Big Mountain & Surrounding Communities of Black Mesa, AZ, 2008
Indigenous nations are disproportionately targeted by fossil fuel extraction & environmental devastation and Black Mesa is no exception. At this moment Peabody Coal Co. is planning to seize tribal lands and massively expand dirty coal strip-mining operations. In 30 years of controversial operation, Peabody's Black Mesa Mine has been the source of an estimated 325 million tons of CO2 that have been discharged into the atmosphere.* If expansion plans are permitted, it would exacerbate already devastating environmental and cultural impacts on local communities and significantly add fuel to the fire of the current climate chaos we face globally. Coal from the Black Mesa mine could contribute an additional 290 million tons of CO2 to the global warming crisis!*
Institutional racism has fueled neglect and abandonment of public needs such as water, maintenance of roads, health care, and schools. Daily life for Big Mountain residents hasn't changed too much over the years, except that more of them have become elderly and now struggle with daily chores. Due to lack of local job opportunities and federal strangulation on Indian self-sufficiency, extended families are forced to live many miles away to earn incomes and have all the social amenities which include choices in mandatory American education. It is increasingly difficult for families to come back to visit their relatives in these remote areas due to the unmaintained roads and the rising cost of transportation.
On behalf of their peoples, their sacred ancestral lands, and future generations, residents of Black Mesa continue their staunch resistance to the efforts of the US Government, which is acting in the interests of the Peabody Coal Company to devastate whole communities & ecosystems, and de-stabilize our planet's climate for the profit of an elite few. "The Big Mountain matriarchal leaders always believed that resisting forced relocation will eventually benefit all ecological systems, including the human race." Bahe Keediniihii, Dineh organizer and translator states. "Continued residency by families throughout the Big Mountain region has a significant role in the intervention of Peabody's future plan for Black Mesa coal to be the major source of unsustainable energy, the growing dependency on fossil fuel, and escalating green house gas emissions. We will continue to fight to defend our homelands."
We are at a critical juncture and must take a stand in support of communities on the front lines of resistance now! Indigenous & land-based peoples have maintained the understanding that our collective survival is deeply dependent on our relationship to Mother Earth. Victory in protecting and reclaiming the Earth will require a broad movement that can help bridge cultures, issues, & nations. This caravan will be an important opportunity for people of all backgrounds to work with the families of Black Mesa & to come together to strengthen our solidarity and find ways to work together to protect Black Mesa & our Mother Earth for all life.
PROJECTS: By assisting with direct, on-land projects with the Sovereign communities of Big Mountain, Black Mesa you are helping families resist an illegal occupation and to stay on their lands, who serve as the very blockade to coal mining! Projects include chopping wood, water catchment, health care, corral, roof, & home repairs.
** There is a caravan heading out from Portland. If you want to participate, we will be having weekly organizing meetings in October to discuss:
What the plans are once we are at Black Mesa,
Background on Black Mesa struggle,
Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness,
Goals and action plans for raising money and/or supplies,
and Coordinating rides
For more information, or to help, please contact the Portland Coordinator at: