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 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

There is a reason why we refer to the earth as our mother.

The land lives;  it is animated by Spirit.  It sustains us:  physically, spiritually.  We are the land, and it is us - and any injury to it injures us all.

In December, 2009, Canadian corporation Denison Mines opened new uranium mining operations a scant ten miles from the northern perimeter of the Grand Canyon.  Uranium mining was halted more than two decades ago in this area, which abuts sacred tribal lands belonging to the Havasupai and Hualapai tribes, both of which have banned the practice.  Last July, the Department of the Interior issued a two-year ban on new mining claims in the area while it studied whether to withdraw the lands from such use and extend the ban permanently.  And in the week following Interior's decision, Congress held a hearing on proposed legislation that would set aside more than one million acres in the Grand Canyon area to ensure permanent protections.

So how is it that Denison has already begun mining?

AN ONGOING BATTLE

As with all things related to both the environment and to Native communities, the Bush administration systematically dismantled barriers to mining on or near sacred lands.  One goal was to open the greater Grand Canyon area to mining, and according to the Environmental Working Group, between 2003 and 2008, new mining claims staked near the perimeter of Grand Canyon National Park jumped from 110 to more than 8,000.

In March, 2009, then-Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano wrote to Bush interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, requesting both withdrawal of the lands in question from any new claims and an environmental impact assessment.  With no action from Interior, Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced a bill that would ban any new uranium exploration and mining claims on the more than one million acres in question surrounding the Grand Canyon.  

In June, 2008, using a procedure known as "emergency withdrawal," the House Natural Resources Committee enacted a resolution ordering the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw more than one million acres around Grand Canyon National Park from all uranium exploration and mining activities in those areas for up to three years.  In October, the Bureau of Land Management moved to try to undo it, promulgating a rule to end the emergency withdrawal process entirely.  The BLM attempted to ram through the new rule by shortening the public comment period to less than two weeks; meanwhile, the agency refused to recognize the emergency withdrawal order, continuing to recognize new mining claims; by mid-2009, mining claims in the area numbered in the thousands.  

Subsequently, a coalition of environmental organizations, including the Grand Canyon Trust, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club, sued to enjoin Kempthorne from recognizing any new claims, and to compel his department to comply with the House emergency resolution.

In January, 2009. Grijalva reintroduced his bill.  In July, Obama Administration Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a withdrawal of the public lands at issueannounced a withdrawal, barring new claims while Interior conducts an analysis to decide whether the land withdrawal should be extended to the legal maximum of 20 years. And during the same month, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a request with the BLM for disclosure of its records related to the dispute.  Despite the Obama Administration's directives to agencies to respond fully to disclosure requests, the BLM continues to ignore it; in January, 2010, the Center sued to compel disclosure.

On November 16, 2009, the Grand Canyon Trust, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club again sued in federal district court, to enjoin the BLM from permitting Denison mines to re-open the Arizona 1 uranium mine, defunct since 1992, at the north end of the Grand Canyon.  The groups allege that the BLM refuses to conduct environmental impact reviews using current data and technology, instead using the original mine's outdated impact plan from the 1980s in deciding to allow the mine's re-opening.  The groups also provide evidence that re-opening the mine will create serious risks to a vulnerable habitat.  And as the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) notes:

At issue are the concerns of the Havasupai and Hualapai — including internal divisions generated by promises of economic gain — for their religious traditions, their health, their future, their children, their survival as a people and for the land they regard as sacred.

At great risk is water in the Grand Canyon. Although the mining industry steadfastly claims uranium mining presents no significant risks of radioactive contamination, the fact that all of the Canyon's uranium mines are upstream of the Canyon floor makes contamination by mining waste inevitable. A huge spill at Hack Canyon in 1984, when a summer flash flood washed four tons of high-grade uranium ore from a uranium tailings pile into Kanab Creek and on to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, has already demonstrated the devastating potential of uranium waste contamination. And a September 1990 major flood disaster, which nearly wiped out the village and farms of the Havasupai, has testified to the power of flood waters to carry water from mines on the Canyon's rims to the floor below.

SACRED LANDS

Permitting uranium exploration, drilling, and mining on the lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon will have serious adverse effects - both physical and spiritual - on the local Havasupai and Hualapai tribes.  

In March of 2008, Charlie Vaughn, the Hualapai tribal chairman, testified before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.  In that testimony, he noted:

"It is our concern that the proliferation of mining activity near the Grand Canyon may affect the water that flows underground and issues at places like Havasu Falls."

"It is our concern that potential mining sites may compromise traditional and cultural sites that are Hualapai," he said, adding, "suffice it to say we do not want to see the land in proximity to the Grand Canyon scarred by additional roads or mining sites that will be a vestige of the beauty that once was for several generations to come."

Contrast Chairman Vaughn's perspective with that of Pacific Bay Minerals CEO David Brett, who, in an interview last year with AP, called the area "basically unexplored territory" that   is geologically crying out to be explored."

Charlie Vaughn's people know better - as do the Havasupai, and the Hopi, and the Diné (Navajo).  All four tribes have banned uranium exploration and mining on their lands.  But that doesn't prevent contamination from from mining on adjacent lands:  leaching into the air, the water, the soil.

ABOUT DENISON MINES

So what's driving Denison?

Money.

Or, more accurately, lack thereof.  Denison is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.  Thanks to the actions of the Bush administration, speculation in uranium-based securities has spiked, bringing their stock value to a high not seen in years.  Denison badly needs the revenue that these prices would provide.  And it's desperate to get its corporate paws on the uranium deposits around the Grand Canyon.

Anticipating a clear path to their new mining operation courtesy of Bush's Interior Department and BLM, Denison sought to shore up its financial status by acquiring Canadian company Northern Continental Resources.  Northern owned a 60% stake in the Russell Lake uranium claim, which lay between and adjacent to two of Denison's own Saskatchewan claims:  Wheeler River and Moore Lake.  (Hathor Exploration Ltd. held the remaining 40% of the Russell Lake claim.)  The deal would have raised the price of Denison's shares significantly, in part because Denison would then wholly own contiguous, uninterrupted parcels, and in part because Russell Lake apparently contained, in Denison's own words, "a number of strong targets" for profitable uranium mining.  Unfortunately for Denison, after preliminarily accepting the offer, Northern instead sold its stake in Russell Lake to its minority partner, Hathor.  Hathor offered more money, and despite being given a few extra days to match the offer, Denison couldn't do so.

Denison announced the deal on April 30, 2009 - the same day that its CEO, Peter Farmer, was slated to step down.  Farmer had been with the firm for nearly a quarter of a century.  However, it was already obvious to the industry and to analysts that Denison was in trouble.  According to Reuters, in mid-March of 2009

Denison Mines said it suspended some of its operations and that it may have to sell assets to keep from violating a debt covenant. It had also reported a steep quarterly loss of $56.8-million.

Denison Mines shares, which have shed 75% of their value in the past six months, were down 9 cents at 93 Canadian cents Monday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Despite this dismal financial outlook, on January 25, 2010 (a month after Denison began mining Arizona 1), Reuters reported:

Denison Mines Corp <DML.TO> said on Monday it expects to sell 1.8 million pounds of uranium in 2010 and generate positive cash flow from operations, despite a weak uranium price environment.

The Canadian miner produced 1.4 million pounds of uranium in 2009, while it sold 1.1 million pounds at an average realized price of $51.17 per pound.

The company also said it intends to remain debt-free with cash balances of just under $20 million, as of December 31, 2010.

However, the company expects to post a net loss of $18.5 million, or 5 cents a share in 2010, after providing for depletion, depreciation and amortization.

It's going to sell - in what is supposedly "a weak uranium price environment" - .7 million more pounds that it sold last year?  In fact, it's going to sell .4 million pounds more this year than it even produced last year?

Does that tell you something about the value of the uranium deposits beneath the Grand Canyon lands?

Denison also has a long history of conducting its operations on indigenous lands worldwide, to the detriment of the original inhabitants.  This is not a new phenomenon - but this time it's something Kossacks can help address.

ACTION ITEMS

I'm running very late (Mom is hospitalized), so I'll flesh out these action items later today with links, contact info, and talking points - and I'll have some updated info for the previous sections, too.  For those inclined to do something now, you can contact your members of Congress, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, House and Senate environmental and energy committees, the White House, the Department of the Interior, and the BLM.  Demand a complete withdrawal of these lands from all exploration and mining activity, and demand that Congress pass legislation making it permanent.

