Navajo - Hopi Dispute Links

On the left is a Navajo Butterfly Maiden carved in wood recently by Navajo master carver Kae Nez-Atsowi,. She's holding. eagle feathers. In the middle, offering a pot of camp coffee, is a Hano clown, carved around 1981 by Hopi/Navajo artist Clarence Cleveland. On the right is a Hopi Jemez ripe corn-butterfly Kachina-woodcarving carrying a rattle and some evergreen branches, carved sometime in the 1980's by K. Lomaoya, master Hopi carver. These and others are for sale by the web gallery of Sunshine Studios in Santa Fe. As I prepared this sad history with its upcoming deadline, prospects of violence, heartbreak, anger, endless manipulated hostilities, it came to seem that these beautiful and instructive carvings belong right here. Hano is a Hopi town on First Mesa. The people there are Tewa-speaking. The history of their adoption and refuge given by older-clan Hopis is lost or I don't know it. Something to think about, maybe, if the right people should happen to see it. Art can speak, and much better than politicians or lawyers, too. What else are webs for, Grandmother says, but communication? This is a web, the world-wide web. It connects, or will connect, everyone, everywhere.

If you have come to this page through some direct link, you should read the historical essay on the previous page, here about the roots and actualities of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute, before reading what Big Mountain Navajo residents' partisans are saying of it, which is what is to be found in most of these links. The most noteworthy factor of my web research, covering a 10-year span of accessible Internet material is that all presentations, regarding the Big Mountain situation -- web, email list, press -- have been highly slanted against the Hopi tribe and Hopi people, by ignoring almost all facts of this dispute. Whose land has been and is being taken away from them, for example.

Where the Indian press has chosen to support what they describe as elders who could resolve things, the Hopi elders people know about turn out to be a highly unrepresentative and vigorously publicized small group of individuals from Hotevilla. These individuals have in effect been created as external  public spokesmen by the efforts -- sustained over 30 years -- of a California-based group of well-financed white people. This group, the Committee for Traditional Indian Land and Life (and its associated recently-founded Touch the Earth Foundation) began operations in 1967, the year Black Mesa mining began and has shown -- for a simple bunch of airhead Nuagers -- remarkable tenacity and consistent disruptive targeting focussed entirely upon the Hopi Nation, over the 30-year period of its existence. Most of the Hopi links below are to various products and productions of this group.


  • LEGI-SLATE: News of The Day: Navajo-Hopi Settlement (Oct 96) -- this latest attempted settlement in the 23 year period of partitioning the Hopi's lands into those for the Navajo Nation and those they may retain proposes 75 year leases from the Hopi Tribe for the Navjo Black Mountain residents, but full Hopi jurisdiction over their own land. This settlement -- thought by the reporter to represent the end of the dispute -- has been rejected by some 250 Navajo families living on Hopi land at Black Mountain, who were given until December 31, 1996, to sign leases or leave.

  • Sovereign Dineh Nation -- This is a group organized by Navajo people who live at the Big Mountain (and other) areas which have been partitioned to Hopi tribal ownership. It has 1997 updates of protests and refusals of the 75-year leases offered by the Hopis to these people. The group does not want to accept the leases both because they feel their long residency has made it their land, and because with the leases comes acknowledgement of Hopi jurisdiction. The most recent is the story (March 11, 1997) that the court rejected the Black Mountain Dineh appeal for a stay of the evictions, and the local newspaper reports the Hopis want these Navajos off the land by March 31. SDN also states that it is a separate organization from the Dineh Alliance, and that Roberta Blackgoat is its executive director.

  • Dineh Alliance -- a group headed by Louise Bennally, one of the residents of the Hopi Partition Land -- describes itself as the "political arm of the Sovereign Dineh Nation" (Hopi Partition Land residents), and provides news and updates of the situation. DA opposed renewal of the Peabody Coal lease at Kayenta (north of the disputed lands) on environmental grounds. Peabody Coal's own website (news) boasts they got approval -- which had been temporarily withheld -- with little difficulty citing what they call scientific evidence, which apparently ignored the aquifer water situation entirely (most pumping is from their other mine at Black Mesa, but it's all one company).

