Washington, DC, Demonstration
The Throne of the Beast
Mignonne and I drove all night and arrived in DC on
schedule at 10:00 a.m. on the morning of 2 October. After parking as close as possible
(about 4 blocks away from the White House), we walked through Lafayette Park to the White
House sidewalk. When no one showed up after 20 minutes or so, Mignonne and I began
I carried a sign that read, " RELOCATION to Radiation Contaminated Land IS GENOCIDE
for the Dine'h (Navajo)," on one side, and "STOP FORCED RELOCATION OF THE DINE'H
BY THE Beast In America!!" on the other side.
Mignonne carried a sign that she made that read, "STOP HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINST
DINE'H (NAVAJO) AT BIG MOUNTAIN, ARIZONA!!" on one side, and "With Liberty and
Justice for ALL... What Part Of ALL Does the Government NOT Understand??" on the
At first, it seemed like an empty attempt, because President Clinton and Bill were gone
for the weekend; and no one but Mignonne and I were there to demonstrate. However, as the
day progressed, each of the park police, on his or her break, asked us about what was
happening to the Dine'h, how long it has been going on, and other questions. We gave them
sites, literature, and information.
Throughout the day, tourist groups from the U.S. and various other countries, including
Germany, Japan, China, and other nations, came through to see the White House. Someone
from each group asked about the Dine'h and we gladly told them. Some who did not speak
English asked their tour guides to translate our signs and explain what it was all about.
Those who spoke English would ask us questions about the government's actions against the
Dine'h. Every one had the same initial reaction: "NO!! This kind of thing is STILL
going on in America?? This is very sad!" Many of the tourists shot video footage or
snapped photos of us with the signs.
A professor from American University collected information and gave me her e-mail address,
saying that she is affiliated with a human rights organization and will put our link and
information about the Dine'h struggle on the organization's web site.
Later, a group of Native American students from Arizona arrived. They read the signs and
took photos of Mignonne and me. One student thanked us for what we were doing.
We also met a Greek gentleman named Zeus who had been to Black Mesa a few years ago. He
was very fond of the Dine'h and their culture and sent his regards.
When no one else showed up at the end of the day Saturday, Mignonne and I checked into our
accommodations and I held a private prayer service for the Dine'h.
Mignonne and I arrived at Lafayette Park at 9:30 a.m. on the 3rd hoping to see the arrival
of supporters who had come to help. No one had arrived by 10:00 a.m. to help, so again
Mignonne and I demonstrated. Sunday was as busy as Saturday had been. Other foreign
visitors came and went, as well as American tourists. In each group, several of the
tourists would ask us about the the Dine'h; and Mignonne and I would explain the situation
and give them contact info to learn more about it. Again, photos and videos were taken of
Mignonne and me with our signs. Again the shocked responses from the people as we
explained what is
happening at Big Mountain and of the government's February 1, 2000 deadline. Two people
also asked why Native Americans are not allowed representation in the United Nations,
since our nations are considered sovereign. I explained that, as well.
When no one showed up at the DC demonstration, I was very
disappointed, though I can understand the reluctance. Having the White House sidewalk as
our only option, and not being allowed to have entertainment or speakers has little
appeal. I know that. Still, it would have been nice if someone had shown up. After all,
the purpose of the DC demonstration was to protest the mistreatment of the Dine'h--to get
right in the Beast's face and say to it, "We WILL stop you! Your days of hiding this
from the public are finished! We will not allow you to get away with this, any
Your brother in Spirit
* Al Swilling is the founder of SENAA International.