Archive for January, 2012

Recent articles feature indigenous runners

I’ve noticed an increase in the number of articles being published on indigenous runners. Many, including a nice write-up in Indian Country Today,  center on Navajo runner Alvina Begay and her attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Although she did not make the U.S. team, she is a remarkable runner. Keep your eyes on Begay and Navajo runner Craig Curley, who also tried out for the Olympics, as we look to the future of indigenous running.

And take a few minutes to view this clip:

In the March 2012 edition of Runner’s World, Kenny Moore wrote a lengthy and insightful article on Oglala Lakota runner Billy Mills. Mills ran cross-country for Haskell Institute (now Haskell Indian Nations University) and the University of Kansas. But he is best known for winning a gold medal in the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Check out the following video:

At the Olympics, Mills also broke Hopi Olympic runner Louis Tewanima’s long standing U.S. record in the same event. Records are meant to be broken (you have to break one to make one). And who better to break Tewanima’s record than another indigenous runner?

Also,  Indian Country Today recently ran a short story about a documentary film titled Racing the Rez. The film is about Hopi and Navajo cross-country runners who competed for Tuba City High School in Tuba City, Arizona. It is scheduled to be released this Fall.

Although I don’t know much about the film or its producer (Brian Truglio), it looks very promising.

Here is the trailer:

As the 2012 Olympic Games in London approaches, expect to see more articles on Native athletes, especially long distance runners.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Hopi Tribe to reinstate newspaper

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2012

Re-opening of the Hopi Tribe’s Newspaper, the Hopi Tutuveni

“This has been the wishes of the Hopi and Tewa people and I am thankful to
the Tribal Council that they listened to the people and funded the Tutuveni”
Chairman Shingoitewa

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. – After several years without operations of the Hopi Tutuveni, the Hopi Tribe is pleased to announce the hiring of a managing Editor. After nearly a year of recruitment, a candidate has accepted the position.

In 2010 the Hopi Tribal Council appropriated funding to re-establish the newspaper.

“My executive staff has worked diligently with the department of Human Resources and our Public Relations firm (HMA) to advertise and recruit for a new editor.  Although this was a long process, we are excited to have an experienced editor and look forward to working closely with the new staff. This has been the wishes of the Hopi and Tewa people and I am thankful to the Tribal Council that they listened to the people and funded the Hopi Tutuveni.” said Chairman Shingoitewa.

Chairman’s Chief of Staff, Curtis Honanie remarked “This is another step forward in serving the Hopi and Tewa people. We are very happy that our team was able to successfully accomplish another project under the leadership of Chairman Shingoitewa.  The foundation of this success was put in place over a year ago with a coordinated recruiting effort by our team.”

A formal public re-opening celebration is being planned by the Office of the Chairman for the latter part of February.

Contact:
Public Information Office
Phone: (928) 734-3104
Fax: (928) 734-6665
http://www.hopi-nsn.gov

###

Click here to download official news release.

A Hopi discussion on coal mining, water rights, and the environment

[The following letter was written by former Hopi Tribe chairman Benjamin H. Nuvamsa from Shungopavi.  He presented the letter to the Hopi Tribal Council on Friday January 13, 2012]

January 13, 2012
Hopi Tribal Council
Hopi – Tewa Senom

It is time we have a serious discussion about coal mining on our reservation, our water rights and our environment.  For far too long, we have pushed these issues aside, not willing to talk about how these issues impact our lives.  We must talk about how the Peabody Western Coal Company and Navajo Generating Station are affecting our lives.  Since the mid 1960’s, Peabody Coal has been mining our coal, pumping our precious Navajo Aquifer water and paying us pennies on the dollar in return.  Navajo Generating Station is emitting dangerous and harmful particulates into the air we breathe.  Our coal resources are being depleted.  Our Navajo Aquifer has been damaged and is decreasing.  Our drinking water supply is contaminated; and our sacred springs are drying up.  And, our people are suffering health problems from the mining activity and production of electricity.  But who is really benefiting from this mining?

Most people know about how Attorney John Boyden, with the help of the Interior Department, managed to negotiate coal leases designed to benefit the coal mining industry and the utility companies.  They literally stole our coal and water right from under us; and we allowed it to happen.  We were sold a bill of goods by Boyden.  Sadly, we are still allowing this to continue as evidenced by the latest Hopi tribal council’s action to approve the Peabody Lease Reopener.

Our elected leaders are being told by Peabody Coal, Office of Surface Mining, and by the Salt River Project (and other owners of the Navajo Generating Station) that if they did not approve the lease reopeners, that our tribal economy would suffer.  I do not believe this story.  It was the Federal government, in the first place, that determined what our economy would be; who would mine our coal and use our water; and literally what price we would be paid.  The Federal government created a monopoly for Peabody Coal.  Although it is our water and our coal, we were not allowed to make these decisions.  We could not exercise our inherent sovereign right to determine our own economic future.  Those decisions were taken away from us when the Federal government pushed the coal leases with Sentry Royalty (Peabody’s predecessor).  We did not have control over our resources and our economy.  We still don’t.  The Federal government designed these leases so that we would become dependent on coal royalties.

