From BIGMTLIST From: DINETAH29@aol.com Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 02:55:39 EDT Subject: Please Post-The Numbers Game-An Answer to the US government line The Numbers Game on Black Mesa When commenting on the problems affecting Dineh who became trespassers on their ancestral lands as a result of PL 93-531, US officials frequently quote statistics indicating that the situation has been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone but a handful of "Resisters". They usually state that the number of these Resisters is around 12. These statistics are intended to support an assertion that a difficult situation has been successfully resolved except for a tiny group of people who may suffer as a result of their failure to cooperate with a program that everyone else accepts. These statistics completely misrepresent the situation in the region and the tragic situation facing the many communities affected by these policies, and it hides the harsh reality that may unfold as the US completes its "Final Solution" to the problems in the region. The government statistics make two fundamental errors. The first is the assumption that two lists called the "A" and "B" lists include all the Dineh currently living on what is called "Hopi Partitioned Land" (HPL). The second error is the assumption that the number of signatures on leases with the Hopi Tribe which the government claims to have obtained from people on the "A" list indicates that 85% of these people accept the terms of these leases and have reached a satisfactory solution for remaining on the land. The Lists Official government policy is based on lists that were developed as part of the mediation process between the two tribal governments, some "representatives" of the people, and the US government. The current solutions proposed by the US government only cover the people on these lists, but these lists may represent less than 15% of the Dineh living on HPL, so that the vast majority of people have no protection against the impending evictions. This discrepancy is caused by three factors: (1) The people on the list are "heads of households", but in many cases, their children and other extended family members supposedly covered by their signature live elsewhere in the area. The lease arrangements would require all these extended family members to give up their own homes and livestock and move in with their grandparents/ great-aunts/etc. These extended family members will lose their homes, their land, and their livestock. (2) Where the officially listed person has died (which has occurred several times since the list gives the eldest heads of household), the eligibility to sign is not transferred to the succeeding generation, so that the children and extended family do not have the opportunity to move in with the grandparents as mentioned in (1). (3). Many people are simply not represented in any way by the official lists. These people fall into many classes: (a). The largest group involve cases where someone listed as a head of household in the Relocation Office accepted relocation benefits and was moved away, but other members of the family never relocated. (b). Some people have never appeared on any list or census. They have been avoiding the government for the last 25 years. (c). Another case is where a family was relocated, but some of them eventually returned illegally, often living in makeshift shelters on their old land as their original houses had been bulldozed down. This is common for the ones who were moved into the cities, and found themselves homeless and unable to survive in that environment. The people in groups (2) and (3) above will be subject to forcible eviction over the next year and to the loss of their homes and livestock. These people are not even eligible for relocation benefits, so that they will receive no compensation for the confiscation of their land and homes. The people in group (1) may avoid eviction if they move in with their relatives, but they face the loss of their current homes and livestock. Furthermore, in many cases they may not for various reasons be able to move in with the elders, in which case they will be subject to eviction. As pointed out by Dr. Thayer Scudder, an authority on relocation issues, governments usually underestimate the number of people to be impacted by a relocation program. The US government originally estimated in 1974 that under 3,000 people would have to relocated. So far, over 12,000 have been relocated, and thousands more remain on the land. Preliminary estimates collected by Sovereign Dineh Nation (SDN) from people in the various communities suggest that as many as 3,000 Dineh are currently on HPL. SDN is in process of collecting hard data on the subject by means of a comprehensive survey that will give an accurate count in the near future. In any case, it is clear that a large group will suffer when the US government attempts to remove all non-permitted people from HPL. One question that often arises is where these people are and how the government has failed to account for them. This has several answers. The first is that in many case the authorities are aware of these people, but have found it inconvenient to include them, as it exposes the fundamental flaw in their plans. A second situation is where the people currently are living in or near the homesites of eligible people. In that