  • Historical Chronology (mainly of the Navajo people) from ancient times through early 1996. It is identified as prepared by Marcia Monstersky, described as a consultant to the Sovereign Dineh Nation. It should be noted that a Hopi-prepared chronology would surely contain many different historical events.

  • Louise Bennally of Dineh Alliance repudiates Marsha Monstersky (Spring, 1996) -- and apparently identifies her and her sister as non-Indian people. A variety of reasons are given in her statement. Despite this, the above chronology by Monstersky, Hjulstrom (or whoever actually did the work) appears to be a much needed, though incomplete, chronological summary of a long historic period. Bennally's reasons for repudiating Monstersky, Hjulstrom, or whatever her name is are stated as: public (unauthorized) release of confidential legal information, public confrontational and hostile statements about Hopis that made ongoing negotiations difficult and inflamed the situation, misuse and diversion (to a fake organizational bank account) of organizational funds, assault on several elders, and unauthorized meeting with an FBI agent. Sharing this type of info is rare; most political groups feel the public will misinterpret it as petty personality clashes. In the case of widespread support groups with many younger-generation members, it may help to educate them to certain continuing realities of American political life. Absent more proof (though the nature of the incidents recounted was personally convincing), that's all I care to say publicly about this important educational document. The sky contains no monsters.

  • Update of the event chronology through the end of 1996. Other links and material pertaining to the current Big Mountain situation. Carried by Peacenet. As with the other, this is not a neutral chronology.

  • Report that almost all 250 Big Mt. Navajo families reject the October 1996 final settlement by John Abalone Walsh of the San Jose, CA, Native American Support Group. Attorney Bruce Ellison will represent Big Mountain residents who reject the proposed 75 year Hopi leases; he says it is unworkable: "The Agreement not only did not resolve the earlier violations of religious freedom, but also added new violations of these Navajo religious practices, especially with regards to the Hopi prohibitions on burial rights and herb gathering for ceremonial purposes. "

  • 75-year Lease form apparently as proposed in 1993 -- by Hopi Tribe as landlords to Big Mountain Navajo families. This seems to be the lease document that in a 1993 email, Navajo employee Jon Norstog said he gave to the 4th World Documentation Project.

  • Jon Norstog reports on "Navajo-Hopi 'Land Dispute' and Dine Relocation" in the fourth World Bulletin, Fall 1994/Winter 1995. He says the Navajo Nation Council has resolved (December, 1994) that the 1992 Agreement in Principle has expired. The newly elected council "rescinds the 5 August 1993 offer of land and water made to the Hopi Tribe" by the former Navajo Nation President. The resolution calls for a new negotiating team, and states intention to "protect the religion.". Norstog says "everyone" believes the Hopis will "abuse jurisdiction" over resident Navajos, and claims the Hopi Council President has promised "to rid the HPL (Hopi partition) lands of Dine within the next 4 years," though he also says all authorities are "evasive about what will happen at the end of the 75-year leases.". This is apparently an update of several earlier articles by Norstog that I cannot find. At the end of this article, Norstog writes:

    "In the meeting of 13 January, [Hopi Tribal] Chairman Secakuku asked the Dine to lobby their council delegates to rescind the December resolution. This is pretty interesting, since all along, the Dine have objected to the AIP and the lease, and have been highly critical of the Navajo Nation for giving away the store in the AIP. Scores of Dine from the HPL did come to Window Rock to lobby their Council, and to speak on the record. They did not lobby for the AIP and lease, so there is little reason to expect them to lobby against the Resolution. "

    Here (in a footnote) but not in his emails to the NATIVE-L list, Norstog is identified as an employee of the Navajo -Hopi Land Commission, an agency of the Navajo nation, as discussed above in connection with his emails about the western lands Bennet Freeze.

