Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Insidious Side of Natural Gas


By Raging Yeti, Earth First! Durango

Despite the rhetoric of many mainstream environmental organizations and many “liberal environmentalists,” natural gas is not a clean energy, especially when the production process is considered in full.  Like most commodities generated in the global corporate capitalist culture, natural gas is consumed regularly without much knowledge of where it is produced, how it is produced, or the deleterious effects it has on local people and local environments.  Natural gas, like many commodities we consume, seems pleasantly ubiquitous, and without consequence.

In this short article, I will outline the insidious side of natural gas, leaving ample room for the reader to pursue this investigation further.  I will sketch out four themes subtitled below about each of which a book could be written.

Criminogenic Corporate Gas Producers

In the oil and gas industry corporate crime is rampant as it is in all corporate sectors.  In fact, corporate crime kills more people and costs taxpayers more money than all street-level crime combined.  What makes this fact so insidious is that convicted corporate criminals can go right on offending because, as Baron Thurlow so eloquently noted, “corporations have no soul to punish and no body to incarcerate.”  I would like to add to this observation that we have no valid legal system representing nonhuman and human life against the corporate murders of our planet.  This is why our planet needs engaged and enraged human agents.

As of 2009, the top ten US natural gas producers were: BP, Anadarko Petroleum, XTO Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, ConocoPhillips, Enccana Corp, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Williams Cos Inc. ExxonMobil has recently bought XTO energy, making it the largest producers of natural gas in the U.S.  If you were to Google any one of these companies with the terms “civil and criminal fines” behind their names, you would find numerous examples of chronic law breaking behavior ranging from insider trading, to bribery, to numerous different types of violations of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, to violations of OHSA safety standards leading to worker injury and death.

Take, for example, BP, one of the greatest perpetrators of ecocide on the planet.  In October 2007, the Anchorage Daily News reported that BP agreed to pay $50 million for a felony Clean Air Act violation that killed 15 people and injured more than 170 people” in 2005 at a Texas refinery.  The paper also reported that BP paid “$303 million in connection with price manipulation of the lower 48 propane market” and another $20 million on a federal misdemeanor for spilling “an estimated 201,000 gallons of oil” in “the largest oil spill ever on the North Slope” in March 2006.  Add to BP’s criminal rap sheet the Gulf of Mexico Deep Water Horizon explosion, which took 11 human lives and created the largest marine oil spill in history, taking uncounted numbers of marine and avian life.  Only multinational corporations and nation-states can avoid incarceration for murder and ecocide.

Despite the multitude of malevolent crimes against landbases, humans and nonhuman life, multinational oil and gas producers are notorious for buying/owning our so-called federal and state representatives.   It is obvious we cannot trust multinational corporations to uphold the law, so why should we trust them to do anything, let alone produce safe and clean energy? In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton (a company with an incredible rap sheet), was instrumental in getting the oil and gas industry exempted from disclosure sections of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and numerous other exemptions from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, CERCLA (superfund), and the Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.  Other than just being a Dick, why would Dick seek exemptions from all these federal laws designed to protect our landbases?  What is the natural gas industry hiding from the public?

In a recent letter written to the EPA by three U.S. representatives, it was asserted that 12 “fracking companies injected more than 32 million gallons of diesel fuel into the ground in 19 states between 2005 and 2009.  And they did it without asking for or receiving permission from environmental regulators in those states.”  The concern over diesel fuel is that it contains benzene, a carcinogen having other deleterious health effects,  “which has been detected in water supplies near drilling facilities across the country.”  Federal legislators Waxman, Markey, and DeGette, allege that oil and gas companies broke the law by violating the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which states that hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuel is subject to regulation by the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The industry did not deny that the EPA had the authority to regulate diesel fuel in fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act, but claimed there are no rules in place to regulate the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing.   Halliburton, BJ Services, and Schlumberger, the three largest drilling contractors, voluntarily agreed to stop using diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing in coalbed methane formations in 2003, and “the republican-led congress wrote in an exception, the so-called ‘Halliburton Loophole,’ into the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which stated that hydraulic fracturing could not be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”  However, “the use of diesel fuel for fracking would still qualify for regulation” under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Despite a “voluntary handshake agreement” stating the industry would not use diesel fuel and a legal exception, Halliburton used 7.2 million gallon of diesel fuel and BJ Services injected 11,555,538 gallon of diesel fuel into the ground between 2005 and 2009.  The gas industry is challenging the federal legislator’s claim that they violated the law.  Industry is arguing that there were no regulations in place despite their agreement to not use diesel fuel in fracking. In fact, 32 million gallons of diesel fuel was used in 19 states, of which half was injected in Texas, and one million gallons or more was used in the following states: Oklahoma 3.3 million gallons; North Dakota 3.1 million gallons; Louisiana 2.9 million gallons; Wyoming 2.9 million gallons; and Colorado 1.3 million gallons.  It is difficult to believe or construe the oil and gas industry as anything other than a sociopathic criminogenic operation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Earth First! Southwest Bio-Regional Rendezvous & Organizers Conference

For over a decade, radical environmentalism has been at best a near invisible force in the “resource rich” Southwest. But due to the continued overt destruction of our Earth through energy extraction, deforestation, and enumerable ecocidal activities, radicalism and resistance is stirring again. It’s time to organize, not compromise. It’s time to defend, not submit. It’s time to fight, to resist, to educate, to monkeywrench, to act directly against the destruction of our land bases and bio-regions. The Earth must come first.

The 2010 Southwest Bio-Regional Earth First! Rendezvous and Organizers’ Conference will be taking place August 20-22 in the beautiful San Luis Valley of Colorado. The rendezvous site is near the town of Saguache, in the Rio Grande National Forest. Exact site location and directions will be released some time in early August.

We’re seeking teachers and trainers to help facilitate workshops in direct action, civil disobedience, forest defense, eco-defense, and more. We are also seeking medics and folks skilled in conflict resolution to be present and available.

We must build the skill sets and face to face relationships of trust and affinity necessary to effectively defend our bio-regions and land bases.

The size and organization of this event will in many ways reflect our current state as a force to be reckoned with in the Southwest, which is to say that this will be a small gathering with less structure and organization than other rendezvous in bio-regions where the EF! presence is more established and experienced.

Though an informal communal kitchen will be formed, please come prepared for self-sufficiency and inclement weather. Water for filtration or other purification is available on site.

We’re encouraging folks to show up a bit early to get settled in and stay a bit longer at the end to help with clean-up.

Contact southwestearthfirst@riseup.net for more info or to get involved.


Ride share
Supplies list
Workshops & trainings
Location & directions

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bring It Down Today

By Travis C., WilderPress! Editorial Collective

I sometimes wonder what it will be like when it all comes down, when this fucking crazy machine comes to a grinding halt. I’m talking about the capitalist machine and the
industrialized addicted society that kneels to it.

I’m talking about america…

I think about what the streets will look like when the plants push up through the concrete; when the grocery store shelves empty and the only reminder of times long gone are the plastic bags blowing in the streets like sagebrush across the desert. I think about the shattered windows and broken doors—they did little to keep out the looters or the stones hurled by rioters. I think about the vulnerability of the cities when the electrical infrastructure fails and the power plants shut down—their demise a product of human’s irresponsible abuse and depletion of natural resources. I think about cars abandoned on the side of the road…left behind, forgotten, and worthless without their precious fuel…

fortunately, the oil wells have long since tapped out.

I think about the chaos and the madness and I can’t help but to welcome the collapse with open arms. Not because I enjoy the thought of pain or anguish for those involved, but because I know it is a necessary evolution that we must take, and I know it’s the only sure way the destruction will stop. I look around the world and see a level of violence towards our own species, towards other species, and towards the natural world that perils anything in human history. I am confused and disgusted at the way humans have come to carry themselves…particularly in this country and in the greater western world. america is responsible for so much destruction, so much violence…and for what? So some fucking asshole can roll down the street in an oversized truck, exhaust pipes extended out of the bed, dumping smoke into the air without a care in the world, bumper sticker reading “Mind if I have a smoke”; concerned with only themselves…”fuck the animals, fuck the people, and fuck the land,” that’s america’s credo…and she’s sticking by it.