UPDATE:

I had intended to update this diary, including contact info and links, talking points, and contextual information on other examples of mining risks affecting tribal lands, including the Navajo Reservation and Badger-Two Medicine in Montana (courtesy of Kossack Ojibwa).  However, because of the length of this diary, the response its garnered, and issues raised in comments, I think it makes more sense to do a separate follow-up diary.  Look for that in a few days, and if you have questions about this one, I'll continue to monitor comments here in the meantime.

Originally posted to Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:42 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow -- great diary. (16+ / 0-)

    Maybe you could post about this at GreenRoots sometime? It would be good to give this as much exposure as possible.

    I hope your mother is alright. Thanks for the diary.

  •  I don't buy into the concept of "spirituality" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rieux, RandomActsOfReason, Aji

    I'm not sure what legal standing any supposed "sacred" nature assigned by someone to land would have.

    But if you want to be heard, I would guess that complaints about environmental protection, such as the groundwater and mine waste containment issues you've noted, would carry the greatest weight.

    •  So you are one of the few that would have no (15+ / 0-)

      problem with me buying up the cemetery your family is buried in and laying asphalt on top of the graves for a parking lot. Maybe put in little geospatial markers so you know what car Granny is buried under. Ain't nothing sacred, eh?

      Health is the first requisite after morality - T. Jefferson

      by OHdog on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:58:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This comment is disrespectful, disruptive, (16+ / 0-)

      and borderline trollish.
      If you've got some kind of beef with other people's spiritual notions and the government, why don't you start by attacking the tax exempt status of Christian church owned property?
      Or maybe we haven't screwed the native Americans around enough already?

      I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

      by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 11:59:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It has nothing to do with Native Americans (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, Rieux, RandomActsOfReason

        I'm not a spiritual person and I find expressions of spirituality less than compelling.  It doesn't matter if it's Native Americans, Christians, Mormons, Hindus, or whatever.

        What I was trying to point out is that just because someone thinks something is "sacred" doesn't mean that assignation will protect it.  The environmental protection angle is far stronger because it is something that can be measured and is specifically regulated.

        But since the reaction is so strong about what I wrote, I'll bow out.

        •  Well, then maybe you just ought to stay (3+ / 2-)
          Recommended by:
          4Freedom, cacamp, Dirtandiron
          Hidden by:
          Rieux, RandomActsOfReason

          silent in diaries whose central core is a spiritual belief, like I stay out of I/P diaries.
          I'll repeat, your comment is disrespectful, disruptive and borderline trollish.
          Your coming back to defend it merely demonstrates what an insensitive (expletive deleted) you are.

          I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

          by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:20:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a bit a tricky situation since this is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomActsOfReason

            a political website, and obstensibly, spiritual and religious considerations are separated from politics in this country . . . .

            Wouldn't a much stronger case be made by focusing on something we can all agree on - such as the environmentally-disruptive aspects of the mines (if they are real) . . .

            •  "(S)piritual and religious considerations are (5+ / 0-)

              separated from politics in this country". Thanks for the best laugh I've had today.
              Maybe something we can all agree on is to respect other people's spiritual and religious beliefs, no matter how foolish we may think they are, simply because we respect our fellow citizens right to those beliefs.

              I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

              by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:32:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I know in reality nothing could be further from (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                badger

                the truth, but I think it's a worthy goal to aspire to nevertheless.

                And if we don't at least make token efforts to do so on a so-called "progressive" website, who will?  Basically, if we can't at least do that, we might as well admit the game is over and the country's completely fucked . . .

                •  FLASH: Earth to Roadbed Guy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RunawayRose, Aji

                  Many (most?) people in this country are guided by their religious/spiritual beliefs. What we need is a politics that respects the rights and beliefs of all those citizens and finds the common ground.
                  And that starts by not disrespecting others beliefs or non beliefs, as the case may be.

                  I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

                  by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:46:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Once again, I completely realize that (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RandomActsOfReason, Aji

                    most Americans embrace superstition and mysticism  . . . . I am not disrespecting that, just trying to point out that that is not necessarily the best way to inform public policy decisions.

                    But just like in larger society, I see that bringing up this point here at DailyKos is fighting a lost battle.

                    •  Roadbed Guy - (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RunawayRose, Oke, 4Freedom

                      see my comment upthread about Ernest T Bass's comments.  I'd much rather have your support on a scientific basis than not at all.

                      I think one thing that informs our arguments re sacredness that a lot of non-Natives don't get - because they have no reason to know - is the tribal sovereignty issue.  So you'll see a lot of discussion among those of us on the gNAN team that sort of assumes those issues.

                      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:16:21 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I've stayed away from the sovereignity issues (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        RunawayRose, 4Freedom, Aji

                        because I know how little I know about particular treaties and the rights contained therein.
                        As musically informed as I now know you are, are you familiar with Peter LaFarge's song about Cornplanter? There's an excellent Johnny Cash version on Youtube, part of the Pete Seeger Rainbow Quest series. Cash is seriously trashed on drugs but the song is no less powerful.

                        I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

                        by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:27:56 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Tribal Sovereignty (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Roadbed Guy, 4Freedom, swampus, DaNang65, Aji

                        Now there are two words whose meaning I went clear through school and never heard.

                        There is a reason to know, but it would lead to explaining a lot of things our government has done to the Indigenous tribes of this country, including genocide.
                        Since the government funds schools that "tribal sovereignty" word is a no-no.
                        OK, there's my rant.........

                        Thanks for a great piece of work, Aji

                        •  Chi miigwech, Oke! (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Oke, 4Freedom

                          Yeah, most of us got through school without ever hearing those words, I think.  And there's so much misinformation out there about what they mean.  Ought to be made a part of the basic civics curriculum, if you ask me (which, I realize, nobody ever will).

                          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                          by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:35:41 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I really am not trying to be an asshole (0+ / 0-)

                          (but long time DK'ers probably have already concluded that) so I'll go ahead and observe that it seems just a tad ironic that lands that Indigenous Peoples have long claimed to be sacred just somehow - in the past two or three decades - just happen to make wonderful sites for Casinos.

                          I totally realize that that is not the case in the current scenario - but Nationwide the ability of Tribes to circumvent state law wrt state gambling laws seems to establish "tribal sovereignity" as a mightily powerful force.

                          And even before gambling (which I personally am not particularly into) I especially appreciated the concept of tribal sovereignity in the context of being able to buy fireworks that would not have been otherwise available in my state of residence (namely, Washington at the time) that would not have otherwise been available.  

                          Yeah, Sacred Fireworks - in retrospect it seems like a huge missed marketing oppportunity.

                          •  Now this I do find over the line. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DaNang65

                            Non-Native America is more than happy to exploit our casinos.  And considering the centuries of attempts at extermination - and the fact that most federal and state policy is still aimed, directly or indirectly, at objectives not so different - the fact that our peoples can better their situations via casinos is a good thing.  The presence of casinos has jack-all to do with any notions of the sacred or of spirituality.

                            And we also haven't "long claimed to be sacred somehow" - it's simply who we are.  The rest of the country has taken other paths far removed from whatever people's original cultural roots may have been - but most of us are just trying to maintain a way of life that the dominant culture has attempted, over and over, to rip from us, tear apart, grind into dust, and reconstitute into fake Indian-ness for non-Natives as cultural theft and another way for them illegitimately to make money off us.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:19:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Seriously, I'm not sure "Non-native America" (0+ / 0-)

                            is exactly who is being exploited by Indian casinos

                            Sure, I believe - at least theoretically - in the concept of personal responsibility, but the ready availability of casinos everywheres to exploit those with gambling problems hardly seems like a noble way for the Indigenous Peoples to get even with the Europeans inhabitants of this continent.

                            Although, based on the historical imbalance in the other direction, I don't really blame you for trying.  However, the exact people being targeted are probably being victimized both ways.

                          •  You should visit some of our casinos. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DaNang65

                            Wealthy non-Native tourists.  And where I live, no one's getting rich off the casino; it only provides a little supplemental income to the tribe.

                            FTR, I personally dislike the casino culture intensely.  But I support it on the basis that it provides jobs and a modicum of self-sufficiency.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:30:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Data--I want to see data (0+ / 0-)

                            Other than the Tohono O'odham casino in Arizona, that's 1 out of several hundred, where are the others that used sacred lands? You make accusations, but I want data. How many?

