Honolulu, and Even More Snow in Oklahoma

This was taken the morning I flew out of Honolulu.

A few hours ago in Glenpool, Oklahoma in the predicted "light snow". We'd just passed a car that was upside down in a culvert.

Yesterday in the tribal complex. Three Muscogee Nation News columnists, all with overdue columns: Alfred Berryhill, me, and Ted Isham.

Free On-Line Program for Native Americans Living with Diabetes


The Stanford University Patient Education Research Center has a new on-line workshop and study for people living with type 2 diabetes. Due to the high rates of Diabetes among Native Americans, Stanford is offering workshops for Native Americans. This will allow participants to receive free diabetes self-management materials, receive free lab tests, done entirely over the Internet. Stanford University has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine an Internet based diabetes self-management program. There is no cost associated with participating in the study.

I have included information about this program below. Please let me know if you have any questions, and please feel free to pass the information along to anyone you think could benefit from the program. We can also provide an article in a newsletter, or a banner graphic to accompany a web link. I’ve put the banner here for your viewing:

Thanks so much for your help.

Valarie Jernigan
Stanford Patient Education Center, Stanford University School of Medicine


If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you are invited to take part in this free online workshop and study sponsored by the Stanford University School of Medicine. Recruitment and enrollment is now open, go to http://indiandiabetes.stanford.edu

Due to the high rates of diabetes among Native Americans, a special workshop will be offered for Native Americans, which will be led by Native American moderators representing different tribal groups from across the United States.

This online workshop teaches you the skills needed in the day-to-day management of diabetes as well as maintaining or increasing life's activities. Qualified participants will be randomly assigned to either participate in the workshop immediately or placed on the waiting list to participate within 6 months. Participants will complete 4 online questionnaires about their health over 18 months to determine the effectiveness of the program.

This six-week program is done entirely on the Internet - you choose the days and times that are most convenient for you. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to join; all levels of computer users are welcome. You will need access to the Internet and have an active email account to join. Participation involves logging on 2-3 times a week for six weeks, for a total of 1-2 hours a week..

If you have questions, please email diabetes@med.stanford.edu or call Valarie, Kate, Diana, or Katy toll free at 1-800-366-2624
Pre-registration is required and enrollment is limited. To register, visit us at: http://indiandiabetes.stanford.edu
or for more information email us at diabetes@med.stanford.edu


Sacred Land Action Alert

Peabody Energy & Office of Surface Mining Collude to Reopen Black Mesa Strip Mine

A few days before Christmas, the Office of Surface Mining unexpectedly released a 758-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Peabody Energy's Black Mesa Mining complex. There is a lot of political pressure from the Salt River Project to reopen the shuttered Mohave power plant to provide electricity to Phoenix, and Peabody is trying to take advantage of this to obtain a "Life-of-Mine" permit to revive their Black Mesa Mine and restart the slurry line that we all worked 30 years to shut down. Comment letters are needed by February 6. A sample letter and full instructions along with additional information are below.

New Corporate Responsibility Report!

You can now download our new 80-page report Is Nothing Sacred? Corporate Responsibility for the Protection of Native American Sacred Sites, which contains detailed case studies on Indian Pass, Weatherman Draw, Medicine Lake, Black Mesa, Zuni Salt Lake and Cave Rock. The report was written by economist Lyuba Zarsky, with a foreword by native activist Winona LaDuke. It is aimed at corporations, investors, foundations, and activists in the field of socially responsible investment and corporate social responsibility. Read reviews in The New Standard and Common Dreams.

Six New Sacred Site Reports on our Website

Check out our six new site reports on the Altai Golden Mountains (Russia), McArthur River (Australia), Vilcanota Spiritual Park (Peru), Mecca (Saudi Arabia), Mount Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine (Egypt) and Dampier Archipelago (Australia).

Additional information regarding Peabody Energy and Black Mesa:

Peabody Energy and the Office of Surface Mining are planning to reopen the devastating Black Mesa Mine Project! The Hopi and Navajo need your help!

The Office of Surface Mining, the federal agency in charge of regulating mining in the United States, may allow coal giant Peabody Energy to once again drain the precious aquifers of Black Mesa in northern Arizona, sacred waters to the Hopi and Navajo and lifeblood of the region's fragile environment. Your comment letters are needed by February 6 (see sample letter below).