I’ll tell you this much, I’m tired of participating in a society that carries itself in such a way…Further I see it as my responsibility, rather as our responsibility, to ensure that these destructive, violent actions are halted by any means necessary. This country kneels, quite literally, for anything it can get its greedy, blood covered hands on. Anything that will enhance wealth or power…regardless if it is at the cost of other humans, non-humans, or land. Citizens kneel to the politicians, who kneel to the corporations, who provide the affluence we are so pitifully addicted to. Let’s get real, this country has never stood for any of the bullshit that is plowed into our heads in grade school. Freedom? Liberty? Democracy? Give me a break. We live in what might be best described as a corporatist police state. Sure we have liberty and freedom…just as long as it never challenges the status quo. Just as long as you never ask any questions or make any demands…just as long as you follow their rules.

Yes’a Masta’…anything you need masta’…

Every day ancient forests fall to the teeth of chainsaws, once wild rivers are reduced to slow trickles, shackled by concrete and steel, mountains are blown apart in the relentless search for coal, and in far away lands our government commits atrocious acts of murder, all so we can continue our addiction to the black gold. The consequences of industrialism and modernized civilization have taken their toll on the planet and its inhabitance, and it is our responsibility to ensure it doesn’t last to lay siege on yet another generation. When I think of freedom or liberty what comes to mind is not the lies told to us through the declaration of independence or our constitution…and it’s not the idea of hoarding wealth, competing with my neighbor or abusing land in the name of personal gain. Rather my thoughts on freedom and liberty focus on a time and place in which the oppression of the State does not weigh so heavily on the people—when it, in fact, ceases to exist. I think of a time when the pigs stop harassing minorities, when the armed forces cease their campaign of genocide, and multinational corporations crumble, forever ending their ruthless attacks on the planet and its inhabitance.

When I think of what it ought to be like in this country I see people creating autonomous communities within their bioregion—taking care to not live outside of their means, or the means of the land. Communities that take responsibility for each other, care for their land base, and take things like food systems into their own hands. I see the border walls crumble and the line between the rich and poor following suit. Most importantly I see functioning tribes of people, devoid of centralized government and oppression—people free from the shackles of capitalism and the land healthier because of it. I see children smiling, not crying, and tanks and planes dismantled and parted out—their pieces, for the first time, being used for something productive like building a greenhouse or rain catchment system.

These are not just dreams…

Rather this is a reality that is entirely possible, and it’s possible now. I know it is because as I write these words I pick the dirt out from under my nails after a long day of gardening and drink warm tea made from the native plants I’ve collected from the forest around me. I know it’s possible because every day I am reminded that there is another way of life out there. One filled with meaning, love, and revolutionary thought…it is a life that was once led by all, but now is in practice by those of us focused on recreating a livable world where life is valued not commodified. I know it’s possible because I see it in my community, I hear it in their spoken word, I taste it in the food I grow—I feel it in the touch of a lover…see it in the depth of her eyes…

I can’t let them take these beauties away anymore…

We have to stop compromising with this system and its murderous political hacks…it’s time to create our own reality, and our own revolution—it’s time to take back our own lives and defend the lives of those who have no voice to speak out with. Freedom will come at the end of a raised fist thrust into the air and an unwillingness to allow this bullshit to continue. We should follow in the footsteps of those around the world fighting the system and pick up more rocks to hurl at the tanks…We should actively pursue the collapse of the most violent system humans have ever created—the forests, mountains and oceans depend on us.

Liberty will come in the form of homegrown food and local economic systems that no longer rely on violence to flourish. We will, again, sit down to meals grown by our own hands and share in laughter with our community…our family…our tribe.

Independence will come when we drum and dance on the ruins of capitalism…

The real question is: What are we waiting for?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wild Roots Feral Futures: News & Updates!

Greetings from the Ute territories of occupied Turtle Island, known (for now) as the American Southwest.

The Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers collective has been hard at work preparing for this year’s event, which is shaping up to be one wild time! Many things have come together, many things continue to do so, and many thing still need to. At this time, less than one month before the gathering, we felt it was worthwhile to update you all on some of the recent developments surrounding the event, as well as provide various other random notes, thoughts, and observations. Please re-post and forward far and wide.

Ride share/discussion board:

We've set up a new discussion board (INCLUDING RIDE SHARE BOARD!) at feralfutures.proboards.com. Please utilize it!

Site Location:

The exact location and directions to Wild Roots Feral Futures, taking place in the San Juan mountains of Southwest Colorado (in National Forest), will be announced some time in early June. The site is along a river and features old growth Ponderosa Pines, natural hot springs, and much more. Close-by towns to shoot for would include Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, and Durango, Colorado. For more information, email the organizers at feralfutures@riseup.net.

Organizer’s Meetings:

Semi-public meetings for folks interested in getting involved are taking place on a weekly basis in Durango, Colorado, every Wednesday. Contact the organizers at feralfutures@riseup.net for more information.

High Country Earth First! Bioregional Rendezvous & Organizer’s Conference, June 24th & 25th at WRFF:

At the 2009 EF! Winter Rondy/OC in the Sky Island ecosystem of the Santa Rita mountains or Sonoran Arizona, several Colorado-based eco-warriors came together to (re)form a Colorado state-wide Earth First! network under the name High Country Earth First! (HC.EF!). Consisting of many relatively new and inexperienced EF!ers, many feel there is a lack of the knowledge and skills needed to defend our land bases and what remains of the wilderness. Due to the decentralized and geographically spread-out nature of the various HC.EF! regional sub-chapters, communication and collaboration has perhaps been lacking. For these reasons and more, Grand Junction and Durango-based HC.EF!ers have taken the initiative to call for a two day rendezvous and organizer’s conference on June 24th and 25th, to take place at Wild Roots Feral Futures. We invite all EF!ers and anyone interested to join us to discuss and envision the future of Earth First! in Colorado, the Southwest, and beyond.

WRFF to EF! RRR caravan: 

Many planning to attend Wild Roots Feral Futures have expressed interest in the formation of a caravan to the Earth First! Round River Rendezvous (RRR) taking place from June 29th through July 6th in the Northwoods of Maine. While this caravan is self-organizing we encourage folks to utilize our mailing list and discussion group to make plans (perhaps making contact with others interested in sharing rides and then taking the discussion to private, more secure means of communication).


We have many wonderful and skilled people traveling from far and wide to share with us, and we thank everyone who has committed so far!

Planned workshops, presentations, and discussions include: decolonization, radical mycology, wild food, wild medicine, radical midwivery, midwitchery, making fire, shelter building, orienteering, star navigation, evasion, stalking and tracking, wild fermentation, roadkill/animal processing, dumpster diving, composting, worm composting, guerrilla gardening, seed bombing, permaculture, independent media, and much much more! But the real question is, what can YOU provide?

We are also planning for tactical war games (like capture the flag!), so get ready for some strategic nighttime madness and fun on the run!

If you can commit to facilitating a workshop, presentation, talk, game, etc., please email us at feralfutures@riseup.net and let us know. We are also asking those who have already done so to re-commit. Also let us know if you have possibilities you are not yet fully committed to facilitating. We’d like to develop and publish a list of both. Thank you!

At this time we would like to renew our call and request for trainers, teachers, and workshop facilitators, particularly in the areas of direct action and civil disobedience, with an (non-exclusive) emphasis on eco-defense. We are calling on all direct action trainers, especially tree climbers/sitters, to join us to share their knowledge and skills. The site features old growth Ponderosa Pine perfect for climbing and tree sitting training. But we need your help!

Solstice celebration:

The temporal mid-point and center of Wild Roots Feral Futures 2010 is June 21st, the Summer Solstice. Though regular workshop time/space will take place throughout the day, much of the afternoon as well as the evening will be dedicated to revelry and celebration. We envision a feast of wild and local food, a masked and costumed masquerade ball, bonfire, music, fire spinners, performing artists, and much more! But as with the rest of this event, it will only be what YOU choose make of it.

