Monday, April 10, 2006
CARAVAN TO INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE COMMUNITIES, BLACK MESA, ARIZONA
Caravan to Indigenous Resistance Communities,
Black Mesa, Arizona.
May 26-June 6th.
The incredible mesas and canyons of Arizona are home to the indigenous people of the Dineh (Navajo) and Hopi tribes, who have lived in traditional and sustainable communities for countless generations. The wisdom and experience that these families hold are a treasure that has been largely overlooked, and sadly abused, for too long. Basic human rights have been stripped from their lives. The United States government and private corporations enforce atrocious relocation laws with little or no regard for this area or the people they affect all in the name of the almighty dollar. Massive coal mining is one of the many excuses used to literally destroy home sites and the lives connected to them. Yet these indigenous communities endure, they persevere, and they continue to inspire all of us who have witnessed this struggle. For those of us who love justice, human rights, and the earth, it is a privilege and honor to learn from and work with residents of Black Mesa, a place where the Dineh and Hopi have been living traditionally and on the front lines for generations.
This spring, a caravan of work crews will be converging from across the states and spending a week with families affected by mining and relocation laws on Black Mesa. Anyone with a willingness to work is invited. Hands-on projects will demonstrate how these communities are actively shaping their future and working to assure cultural survival. While our assistance will be appreciated, the opportunity to learn from traditional elders is an honor and a privilege. You will learn about traditional indigenous ways of life, and co-participate in practices that provide the basic foundations of life (water, food, shelter, and clothing). Work projects include corral, roof, and home repair, water catchments, dry land farming, and if possible a small solar power set up. Work crews will be spread out, visiting people of both the Hopi and Dineh Nations. Host elders and families may also be giving presentations.
Join the caravan to Black Mesa to support human rights! Contact BMIS for additional info and find out about the organizational meetings that will be taking place beforehand in various regions. There are coordinators throughout Arizona, Appalachia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Northern California and more or you can contact us so we can aid you in coordinating a work party from your region. We encourage you to get back to us (see below) promptly for further details and to participate in regional meetings.
You're Interested In The Spring Caravan '06?
Thank you for your interest in joining the spring caravan that supports human rights on Black Mesa!
PROPOSED IMPORTANT DATES & AGENDA:
Mid - End of April Orientation meetings. (Being held in various regions. Dates, times, and locations to be announced! See info below.)
May 26-27 Leave for Black Mesa. (Depending on what region you are coming from.)
May 27 Spend a day in Flagstaff, AZ for store runs & to collect supplies. Camp together this evening for orientation, food, speakers, theatre. Camp-site to be announced.
May 28 Early rising! Circle up for a hearty breakfast and spread out to work sites on Black Mesa.
June 4 Reconvene at a central location for check-in, share a meal, closing.
June 5 Return from Black Mesa to be home by the 6th!
These dates fill a full week to be on the land with a days travel to and from for crews coming from far away. The departure date will be after the "Navajo Nation Sovereignty Day, June 1st." A few elders might go if the big rally happens for "Dineh Change 2006" which calls for tribal council reform to a real sovereign government.
COORDINATION: To help facilitate the caravan from your area, coordinators are located in various regions throughout the country. If you don't see your region listed, contact BMIS to find out if there are other interested folks in your area and consider coordinating a work crew (or crews) in your region. All you need is a desire to make it happen and communication with us so that we can set you up with all the necessary info! Share with us a little something about yourself and why this has sparked your interest.
Regions & Coordinators:
Main Hub Black Mesa Indigenous Support firstname.lastname@example.org
Flagstaff, AZ Crystal email@example.com
Prescott, AZ Matt / The Catalyst InfoShop firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuba City, AZ Sarah email@example.com
Appalachia Jacob firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco Bay Area Sabin
BMIS email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Humboldt County Dixie email@example.com
Boulder, CO Lisa firstname.lastname@example.org
Phoenix, AZ Maya email@example.com
PROJECTS: We've got a whole list of projects. What we accomplish depends on how many people make this caravan happen. This caravan has the potential to attract a large number of people. In that case we are prepared for such an event because it is being coordinated with families on Black Mesa. We will meet up at a designated area before we spread out to home and work sites. Work crews will go with road guides and Black Mesa residents who are on-land coordinators from different areas of the reservation. On the last day after the week of projects, we will hold a check-in for closure, share what we've learned and a meal together. There are many building materials and supplies needed for many of the projects. You can help: See Caravan Needs List.
