Water Rights Panel at Dine’ CARE 30th anniversary

Here at Dine’ CARE 30th anniversary Celebration at Dilcon, Az., SW Fairgrounds.

Navajo Nation Supreme Court Chief Justice Emeritus Herb Yazzie presented an awesome history and analysis of the 1868 Treaty, which I’ll post as soon as I can.

Right now there is a panel on Water Rights and former Navajo Nation Council Delegate and Hardrock Chapter President Percy Deal is speaking. He is going through history of impact of coal exploitation on water in his area of Navajo land, which is Big Mountain.

He also said that while the Navajo Nation was commemorating the 1868 Treaty yesterday, Friday, June 1, in Window Rock, the people at the Dine’ CARE 30th anniversary were experiencing one of the hottest days in this region, which is one of the consequences of what Chief Justice Emeritus Yazzie talked about.

As a life-time resident of Big Mountain, Az., Deal said Peabody Coal is pushing to keep the 50 year-old Navajo Generating Station open. And Peabody creating propaganda that if NGS closes down then Peabody will also go away and the Navajo people will be devastated. But he said the people have been devastated by the coal stripping mining of Peabody since Peabody arrived.

Navajo Generating Station is the sole buyer of coal from Peabody.

ADELLA BEGAY when you take your first drink of water, say thank you to Mother Water. And put in rain gutters to conserve water.

Other panelists encourage parents to encourage their children to major in engineering with an emphasis on water.

Deal said he talked about Peabody and his propaganda that if they go away, the Navajos and Hopis will be devastated. But what about the coal ash from power plants which causes diseases.  So use data he handed out and write to your congress people to tell them what Rep. Gosar is doing. His draft bill to exempt NGS from the Clean Air Act and National Environmental Protection Act. Deal said everything that NGS needs is within the boundaries of Page and so the Navajo reservation area near NGS has no economic development. And people go to the area to see scenic sites around NGS and not to see NGS. Deal said the Navajo people need to question presidential candidates. One candidate said the tribe needs to drill more wells for wind mills. He should be talking about Navajo water rights in the Colorado River.

Ron Milford also encouraged people to challenge leaders and candidates on their position on Navajo water rights, educate your kids and Nicole Horseherder is doing that, especially in teaching her daughter the Navajo language and culture. Navajos need to set aside some of the tribal money. Council and president spent $10 million on Twin Arrows Casino. That money should go to scholarships and nation building. We need new faces in tribal Department of Justice and that holds true for tribal leadership.

NICOLE HORSEHERDER I have a few things for call to action and one is awareness – important to know where water comes from, such as faucet. to the local community, if you have chapter land use plan, you should have wells and wind mills mapped out. If not have then first priority. Make sure that that is in plan. Drought management plan and Percy Deal pushed for that. Should list steps if no rain for number of days, months and there should be timeline. Issue on Black Mesa is livestock and usually issue is horses which involves competition for water. So there should be plan for livestock that competes for water. So there are steps for water and how to manage in future. Next thing call for is meditate on your perspective, mindset on water. I presented different mentalities on water, especially Arizona which has laws that mandate that if you are not using every bit of water from that stream and lake then you have no right to it. we have to work together to change that for all Life. What happens when dead river? Ask Gila River. When Gila River dammed up, they began losing their identity. They got attorneys and won huge water settlement but they have to sell back to cities and state. Also get in habit of carrying canteen and refilling. Get away from strofoam and plastic bottles. And pristine potable water being used to carry pulverized coal and we went into hearings in California and we talked about potable water used to carry coal to Laughlin for electricity. In California, policy not use potable water so why majority owner using potable water and only source of water for Black Mesa residents. Asked us what want and we said we want solar to replace Mohave Generating Station and at that time, solar cost more than coal. They sent out experts and put together project for our team. Now solar cheaper than coal and why Gosar, modern day Custer, leading charge to keep NGS open. Good for us that solar cheaper so we need to choose poroejcts aligned with teachings, way of life and resources available. Projects with coal fired plants, we are acting like water, land abundant and air cleans itself. None of that is true. We don’t have endless use of water and coal combustion goes somewhere and It goes into water and land, which becomes unuseable. We can’t do projects like that, we are killing ourselves. Next Council delegate project, chapter official that talks about project, ask about water. Ask if calculate reclamation, how clean water, land and air. And why cheap to develop? Because people bear cost of pollution – drink polluted water and breathe polluted air. And land can never be used for projects. People that want laundromats, gas stations is not the way.

Other recommendations are for Navajo voters to ask candidates and leadership about how they plan to store water/acquifers.

ADELLA BEGAY this evening there will be open mike to continue talking about solar

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