Call for artists, performing artists, and musicians:

Wild Roots Feral Futures is a temporary autonomous zone that seeks to create an atmosphere of fun, creativity, and artistic expression. In this spirit we invite and indeed call upon all revolutionary artists, performing artists, and musicians to join us and share the creations of their hands, hearts, and minds.


We are pleased to announce that the free communal kitchen at Wild Roots Feral Futures will be co-facilitated by Food Not Bombs chapters from Taos (thanks Keith!) and Durango, and perhaps beyond (ay yo Denver, where you at?). Please bring donations of food and money for the kitchen, and volunteer to help out! Sharing creates abundance!

Medics/Conflict Resolution and Management (CRAM):

We have many highly skilled and knowledgeable folks joining us who have expressed willingness to openly identify as medics, conflict resolution team members, or both. We are and will continue to be seeking others to do the same. Medics will have radios and a dedicated comms channel. Though many logistics will be worked out on the ground and in the woods, we encourage folks to utilize our mailing list and discussion group to get connected.


We are (and will be) seeking folks willing to identify (either in shifts or for the duration of the event) as police and media liaisons, and we will be asking for volunteers every day to sign up for four hour security shifts. Security volunteers will carry radios, have a dedicated comms channel, and be stationed at the entrance with a partner. We ask that everyone contribute and volunteer for shifts. (Note: security shifts do NOT make you a police liaison, unless you yourself make that decision. Security radios the police liaison in the event of police presence, and the police liaison talks to them.) We must be careful with each other so we can be dangerous together.

Kid’s Camp:

We seek to create child-appropriate space as well as multi-generational workshops and activities. We encourage communal child care and the formation of a children’s camp and arts and crafts station. We ask those interested to bring supplies for kid’s activities and get involved in the formation and duration of a kid’s camp.

Other notes:

Wild Roots Feral Futures is an un-permitted, completely free, and non-commercial event. We ask everyone to bring a monetary donation (aside from kitchen donations), but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. If you would like to donate ahead of time or cannot attend but would still like to pitch in, contact the organizers at feralfutures@riseup.net for a street address where well-concealed cash can be sent.

We will allow for space, near the parking, for radical groups to set up distro tables, which we recognize as internal movement self-funding, rather than for-profit commercialism (which is not welcome). There will also be space for free literature distro.

For more on Wild Roots Feral Futures, including notes on security culture, accessibility, consent, assault, substances, supplies, etc., please refer to the original invitation & call-out, particularly the camp guidelines section, reposted below for your convenience.

For more information on grassroots groups and events in Durango, check out the new local underground events listing, AnimaSubTerra.

See you in the woods!

-Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers collective

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Direct Action as a way of life - blocking coal and climate change

By BMIS Collective, Slingshot #103

Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is a volunteer-run collective, in solidarity with the Diné families and elders in Black Mesa/Big Mountain, AZ who have been resisting cultural genocide for over thirty-five years -- targeted for unjust large-scale coal mining operations and forced relocation policies of the U.S government. Throughout those thirty-five years the US government and Peabody Coal have forcefully relocated thousands of Diné people away from their ancestral homeland, the land that they belong to, in the name of greed, energy and progress. Many families and elders have refused to leave, even though they are under constant pressure to do so. Their daily lives have become a direct action to save their land base, maintain their traditional life ways, and take a stand against global warming and globalization. They are not creating a new way of sustainable living, but are struggling to live as they always have -- with the earth and not against it.

The resisting families are encouraging people to come to Black Mesa now. They request support all year long. One of the primary ways that non-native people who support the Diné live out solidarity is to honor the direct requests of these families and extend an invitation to all people interested in supporting their resistance, to come to Black Mesa, to their threatened ancestral homelands, walk with their sheep, haul water and wood, and do whatever they ask. By coming to Black Mesa, supporters can assist the elders and their families in daily chores, which helps visitors to engage with the story that they are telling, as well as to claim a more personal stake against environmental degradation, climate change, and continued legacies of colonialism and genocide. One can assist by being there so they can go to meetings, organize, weave rugs, visit family members who have been hospitalized, rest after a difficult winter and regain strength for the upcoming spring. With spring comes planting crops, shearing sheep, and lambing. Come for a month. Or longer.

