1999: A LETTER FROM ROBERTA BLACKGOAT

June 99

Great Spirit gave us this land to live in a good way. We’re not living here for free, everything we have, we have worked hard for it. We humble ourselves before Great Spirit and it is according to them (the Holy Ones) that we live here. Before non-Indians came, we were put here with original guidelines to live in harmony. Some prayers we say are for our veterans, our young ones, they go to war and its those prayers and ceremonies that keep them in good health and able to come back. All the natural resources that abound here are not here to be exploited but to be revered. All the things that we hold sacred have been co-modified. It’s co- modification of the sacred. We are given no respect as human beings, as to our existence. The problems of relocation and all the mental anguish that we’ve gone through, and the deprivation of rights, religious rights, is the equivalent to the internment of Fort Sumner back in 1864 to 1868. The government and people in this country encompass our demise. We need help as much as possible to reverse this relocation process. The government of this country must come to a compassionate understanding and allow us to go back to our traditional lifestyles. Guidance was given to us from the original instructions. We’ve been told to get permission from the Hopi Tribal Council to gather herbs and religious paraphernalia. We already have permission from Great Spirit to gather herbs for performing ceremonies, which we were told to do according to the original instructions. We are not living arbitrarily, the way we are living has definite significance. These laws and guidelines that we were given allow us to maintain certain values and truths, a certain ideology. To ask us to live other ways and ignore these laws is to ignore the truth. These non-Indians have no regard for our existence. We want all people to know that everything we are doing (our struggle) encompasses environmental issues and all other things that go with it. We want no more energy exploitation, no more mining, cutting up, drilling of our Mother Earth. We do not benefit from these anyway. We want Mother Earth to heal again and this will only happen when we stop all the fencing and scarring of the land that modern industrialized man is doing. I’m pleading with the entire nation and the whole world. Pleading with you. We were put upon here by the Creator within the four Sacred Mountains. Mt. Blanca to the East, Mt. Taylor to the South, San Francisco Peaks to the West, and Mt. Hesperus to the North. We were given instructions to live in a sacred way here. These mountains encompass a Hogan in which we were told to carry on our lifestyle in harmony. The influence and influx of outsiders and cultural assimilation has dwindled us and the Traditionals have been reduced to a handful. That’s why I appeal to everyone of you. I don’t know what the government and the news and the media has told you, but that is the situation here. I’ve been saying these things for years and years; is anyone listening?

(signed) Roberta Blackgoat