ORIENTATION MEETINGS :
The dates, times, and locations of the info sessions are to be announced and will be posted here. In order to make this caravan the biggest success possible, you are strongly encouraged that you attend this meeting. It will give you a better sense of what the trip will be like, which will help you decide if the trip is for you. If you are unable to attend, please let us know beforehand so we can work something out with you. It is essential that you know how to prepare for this trip, the basics of cultural sensitivity, what to bring and what is expected of you. We will also be circulating relevant readings such as the cultural sensitivity packets, discuss what to expect, and have a questions and answer period.
The rough agenda for the meetings:
1. Go-around of brief introductions: Names, what you'd like to get out of this meeting, & what sparked your interest.
2. Background on Black Mesa struggle
3. What the caravan and the on-the-ground work will look like
4. What volunteers need to know
5. Make goals and action plans for raising money and supplies
6. Match riders with drivers, get leads on vehicles
7. Communication plan for volunteers
8. Discuss anti-racist/unlearning oppression approach for work crews
9. Determine location, date, and time of the send-off gathering.
The meeting locations and dates will be announced as coordinators set them up!
It is important that you are self-sufficient. You are ultimately responsible for your own transportation. With the help of the support group, coordinators and networking, it's likely you will find your own rides and riders. Perhaps we can secure a bus. There are endless possibilities! A lot can happen in 8 weeks!
You must come prepared, and bring everything you will need. There is no electricity, no central heating, and no running water. If you are able to, bring extra food and supplies to share. Bring a little extra money. It is always helpful to bring the following: Toilet paper, flash lights, the small Coleman-style propane tanks for lanterns (& mantles), and kerosene (& wicks). Again, if you are a traveler packing light, it's OK not to bring all these tools, etc suggested. If you have any questions please speak to the support organization.
GEAR: Bring warm clothing for cold weather and light clothing for the cold nights. Layers are important. It is important to wear long sleeves and pants that are light-colored and light for the days when we are working out in the sun. Besides that, covering your shoulders, mid-riff, and above the knees is courteous and appropriate. While it is the desert and the sunshine will make the days hot, the elevation is around 7,000 feet and it will still be cold at night. Bring a sleeping bag and pad. A tent and tarp are nice if you have them. Work boots and work gloves are VERY useful. A sun hat and sunscreen are essential! Lip balm with sunscreen is very precious in the desert! (Sunscreens that are natural are not carcinogenic). Having a first aid kit is useful (we will be in the canyon lands, miles away from a hospital). EmergenC packets or a home-made electrolyte mix of equal parts sea salt, honey, lemon and a splash of baking soda works just as well. Bring a wash-cloth to stay clean! Bring soap (Bronners is versatile). Slippers are convenient for night-time trips to the outhouse! Bring your own eating utensils. It wouldn't hurt to bring a pot or two per car but the families also have big pots.
FOOD: Bring enough food for the duration of your stay, extra to share with your host family if you have the resources to do so. For groups, it is easiest to bring food that can be contributed to a community meal. (It is best to cook one large breakfast and one large dinner with others at the homesite you will be at. Examples: It's easy to potatoes and veggies with eggs in the A.M. and soups or stir-fries in the evening.) Suggested foods are: Potatoes, onions, eggs, beans, Braggs Liquid Aminos, oil to cook with, spices, oats, brown rice, peanut butter, cornmeal (for pancakes, flat bread, and hot cereal), polenta, grains, canned foods, fruit, vegetables, snacks for the duration of the day, etc. It is best to bring at least 5 gallons of water each. There are also sources on Black Mesa to replenish our water and group runs can happen.
DO NOT BRING: Drugs, alcohol, or weapons is absolutely prohibited.
CONTACT US. Please type in the subject line "caravan" and let us know which region you are coming from. We look forward to meeting you and working together.
Black Mesa Indigenous Support
P.O. Box 23501, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002
Message Voice Mail: 928.773.8086