    The Fourth World Bulletin, according to their web page on a University of Colorado, Denver server, is identified as a publication of "Fourth World Center for the Study of Indigenous Law and Politics; Department of Political Science, University of Colorado at Denver; Campus Box 190, P.O. Box 173364 Denver, CO 80217-3364 USA ; Phone: (303)556-2850 (303)556-3556 Fax: (303)556-6041. Editorial staff is not listed. This Center appears to be associated with or headed by Glenn Morris.

  • Sovereignty and Legitimacy in Hopi Country by Marc Sills, 4th World Bulletin, April, 1994. Sills, who's not identified, writes that the present and former Hopi tribal chairmen are "hard liners" about the Navajo resisting relocation off Hopi land, and "are anxious to take over full control of the H[opi] P[artition] L[and], which was awarded to the Hopi Tribe by the Relocation Act." Though there is a brief attempt to show the U.S. as causative of the problem, the article mainly stigmatizes Hopi elected spokespeople, and states that "most of the [Dineh] people subject to relocation have a legacy in the region that dates back at least a half millenium, while others were shoved into the region as a result of US domination and expansion." The conclusion of the article is that the Hopis do not need what remains of their land -- i.e. what was partitioned to them after first being taken for Joint Use -- because they're all small dryland farmers, working on or close to their little villages and rocky mesas, while the Navajos need more land for their sheep, so they should have it. Hopi resistance to this concept is characterized as "vindictive speechmaking." (It should be mentioned here that Hopis run sheep, too, where they can find room. The concept of Hopis as self-supporting through ancient close-in primitive agriculture is outdated by probably a century, but certainly since the 1960's).

  • Jon Norstog's report on a Resisters/Hopi negotiating session of March 3, 1995 Lists Dineh representatives (including some from communities outside the partition lands, but affected by the 1934 western disputed lands problems), agenda, meeting conduct. The Navajo Nation apparently supplied spokespeople, lighting, sound equipment, meeting place and other facilities. Norstog says only the Hopi and Dine Resistors sat at the table, but "We" (i.e. Navajo tribal government employees such as himself, other Navajo tribal members) filled the room and used up all the chairs from several buildings. Parts of what was described as a 17 page - position paper prepared over some months were presented to the Hopi negotiators, who were unable to respond immediately but were told to do so within 2 weeks. This Report was reposted to NATIVE-L, from a private discussion forum and mailing list, as described by the NATIVE-L list's moderator Gary L. Trujillo:

    "This article was posted to an 'electronic conference'called ''on the APC (Association for Progressive Communications) system by Jon Norstad. Bulletins from that and several other conferences are made available via the NATIVE-L mailing list. If anyone would like to be on Jon's mailing list, in order to get the full text of bulletins he produces, please get in touch with him at the ' ' address given in the 'Originial Sender' line above.." Trujillo's reference to Jon's mailing list refers to a different email list, apparently specifically about the Navajo=Hopi land situation, evidently maintained by Norstog. to distriobute his version of events and news. I could not access any APC Conferences (private newsgroups) without joining , which I did not care to do at present.

    The most significant aspect of this 1995 article by Norstog is a clear showing that the Navajo Nation itself is acting as a major party -- indeed, the real party -- to "negotiations" between the Navajo resister families living on Hopi land and the Hopi Nation. It indicates that Navajo Nation claims to just be mediating the dispute, supporting fellow tribespeople, are false.

  • A complex historical situation is outlined on NATIVE-L (some of the background in my essay is presented) by William M. Havens, 12/22/95. He says it is wrong to describe the repartitioning or Big Mountain situations as "a Hopi Land grab" as someone had apparently done earlier on this maillist. Havens is the only person participating in any of these electronic listmails or postings who seems aware of any land background -- i.e. the takings of Hopi reservation land. All the other postings uncritically or for reasons of their own self-interest (i.e. employees of the Navajo nation) support the Big Mountain Navajos. Havens' posting was unique.