The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has issued a 758-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that assesses the impact of mining on the Coconino and Navajo Aquifers on Arizona's Black Mesa, in the heart of the Hopi and Navajo Nations. OSM's recommendations would pave the way for Peabody to reopen its Black Mesa Mine and with it the destructive coal slurry line that had dramatically drained the Navajo Aquifer for 30 years. What's at stake is a fragile ecosystem in the midst of drought, the drinking water for thousands of residents in the growing towns around the Colorado Plateau, and the cultural heritage of the Hopi and Navajo peoples.
The Black Mesa Project targets pristine groundwater to slurry coal to the Mohave Generating Station - a practice that the community opposed for three decades and succeeded in stopping last year. Despite the closure of the air-polluting Mohave power plant, and with no viable plans for reopening it, Peabody Energy and Salt River Project are moving forward with plans to re-start these destructive practices. This time, Peabody Energy and Salt River Project want to tap into the Coconino Aquifer (south of Black Mesa, between Flagstaff and Winslow) while also increasing access to the Navajo Aquifer, so that they can reopen the controversial coal slurry line from the Black Mesa Mine to the Mohave power plant in Laughlin, Nevada (273 miles to the west).

The Office of Surface Mining fast-tracked public hearings immediately after the holiday season in early January (precluding participation by Hopis who were participating in winter solstice ceremonies). The EIS public comment deadline is February 6.

Peabody's plan to use the Navajo and Coconino Aquifers to once again slurry coal to the Mohave Power Station is "Alternative A" (or most preferred) in OSM's draft EIS. Peabody's plan would mean that mining would expand into undeveloped areas, tap further into the Coconino and Navajo Aquifers, and force the relocation of at least 17 Black Mesa residents and 55 residents in the Leupp area, south of Black Mesa. The Navajo Aquifer has already been devastated, with 7 local springs and several wells down by approximately 30%. If Alternative A is approved, Peabody could pump up to 6,000 acre feet per year from the Navajo Aquifer until 2026, a 33% increase over what they extracted from 1970 to 2005. Meanwhile, Peabody has not taken the steps mandated by federal law to reduce its hydrological impact at the Kayenta Mine, another mine it currently operates on Black Mesa.

Most critically, the OSM is considering issuing a "Life-of-Mine" permit to Peabody, which would mean that Peabody could mine coal at Black Mesa until 2026. (The controversial mine was allowed to operate with a temporary permit for 30 years!)

If the plan to allow Peabody to restart its Black Mesa Mine goes ahead, the cultural implications will be dramatic. The Hopi and Navajo's ability to grow traditional foods and herbal medicines, as well as access ceremonial sites and perform rituals, will all be affected. Also, the Hopi are now in the most important phase of their ceremonial calendar, when the elders have entered the kivas, and so they are outraged that the OSM has chosen to release the EIS at a time when the Hopi people are unable to fully consider it - and organize to protest it.

The Trustees and Advisors of Black Mesa Trust (BMT) asked that the federal government postpone its scheduled hearings on the EIS, but the government went ahead with the hearings. Activists also wants the OSM to consider a "No Water Alternative" which would transition the Mohave Generating Station into a solar thermal plant and the Black Mesa Mine into a solar and wind farm. Black Mesa Trust points to Southern California Edison's "Mohave Alternatives Study" for evaluation of such an alternative. BMT is preparing to file an injunction should the OSM move forward with its recommendations.

Public hearings were held by the OSM through January 11. But, you can still write in your comments by e-mail or letter to the OSM before the February 6th deadline. Cut and paste the sample letter below or craft your own, and e-mail to BMKEIS@osmre.gov or snail mail your letter to Dennis Winterringer, Leader of the Black Mesa Project EIS, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, at the address below. If you e-mail your comment, please indicate in the subject line that comments are for the "BMP Draft EIS Comments."

Sample letter:
Dennis Winterringer, Leader of the Black Mesa Project EIS
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
Western Regional Coordinating Center
P.O. Box 46667
Denver, CO 80201-6667

RE: BMP Draft EIS Comments

Mr. Winterringer,
I strongly oppose the reopening of the Black Mesa Project and call for the OSM to deny Peabody Western Coal Company any permit to operate the project. The use of fresh groundwater to slurry and wash coal in a time of severe drought, while the population in the Southwestern United States is rapidly growing and local farmers are unable to irrigate their crops, is morally reprehensible. Further, the BMP would only provide a short-term supply of greenhouse gas-emitting, non-renewable energy sources while causing irreparable environmental and cultural damage and the relocation of people from their homes. This is unacceptable!

I ask that the OSM extend the Draft Black Mesa Project EIS commenting period, so that the affected communities may adequately review and understand the proposals of the EIS. As the EIS was released without proper notification of the concerned communities and during the winter holiday period when many people could not attend public hearings, it is appropriate to extend the comment period 50 days.