Supporting these communities, whose very presence stands in the way of large-scale coal mining and further environmental degradation, is one way to work on the front lines for climate justice and against a future of climate chaos. There are also opportunities for long-term, committed supporters and organizers off the land.

BMIS is looking for Regional Coordinators to organize year-round support and work towards movement building, which would maintain and enhance communication channels between the Big Mountain resistance communities and networks that are being established to support the Big Mountain resistance, as well as other local forms of indigenous resistance, while building shared analysis, vision and movements for the liberation of all peoples and our planet. We are looking for organizers to connect to local climate justice, anti-racism, and decolonization projects, set up sheepherder send-off parties which can double as political education and fundraising events, put on screenings of "Broken Rainbow", as well as host speaking engagements, give report-backs from the land and coordinate other educational events to spread the word about the struggle. We hope to connect with folks who will organize local responses to calls to action from the land, look into and spread information about corporate and political connections to Peabody Coal, and build a local capacity to fight racism and participate in multiracial movements for justice.

Contact us for more information if you are interested in supporting this struggle, and please visit our website for a deeper analysis and more info: www.blackmesais.org blackmeasis@gmail.com, 928.773.8086,P.O. Box 23501, Flagstaff, Arizona 86002

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Earth First! Journal Needs Short Term Editors

The Earth First! Journal needs short term journalistas to work on the next issue, starting in early May. As you may know, the Journal is the voice of the Earth First! movement, and stands today as THE radical environmental publication. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of radical, independent media.

As an editor, you would take part in everything, from digging up news to editing articles to designing the Journal, itself. If that sounds exciting to you, guess what—you get paid $200 a month plus a roomy house to live in and free organic food donated from the local co-op. We also have bicycles on hand for you to explore the generous resources of Tucson: the mountains, the infoshop, the diverse community projects and more.

If you are interested, please e-mail us at lilac@earthfirstjournal.org or call us at (520) 620-6900.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Support Indigenous Resistance On Black Mesa!

At the end of an exceptionally hard winter of National Emergency status, and the beginning of a muddy spring, the Dine' (Navajo) families of Big Mountain, and surrounding communities on Black Mesa continue to stand strong on their ancestral homelands!  For nearly four decades the communities have faced the devastation of the U.S government and multinational coal mining corporations exploiting their homelands and violently fracturing their communities. Although the permit for the Black Mesa Mine expansion didn't pass, and hopefully never will, families remain --resisting the Kayenta Mine and forced relocation.

"The Big Mountain Dine' elders have endured so much since the 1970s and at the same time, they have defended and preserved that human dignity of natural survival, subsistence and religious values. They have resisted the U.S. government's genocide policies to vacate lands that Peabody Coal Company recognized as the Black Mesa coal fields.  The Big Mountain matriarchal leaders always believed that resisting forced relocation will eventually benefit all ecological systems, including the human race. Continued residency by families throughout the Big Mountain region has a significant role in the intervention to Peabody Coal's future plan for Black Mesa coal to be the major source of electrical energy, increasing everyone's dependency on fossil fuel and contributing to global warming. We will continue to fight to defend our homelands." --Bahe Keediniihii, Dine' organizer and translator.

Supporting these communities, whose very presence stands in the way of large-scale coal mining, is one way to work on the front lines for climate justice and against a future of climate chaos. There are also opportunities for long-term, committed supporters and organizers. Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) is looking for Regional Coordinators to organize year-round support and work towards movement building, which would maintain and enhance communication channels between the Big Mountain resistance communities  and networks that are being established to support the Big Mountain resistance as well as other local forms of indigenous resistance, while building shared analysis, vision and movements for the liberation of all peoples and our planet. Please contact us for more information if you are interested.

The families are encouraging people to come to Black Mesa now! Support is requested all year long!