  • A 1996 lease proposal -- (appears substantially the same as the previous 1993 lease but is much easier to read). Fourth World Bulletin, Spring/Summer 1996. Editors say they have boldfaced parts the Big Mounain Navajos find especially objectionable, but this doesn't appear on their web page version.

  • Fourth World Documentation Project -- Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Papers -- these papers are offers and official position statements of the Navajo tribal negotiating commission. They do not represent any Hopi viewpoint. Elsewhere on the web, I have seen them described as a mutual collection, and thought so myself when I first encountered this collection, until I read it. Most people probably do not understand that the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission is an agency entirely of the Navajo tribal government, they think it is representatives from both.

  • Voices from a Troubled Land -- a book of translated and compiled statements prepared by Navajo elders living on the Big Mountain land who do not want to move with the partitioning of this land to Hopi ownership. The statements were prepared for Congressional committees in 1992, and have been made into an on-line book, illustrated with many eloquent black and white photos.

  • Roberta Blackgoat's Statement from Voices from a Troubled Land -- Roberta Blackgoat has become very widely known as an elder-leader of the Big Mountain Navajo group.

  • NATIVE-L (Nov-Dec 1991): Navajo - Hopi War -- a compilation prepared (and titled) by the moderater Gary Trujillo of the Native-L list email. From these emails can be seen the total misunderstanding about the Hopi land and legal situation that has been spread on Internet for many years. Moreover, they are representative of the views conveyed by both the mainstream and to a lesser degree, the Indian press over more than 25 years. Interesting is a mainstream press article, which describes the Big Mountain Navajos as just wanting to be left alone to quietly practice traditional ceremonies (on the Hopi land) while the Hopis ruthlessly want to evict them so they can develop their land.

  • NativeNet: Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute postings from NATIVE-L -- A compilation prepared by the Native-L mailing list moderator Gary Trujillo, over the period 1991-1995. In general almost all the postings (which appear to be mostly from non-indian participants) support the Big Mountain Navajos. Pat Sekaquaptewa, a Hopi woman who at that time was a law student, responded very briefly in 1991 to several of the postings.

  • Boalt Hall (Berkeley) law students, under leadership of Pat Sekquaptewa (now a lawyer) formed a group in 1995 aimed at formulating Hopi traditional law, and serving as law clerk/researchers for the distant, isolated reservation, which has little in the way of library access to legal works or historical documentation. Beyond this initial 1995 report, I have found nothing more about this group.

    HOPI Postings: Most are Productions of a California White Group

  • Hopiland and Bahanna (White Man) -- A history said to have been prepared by (unidentified) traditional Hopi people. It addresses the land dispute as having been created by Bahanna, Peabody Coal, and compliant tribal governments of both nations. This is on a website maintained by a long-lasting Nuage group, Committee for Traditional Indian land and Life, a non-Indian organization formed in Los Angeles in 1967 shortly after the Peabody Coal mining activities began at Black Mesa.

  • NATIVE-L (July-August 1991): Hopi Elders Speak -- Unidentified Hopi elders speak out about the mining going on on Black Mesa (sacred ground to Hopi and Navajo religions both), and attack the Hopi Tribal Council as unrepresentative of traditional government, and compliant to the wishes of Peabody Coal. Apparently a reprint or posting to this maillist of an article or speech given by one or more persons identified as Hopi elders. This appears to be another Traditional Indian Land and Life - sponsored item.

  • The Hopi Information Network -- cultural, religious, news. A few recommended books. Most of the the rather few, not very informative materials are picked up from newsgroups or emails. What little there is about Black Mountain favors the Navajo resisters, and does not represent Hopi perspectives. This group appears to be trying to be a neutral news center, but that's impossible to do in a situation where vertually everything you can find to collect links to is either pro-Big Mountain Navajos, or phoney Hopi elder stuff from California.

