Letter to the editor: Black Mesa Trust urges expansion of Grand Canyon National Park

To the editor:

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ- 04) misled the public (Communities deserve to be heard in designation process), Navajo Times, Dec. 1, 2016.

Without checking the facts, Gosar writes that ‘tribal governments’ support the Grand Canyon Watershed Monument. Arizona consists of 26 independent governments that control 26 percent of land. The Hopi Tribe is in favor of expanding the Grand Canyon National Park to protect the Colorado Plateau from uranium mining and other threats.

Black Mesa Trust, founded in 1998 by Hopi elders who hold the Colorado Plateau as a sacred ecological landscape, has written a letter urging President Barack Obama to expand Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona surveys have been done showing overwhelming support for the legislation introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ – 03).

We invite Rep. Gosar to come to Hopi to tell the people why he supports uranium mining when it is not necessary to generate energy, produce jobs and contribute to Arizona’s economy. Tribal lands provide enough land to develop sustainable permanent solar energy. We should focus and support on-going research to generate clean energy using solar, wind and biomass, instead of getting mired in contentious costly fighting.

Rep. Gosar, like so many Arizona politicians, take Native American people for granted, dictating to us what we can and cannot do. This is called colonialism.

A united protest by Native Americans against an oil pipeline at Standing Rock Sioux land has brought tribal nations and people together to fight against future exploitation of sacred lands. This is just a beginning of a movement to protect and preserve sacred lands. Hopis applaud our brave brothers and sisters for taking a courageous stand.

The next stop could be Black Mesa, where the world’s largest coal mining has been going on since 1970, in slow motion, to supply Navajo Generating Station with coal to produce energy to bring water from Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson through a 320-mile aqueduct called Central Arizona Project.

In the process of strip mining, an undisclosed number of archaeological villages built by Hopi ancestors have been destroyed. Unknown numbers of burial and religious sites destroyed. Over 45 billion gallons of pristine fossil water stored in the Navajo Aquifer destroyed. The initial price of water leased from the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation by Peabody Western Coal Company (PWCC) was $1.67 per acre-feet (one acre-feet holds 326,000 gallons), approved by then Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.

PWCC now wants to extend mining operations to the end of 2044 to supply coal to Navajo Generating Station. NGS and PWCC officials are threatening 1,000 Navajo jobs will be lost if NGS and mining shut down. An alternative way of saving NGS without using coal has been approved by Black Mesa Trust.

Black Mesa Trust held its annual meeting at the Native American Cultural Center on Northern Arizona University’s campus Dec. 12..

More information is available by contacting Black Mesa Trust at kuuyi@aol.com.

Vernon Masayesva Kykotsmovi, Arizona

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