                    •  Describing other people's beliefs (6+ / 0-)

                      as "superstition and mysticism", however much you and I might agree, is not a step toward respecting them.
                      To my ears it's like opening a conversation by saying "Look, I know you're a shithead, but . . ."
                      My experience tells me this is rarely a path to concensus.

                      I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

                      by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:16:22 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How is this an insult? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        RandomActsOfReason, Aji

                        Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be dualistic, maintaining a distinction between the self and the divine, or may be nondualistic. Differing religious traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in different ways

                        It's a simple description (from Wikipedia) that seems to me to apply to most religions.  Sorry you are so sensitive, I must have touched a nerve.

                        •  I think it's that "mysticism" . . . (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RunawayRose, 4Freedom, swampus, DaNang65

                          has a dual meaning:  as a spiritual practice, without any value judgments attached; and as a way in which dominant cultures historically dismiss and oppress spiritual practices that are not theirs.  Miles of historical record in which "Christian" officials referred to Judaism and Islam as "mysticism" in that way over the centuries.

                          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                          by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:29:31 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I really wasn't intending to insult anyone . . . (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomActsOfReason, Aji

                            by using the terms "mysticism and superstition" - I was just going by the dictionary definitions and that's what I see when I look a christianity and most other religions . . .

                            Which raises the bigger point here - once religion and/or spirituality is brought into the mix - any further rational discussion is more or less impossible because each and every person has their own definition of these terms.  And if a suggestion is made that anyone else's definition might be a bit off (which logically must be the case because when there are many conflicting POVs in play they can't all be correct!) - well, all hell breaks loose  . . .

                            That's why I go back to my original point in this thread that you very likely have completely legitimate beefs based on science or legal precedents, why not use that as a basis for presentation on a political website?

                          •  Because I'm Indian. :-) (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            4Freedom, swampus, DaNang65, Ojibwa

                            And these are salient issues for us.  And there are - as you've obviously found - a lot of non-Natives on this site who relate to it, too.

                            The idea being that I cover all the bases.  For those only interested in the scientific aspects of it - e.g., environmental impacts - that's here.  For those of us for whom the holistic approach comes into play - well, that's here, too.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:43:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  so discuss the laws (5+ / 0-)

                            "superstition" is pretty disparaging imo, but the point here is the legal rights of the tribes involved to protect their sacred lands. So no matter your take on our religious beliefs what we're acting on here are the laws the US Congress passed and the American President signed protecting our sacred lands. So even if you don't give a shit about our religion the US Laws give us a legal basis for taking action. So just forget about even mentioning our religion and focus on the laws the mining companies are breaking.

                          •  Sure, I 100% agree that the US government (0+ / 0-)

                            has an absolutely shameful centuries-old record of not honoring the treaties and other legal obligations that they entered into with the indigenous peoples of North America.

                            So why not focus on that rather than the dubious claims of sacredness?

                          •  The laws are not based on recognizing sacredness (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rieux, Roadbed Guy

                            otherwise they would be unconstitutional.

                            US laws granting tribal sovereignty do not provide a basis for attempts to impose religious beliefs on US laws.

                            The Dept of Interior temporary halt on mining in the area, while it studies the impact of such activities, is focused on the environmental consequences of such activities, and to "ensure those resources are developed in a way that protects communities, treasured landscapes and watersheds" - according to the physorg.com article that the diarist links to.

                            There is exactly zero mention in that article of any violation of US laws protecting "sacred lands".

                            It is not at all a matter of "not giving a shit about our religion", as you aggressively and antagonistically assert.

                            It is simply a matter that no religious claim to territory is accepted as the basis of US law. Nor should it be.

                            If it were, the Christian majority here would far outweigh your religious minority. So, think twice before you wish to promote arguments that would undermine the separation of church and state.

                            If the mining companies are breaking US law, they should be prosecuted for violations of US law - not for spiritual violations of sacred grounds. The same Constitution that protects your right to believe in sacred grounds also prohibits your beliefs from being incarnated in US law.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:51:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  read the laws (0+ / 0-)

                            they use our beliefs as their basis so it's natural for Aji to include the arguements for their enactment. But the legal basis is explained in the comments because of the obvious misunderstanding the diary presented to those with an antagonism towards religion and/or spirituality. It may have been better to include them in the diary's original body but Aji obviously didn't forsee your biases. Now that we do we're trying to point you all in the right direction. Try to let go of your first impression, read our further explanations, and we can go back to the real issue of protecting the lands and the Tribes legal right to do so.

                          •  It is hard to do when you continue to insult (0+ / 0-)

                            and post with hostility toward people who simply made a constructive suggestion related to political strategy.

                            The thing that you consider unacceptable to utter is a lack of belief in spirituality, and that expression of a dissenting opinion apparently closes your mind entirely to anything else.

                            For all that some here are explicitly attacking Christianity, the intolerance toward freethought commonly encountered among Christians is echoed perfectly by the intolerance here among Native Americans.

                            You aided and abetted a derailing of a constructive suggestion into a diatribe of atheophobic bigotry, when you could have considered the objective, pragmatice merit of Ernest T Ball's suggestion, and then responded thoughtfully to its substance.

                            It is you who need to acknowledge and take ownership of your unwarranted hostility and support of open expression of bigotry, and understand that antagonizing people who support your cause but may not share your minority religious beliefs is not a very practical way to achieve political goals.

                            As an atheist, I have to remember that lesson every day. No progress would ever be made on atheist rights without the help of a primarily theist coalition.

                            No progress on Native American rights will occur if you react viscerally with rejection of anyone who happens not to belief in the spiritual realm.

                            I support you on the law. I don't support you on spiritual arguments, any more than I support Christians who say we should implement policy X or Y because Jesus said so.

                            I am a US citizen, and my Constitution protects me from religious intrusion. It protects you too, by the way - which is why you have recourse in US law.

                            Aji is not the problem here, he is not the one who reacted with such hatred and personal insults. On the contrary, he welcomed the comments that caused Danang65 and you to explode.

                            Nor is his diary the problem, as it made strong arguments on the basis of US law.

                            My problem is with people who presume to try to prohibit nonbelievers from even being part of the conversation - even nonbelievers who support your political cause.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:49:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  hahaha, stupid is as stupid writes (0+ / 0-)

                            what poorly written drivel, you and your ilk are blind and totally unable to understand clearly written explanations. You probably think dkos is totally secular. Now that's dumb.

                          •  So to RandomActs' remarks about (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RandomActsOfReason

                            "unwarranted hostility and support of open expression of bigotry" you plead proudly guilty.

                            Why is it so difficult for you to respond reasonably to a reasoned argument? Neither RandomActs nor anyone else here has launched personal insults at you. Why must you cast the first stone? (And the second and third?)

                          •  Inability to respond to substance (0+ / 0-)

                            and a preference for straw men and gratuitous ad hominems reveals either lack of understanding, or lack of integrity - or, both.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 06:35:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks for the tasty pastry. (0+ / 0-)

                            Try and explain how, within the FAQ, your HR was justified.
                            I'll never stalk you, but whenever a marginal case comes up with your usename on it, you've foregone the benefit of the doubt.

                            I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

                            by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:46:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Our laws are governed by neither mysticism (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roadbed Guy

                            nor spiritual practices.

                            Arguments about law and government regulation based on spiritual arguments carry no legal weight.

                            Thankfully, the Constitution prohibits our government from making laws based on mysticism of any kind, by any definition. That is why we have the religious pluralism and freedom in this country.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:42:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Speak for yourself. (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TiaRachel, 4Freedom, swampus, DaNang65

                            Tribal sovereignty means that, in many instances, OUR laws govern.  And our laws aren't necessarily divorced from our spiritual beliefs.

                            And while we're on that subject, neither are those of the U.S. government.  Christianity is wildly favored in this country, certainly de facto, but also de jure in many contexts, thanks to recent Republican initiatives.  And for all the non-Native world's much-vaunted talk about separation of church and state, they don't manage to separate all that much.  So when I'm discussing our issues, and our laws have any application, I'm going to discuss them in our way.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:50:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So, your argument is that violations of 1st Amend (0+ / 0-)

                            are fine, you just want to get in on the action?

                            When you write,

                            our laws aren't necessarily divorced from our spiritual beliefs.

                            And while we're on that subject, neither are those of the U.S. government

                            You seem to be opposing the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, your only complaint being that, since Christians are favored by certain laws, you want to make sure your religion is favored by others.

