They are also walking to bring awareness to the people, especially the Navajo people, about the dangers of fracking, which is occurring on the Navajo Reservation and without proper education of the Navajo people, who still speak their own language.
The group, along with supporters, attended a US Bureau of Land Management meeting last night about Saddle Butte’s proposed proposed route for its Pinon Pipeline, which has the capacity to transport 50,000 barrels of oil a day – coming out of the San Juan Basin.
According to Frank Free New Mexico, “Already New Mexico has made national headlines for the nation’s biggest methane plume (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/delaware-sized-gas-plume-over-west-illustrates-the-cost-of-leaking-methane/2014/12/29/d34c3e6e-8d1f-11e4-a085-34e9b9f09a58_story.html).
The group, which has a Facebook site, stated, “Meanwhile, more than 100 “exploratory” wells in the Mancos Shale have already been drilled without proper oversight. BLM is set to lease 20,000 acres of oil and gas development in the Santa Fe National Forest and plans to lease an additional 2,800 acres of Navajo Allotment and BLM land overlying federal minerals around the greater Chaco Canyon area for Mancos Shale drilling.
“Now, Denver-based Saddle Butte LLC has applied for a permit to build a 130-mile pipeline from Lybrook to I-40, cutting between Chaco Culture National Historical Park and outlier Pueblo Pintado,” they added.
I just received a telephone call from Elouise Brown, who heads Dooda (No) Desert Rock, a Navajo grassroots organization opposing coal. Brown is with Nihigaal bee Iina in Lybrook, N.M., where the Bureau of Land Management held a public meeting on the proposed pipeline. She said that a tank exploded and was on fire.
I also received the following New Mexico State police press release about the explosion, “US 550 is closed in both direction due to two 500 gallon propane tanks, and one hot oil tank that is on fire. Northbound traffic is stopped at the 101 mile marker and southbound traffic is being stopped at the 105 mile marker. The fire is too hot for fire crews to approach at this time. Multiple agencies are responding assisting with this incident. Area residents are not allowed to enter the area until the fire is contained. Information will be provided as it becomes available.”
Brown said that as soon as the roads open, Nihigaal bee Iina and their supporters will be traveling by vehicles to Santa Fe, NM, for the next public meeting on the proposed pipeline, which is tonight, Jan. 15, 2015, at the US Bureau of Land Management building, 301 Dinosaur Trail, Santa Fe, NM, from 5-7 pm.
Nihigaal Bee Iina reported that 2,500 acres of BLM has been spared for now, but 20,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest was sold in October for shale oil fracking, and planning continues for the Pinion Pipeline to be built to quadruple the amount of oil that can be transported out of the San Juan Basin. Comment period reopened thanks to our coalitions. We need a good showing at the hearing 1/15. BLM deferred fracking near Chaco Canyon on Dec. 30, 2014, after several local and regional groups filed a protest challenging the lease sale near the sacred tribal site. SANTAFENEWMEXICAN.COM
The following is a news article about Nihígaal bee Iiná by Gallup, N.M., Independent news reporter Vida Vokert, firstname.lastname@example.org:
HUERFANO, NM — Kim Smith, a 30-year old Navajo woman from St. Michaels, was raised to believe that she belonged to a matrilineal society — where women are the head of the households and the providers of life.“Like mother Earth is,” said the young environmentalist.
So, when it comes to fracking, mining and the extraction of natural resources on the Navajo Nation, Smith sees no difference from the way hundreds of Native women are being treated by men.
“The direction we are going in is an irreversible condition. The way we treat our women is the way we treat our land,” Smith said, referring to Native women in places like North Dakota, where cases of rape, kidnapping and murder have been linked to the oil industry boom, according to her research. “If you look at the rates of missing aboriginal women, they are skyrocketing.”
Smith is a member of The Diné Youth Collective, a group created by Diné men and women ages 18-30. She is also the group’s spokesman. And as the rest of the group is walking 200 miles, she is the logistic coordinator.Another 15-16 members are currently walking from Huerfano Mountain to Mount Taylor to raise awareness about women rights, pollution, the negative impact of the extraction of natural resources and the desecration of Dinetah.
“We are teachers, environmentalists, artists, mothers, activists. We come from all walks of life,” Smith said. “We are not protestors. We are protectors of the land.”
The group started the walk Tuesday (Jan. 6, 2015) at dawn and covered about 12 miles on the first day. They spent the night in Nageezi, where the Harrison family helped them set up a teepee. The next day they walked through the high desert en route to Chaco Canyon and spent the night camping under the stars. They are scheduled to spend Thursday night somewhere in Counselor, Friday night in the Ojo Encino area and Saturday in Torreon.
They will continue on this walk to Mount Taylor for about three weeks. Sacred land Another Navajo woman and supporter of the group, Lyla Johnston, 25, is an anthropologist with a degree from Stanford University. While neither woman is marching — yet — each is contributing what they know best.
During a phone interview Monday, Johnston talked about the cultural significance of the group’s pilgrimage. They chose to start in Huerfano, about 30 miles southeast of Bloomfield in San Juan County, because it is the central mountain of the Diné and the birthplace of the mythological Navajo Twin Heroes. The twin’s See Walk of Life, Changing Woman, had her puberty ceremony atop this mountain, which Navajo name is Dzil Naodiilthi.
The group plans to conduct at least four walks, one every season, to each of the four sacred mountains in hopes to return “to their traditional leadership which was the mountain,” Johnston said. The overall sentiment of these young DinÃ© is that their government has failed to protect the people and the land.
“The Navajo Nation government was created to facilitate the extraction of natural resources from Dinetah. It says in the founding documents,” Johnston said.On their way to Mount Taylor, the group is visiting Navajo communities and spreading the word about a proposed pipeline which, if everything goes as planned, will go through Eastern Navajo land. The group, needless to say, is against such development.“It is a direct threat to our water,” Smith said. “It is fracturing the land, fracturing mother earth and when they fracture they pump all these chemicals into the land and the water. It is a direct threat to our land.
”Smith was referring to the Saddle Butte San Juan Midstream, LLC’s request for a right of way grant for approximately 130 miles of gathering and transport pipelines to gather produced crude oil from the Lybrook area to a point along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line in McKinley County, near the city of Milan. The project would cross Bureau of Land Management, private, state of New Mexico, and Navajo tribal lands.“When people think about fracking and extraction, they don’t think about social disparities and injustices,” said Robin Banks, 30, another member of the group, and a community organizer. She grew up in the Four Corners areas and has witnesses such disparities most of her life, she said. She talked about research that shows oil industry workers are overworked, and due to the dangers they are exposed, in many cases, they are hooked on meth or other drugs.
“There’s a connection between the extraction of natural resources and the treatment of women. It’s called environmental violence. The term is used in Canada to describe the relationships between how violence upon the land is reflected trough the violence that is inflicted upon bodies of the original mothers and daughters. The thing is, people are not connecting the dots. Both forms of violence are highly normalized. It is so normal they don’t question it. Right now on the Eastern Agency, where the fracking is of course, violence has rocketed.” Banks said about 15 deaths have been reported in Ojo Encino, including a recent violent murder of a mother and daughter.
The BLM reported upcoming hearings on the Piñon Pipeline as follow: Farmington Civic Center from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 13; Lybrook Elementary School from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 14; Santa Fe Bureau of Land Management Office Jan. 15.
The group’s progress is being reported online and can be followed on Facebook at Nihigaal bee Iina.