The OSM needs to update its hydrological model for the N-Aquifer and provide sufficient information demonstrating the C-Aquifer is a viable supply of water and that withdrawals will not have adverse hydrological or wildlife impacts. It also must do adequate studies on the effects of "coal washing" and the causes of land subsidence. The OSM must also require that the operating firms, in this case Peabody Western Coal Company and the Salt River Project, put up bonds that would pay for any future damage to the land and the aquifers.

I encourage you to refuse Peabody's mining permit and support Alternative C (No Action) and more fully explore the No Water Alternative (transitioning the Mohave Generating Station to a solar thermal plant). This would create an opportunity for America to shift its energy consumption to renewable and clean energy sources and would protect a culturally sacred yet fragile environment for generations to come.



Thank you!
For more information, check our website report on Black Mesa or visit Black Mesa Trust.

You can also read a Sierra Magazine (Jan/Feb 2007) profile of Hopi activist Vernon Masayesva, "The Rainmaker: A Hopi leader champions clean power in Indian Country."


Searching for the Source of This Particular Grief

I needed to be out in the ocean, in the canoe. Thought off-season practice was at 5:30. It was at 5:15 and when we drove up the canoes were filled and leaving. So headed to the gym to work off grief by pushing weights.

Why grief? It's there and palpable and I don't know who, how and why though mentally I can find many sources. Early this morning I got up with an apocalyptic dream. It was the kind of dream that is a possible future. They have a certain kind of tone, of dream reality. The earth was shaking. Seconds blossomed to minutes. I watched across a bay and thought San Francisco; it wasn't. The shape of the city was different. I watched a phallic black glass and steel building of offices, apartments and people plummet. Everything was crashing around all of us. And then the ocean heaved, sick with pollution and a tsunami consumed the disaster.

That's one source of the grief.

We all know there's a shift. We know we've gone too far without proper gratitude and care. And we're all a part of it. Some of us were put here specifically to take care of this place. We turned from the responsibility. It's difficult when the prevailing rulership believes the earth and all non-human inhabitants are dead. They pretend we no longer exist. And we follow the masses into slavery to this system. It's difficult not to be swallowed by the tsunami of false culture, bearing down on us.

I know, brother. I know sister, I think when passing those who have given it up for drink, drugs, food, sex or television. I understand the weight of grief, of shame.

I scan the internal horizon for other sources. Childhood. My brother who is on disability but can't get on medicaid. The words of a paddling coach who said she and her girls have recently paddled past human excrement dumped from boats into the ocean.

Even grief gets hungry and demands more grief.

I turn the other direction as the sun heads into the sea. I acknowledge grief. And we both keep moving.


In Memorium, Harry Fonseca

from Marita Hinds, IAIA: "Most of you have heard the tragically sad news that Harry Fonseca has passed away. He passed away on December 28, 2006. Below is the information about his memorial service:

The Santa Fe memorial for Harry Fonseca will be held at the La Fonda Hotel on Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 5:00 pm. If you have questions or comments regarding the Memorial or just want to leave a message. You can contact the Harry's website at www.harryfonseca.com."

Harry was always larger than life. His images were born of this exhuberance. We will miss you.


For Jim Pepper Freaks, a Twelve Hour On the Air Pepper Music Frenzy

In-between semesters, WHRB (95.3 FM and www.whrb.org at Harvard Univ.) plays "orgies", where they play albums uninterrupted for a particular artist or theme.
On January 12, from 6am to 8pm (12 hours!), Jesse Morgan Righthand, WHRB dj, will be hosting a "Jim Pepper Orgy".

The Pepper Orgy will air on WHRB, 95.3FM, from 6am to 8pm on Friday, January 12.
WHRB programs throughout greater Boston;
If you can’t get it on the radio, you can a live stream on the Web at: www.whrb.org & click on the "stream live" option on the home page.

Please be sure to call in and tell Jesse what a wonderful thing she’s doing – especially if you’re not in the Boston area. She would love to hear from Pepper fans everywhere and anywhere! Alaska, California, Hawai’i, Oregon, Vienna, England, China (yes, we have China on this mailing list!), Denmark, Switzerland, France – wherever you are, call in just to say hello….

Mark your calendars – this Friday, Jan 12 from 6am to 8pm (east coast US time)

“Big World, Big Love!”, as the man would say…

-- Bill

Thanks Bill Siegel


Hula on Waikiki Beach, after the Torch Lighting, Saturday Night

What drew us together that night was what has always drawn us together in the earthly realm.