                            Interestingly, your diary makes no reference to religious or spiritual arguments for legislation. It refers entirely to environmental issues and issues of impinging on the sovereignty of nearby Native lands (note that the mining is not occurring ON native lands, as you seem to imply. Native laws apply online inasmuch as mining activities infringe on nearby sovereign land.)

                            I actually completely support the legal arguments in the diary, and oppose mining in the Grand Canyon on envirionmental grounds as well as supporting the right of Native communities to be protected from harmful physical consequences of US activities in areas adjacent to these communities sovereign territory.

                            I don't support attacks on commenters who simply say that a spiritual argument is not persuasive to them because they do not believe in spiritual realms, and who suggest that the environmental arguments - the only ones made in the documents you link to in your diary - are stronger.

                            You can discuss whatever you want in whatever way you want, if all you care about is imposing your way.

                            If, on the other hand, you actually care about the outcome of this mining ban and the review by the Interior Dept, you might reconsider that environmental and public health arguments carry greater weight with a larger audience in this diverse and pluralist society, which largely does not share your religious view (and which, much to your apparent horror, even includes atheists like me, whose equal rights to expression and, yes, to vote, are protected by US law).

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:11:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not opposing anything. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            swampus

                            I'm saying that non-Natives' concepts of separation of church and state, and the Constitution and First Amendment, don't necessarily apply in the same way within the tribal context.  Tribal sovereignty trumps in many contexts.

                            It comes down to the fact that the shibboleth of the "First Amendment" is irrelevant to some topics.

                            Further, "spirituality" was only one small part of this diary.  I'm done dealing with the threadjacks.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:25:58 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The threadjacking was done by DaNang65 (0+ / 0-)

                            Who inserted needless hostility and personal insults into a constructive discussion about practical political tactics to support your cause.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:38:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Do you support or oppose the (0+ / 0-)

                            separation of church and state - and, do you think separation of church and state should be enforced in US law?

                            That's a rather important principle on a site dedicated to electing more, and more progressive, Democrats.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:56:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Since you were so kind as to call me out by name (0+ / 0-)

                            I'll refrain from anything but pointing out the accuracy of your username, i.e., your acts of reason are random rather than regular practice.
                            But I will point out that one of your more regular acts of unreason is your failure to recognize the sovereignity of indigenous people, by treaties which carry all the force of law the conquistadores choose to give them.
                            Your understanding of the conquest of this continent by Europeans is firmly among your random acts of unreason, unknowledge, general stupidity, and overt racism.
                            How ya like them apples?

                            I heard some guy say that the arc of history bends slowly, but that it bends towards justice.

                            by DaNang65 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:30:29 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are apparently incapable of sticking to (0+ / 0-)

                            substance. Personal attacks are apparently your only tool. You are apparently unaware that attacking the messenger has no bearing on the merit of the message, and that your assumptions about others only reveals more about your own prejudices.

                            I'll refrain from engaging you further directly, since you have proven incapable of constructive participation in discussion, and may have issues that cannot be resolved on an online forum.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 06:33:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  BTW . . . (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            swampus, Bill in MD

                            before you characterize my reaction as "horror," or anything else, perhaps you should read my response to Ernest T Bass upthread, as well as my comments to the entire community.  I'm the one who played mediator, and I'm the one who welcomed both Ernest T and Roadbed Guy's support.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:28:18 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you condemned DaNang65's outbursts (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Aji

                            and cacamps bigoted hostility, rather than applauding them, your mediation would hold more credibility.

                            There was absolutely nothing hostile in Ernest T Ball's comment, and the threadjacking was done by DaNang65.

                            Nothing Roadbed Guy said was worthy of cacamp's insults, either, yet you recced and commented in support of them.

                            Look at what happened here, because you chose to indulge and implicitly if not explicitly support open hostility that you considered to be on "your" side.

                            Instead, we could have continued a constructive discussion about how the progressive community in general, and Daily Kossites in particular, could support your efforts.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:40:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, so now this is my fault? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DaNang65

                            Sorry; I don't own your bad behavior, or anyone else's.

                            You are every bit as much at fault as anyone else in this thread, and if you're not willing to step up and try to play nicely, that's not my problem.  You didn't engage with anybody here about anything - certainly not the substance of the diary - other than to go off on people who criticized others who were indeed rude in some instances.  Which leads me to believe that you had no interest in the diary itself.  You came in hostile, and apparently you intend to stay that way.  

                            Done.  I have work to do involving caretaking for an injured 80-year-old parent, a diabetic other half, and tribes and an environment that need constructive help.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:28:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Interesting response (0+ / 0-)

                            you presume to lecture me on my alleged bad behavior, yet beg off on calling DaNang65 on his manifest rudeness, open hostility and, as has become increasingly apparent, his overt bigotry.

                            Your intellectual inconsistency undermines your credibility. Nonetheless, I continue to support the arguments you made in you diary, and support your cause - since I don't judge the merit of a thing based on how much I like or don't respect the integrity of the person holding it.

                            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 06:38:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, . . . (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            swampus

                            I just unloaded after that last "look what happened here because of you" comment.  Not my problem, and nobody's going to make it mine - I've got enough real problems in real life to deal with right now.

                            Thanks for the support, swampus.  It's been an unusually bad couple hours IRL, and I'm just not inclined to be nice to anyone who seeks to do nothing but fan flame wars in an action diary.

                            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

                            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:30:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Clearly, those religions (7+ / 0-)

                that have made Manifest Destiny and exploitation central articles of their faith will fare better...

                In a way, we're all American Indians now because this shit has been going on since the greedy concept of progress first showed up on this continent several hundred years ago.

                The more things change...

              •  Beliefs in and of themselves are not worthy of (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rieux, Roadbed Guy

                inherent respect. Beliefs are ideas, and ideas can and should be challenged and critically examined.

                People are worthy of respect, not their beliefs.

                If someone believes that Asians are inherently inferior to Caucasians, would you argue that their beliefs must be respected - and, would you call someone a troll and "expletive deleted" for politely suggesting that they do not subscribe to that "belief", and, would you furthermore tell them to stay out of diaries whose core focus is racial superiority arguments?

                Who defines what is a "belief" that should be immune from dissent on Daily Kos? What is the line you draw, and what criteria govern where it is drawn?

                What makes "spiritual diaries" any different than diaries about economic beliefs, political beliefs, ideologies, or anything else?

                History has taught us that the best way to protect freedom and independence is to submit all ideas to equal critical thinking and to support ideas on their merits, not to enforce arbitrary taboos and attempt to suppress dissension.

                Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:39:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The thing about "spiritual diaries" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rieux, RandomActsOfReason

                  that is different . . .

                  What makes "spiritual diaries" any different than diaries about economic beliefs, political beliefs, ideologies, or anything else?

                  Is that somehow you are instantly opened to charges of bigotry if you object . . ..

                  Compared to economics, for example, where you are merely deemed a dumbass if you ascribe to the University of Chicago mindset v. that of Harvard (personally, I believe they're both high in the dumbass category, but perhaps that's simply sour grapes from never having attained admission to either place . . . .)

              •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                Maybe something we can all agree on is to respect other people's spiritual and religious beliefs....

                No, we cannot, because beliefs are not people. They have no rights. They, like all other ideas, only deserve respect when they earn it. In a free marketplace of ideas, all ideas are necesarily fair game.


                Has it not occurred to you that you have been unbelievably disrespectful to Ernest's beliefs?

                Your hypocrisy is notable.

          •  TR'd for attempting to suppress dissent (0+ / 0-)

            this is an open, public forum. You have already crossed the line for calling the commenter a "troll", merely for stating that he does not support the concept of "spirituality".

            Now you assert that such discussions are impermissible in DailyKos diaries discussing spirituality in the first place?

            This is not Street Prophets, which was created precisely to keep authoritarian censors like you out of here and in your own place where you can clamp down on freethought.

            This is Daily Kos, and nothing the commenter posted is remotely worthy of the kind of hate you are spewing.

            There was no hostility in his comments, no gratuitous mocking or disrespect to your beliefs anyway - merely a pragmatic assertion that an environmental argument is more persuasive and univerally appealing.

            He is right - claims of spirituality hold no sway over me, either, nor over millions of others. Furthermore, our laws, regulations and government policies are, by Constitutional mandate, forbidden from being driven by religious considerations.

            You are another example of someone who preaches spirituality, but practices intolerance and hate.