  • Hopis bar most participants from 1996 Sundance held at Big Mountain -- the Hopi tribal government said this restriction was imposed because of danger of fire in a dry year, and that Navajo families resident on the Hopi land could sponsor only 100 non-resident visitors to the Sun Dance ceremony (which is traditional to Plains Indian tribes, but not to Navajos nor Hopis). Sun Dances have frequently been held during the past 20 years in what is now called the Anna Mae Aquash Memorial Camp because of support from traditional Plains tribal spiritual people, and the American Indian Movement. Anna Mae was present at an AIM meeting hosted by the Navajo AIM chapter at a site on the Navajo reservation near Farmington, where coal mining and especially coal gassification at a mine head near there was being opposed, during her last year of life before her assassination by covert U.S. government agents in 1976. Many feel that a Sun Dance held on Big Mountain land -- as it has been every year since 1983 -- is a fitting memorial tribute to this Miq'mak martyr to the cause of Native sovereignty. During the 1996 Sun Dance, Hopi authorities frequently visited the encampment and ejected non-resident or non-Indian participants.

  • Shrine being destroyed by mining -- A Hopi shrine, the last of 4, has been made inaccessible and is being destroyed as the previous 3 were.

  • Brugge, David M.: The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute: An American Tragedy, University of Chicago Press book, 1993. Somewhat outdated by recent events, but a thorough treatment of the historical background, how the tragedy was created by successive waves of white men and their governments, corporations, economics, and differing land customs. of the Navajo and Hopi peoples.

PG Note: Two websites, both identifying themselves as products or expressions of traditional Hopi elders' views are not Hopi in any sense. These sites are Techqua Ikachi a newsletter with some 48 articles purporting to be by Hopi elders, running on a website that mainly purveys "Classical Yoga Teachings of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. " on a server in Hawaii. The Hopi newsletter publishing organization's address is given as Solana Beach, CA. Many of these articles are reprinted from paper newsletters of the 1970's published by the Committee for Traditional Indian Land and Life, the well-financed California group that has targeted the Hopi nation for 30 years. The second such site is Hopi Cloud Dancing. Here an non-Indian individual identifying herself as Katherine Cheshire has recently started a foundation (Touch the Earth, address is given as Mt. Shasta, CA) that raises money and continues the work of the 1967 Committee on Traditional Indian Land and Life.

Committee for Traditional Indian Land and Life, was founded in Los Angeles in 1967, the year mining operations began at Black Mesa. Though mostly composed of early Nuager Southern California types, the steady focus of this group over 30 years on highly disruptive manipulative activities targeting Hopis argues there may be covert purpose and non-airhead direction.

In 1976, one of this group's founder/officers, a supposed elder Mohawk woman who was actually white, was exposed -- in connection with her infiltration of the American Indian Movement -- as an FBI operative, who may have taken orders from other agencies as well. Using the fake Indian name "Blue Dove" and falsely claiming to be Mohawk, Virginia Miller Riccardo Extrum DeLuce, a former actress/model/stripper, was admitted in court, on the record, by her FBI handlers to be an FBI operative. She had become the treasurer of all California AIM chapters, and also served on boards of many pro-Indian or politically supportive organizations in California, to spy upon them for the U.S. government, as well as to disrupt and manipulate their actions and policies. (And in the case of AIM, finances.) One of the groups she was a part of was the CTILL group. Deluce was an officer, had been one of its founders, and was known to be close to its still active founder/officer Craig Carpenter. DeLuce had her major tribal contacts in Arizona, rather than California. It is not known if any Hopis ever became aware of this situation. It is not known what became of Deluce -- who was 56 at the time of her exposure in 1976. She vanished from the California scene, after her compelled trial testimony regarding her part in the frameup of 2 AIM activists for a murder they did not commit at a California AIM camp in 1974.

