Menu
Categories
Navajo Hopi Land Office director says Hopi police/rangers dressed in SWAT gear
October 30, 2014 News Articles

Navajo elders from Big Mountain, Ariz., and Black Mesa, Ariz., lead a peaceful walk from Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2014, to protest impoundment of their livestock and arrest of Navajo people by Hopi Tribal police and U.S. Interior Department Bureau of Indian Affairs rangers. (Photo by Marley Shebala. Please provide proper credit when re-using.)

Navajo elders from Big Mountain, Ariz., and Black Mesa, Ariz., lead a peaceful walk from Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Nation Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2014, to protest impoundment of their livestock and arrest of Navajo people by Hopi Tribal police and U.S. Interior Department Bureau of Indian Affairs rangers. (Photo by Marley Shebala. Please provide proper credit when re-using.)

About 70 Navajo people, many of them elders, walked peacefully from the Window Rock, Ariz., mini-mall to the Navajo Nation Council chambers. It took the group about 1.5 hours to reach the chambers because some of the elders were using canes.

It has been the elders that were the focus of surprise livestock roundups by heavily armed Hopi government rangers and U.S. Interior Department Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement that started on Hopi Partition Lands in the middle of October.

Navajo Council Delegate Dwight Witherspoon, who is a member of the Council’s Navajo Hopi Land Commission, called for a special meeting of the NHLC to address the livestock impoundments.

Navajo Council's Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Chairperson Walter Phelps and Dwight Witherspoon listen to Dine' Bidzill Founder Norman Brown read several statements from the Navajo families living on Hopi Partition Lands, who are having their livestock impounded by heavily armed Hopi police and federal rangers. Brown was among about 70 people who walked from the Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2014.  Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Navajo Council’s Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Chairperson Walter Phelps and Dwight Witherspoon listen to Dine’ Bidzill Founder Norman Brown read several statements from the Navajo families living on Hopi Partition Lands, who are having their livestock impounded by heavily armed Hopi police and federal rangers. Brown was among about 70 people who walked from the Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Witherspoon successfully added legislation to the NHLC’s agenda which asks the Hopi Tribe to cease all impoundments of livestock belonging to Navajo families living on the HPL for 150 days in the spirit of government-to-government respect, which allows the Navajo Nation government to work with the Navajo families.

Navajo young people were part of a peaceful walk from the Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2014, to attend a special meeting of the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission at the Council chambers, where commissioners received testimony from NHLC Office staff and Navajo families living on Hopi Partition Lands about Hopi police and federal rangers impounding their livestock, arresting Navajo people who asked questions or who tried to stop the impoundments. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Navajo young people were part of a peaceful walk from the Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on Oct. 30, 2014, to attend a special meeting of the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission at the Council chambers, where commissioners received testimony from NHLC Office staff and Navajo families living on Hopi Partition Lands about Hopi police and federal rangers impounding their livestock, arresting Navajo people who asked questions or who tried to stop the impoundments. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

NHLC Office Director Raymond Maxx is reporting to the NHLC. Maxx is explaining the historical impact of the Navajo-Hopi-US land dispute. He said that when it comes to strategy that the Navajo Department of Justice recommended that the NHLC go into executive session.

Maxx said that some of the families would like to make recommendations and they are Colleen Biakeddy, Blackrock, Veda Blackrock and Carol Tohannie.

NAVAJO HOPI LAND COMMISSION OFFICE DIRECTOR RAYMOND MAXX
A coople of weeks ago as I was driving to Window Rock, Ariz., from Tuba City, Ariz., I saw a convoy of Hopi police and when I arrived at the Navajo Hopi Land Commission office in Window Rock, Ariz., i asked staff to find out what was happening. And soon we started getting calls from families living on Hopi Partition Lands. The Hopi police and rangers were arriving early in the morning, barricading Navajo families in their homes, barricade road entrance so no one could come or go, and anyone who raised objections or asked questions would be arrested on the spot.

and in several cases, the Hopi police and rangers pulled weapons on elders. They are fully armed in military SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) gear.

hopis say that this is how their law enforcement deals with people across the board but we don’t see this directed against Hopis. the hopis say they provide interpreters but navajo families say they don’t have interpreters. hopis try but not proficient. so communication problems. and in dealing for months with hopi tally counts and orders to reduce, families can’t reduce livestock because hopi rangers want to witness families taking livestock off HPL to sell and the hopis want proof of ownership so it is difficult to reduce livestock. they are citing people for non-compliance but hopi regulations make it difficult for the families to reduce livestock.

The peaceful walk from the Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Council chambers on Oct. 30, 2014, included people of all ages, who came from Big Mountain and Black Mesa to get assistance from the Navajo Nation government to stop the brutal impoundment of their livestock by Hopi police and federal rangers since mid-October on the Hopi Partition Lands. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

The peaceful walk from the Window Rock Mini-Mall to the Navajo Council chambers on Oct. 30, 2014, included people of all ages, who came from Big Mountain and Black Mesa to get assistance from the Navajo Nation government to stop the brutal impoundment of their livestock by Hopi police and federal rangers since mid-October on the Hopi Partition Lands. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

NHLC OFFICE STAFF THOMAS BENALLY
we all kow that when things happen on the HPL it can escalate into greater issues and concerns. now we also must understand that there is difference between how we interpret western law and how Navajo people see life. there is difference. i talked with consultant and i said that i as native american can tell you how it is to be native american but you won’t understand because you don’t live like i do or what my grandparents taught me. That is what is happening with livestock impoundment. we agreed to western document on how to live on HPL. I and wife agreed to relocate. that was my choice. another relative decided to stay and fight. my children have no right to plot of land on HPL because we agreed to relocate. and those families that live on HPL have to abide by document and yes, we don’t like it but that is the way it is.

the federal court ruled that this land hopi and this land navajo. there are two issues facing navajo families on HPL.

the hopis say they also do livestock impoundments of hopis but they are “racial profiling” navajo families by arriving at the homes of navajo families with ten officers.

and so they are using these tactics to pressure navajo famiies off the Hopi Partition Lands.

Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Leave a Reply
*