10-28-2014 FP Press Release BIA Begins Final Solution

Press Release: The BIA Begins the Final Solution to the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute
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   Forgotten People Mary Lane, President P.O. Box 539 Tonalea, AZ 86044 (928) 864-6413, October 29, 2014 Press Release: The BIA Begins the Final Solution to the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute On Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 the US Bureau of Indian Affairs launched a campaign intended to be the final solution to the long-standing Hopi-Navajo Land Dispute. The BIA and Hopi police have established barricades on roads leading to HPL, and neither outsiders or residents are allowed to enter or leave. Behind these barriers, the combined forces are going from home to home, removing the livestock on which the families depend for their survival. All of the livestock of Caroline Tohannie, an 84 year old great grandmother, was confiscated on October 22, and two neighbors, Zena and Jerry Lane, who tried to console her, were beaten and Jerry was arrested. On Thursday, October 23, Colleen and Ruby Biakeddy had 120 sheep confiscated. Today, Tuesday, October 28, the confiscation of 120 sheep owned by Bahe and Etta Begay led to the police surrounding their children Milaya Yoe and Mr Sells with guns pointed and then arresting them. Many other families are being similarly attacked each day. These livestock confiscations are not based on a desire to improve the range ecosystem  –  their goal is to make it impossible for Dine' to remain on HPL. Hopi and BIA officials have also informed Dine' that the confiscations will be followed by eviction proceedings against families without valid leases with the Hopi Tribe, and that they do not intend to renew livestock permits for any Dine'. They intend to complete the final settlement of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute. Background on the Hopi-Navajo Land Dispute The Hopi-Navajo Land dispute began when attorneys for the two tribes filed the Healing v Jones  lawsuit in the 1950's to establish land title needed for issuing coal leases on lands on the Hopi Reservation occupied by Navajo families. The decision in 1962 stated that coal royalties were to be split 50-50 and people from both tribes could reside in a joint use area . In 1972, the Hopi became dissatisfied with the joint use arrangement, as the lands were primarily occupied by Navajo, so they engineered passage of US Law PL 93-531 which would replace the joint use arrangement with separate titles for each tribe  to 50% of the land. Since the joint use area was occupied almost exclusively by Dine', this law mandated the forcible relocation of many Navajo. The program cost the federal government over $500 million, but many Dine' resisters defied the federal government and remained on their traditional land. In 1996, PL 104-301 attempted to resolve the issue by offering lifetime leases and limited grazing permits to the heads of households, but many Dine' refused to acknowledge their loss of land rights and did not sign these leases. The law authorized the government to use force against these resisters, but a massive outcry by over 250 religious and other non-governmental organizations in 1998 and an investigation by a Rapporteur from the United Nations HCHR forced the US to suspend enforcement of those provisions. That truce has held for over 15 years, until the BIA, for reasons not publicly announced, decided that the time had arrived to implement the final solution. For additional information contact: Elouise Dixon Brown 505-592-1453
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