Covenant to care for the earth is alive

To the editor:

A common and fundamental knowledge among most Hopi sinom is a covenant made between our ancestors and Ma'sau when they met at the fingertips of Black Mesa, untold numbers of years ago.

The covenant is an agreement to help Ma'sau take care of the earth in return for staying, and to stay true to his path as much as possible.

Some Hopi sinom think this is just a fairy tale, just like migrating to the Fourth World through a reed (Bacavi) has no scientific basis.

But, many of us still believe the covenant is alive, and as we learn more and more about the meaning of the sacred agreement with Ma'sau, we begin to understand and to accept our individual responsibilities to play a role in taking care of the land.

So, it is with a deep sense of relief that I learned the Hopi legislators overturned a resolution that would have opened the door to carbon dioxide sequestration, and the construction of an electric generating plant, like Reliant Energy tried and failed to do several years ago.

It is evident that those lawmakers, who continue to support the bizarre notion of turning Hopi land into a toxic waster dump, do not believe in the covenant with Ma'sau or they simply don't know anything about it, or worse yet, they don't care.

The Hopi Tribal Council violated the sacred covenant in 1966 when they were duped into signing a land lease with the world's largest, and the most destructive strip coal mining. Peabody Coal Co. will continue mining until 670 million tons of coal is mined out.

Along with the land lease was the right, given illegally to Peabody, to use unlimited amounts of fossil water to the outrageous sum of $1.67 per acre feet (one acre-foot equals 325,000 gallons of water). The price was increased to $150 per acre-foot in 1987.

Opening Black Mesa to CO2 capture and sequestration would have been another serious violation of our promise and commitment to protect the land, not to poison it.

Thankfully, it did not happen, and hopefully will never rise again.

Vernon Masayesva

Kykotsmovi, Ariz.


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