To the editor:
RE: Modern Day Colonialism on Navajo Reservation
Colonialism is defined as control by one power over a dependent area or people or a policy advocating or based on such control. (Merriam-Webster) This term would raise the eyebrows with indigenous peoples if mentioned in a discussion. I believe we all have a basic understanding of what it has done to our land and people.
So when I apply that definition to the current state of the Navajo Nation, there is one group that comes to mind, environmentalists. These are groups of people [who] are non-native, do not live on the reservation and are advocating a policy that aims to control the natural resources on Navajo land. Now they have our own people advocating their policy to our elected leadership. With the use of the internet and college life, these people capture our youth and brainwash them to think like they do.
Their advocacy is impacting our everyday life now. The Hopi Tribe had to kick them off their reservation because they weren’t wanted there.
This reminds me of the 1994 movie, ‘Higher Learning.’ In the movie, they follow three freshman students who come from different backgrounds and tells the story through various stages that these kids go through while trying to fit in at college. Watch it and you’ll understand.
I look at these environmentalists through that lens and I ask what do they really do? Do they help our Navajo people?
I asked some people if they ever conducted or completed any projects on the Navajo Nation? The response was a resounding no. But they did say that they stayed and talked about how mining was bad and that it needed to stop. And that they were to stop the mining.
I ask miners about the environmentalists and they said they remember the environmentalists promised that renewables and solar projects would come but when Black Mesa Mine shut down, they left. No projects. No money. They did what they came to do and left the Navajo Nation to figure the rest of it.
Some of these people were financed by these outside groups and at the end were compensated with large sums of money for ‘expert witness testimony,’ none of which was shared with the Dine’. That was in 2005.
Let’s jump to 2019. Environmentalists now communicate through local environmental groups with the same intention of shutting down all the mines on Navajo Nation. Now they provide money to their local groups to let them do their dirty work. All the while, Navajo miners and families fight to keep their jobs and livelihoods. Navajo Generating Station will be closed at the end of the year (NGS closed officially Nov. 18). Kayenta Mine is closed.
Did they provide any money to the Navajo Nation for solar projects? Or replace any of the revenue they helped eliminate? Nothing.
Now the environmentalists are attacking NTEC’s purchase of three mines in Wyoming and Montana. NTEC is simply seizing opportunities to create more revenue for the Navajo Nation and its workforce.
Environmentalists are now organized enough to influence local media, social media and elected leaders of the Navajo Nation. They now have the influence to control the Navajo Nation’s resources.
Modern Day Colonialism.
Beware of the wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.