            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:34:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  stupid TR, so I uprated it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel, 4Freedom

              you should be the one tr'd, the whole point isn't our religion at all, it's the laws that are being broken by mining companies that ignore the LAWS regarding the protection of our sacred sites. If you object to these laws write your own diary about why, otherwise quit blithering about things you know nothing about.

              •  You seem to think TRs are given on the basis (0+ / 0-)

                of ideological disagreement. That is an invalid basis for TRs (or for calling people trolls, as DaNang65 has).

                The basis of my TR was as I stated in my comment, an attempt to assert that nonreligious people may not express their nonreligion in "spiritual diaries", and a series of gratuitous personal insults launched at a commenter who was polite, constructive and nonconfrontational - even after being inappropriately personally attacked.

                If the whole point isn't religious, then why make an argument on religious grounds, and why attack someone who merely stated that an argument on environmental grounds would be more effective and have broader appeal?

                If I object  to a comment in a diary, I am not required to write my own diary to refute it. The custom here on Daily Kos is to write a comment rebutting the comment one disagrees to. That is why this is a forum for discussion, not just a collections of individual rants.

                If Markos did not want people to respond to comments, he would have disabled them and just let people post diaries.

                You will not succeed in promoting your argument if your primary tactic is to attempt to prevent others from disagreeing with it. On the contrary, you weaken your own credibility when you make personal attacks on the messenger, as DaNang65 has, rather than arguing with the substance of the message, as Ernest T Bass did.

                I stand by my TR, based on the site rules.

                Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:58:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  you're mixed up badly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Aji

                  to us it was about religion when we fought to have the laws passed but now we're invoking purely secular laws and executive orders in order to protect lands we hold sacred. Get it? You don't need to know anything at all about us or our religion to be pro or con on this matter because it's a matter of law and jurisprudence we're asking to be enforced. The tribes have a legal basis for their demands which are totally secular and non-religious even though we as a people see the lands differently than the dominate society.

                  Therefore Aji's clear and inspiring explanation about why we love our lands isn't the basis for being pro or con, that has already been included in the laws. The only basis for arguement is with the laws themselves so any other arguement or comment is merely people misreading the whole diary and the comments such as mine outlining the 1978 Indian Religious Freedom Act. Try not to fixate on the religious aspect and possibly you'll come to a modicum of understanding.

                  •  That was presicely Ernest T Ball's point (0+ / 0-)

                    for which he was pilloried and insulted.

                    Try not to fixate on the religious aspect and possibly you'll come to a modicum of understanding.

                    The irony of this comment in the context of a firestorm reaction to a mild suggestion that environmental damage arguments carry more weight with the public than arguments about spirituality, is overwhelming.

                    I'm not mixed up at all. You just think that bigotry is OK because you are in the minority. Hate is never ok, and never justified.

                    I'm in a minority far more hated in this country than yours, yet I don't use that as a pretext to excuse bigotry against people whose beliefs differ than mine.

                    DailyKos is a secular, pluralist, political discussion forum. Asking for people to refrain from commenting about spiritual assertions in ways that don't please you is not only counterproductive, it is incredibly naive.

                    Most of the people you are busy antagonizing here support the thrust of this diary's argument, and oppose policies that allow mining companies to rape the Earth.

                    Your barking up the wrong tree, and letting your anger and hate overwhelm your common sense. That is not a path to effective activism.

                    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                    by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:36:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  wrong again (0+ / 1-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Hidden by:
                      RandomActsOfReason

                      but your ilk never gets it. E.T.Bass misunderstood as badly as you do. And like teabaggers you'll never be able to change even when it's explained slowly and clearly. We're antagonizing no one but a couple of dopes, 99% of kossacks understand full well what I say and what the diary means. And dkos isn't secular at all, get real, all kinds of "beliefs" are deliniated here every day. You're barking way up the wrong tree because of an pitiful inability to think and btw, my effective activism got the 1978 Indian Religious Freedom Act passed so we're doing just fine without your ignorance.

                      •  "Your ilk" reveals your bigotry (0+ / 0-)

                        And you are TR'd for using the "teabagger" slur.

                        The rest of your comment is really not worth responding to.

                        I'm much less interested in your claims of being single-handedly responsible for the IRFA, or your general prejudice, assholery and trolling, than I am in supporting the cause of Native American rights, and preserving our national treasures from the predations of uranium mining.

                        Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                        by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 06:41:13 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  HRed for (0+ / 0-)

            unbelievable personal insult, as well as the demand that anyone who disagrees with a "diary whose central core is a spiritual belief" is required to "stay silent."

            Your comment is an utterly disgusting and insulting attempt to enforce religious privilege. Has no place in an open discussion forum.

        •  I'm not "spiritual," either (in fact, I'm an (6+ / 0-)

          atheist), but the Grand Canyon is about the closest thing to sacred -- to everyone -- as one can get.

        •  Cultural differences aside, you can probably get (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aji

          beyond your problem with this if I tell you that a person's access to modes of or expressions of spirituality has precedent in law. Did not the Supreme Court find that the consumption of hallucinogens was legal when used for the purpose of spirituality in the tenets of a religious rite?

          •  Yup. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4Freedom

            Government protects spirituality in lots of contexts.  And not just our spirituality, either - probably the biggest beneficiary is Christianity.

            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:41:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

        The comment specifically notes the legal irrelevance of any property's "sacred" status. That is an utterly relevant point, and the only "disrespect" or "disruption" comes from your attempt to shove religious privilege down all of our throats. Shame on you.


        why don't you start by attacking the tax exempt status of Christian church owned property?

        I can't speak for Ernest, but many thousands of us who agree with him are all too happy to "attack" that status, thanks.


        A secular government has no business making legal decisions based on "sacred" status. That's an utterly inarguable point at law; why you chose to scream at it escapes me.

    •  I am sad to say that I find your comment (8+ / 0-)

      insensitive, denigrating of other's spiritual beliefs and not at all productive to the discussion here.  This is just my own personal opinion.

    •  I'm tipping this for the part (11+ / 0-)

      about groundwater issues, etc.

      But to us Indians, spirituality and sacredness matters.  And since our lands are putatively sovereign, our notions of what's sacred should apply to what contaminates our lands - either physically or spiritually.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:25:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's okay, everybody. (14+ / 0-)

      Lots of people don't have any spiritual beliefs, which I respect.

      Lots of people also don't understand tribal sovereignty - which is not surprising, since our federal government doesn't either.

      But I'm proceeding on the assumption that Ernest T Bass means well, and is supportive on the environmental front.  And we need all the supporters we can get.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:34:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even for those without spiritual beliefs... (7+ / 0-)

        there should be no conflict in having respect for those who do.  Also, it's not very difficult to understand that it hurts when something you care deeply about is destroyed.

        •  I disagree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomActsOfReason, Aji

          I don't feel that my opinion on choice should be affected by my respect for Catholics or fundamentalists, I'm not going to quit eating hamburger out of respect for Hindus, or pork out of respect for Jews and Muslims.

          There are other significant issues here - Native American sovereignty, lack of responsibility by mining corporations (and Canadian mining corporations are some of the worst), environmental damage, and protection of what most Americans view as a national monument - the Grand Canyon, and even potentially the harm to people who want to visit the canyon.

          I can agree with the diarist without accepting or even acknowledging the spiritual argument. And if there weren't other significant considerations, I wouldn't find the spiritual argument to hold much water politically, because I believe in the separation of church and state, no matter how abstract or diffuse the "church" part of that dichotomy is.

          Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

          by badger on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:16:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  From the perspective of . . . (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RunawayRose, 4Freedom, swampus

            American government and politics, the reason the spirituality argument holds water is because of the unique tribal sovereignty context.  That said, as other commenters have pointed out, were it a white fundie Christian church that was threatened, you bet the wheels of government would be turning to save it.

            But as you say, there are plenty of non-spiritual grounds on which others can and should support our position, and I welcome that support from everyone who wants to give it.

            Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

            by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:26:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Were it a white fundie church (0+ / 0-)

              I'd totally discount their religious beliefs with respect to an issue like the environment or land use too (and in fact I don't accept the "dominion over the earth" arguments they make either). That other people give weight to those beliefs doesn't make it correct (in my opinion) in their case or yours - in a political context.

              Given the tribal sovereignty context, if you/the tribe want to use spirituality to arrive at a decision, I don't know that there's anything to argue with there. But the argument would be just as valid if you said "because that's what we want." Sovereignty doesn't need justification - if it does, it isn't sovereignty any more.

