United States as we enter the new millenium? Haven't the people suffered enough?

President of the Navajo Nation Kelsey Begay is being asked to support its repeal. Please make sure he supports the repeal of the whole of Public Law 93-531 and repeal of Public Law 104-301.

A complete list of phone, fax, e-mail numbers and addresses for representatives is available on the web at: Please include Representative J.D. Hayworth, AZ and other AZ, UT and NM Representatives Senators and Reps via clickable map

Also please call:

Kelsey Begaye, President  Phone: (520) 871-6000
The Navajo Nation
P.O. Box 9000
Window Rock, AZ  86515


Roman Bitsuie, Director  Phone: (502) 871-6277
Navajo Hopi Land Commission
P.O. Box 2549
Window Rock, AZ  86515


Yours sincerely,

Marsha Monestersky
Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation

To repeal the Bennett Freeze thus ending a gross treaty violation with
the Navajo Nation and allowing the Navajo
Nation to live in habitable dwellings and raise their living
conditions,... (Introduced in the House)

HR 151 IH

                          106th CONGRESS
                            1st Session
                             H. R. 151

To repeal the Bennett Freeze thus ending a gross treaty violation
with the Navajo Nation and allowing the Navajo Nation to live in
habitable dwellings and raise their living conditions, and for other


                         January 6, 1999

Mr. HAYWORTH introduced the following bill; which was referred to
the Committee on Resources

                               A BILL

To repeal the Bennett Freeze thus ending a gross treaty violation
with the Navajo Nation and allowing the Navajo Nation to live in
habitable dwellings and raise their living conditions, and for other

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
     United States of America in Congress assembled,


     The Congress finds that--

          (1) the Navajo Nation is one of the largest and most
              economically depressed Indian reservations in the
	      United States;

          (2) the Bennett Freeze, named after former Bureau of
	      Indian Affairs Commissioner Robert Bennett, was
              administratively issued in 1966 to restrict the
	      Navajo tribe from constructing and repairing their
	      dwellings on land that was subject to a land
	      dispute with the Hopi Tribe;

          (3) the Bennett Freeze has affected 1,500,000 acres of
	      land, approximately 9 percent of the total acreage
	      of the Navajo Nation, covering 10 chapters and
	      affecting nearly 8,000 people;

          (4) only 3 percent of the families affected by the
	      Bennett Freeze have electricity and only 10 percent
	      have running water;

          (5) since 1966, the population has increased by
	      approximately 65 percent in the Bennett Freeze area,
	      forcing several generations of families to live
	      together in dwellings that have been declared unfit
	      for human habitation;

          (6) members of the medical community confirm that
	      overcrowding and the absence of running water,
	      refrigeration, and adequate sewage disposal
	      adversely impact the mental and physical health of
	      Navajos residing in the Bennett Freeze area;

          (7) the Bennett Freeze has halted essential construction,
              including power line extensions, waterline extensions,
	      road improvements, and community facilities improvements;

          (8) when the Bennett Freeze was temporarily lifted in 1992,
	      an ambitious $20,000,000 construction plan for new
	      dwellings was proposed that would have raised living
	      conditions and increased the economic viability of the
	      Bennett Freeze area, however, the plan did not become a
	      reality because a Federal judge reinstated the freeze;

          (9) the Federal Government has not taken the steps necessary
	      to end the Bennett Freeze in this already economically
	      depressed community; and

          (10) the Bennett Freeze is a gross violation of treaty
	       obligations to the Navajo Nation.


     Section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531 (25 U.S.C. 640d-9(f)) is repealed.


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