Statement of Bonnie Whitesinger P.O.

Box 3132 Tuba City, AZ 86045 (928) 283-6765
Date: 5/19/2012 To: Mr. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights FOR THE OFFICIAL RECORD Re: Request onsite visit and investigation of human rights violations in Big Mountain, Black Mesa My name is Bonnie Whitesinger. I am a dialysis patient for 15 years and I came from Big Mountain, Hopi Partition Land (HPL). I was born and raised here in the original areas impacted by the 1974 Relocation law P.L. 93-531. In 1997, facing relocation and armed federal marshal’s evicting resisters at gunpoint; I traveled with Marsha Monestersky to the UN in NY. We prepared and filed a 1503 formal complaint procedure to the UN Human Rights Council charging the US with human rights violations. With the help of NGO’s, World Council of Churches, United Methodist Church, the NGO Decade Committee, and others, Black Mesa became the focus of the first investigation by the UN of the US for religious intolerance with a site visit in Black Mesa with Mr. Abedlfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur for Religious Intolerance and NGO’s from around the world supporting hundreds of Diné people including myself who presented testimonies. My mother lives at Big Mountain, range unit 259 in her 100 year old Hogan built by her dad Hosteen Stutter. He was a medicine man. He passed away in 1973. My mother was instructed by her dad to carry on and care takes the traditional customary use area within around Big Mountain, Black Mesa area. My grandfather instructed my mother to not let any strip mine or forced relocation to take place at Big Mountain from the HPL.

My mother is a non-signer of a 75-year lease because she refuses to accept living under Hopi tribal jurisdiction, a government she cannot vote in and does not have representation. The Navajo tribe calls her a resister and the Hopi tribe calls her a trespasser even though she was born and raised on HPL and her family goes back 8 generations in our customary use area. That is how long we have dwelt in this area. We have pottery shards that are orange that date back to show our family’s use in this area. To this day she lives with no running water, no electricity and still occupies her traditional property and still has livestock, sheep and goats, horses and donkeys and cattle. These animals hold great significance to our people but several times including recently, my mother’s cattle were illegally impounded without giving her notice even though they knew the animals were hers. This is our survival. At Big Mountain our water wells with pumps have been dismantled by the Hopi area BIA dismantling team so she gets water out of the reservoir near her in the canyon that has an oily orange film on it. The water makes her sick, gives her a headache, diarrhea, dysentery, sore throat and flu symptoms. She also has hair loss like most of the elderlies drinking contaminated water. The BIA did this to force the people off the land and abuse the people and livestock denying us an adequate water source. My mother’s pick-up truck broke down from hauling water over rough dirt roads and she does not have transportation so she has to walk 12 miles over the mountain to her granddaughter Rachel’s house so she can get water from her NTUA water line. She has no way to haul water or firewood and she has to find people with pick-up trucks to transport her water. She has no vehicle in case of emergency. She has no cell phone reception because of insufficient towers. She lives far away from any human resource from the post office, grocery store, medical facilities. The Navajo tribe and Hopi tribe do not check on the families even though there is a need for food, water and medical help because no one checked on Hosteen Goy and he died of pneumonia one month ago. We worry about his wife Louise Goy. There is great hardship in HPL and nobody is helping with drinking water. Our farming and livestock, our food supplies are dependent upon water supplies. We need housing, access to water, dirt road maintenance, hay and feed for our livestock because of prolonged drought and fear of confiscation. We need medical supplies and health professionals to visits elderlies and bring meals on wheels without access to travel to stores in these remote areas with rough dirt roads. Shearing and lambing season is going on. It is hard for our elderlies without the support and help of their extended families.


In spite of all the hardship, to this day the Forgotten People at Big Mountain area still survive adverse effects of US governmental policies using federal funding to drive our people from our lands. To this day we continue to occupy our traditional customary use areas. Due to harsh restrictions families have divided and many extended families once close lost our future generations. Many of us became displaced and landless without homes with families of our own. It caused families to be torn apart leaving most of the elderly people to live by themselves with their livestock without running water and vehicles that break down hauling water up to 50 miles round trip to get water from the Navajo Partition water line. The grandmothers that still reside on HPL care take the land from one season to the next. Their flock of sheep is lambing and shearing season and planting season has begun but it is hard to do dry crop farming without any water. While we are denied a drop of water to drink, President Ben Shelly of the Navajo Nation is signing away our water rights of the people. We are being left out because we are left behind by the Navajo Nation tribal government, Hopi government and US government. These entities should be held accountable to their harsh maltreatment of HPL residents. We still occupy our aboriginal lands. We have human rights under international, customary law and the declaration. We want to be recognized as an independent self-government within the Navajo tribe. We want to stop livestock confiscations from the BIA and build homes and water distribution programs. Me and my brother Paul are both on kidney dialysis and therefore can’t help our mother every day. Recently, an elderly, Hosteen Goy died of pneumonia because he got no home visits. As the years go by, we worry about our mother’s continued lifestyle at west big mountain. We worry how will the younger generation have water ponds for human, livestock consumption and wildlife like deer, elk, moose that are arriving to seek refuge? We need rehabilitation for HPL people because we have endured a lot of human suffering and my people suffer from post-traumatic syndrome from regulations from US government and Hopi tribe. We need services with water, roads, housing needs to be addressed because no emergency access for upgraded roads for use by communities. We need assistance to give relief for animals, livestock with hay and water hauler and4-way feed because of severe drought and vegetation grazing areas are fenced off into grazing units denying us access to good grazing and water sources. We need relief efforts and all departments to step in and request US government work with Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and Indian Health Service. The US government should be held accountable. We hope to participate in an on-site investigation and put this on the table for your consideration.


The U.S. government, BIA livestock confiscation, Navajo Hopi Land Commission, Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe are responsible for the genocidal effects of relocation. All these entities are responsible for human tragedies in HPL. Our elderly need in-home care providers because they are alone living a subsistence traditional lifestyle that requires the support of our extended families. We want our cultural, religious rights, water rights and land use rights respected because we are the ones that still occupy HPL. We are the extended family of my mother Pauline Whitesinger and many HPL residents. We stand on the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples as our protection. We believe it should apply, even for us who live in the US and are called trespassers living as resisters against forced relocation occupying our ancestral aboriginal lands. Please come here to investigate, meet with the people and see our living conditions and destroyed water sources. Respectfully, Bonnie Whitesinger


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