              And returning to your counter-example, that's one of the reasons that in a political context I wouldn't honor your assertion of spirituality - because it provides justification and precedent for other similar arguments by other groups where the spirituality argument doesn't rest on a foundation like sovereignty.

              You might want to keep this link handy if you post on this again.

              You probably know more about how uranium mining has affected the Navajo than I do, or the article covers, but I found it an excellent  summary of what just some of the problems have been in the past. It goes beyond environmental destruction to the total failure of the government or mining companies to provide even the smallest amount of assistance to people injured. I would have added it in a comment here, but had lost the link and didn't have time to find it before.

              Is the guy from Deniston the same guy who delivered the slur about drunken Indians driving at high speed when the Navajo refused him mining rights? The name sounds familiar.

              Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

              by badger on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:56:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Cool... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RunawayRose, TiaRachel, Aji

            I'm not going to quit eating hamburger out of respect for Hindus

            Good for you.  I assume, though, that you will stop short of forcing Hindus to eat hamburger?

            •  I actually know a Hindu who loves (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger

              hamburger . . . I jokingly (yes, right to his face, he enjoys it) equate him with the Southern Baptists who are *huge* consumers of pornography . . .

            •  Straw man (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger

              who here, in any comment in this diary, ever, has made any comment suggesting that Native Americans should not have the right to practice their beliefs freely and equally to other beliefs?

              Let's remember what statement provoked this hostile firestorm:

              I don't buy into the concept of "spirituality"

              I'm not sure what legal standing any supposed "sacred" nature assigned by someone to land would have.

              But if you want to be heard, I would guess that complaints about environmental protection, such as the groundwater and mine waste containment issues you've noted, would carry the greatest weight.

              Nothing in that statement suggests in any way, shape or form a desire to force anything on anyone. It doesn't even express disrespect for the beliefs of others.

              Frankly, the hostile assault on the writer of that comment is worthy of condemnation, and those responsible - first and foremost DaNang65, who called the commenter a troll, an "expletive deleted", and told them they should not be permitted to post on diaries who "core" focus is "spirituality" - should publicly apologize right here and now.

              And, commenters like you should stop throwing up straw man to perpetuate this ridiculous witchhunt against nonreligious expression.

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:19:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course it's a straw man... (0+ / 0-)

                That's why I pointed it out.

                And, commenters like you should stop throwing up straw man to perpetuate this ridiculous witchhunt against nonreligious expression.

                No, the witch hunt here is being conducted by you.

                By your own words:

                I actually completely support the legal arguments in the diary, and oppose mining in the Grand Canyon on envirionmental grounds as well as supporting the right of Native communities to be protected from harmful physical consequences of US activities in areas adjacent to these communities sovereign territory.

                What then, do you have a problem with if not the expression of the diarist's spiritual beliefs?

                I've been an atheist for a very long time and I've never been persecuted on Daily Kos.  Maybe we travel in different circles.

                •  I have expressed my "problem" quite clearly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  badger

                  and repeatedly, if you only chose to actually read comments, rather than make a priori assumptions based on stereotypes.

                  My problem is with the way that Ernest T Ball's constructive, mild comment about political strategy was met with enraged charges of trollery, epithets, and calls to refrain from commenting on "spiritual" diaries.

                  My problem is with the hijacking of this well-written legal diary by people who apparently demand that all commenters "respect" spiritual beliefs, or not comment at all.

                  My problem is with the dismissal of separation of church and state as some faulty honky ideology that has no merit, and is only a cover for Christian dominance in any case.

                  My problem is with arguments that said Christian dominance is not really a problem, since separation is a bad concept, but rather that Native spiritualists want in on the action.

                  My problem is that, yet again, someone who commenter about political strategy in support of progressive causes - supposedly a preoccupation and focus of this site - was attacked for having the temerity to happen not to believe in the spiritual realm.

                  I've been an atheist for a very long time and I've never been persecuted on Daily Kos.  Maybe we travel in different circles.

                  Clearly we do.

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:54:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Didn't know I was (0+ / 0-)

              forcing anyone to eat hamburger. When we have Hindus over to our house we've tried to provide something palatable in line with their dietary preferences.

              I respect people's spirituality and that they have different views than mine. But in a political context, people's spiritual beliefs don't carry any weight with me, especially when those beliefs are superfluous to the discussion.

              Bitte sag mir wer das Märchen vom Erwachsen sein erfand

              by badger on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:28:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  FWIW... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Oke, TiaRachel, 4Freedom, Aji

            I don't disagree that politically it makes more sense to rally around the secular aspects of this, but the diarist just seems to be using spirituality to highlight the fact that there is an extra level of importance to her and her people.  Why belittle that?

            Frankly, I appreciate the fact that the emotions behind this were very well communicated.  It makes me want to fight even harder.  

    •  you don't need to "buy in" (10+ / 0-)

      thet facts are that our spirituality and spiritual needs are protected by law and executive orders so they must be taken into account by federal bureauracies.

      So you comments are not only stupid they're uninformed bullshit.

      •  As usual . . ., (8+ / 0-)

        you cut right to the chase! :-)

        The "advising the diarist" stuff did amuse me, since I am a (now non-practicing) lawyer and a former tribal liaison for a state entity.  But I guess no one has any way to know that.

        Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

        by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:53:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Arguments from authority are irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

          If it amuses you for other people on the internet to express their opinions, perhaps you don't understand how the internet works - particularly discussion forums like this one. Perhaps you are used to publications that have no comment feature, no way for the public to provide feedback - or, perhaps you are used to publishing only within closed communities of the like-minded.

          Here on DailyKos, when you post a diary, you should expect open and critical discussion. That's why there are comments here, and not just diaries.

          Claiming authority is considered bad form on the Internet, particularly in reaction to being challenged. Even more so, when the commenter didn't actually challenge you at all; he supported your argument, asserting that the environmental damage claim is a stronger one that resonates more widely with the public. It was a pragmatic suggestion relating to political tactics - which is the main preoccupation of the community of Daily Kos.

          I'm willing to give you a pass on the grounds that perhaps you don't understand what this community is about (or, at least, is supposed to be about, when it functions properly); DaNang65, on the other hand, has been around long enough to know better (and also expressed him or herself in far more hostile and insulting language).

          Supporting cacamp's arguments that others should not be allowed to express their opinion on Native issues is, frankly, ridiculous.

          Daily Kos is not a closed forum operating within Native lands.

          It is, however, at least putatively a progressive Democratic forum where there is wide support for Native American rights and great concern about environmental issues - and, great hostility toward Republican's rape of the Earth.

          You should reconsider how you and others here have chosen to react to mostly constructive commentary from those who do not share your spiritual beliefs.

          As an atheist in America, I have long recognized that I will never gain equality if I rely only on my fellow atheists. Separation of church and state, and religious pluralism in America, are championed by a coalition that is, numerically, majority theist. Right now, a religious president is doing more to promote positive images of atheists than any president in history.

          Similarly, Native American interests will not be best served by antagonizing anyone who does not share your spiritual beliefs, or by suggesting that Native American legal issues should not be discussed by non-Natives.

          Your diary was a good one, and your arguments in it have a lot of support.

          Spiritual arguments for legislation have less support here on Daily Kos. Take that into account next time.

          We may not agree about the supernatural, but we can still work together on human law and justice.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:31:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  American Indian Religious Freedon Act (9+ / 0-)

        The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was intended to change the
        policy of the United States from one of outlawing and disrespecting traditional
        Native religions to one of protecting and respecting them. The Act states:

        "That henceforth it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and
        preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe,
        express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo,
        Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use
        and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through
        ceremonials and traditional rites."

        · There are numerous existing laws intended to protect Native American sacred
        places and even more that can be used to do so.

        · Among these existing legal authorities are the American Indian Religious Freedom
        Act,
        Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,
        Executive Order on
        Indian Sacred Sites,
        National Historic Preservation Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act,
        National Environmental Protection Act and other environmental and cultural laws.

      •  Your hostility is uncalled for and (0+ / 0-)

        counterproductive.

        The fact that you are a member of a group that suffers injustice, hate and prejudice, does not justify you behaving in kind.

        Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

        by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:22:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are federal laws (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom

      regarding Native American sacred sites. This has been a long battle between the First Nations and the federal government.

      One example can be seen in the battle between the Apache and the government regarding Mount Graham. Here is the link.

  •  Tipped and rec'd on your (17+ / 0-)

    introduction alone -

    The land lives;  it is animated by Spirit.  It sustains us:  physically, spiritually.  We are the land, and it is us - and any injury to it injures us all.