So what happens with the money we get from Peabody Coal?  We get a mere $11.0 to $13.0 million each year from Peabody Coal in the form of coal royalties and some bonuses.  This money is put into an investment account at the Department of Interior’s Office of Trust Funds Management in Albuquerque, but most of it is given to the Hopi Water and Energy Team for their travel and other expenses.  Most of this money is used by attorneys and other specialists to produce biased reports that our resources are safe and have not been damaged.  Hopi and Tewa Senom have no say in how this money is used.  Very little, if any of this money is used to create jobs and help villages.

So, as owners of the resources, we have to ask hard questions, such as:  Do we really need coal mining on our reservation?  Is it worth the loss of our resources? Is it worth damaging our resources and environment?  Is it worth the health and welfare of our people?  Again, we must ask:  Who is really benefiting from coal mining on our reservation?  Peabody Coal is a global company.  The ten-year coal leases give Peabody Coal full subsurface rights to our coal, water and other minerals (except oil and gas).  The leases give Peabody Coal full rights to the millions/billions of tons of our coal for which they do not pay us anything until they mine the coal.  Because of how the leases are structured, we cannot market our coal to other companies to get better prices and have a say on how our coal is mined.

Peabody Coal reported that in October 2011, its net income rose to $274.1 million, or a rise of 22.3% from last year.  Its revenues rose 9.2% to $2.04 billion from last year.  The Navajo Generating Station buys the coal from Peabody Coal to produce electricity.  The power plant is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation (24.3%) Salt River Project (21.7%), Los Angeles Water & Power (21.2%), Arizona Public Service (14.0%), Nevada Power (11.3%), and Tucson Gas & Electric (7.5%).  Salt River Project recently reported a profit of over 26.0% in 2011.  Peabody Coal, in its 2005 report, said it paid the State of Arizona about $67.5 million during the period 1986 to 2004; and paid the Navajo Nation over $82.9 million in various forms of taxes during the same period.  Hopi did not and does not receive any tax revenues because of a reported covenant to not tax Peabody.  So, who is benefiting from coal mining?

So what should do?  Should we continue coal mining, or should we enter into alternative forms of energy production, or should we just stop coal mining?  In any event, we must exercise our sovereign right to decide for ourselves, and decide our own economic future; and no longer allow the Federal government, owners of the Navajo Generating Station, and Peabody Coal to dictate our economy to us.

The Hopi Tribe (and the Navajo Nation) holds the key to the economy of the entire Southwest.  It is our coal and water that makes it possible for Arizona, southern Nevada and southern California to have electric power.  And, while others profit handsomely from our diminishing resources, our tribal socioeconomic conditions remain dismal.  We get no direct benefit from coal mining revenues, we have limited or no jobs, our homes are in disrepair; and many of us do not have electricity and running water in our homes.  After almost 50 years, we have nothing to show how coal mining on our reservation has improved our lives.

Our economic future starts with a serious round of discussions; adoption of sound energy and water policies; and renegotiating the Peabody Coal leases to demand higher prices and accountably for the damage they have done to our resources.  It also starts with the tribe imposing taxes on Peabody Coal.  It starts with requiring the Navajo Generating Station to comply with strict Federal emissions control regulations.  And, it starts with holding our trustee, the Federal government, to carry out its trust obligations to us.

Benjamin H. Nuvamsa
Former Hopi Tribal Chairman

Orayvi sunset

"Orayvi sunset" Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert - Originally published on the back dust jacket of Education beyond the Mesas (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

En route to Moencopi

Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Hopi and other Native understandings of Rainbow Bridge

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time fishing and water skiing on Lake Powell. While having fun on the lake, one of the places that we used to visit was Rainbow Bridge National Monument in southern Utah.

On YouTube, I came across an interesting video of Hopi oral histories of the bridge. In 2009, the U.S. National Park Service conducted the interviews to mark the Monument’s 100 year anniversary. The Hopis in the video include Wilton Kooyahoema (Hotevilla), Floyd Lomakuyvaya (Shungopavi), and Rod Duwala (Oraivi).

Members of the Navajo, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Paiute, and White Mesa Ute nations were also interviewed for this project. I have posted their segments below.

Kachina Bears

Image courtesy of http://kachinabears.com/

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I find this company on the internet. My guess is that it won’t be long before they start offering kivas and ladders as accessories.


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and a Dean's Fellow and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930”, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers’: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909”, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

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