Glenna Begay, Forgotten People Land & Resources Consultation with The Honorable Mr. James Anaya,United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 4/24/2012
I cannot even describe how huge an impact relocation has on my life as a resister against forcedrelocation by the US government. There is no place to move that we can continue our traditional wayof life. My family has been here for many generations. My grandparents are buried around the area.I was born here and my roots are here where I live and make my offerings, prayers and conductceremonials. If we move elsewhere there are people living there and a lot of harassment. Relocationfor me, on HPL means moving to Sanders. I am not moving there. Most of the people that relocatedthere died, became alcoholics or just moved away, abandoning their homes.In 1997, I hosted a historic meeting with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Black Mesa was the focus of the investigation. At this meeting, Thayer Scudder, California Institute of Technology anthropologist who has testified before Congress and is recognized by leadinginternational anthropological organizations said, “Forced relocation in our case is among the worstcases of involuntary community resettlement he has ever seen in the world.” He also said, “Becauseof the destructive impact of involuntary relocation on people who have strong religious and culturalties to the land, this is a case of ethnic cleansing.” Upon resignation, Federal RelocationCommissioners called relocation Genocide, comparing what happened to us to what Hitler did to theJewish people.Peabody has no respect for the dead. Peabody has destroyed thousands of ancient Anasazi cliff houses, burial and sacred sites, Diné cemeteries, sacred sites that continues to this day. They dug upAnasazi burials in my customary use area. I saw it with David Brugge, a famous anthropologist.Many of the Anasazi burials sites were not even covered up after removal of the remains. Their locations were marked by archeologists’ stakes in violation of our religion. Mounds of dirt remainadjacent to the graves sifted for ceremonial objects that were taken to unknown locations.A Kiva containing 28 Anasazi burials was destroyed and is now under tons of dirt. Many humanremains were taken from the site and others were left scattered on the surface of the ground. Wedon’t even know what happens to the remains they removed. Next to the bulldozed area is a sitewhere we make offerings, have held many ceremonies, including fire dances.Residents in the mining area have been jailed or threatened with jail for trying to protect their burialand sacred sites. Other residents have watched the unearthing of graves, given only the choicewhether to watch or not to watch. Roy and Alice Tso eldest son’s remains were taken to someunknown location. They wanted to know where their son’s remains were taken to. Roy Tso was adedicated employee that retired from Peabody Coal Company. He died of Silicosis. His last wishwas to protect his burial and sacred sites from Peabody destruction, including a site where you canhear thunder through the hill. This is a sacred shrine used by many of my people that was destroyed.