    Thanks. A great and informative dairy.

    •  Chi miigwech! (Many thanks) (8+ / 0-)

      Someone who believes in spiritual issues, huh? :-)

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:35:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are many of us up here in the (5+ / 0-)

        San Luis Valley who feel the sacredness of Blanca and all that is in our sight, even if we grew up in New Jersey.

        Absolutely wonderful diary, and welcome to Daily Kos.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say. If you please, don't back up the track, this train's got to run today.

        by kafkananda on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:49:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you! (4+ / 0-)

          Although I should clarify that I've been on DKos since '02 or '03.  During the platform switch, I was serving as caretaker to both parents, and had no time to do more than lurk occasionally, and I can't remember whether I ever registered or not (my usual user name didn't work, anyway).  So I finally re-upped my reg at the end of last year. :-)

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:56:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I noticed the fluidity of both style and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aji

            substance. In fact, I thought to myself: "This is front page worthy writing here. This speaks for me and nutures the whole."  

            Unifying voices of the heart are needed to clarify what exists beyond even noble conflict. Obama understands this and those lost in a narrow view of 'bipartisanship' have a wondrous world to explore.

            Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say. If you please, don't back up the track, this train's got to run today.

            by kafkananda on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 12:22:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What a lovely thing to say! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kafkananda

              Thank you so much; I'm blushing.

              And I agree wholeheartedly with your point about President Obama and bipartisanship.  Sometimes it matters less whether we get credit for a win than whether we work for that win in a good and healthy way.  Ends and means and all that.  

              Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

              by Aji on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 02:18:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Why is coal mining and burning OK on sacred land? (8+ / 0-)

    Amory Lovins: "Coal can fill the real gaps in our fuel economy....." IPCC: Anthropogenic greenhouse gases will cause extinction of up to 70% of species by 2050.

    by Plan9 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:07:26 PM PST

    •  Lots of folks protesting it on the rez. (9+ / 0-)

      Media coverage, OTOH?  Not so much.  But we need much more attention to these issues, true.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:37:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't the Navajo Nation sign an agreement with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aji

        Peabody for a new coal-fired plant?  

        Amory Lovins: "Coal can fill the real gaps in our fuel economy....." IPCC: Anthropogenic greenhouse gases will cause extinction of up to 70% of species by 2050.

        by Plan9 on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:57:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In all honesty, I've lost track . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plan9

          of the status of that one.  I'll look it up for Part II of this post.  Kossack navajo could probably tell you exactly where it stands.

          I know there's been a great deal of internal conflict over it - and, of course, Peabody's more than willing to use the rez's need for jobs as a bludgeon against those who want to protect the land.  Peabody has an absolutely terrible history.  

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 02:22:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Dirty coal ash in 4 Corners Area (10+ / 0-)

    Check out this diary.

    Here's the real health and environment problem.

    Fine particulates from coal combustion and natural gas combustion kill 30,000 people a year.

    In the Four Corners area the dirty coal-fired plants emit waste that is 400 times more radioactive than any emissions from a nuclear plant or uranium refinery. The plume extends for hundreds of miles.  This has got to be having a health impact on Native American communities--not because of the radiation, which is low-dose, but because of the dirty fly ash and fine particulates.

    Amory Lovins: "Coal can fill the real gaps in our fuel economy....." IPCC: Anthropogenic greenhouse gases will cause extinction of up to 70% of species by 2050.

    by Plan9 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:13:46 PM PST

  •  Extremely well written and important diary. (13+ / 0-)

    A lot of Grand Canyon water is contaminated from uranium mining (I'm not on my usual computer with bookmarks and links, so can't give any details, sorry).  Thanks.

    I've never claimed to be a leader of the DK eco community

    by RLMiller on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:13:51 PM PST

  •  DailyKos is definitely an interesting site . . . (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Sara R, 4Freedom, swampus, rb137, Aji

    A large number of diaries each day bemoan the sad state of the US Economy - often in direct comparison with the likes of China.

    A country, probably not coincidentally, that doesn't really give a fuck about concerns such as those raised in this diary and is thus gaining a stranglehold over the mining of many "rare earth" metals vital to the next generation of clean energy technologies and that type of thing . . .

  •  Uranium mining has been banned on the Navajo (11+ / 0-)

    reservation but the uranium mining companies still continue to try and get things changed so they can resume mining.  It's an ongoing battle.

    Thanks for writing about this, very well researched and presented.

  •  Great diary, Aji, as usual (8+ / 0-)

    Really important too.

    •  Thank you, Kimberley! (6+ / 0-)

      How are you?

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:43:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm hanging in there (6+ / 0-)

        The clean up's finally done and they'll be working to repair the chimney through next week. At this point, I'm feeling more fortunate than anything else. The speedy response of our volunteer firefighters made all the difference. I still can't believe this city is depending on volunteers for something so critical.

        I see your mom's doing physical therapy today? I'm glad the surgery went well. How you holding up?

        •  Oh, I'm so glad . . . (7+ / 0-)

          that things are coming back together for you!  Isn't it scary that so much of the country depends solely on volunteers for those kinds of services?  Our national priorities are so screwed up.

          Mom had some fairly extensive therapy last night, I guess, and they're coming back to get her for another round in a half-hour or so.  Cognitively, she's doing better; I'm sure the exercise is helping.

          I started out doing pretty well early this morning; had a complete meltdown mid-morning; and now I'm back to doing better. Forget one day at a time; I'm down to one minute at a time. :-)  

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:01:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh oh ;) (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RunawayRose, TiaRachel, 4Freedom, Aji

            Meltdown, like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment?

            "It's past ten. My daughter is in pain. I don't understand why she has to have this pain. All she has to do is hold out until ten, and IT'S PAST TEN! My daughter is in pain, can't you understand that?! GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!"

            Sometimes you just have to lose your cool, hit some kind of reset button. I get that.

            I'm glad you're feeling better. It sounds like you're shouldering a lot of responsibility right now. Take some time for yourself within the next day or two. Recharge with a long bath or a movie with friends, something.

            Me? I'm painting something lovely. My brother got me a paint by number kit as kind of a gag gift to cheer me up, but the image is absolutely beautiful and he knew I'd love it. So, I'm doing it at night before I sleep. It calms my mind and it's turning out really well. It's almost a shame I can't sign it.

  •  Western Mining Action Network (9+ / 0-)

    WMAN is a critical forum for communities and people facing mining in the United States and Canada.  WMAN builds strong relationships between participants that enable mutual support and cooperative action.  Its goals are to strengthen the capacity of the mining activist movement to be successful in all of its endeavors.

    Links to this interesting article

    Beware of Mining Hype

    The Tse Keh Nay leadership is compelled to add its voice to the recent hoopla surrounding the B.C. mining sector's claims of glory, such as those made by Michael McPhie in his recent editorial in the Vancouver Sun and those recently made in this publication.

  •  Protection, whether sacred or not . . . (9+ / 0-)

    . . .is valuable to us all.  I wouldn't want to bias good protection, especially from mining activities, towards only those lands that are considered sacred because, to me, our land, the landscape that nurtures us, requires as much protection for sustainability as possible.  And the plateau is a region that is so easily damaged and so slow to heal.  Scarring and destruction there lasts multiple lifetimes.  Let me know who to write and contact.

    I'm still hoping that somebody wakes up and provides wilderness designation to Desolation and Gray canyons.  But, protection is tiring because it must continue since any single act of degradation is a one way ratcheting of destruction and small losses add up because they can't be undone.

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:39:57 PM PST

    •  True. But the sacredness issue . . . (6+ / 0-)

      has legal significance for us as sovereign entities.  And considering this country's history of disregarding what is sacred to us (but not to the dominant culture), it's a point that I'll continue to hammer home.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:47:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Understood (6+ / 0-)

        And I do not discount it.  That viewpoint fascinates me and is one of the reasons I will be visiting and staying in Zuni in another month.

        Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

        by Fossil on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:56:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Welcome to NM! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kimberley, RunawayRose, 4Freedom

          We're at Taos, which is a little bit of a hike from where you'll be.  But Zuni is an absolutely beautiful area.  Will this be vacation, or is it work-related?

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:02:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Vacation (0+ / 0-)

            And a much needed one.  

            First will be hiking Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch.  And so I've been preparing by reading about Anasazi Architecture and Landscape.  Fascinating stuff, especially when they decided to walk away from their leaders who wished to become like the lords of Cahokia or Maya.