BMIS is a grassroots, all-volunteer run collective dedicated to working with and supporting the indigenous peoples of Black Mesa in their Struggle for Life and Land who are targeted by and resisting unjust mountaintop removal coal mining operations and forced relocation policies of the U.S government. One of the primary ways that we do this is to honor the direct requests of these families to extend their invitation to all people interested in supporting their resistance, to come to Black Mesa, to their threatened ancestral homelands, walk with their sheep, haul water and wood, whatever they ask of us.  By coming to The Land, we can assist the elders and their families in daily chores, which helps us to engage with the story that they are telling as well as to claim a more personal stake against environmental degradation, climate change, and continued legacies of colonialism and genocide.  We can support by being there so they can go to meetings, organize, weave rugs, visit family members who have been hospitalized, rest after a difficult winter and regain strength for the upcoming spring. With spring comes planting crops, shearing sheep, and lambing.


The elders on the land are very thankful for the support of their resistance over the last three decades. We at BMIS are asking those who have come before to continue the work you have started
by coming back.

And for those of you who have never come to the land, we encourage you to start.

Deep thanks to all who made the November Caravan happen: let us continue the support through the year.

BMIS can assist you in the process of being self-sufficient on the land, which is vital. We are happy to speak with you over the phone or email and we offer important online resources like the Cultural Sensitivity and Preparedness Guidebook found on our website. Volunteers must read the guidebook and register with BMIS to ensure your safety and be accountable to the families. There are also plenty of great documents about the current and background information found on our website--one of the only on-line resources documenting this resistance.

"This land is being taken away because they've got power in Washington. We were put here with our Four Sacred Mountains ~ and we were created to live here. We know the names of the mountains and we know the names of the other sacred places. That is our power. That is how we pray and this prayer has never changed." ~Katherine Smith, Big Mountain Elder


PO Box 23501 Flagstaff, AZ 86002  -

BMIS can send letters/packages to families, however we encourage you to be in direct communication with the families.


Testimony from a Sheepherder:

I have just left after a four month stay on the Land. This was my 14th winter staying with Dine' families residing on the so-called HPL and resisting the relocation laws by continuing to live on the land of their grandparents of generations back. It has been an intense winter. The big snowstorm was a sight to see, and reminded the elders of storms 40 and 80 years past, when there were many more families out there, and most of the elders didn't live alone. And yes, the National Guard and US Army did come out to the families. I wondered at the irony of the hay, water, and other supplies, thinking how the families have lived under the threat of the Guard coming in to take them from their homes.

The OSM Life of Mine permit getting denied was a pleasant surprise. I had been looking at the hills, meadows and rocks that I have come to know, as becoming 'reclaimed' land through the mine expansion, and thinking of the long, hard fight to come. A second generation Black Mesa miner, and "HPL" resident stated that he was glad about the permit, and ready to see a change back to the old ways of living and away from mining.

The Supporter caravan at thanksgiving was a fast and festive, and abundant time. About 120 supporters for the week, but by the end of January there were only a few supporters on the land, and a list of families asking for a sheepherder. We were desperately calling out for people to come, and a few did, but only a few.  And I thought, this is where the real support is needed- in the long haul, the deep snow.

Back in 1997, and again in 2000 the families were living under a threatening "deadline", and there were literally hundreds of supporters on the land for months. I am grateful that there is no deadline as such now, but I do wonder what keeps us supporters from committing to coming out, or coming back. I have personally placed several hundred supporters in the last 12 years, and I marvel at how much we struggle to 'get the word out ' and 'get support to the Land'.

I am so honored and humbled by the loving hospitality I receive from the families. My sons are treated as family, and are growing up knowing the elders, kids and supporters, and about fighting for and supporting what is right. I have been raised out there myself in many ways. The Dineh people have been my teachers and mentors, my inspiration. I believe in doing all that I can to honor their request and invitation to come into the home, the land and the lives of the people indigenous to the land -what that means and what they are fighting for and against. I believe it is at the heart of the most important work today.

And I am writing this to remind us, you, that their door is open and there is a job to do- something that we are needing to understand, a connection that needs to be made and honored. It is time to come. It is time to come back. Its time to give back. Please help us do this.

--Tree,  BMIS volunteer and volunteer coordinator
Sheep shearing in May.