case, they still are not eligible for residency under the permits granted to the listed people, so that they are unprotected. The third situation is where the government is simply not aware of the people, because they have essentially been hiding for years: the government has not examined every corner of the million acre area. The Signatures The apparent signatures of 85% of the 112 "A" list heads of households does not in any way reflect that these people have entered into a voluntary and workable arrangement for continuing as tenants under the government program. The 85% figure originated in a condition placed in PL 104-301 which awarded the Hopi Tribal Government $25 million if it could obtain this number of signatures. At over $250,000 per signature, the tribal government had every reason to use any means possible to obtain signatures. The US government, wishing to obtain the public relations benefit of announcing a successful settlement, was equally complicit in the process of obtaining these signatures through questionable means. The signatures that were obtained do not reflect voluntary acceptance of the terms of the agreement. The people were simply told that if they did not sign, they would be evicted. In many cases documented by SDN, the officials used verbal threats of jail or immediate eviction without confiscation to extort signatures. In most cases, the people were not offered legal counsel or any detailed explanation of the terms of the agreement or of their rights in the process. The government's goal was to obtain signatures by any means possible, not to insure that people understood the process, the terms of the leases, or the significance of their signatures on these documents. Furthermore, many of the signatures were obtained by fraudulent means. For example, Katherine Smith, who was jailed many years ago for shooting over the heads of the police, is listed as a signer, even though she never signed. Alice Benally, a lifelong resister, died from heartbreak and embarrassment shortly after finding out that her name had been forged onto a lease. Some people found out that documents that they signed to release their animals from impoundment or for some other purpose were actually these leases. The reality is that the leases do not provide a realistic or humane mechanism for Dineh people to remain on their ancestral land. The people will have no civil rights and live under the dictatorial control of a government that is openly hostile to them. The leases deprive subsistence herders of the ability to maintain the herds they need for their survival. Most importantly, the leases turn people into tenants on their ancestral lands, and deprive the people of their right to protect and preserve their land for future generations as they are bound by their traditional religion. As one attorney phrased it, the procedure was like forcing people to sign their own death warrants. Many of the people who are officially considered as "signers" are people who are as totally committed to resistance against loss of their ancestral land as anyone. For the government to flaunt 95 signatures as evidence of the people's acceptance of its policy is a gross misrepresentation of the choices that were presented to the people and of the process through which these signatures were obtained. Conclusion SDN is in the process of collecting detailed and in-depth information concerning all of these issues using procedures that will hold up under court scrutiny in various legal actions. Because of the enormous physical obstacles in reaching all of the people who have to be surveyed, completing this process may take several months. In the meantime, we have compiled a large amount of individual testimonies and anecdotal evidence that demonstrates the basic points described above. The US government is playing a fraudulent numbers game to mask the failure of its policies and the tragedy that can be expected to unfold as the government completes its final solution to what it calls the Hopi-Navajo Land Dispute.
From BIGMTLIST From: DINETAH29@aol.com Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 02:53:17 EDT Subject: Please Post URGENT Appeal for hay and feed for Anna and Ella Begay's corralled animals Dear Big Mountain Supporters, Ella Begay came to Kaibeto today, Monday, April 5, 1999, to tell me personally how much they appreciate the support she has seen. She is happy from the bottom of her heart that she got her animals back. It is something she never thought would happen. We could not have done it without your help. The reason I am sending out this URGENT Appeal is for hay and feed for the 2 donkeys and 1 horse that have to remain penned inside a corral in order to avoid confiscation. This costs money and Ella and Anna Begay, as you know, have no money. On behalf of Ella and Anna, I am issuing this appeal for you to send money for hay and feed to Anna and Ella c/o their niece Phyllis Widehat who went with them to get their animals from public auction: Please send your donations to: Phyllis Widehat P.O. Box 3583 Tuba City, AZ 86045 Also, if you can contribute to a hearing aid for Ella it would be most appreciated. Please write a note and indicate how you would like your money to be spent, whether for hay and feed or for a hearing aid. Thank you for your support and understanding. Yours sincerely, Marsha Monestersky Consultant to Sovereign Dineh Nation