            Then for a couple of days in Zuni.  Hoping to visit one or two carvers whose work I admire.

            Still and all, even while I love my Great Lakes, the southwest in all its stark beauty feels like home to me.  Or at least I've learned to accommodate myself to the landscape and find comfort in it.  I have such memories from my visits that it may as well be sacred to me and just wish the people of this nation would learn to value such a landscape.

            Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

            by Fossil on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 07:20:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Aji. This is a very important issue (8+ / 0-)

    because all the proposed new nuclear reactors are going to need fuel. This aggressive pursuit of uranium on native lands needs to be stopped.

    In Vermont, I live about ten miles from a hill called "Toothacher Hill". Before people understood why their teeth were rotting, the effects of radiation weren't understood. Now it is understood that the underlying uranium was the source of the radiation.

    Today, I'm certain the nuclear industry is assessing the likelihood of uranium development in the area. Neighbors have talked of federal and state inspectors re-assaying the area in this relatively populated region.

    The dark side of nuclear energy is how the uranium is mined, and how waste is disposed of. This is a discussion that needs to take place throughout our nation. Mining on sovereign native lands is not an appropriate source for needed uranium, nor is mining in populated areas.

    Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. --African proverb

    by 4Freedom on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:48:36 PM PST

  •  This is so "1970's" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, Tyto Alba, HPrefugee, Aji

    Haven't you heard? All good progressives and environmentalists are pro-nuke now, because "it's the only way to save our planet from certain destruction from global warming!" Concerns about the spiritual lands of native peoples (not to mention the health of those living near nuclear power plants and waste storage sites, and/or nuclear proliferation) are very quaint and all, but pale in comparison to the "critical" need to immediately and radically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, and nuclear power provides the only "realistic" alternative.

    And besides, today's nuclear power is not your grandfather's nuclear power -- it's very safe, and clean and there's no possibility of accidents (humans are apparently no longer involved).

    Get with the times, brother!

    /snark

    •  "Sister." :-) (5+ / 0-)

      Or nimisenh, in my language.

      But, yeah, I've been accused of being a regressive hippie before.  It's gonna be tough, but I think I can withstand the "slur." :-)

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:06:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I was worried that I might (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4Freedom, HPrefugee, Aji

        have the gender wrong. Of course I meant in the larger sense, of "fellow compatriot in the struggle".

        I hope you keep posting about uranium mining though, because the issue of nuclear power in general has really been given a facelift in the supposed progressive and environmental community by the climate change issue.

        I posted a diary last week about Obama's announcement of federal financing for new nuclear power reactors and about 70% of respondents voted in favor of expanding nukes.

        I'll confess that some of my opposition to nukes is due to the fact that I'm skeptical about the severity of catastrophic climate change as against other existing and ongoing environmental, economic and social issues, but it's disturbing to me to see how global warming is being used to revive what was a moribound industry.

  •  Thanks for this diary (6+ / 0-)

    I think people often confuse spirituality and religion. We're all spiritual beings just by being in this grand mysterious universe, and the earth is our home, not just physically but from where we experience and express our own connection to the universe. So it's well worth taking care of, and sacred spaces help us to remember as to why we're taking care of it in the first place.

    Live life. Not too fast. Mostly walk. (or bike)

    by citisven on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:06:16 PM PST

  •  Check out Broken Rainbow (6+ / 0-)

    It is o,der documentary from the 80's. It really goes into great details on these issues.

    It was narated by Martin Sheen and had some wonderful music from Laura Nyro in it.

  •  Is the old treaty still in force? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Ojibwa, Aji

    I am not an authority on this but, if memory severs me right, the Navaho were only getting something like $.02 a ton in compensation.

    If I remember right, the treaty also says something to the effect that the Navaho get to detrimine the terms. Maybe this was set asside by the Dawes act?

    Again I really don't know.

    •  Kossack navajo's much more likely . . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, 4Freedom, Ojibwa

      to know the answer to that.  But in this particular case (in the diary, I mean), it's the Havasupai and Hualapai tribes that are most directly affected.  I'd have to do some digging to find out whether there were any actual direct treaties with those two tribes.  the other issue here, of course, is that while the mining will occur on lands that traditional belonged to these tribes, it's land that they lost with contact.  It's now "public land," and so they have no rights under existing law to any royalties - but they still suffer the contamination and other ill effects.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:34:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish you well my friend. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, Ojibwa, Aji

    I guess I should disregard the last post. I thought that the treaty should be a place to start. I forgot that even before the Dawes act that the US government pretty much ignored treaties and obligations.

    Know this that although, I don't know much of what I can do for you directly, I will be with you in spirit. I am not an Indian but, I do hang out with them and have even dated them. I will make sure that if I get into a sweat lodge again that we send out our best wishes in your struggle. Even not you have my sincerest hope and prayers.

    We all struggle against injustices but my theory is that each injustice is a brick in a great wall of oppression one brick or section might be labeled environmental justice, another is rascism, another is named economic inequality, another named stupidity.  Although these bricks are firmly in place and the effort to dislodge them is great they are all part of the same wall. I will keep on hitting my brick, you keep hit ours and maybe one day our desecendants will see a time far great than we can image. A brick wall is man-made so are the problems we have.

    Okay, I know you want more than some long winded trirade, I'll tell you what, could you keep this board a breast of the situation? There may be those who don't want to hear it but as far as I am concerned they will have to get over it or die pissed off.
    Maybe some web sites that deal with it. I will email my congressman and senators. I am sorry that I cannot give you more right now.

    I will give you all my cheers and best wishes to you and yours.

    There is an old Lakota phrase Maytakwaallessin. (Sorry if I butcher the spelling). All my relations, I will honor your fight and do what I can.

    •  Good God I am I long winded. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, Aji

      Okay, I will keep it brief and more to the point next time.

      Hey this is me without coffee.

      Speaking of bureaucratic nonsense, I have to go face the state of Minnesota right now.

    •  "Mitakuye oyasin." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa

      Carter can correct my spelling. :-)  I'm Anishinaabe, rather than Lakota, bu most of us have similar sentiments.

      And I'll gladly take your support!  Don't disregard your last post; it's an important point, and just because it doesn't necessarily apply here doesn't mean that it won't be crucial in other cases.  

      Chi miigwech (many thanks).

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:48:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Aji (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Ojibwa, Aji

    for an informative, albeit depressing story. I really appreciate your contributions here.

    •  Thank YOU, anotherCt Dem! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anotherCt Dem, 4Freedom, Ojibwa

      BTW, I tipped you in another diary a few minutes ago - one of the controversy-magnet diaries.  Yours was the only comment I bothered with. :-)  I'm so glad you're back, since it gave me a chance to "meet" you!

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:40:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a sweetheart you are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4Freedom, Aji

        We really should email!

        I saw that other diary, and knowing the oeuvre of the diarist, his latest effort was...surprising. But none of that matters really. Next week I've got work lined up at the Rehab Hospital - you are working to end the desecration on the reservations. RL is what it's all about! Today I subbed in a class with four kids on the spectrum. The boards of ed have got to sort this out - mainmstream? more aids? more funding? So much going on - not to mention Obama's having thirty more IQ points than his opponents :) Fighting on a blog is wack.

  •  This is for everyone arguing re "sacred": (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, 4Freedom, swampus, Deep Harm, Ojibwa

    And I am going to say this exactly ONCE.

    1. How long is the diary above?  And how much of it refers to spiritual issues?  Very little.  So why so obsessive about it?
    1. The spiritual does matter to us.  So why should we not discuss it?
    1. TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY.  Knock off the faux legalese; I'm a lawyer.  And tribal sovereignty, treaties, other agreements, etc. apply here.

    Enough with the HR'ing and the fights.  The point of this diary is to correct the problem, which is dangerous uranium mining at the grand Canyon and tribal lands.  So let's focus on that, and not on the a manufactured "problem" of references to what is sacred to us..

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:10:51 PM PST

  •  I'm out for a while, folks - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom
    Gotta wrap up here at the hospital with Mom, then run a bunch of errands before I head home.  Anyone from gNAN who wants to jump in, please do.

    Love to you all.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:38:02 PM PST

  •  See also Bullfrog Films (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Aji

    http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/...

    Thank you for another thoughtful diary, Aji.  

    Am hoping that your mom's recovery goes smoothly and that you can both have a good rest at home.

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