The CTILL group's manipulative focus has been entirely on the Hopi tribe. The group typically urges rejection or tries to disrupt ordinary amenities (such as a well or a sewer line). Note this current example written up by Cheshire. Note reference to a much earlier disruption focussed around a Hotevilla well. In addition to this type of disruption, another consistent theme over 30 years has been repeated attacks on the Hopi Tribal Council -- no matter who they are, or what policies the try to pursue. It should be observed that over these years, a number of council people have at least as good a claim -- some feel a better claim -- to call themselves traditionalists (because ceremonies and initiations were never halted nor lost, as some have been at Hotevilla) . This group over the long period seems to have quietly attended their religious duties, while also trying to help the Hopi people in practical ways to survive difficult economic and political times. They do not present themselves to the world as prophetic elders, missionaries of peace or mouthing vacuous pieties of world salvation. No well-funded groups of whites carries on public relations campaigns for them. Members of this group of traditional-practical people have included the present tribal chairman since at least the early 1970's. Members of this group are always attacked by the Committee on Traditional Indian Land and Life, and their friends, and that has been going on for 30 years. It does not seem to be typical airhead nuage group behavior.

On this page will be found a variety of Nuage ceremonies purportedly Hopi and various prayers (in English) that this Cheshire has taken around to various California schools. Here's the Touch The Earth - Mount Shasta foundation doing their thing, well, one of their things. Note that Craig Carpenter -- 1967 CTILL founder -- is listed as some kind of officer. This is more along the lines of nuage ripoffs of Native spirituality fundraising, promoting some perverse and ignorant curriculum to be sold to California schools, etc.

Here's a very different picture. It also glances in passing at Hotevilla, but an Indian woman reported it:

  • Hopi Electrician Debbie Tewa installs solar electricity hookups at reservation villages; she lives at Hotevilla. This story, written by Ojibwe Winona LaDuke, gives an entirely different and far saner picture of life on the Hopi reservation today, showing how cultural needs and desires cause adaptations of technology, such as this use of solar energy to generate electricity in independent and non-intrusive fashion. LaDuke, savvy Indian lady long involved in land retrieval efforts and Native environmental struggles, presents a daily life (and culture) picture very different from the one these southern California weirdo manipulators have been pushing for 30 years.

  • Hopi Telephone and Teleconnumications Situation Here's why reasonable, sane, and real (not fake, manipulated) Hopis are having much difficulty trying to tell their own story, their own side to the present political situation, on Internet. By contrast Gila River Arizona tribe has had quite a different experience, here's their position statement in the same Arizona Telecommunications survey, an appendix to a commercial telecom development foundation's big report.

Since there is considerable InterNet fake Hopi info and fake Hopi fundraising, I note here that the Hopi Tribe does have a cultural foundation that works to preserve the language and culture. It works in other appropriate and relevant ways with and for its own people. Its name is The Hopi Foundation. It is based in the village of Bacavi on Third Mesa. My most recent contact info for it is:

Hopi Foundation
c/o Loris Minkler
Kykotsmovi Village, AZ 86403

Hopi Foundation works with professionals and with local traditional people, "to contribute to and improve the quality of Hopi life." In addition to cultural preservation, the foundation has explored ways to employ solar energy (see LaDuke's article above), is restoring traditional clan houses, and makes college fellowships available to Hopi students. It responds to proposals for action, study, or cultural activities support from both villages and individuals. Those who want to support Hopi traditions or traditional people might put their money there, instead of what might be termed "the first Nuagers before Nuage was even invented.".

If you arrived at these links from an unrelated surf, an essay, with maps, of the historical and legal genesis of the present Navajo-Hopi land dispute situation is on the previous page nere.

See also links seemingly unrelated to this dispute to Navajo nation and Hopi information sources on the (Arizona Indian Tribes) Map--page.

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Text, maps and graphics copyright -- Paula Giese, 1996, 1997 except where elsewhere attributed.

CREDITS: The three carvings were accidentally found (among many) while researching this page. The large, fuzzy, poorly-saturated commercial photos were cropped of their backgrounds, color-enhanced, size-reduced, shadowed, and sharpened in PhotoShop for the purpose of this particular use on this particular page.

Last Updated: 3/20/97