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The Truth About the Hopi-Dine'h Land Dispute

Testimonies from Hopi Elders and Traditionals
Regarding Hopi-Dine'h Relations and
Forced Relocation of the Dine'h at Black Mesa



Katherine Cheshire
Katherine Cheshire, Hopi, speaking at SENAA West's Puvungna prayer vigil for the Dine'h at Black Mesa.


We are very grateful to Ms. Katherine Cheshire, a young Hopi woman who is founder of the Touch the Earth Foundation, for providing the following testimony of the Hopi elders and traditionals. The Terms of Use agreement for the publication of this testimony appear at the bottom of this page.


There have been persistent misunderstandings about the nature of the conflict at Black Mesa. Many believe the BIA's statement that there is a range war, or at the least a bitter land dispute, going on between the Dine'h and the Hopi at Black Mesa. We hope to clear the air and shed light on the true nature of the so-called "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute" with the testimony of traditional Hopi elders who live at Black Mesa, the same people whom the BIA says are pushing for Dine'h evictions. You have read the Dine'h testimony about how they are being treated. Now read what traditional Hopi elders have to say.

The following testimonies were given over a period of time and in response to specific issues, but they are as pertinent today as they were when they were written, as Katherine Cheshire points out:

"These are not new problems, as our elders have already addressed in the following articals and web pages. The truth is the same today for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to love what is hopeful for all land and life and the peoples of mother earth's children. In dedication to those who have gone before and left wisdom to follow."
--Katherine Cheshire


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Message from the Traditional Hopi Elders:

Asquali, In the name of the Traditional Hopi Elders that have gone before - Thank you for hearing me:

Dear Friends and Relations,

After reading the following reports on the Black Mesa the Dineh Elders Vs the Hopi Tribal Council I feel again the need to clarify the Hopi Tribal Council is an Government Organization and DOES NOT represent The Traditional HOPI and Spiritual Leaders of Hopiland.

Sometimes these restrictions occur due to a (inner) struggle of the Hopi council peoples who honor more modern religions. They have difficulty reconciling our ancient ways with new beliefs and want to change these ways to fit that foreign structure or dismiss them all together. Or they do not want to have witness to what they are doing to the land and their own people.

This is creating much division at Hopiland and many hardships on all the peoples. Also making us look bad in the eyes of the world and this is not the right way to act. According to all I have learned from the Elders. Our Very Own Hopi Spiritual Leaders and Traditional Peoples are under the same restrictions with Permits that are either impossible to obtain or denied on purpose. Permits for picking herbs for medicine, Gathering wood or rabbit hunting for certain Kachina ceremonies all now require a permit at a price Often out of reach for our traditional peoples. Our planting and harvest journeys are denied to help our elders. As wisdom keepers we have the understandings not to be charging for what the Mother Earth freely gives for her children's happiness and well being.

I know if my Grandfathers were still alive they would submit a statement so I will do it for them at this time and my prayer is that you will accept that under NO circumstances are prayers ever discouraged by A Traditional Hopi, they honor all peoples and have a welcoming heart to everyone. The very name Hopi means kindness, gentleness, and truthfulness… The Hopi have been instructed by Massau to Receive everyone kindly and bring them happiness and good thoughts. This is what all our ceremonies are about and soft genteel rain so the peoples of the world will be happy and live fruitfully. It is my understanding that the prayers are similar for the all-Traditional Peoples and especially the Dineh and other close relations we have made ancient promises with to the creator, land and life to perform our ceremonial duty. So the peoples will live in commitment to "Creator" by whatever name.

These divisions must stop between us. We must be brothers and sisters all religions say the same thing if you really read what is said in those "Black and Blue Books" and scriptures. The time is late and the idea here is Pray doesn't cause trouble for other seekers. Put away your guns and angry words and pray.

Our words are not to make a difficult situation worse but many peoples on these lists do not know the Difference of what is happening and why, between all the layers. But for the record again it is not the traditional Hopi Spiritual Leaders or Elders doing this to the "Dineh".

In service to the Holy Ancestors,
Asquali, dep see mana - Hotevilla Traditional Village
Greasewood, Roadrunner, Spider and Fire Clan
Daughter to Nelson Mononge, Granddaughter to Dan Evehema and Grandfather
Katherine Cheshire
Touch the Earth Foundation



Our elders teach that through prayer a miracle is often possible. Because of what has been happening this past month we feel something maybe good is coming our way, what we have searched and waited for. This could be a powerful force if we all guide it to the right direction. At this writing three authoritative organizations are interested in helping and getting involved in our struggle for independence. We pray our attempts will materialize favorably.

The first two mentioned, with whom we have already met are:

First, a man representing the Senate Investigating Committee on Indian Affairs.

Second, a man representing the UN Sub-Commission, Protection of Minorities, has been an invited guest of Hotevilla Hopi elders.

Since space is limited, briefly we outline the summary of the meeting. In both meetings related matters were discussed reflecting only on Hotevilla Village concerns. There our position and stand we need not repeat, you will gather ideas from the pages of this newsletter what the meetings were about.

Navajo people of Big Mountain shared the meeting, their views of forced relocation, the treatment by Hopi progressive council and the police force, about their concern for the future.

The meeting was a success. The only problem arose when the Hopi Tribal Council hostilely raided the meeting in an attempt to disrupt the meeting. There was no violence, perhaps only a shame on themselves, before UN Sub-Commission as witness.

Herein we wish to make a clear understanding of Hopi position. Often outsiders are misled by various sources, even by Hopi themselves.

From our viewpoint often people outside take it that the Hopi tribe is one Nation. This is not true. There are several Hopi Villages in Hopi land. The fact is that each Village has its own self-governing body under religious leaders. Each Village is independent from one another. Each under their own guidelines to follow. Therefore we have no central government. This rule is very important to keep the Villages out of other Villages affairs.

We were happy and in peace until the Bureau of Indian Affairs, under the Federal Government, encroached upon our land followed by the creation of the Hopi Tribal Council by the BIA. Ever since we have had problems, conflicts and unrests because of adoption of foreign concepts by the Hopi Tribal Council. Problems such as leasing out the land to mineral developers, programs that spell "progress for economy," land grabbing, etc. The resistance of Traditional Leaders was not heeded.

Now we have received news from an informed source that a new mineral development plan has been drawn up by the Federally recognized Hopi Tribal Council. This is in the area from which Navajos were forcibly relocated. Much coal mining is planned for the Big Mountain area. Plus a large addition to the strip mining now underway further north at Black Mesa. A great increase in water use is also considered.

This situation would not be if the Hopi Tribal Council would stop ignoring the Traditional Leaders' advice and opinions as to why they are rejecting this program. The Traditional Leaders foresee further harm in depleting water tables and springs upon which our farming and domestic uses depend for self-sufficiency. Hopi and other Native People possessed the land for thousands of years before the Hopi Tribal Council was created. Spiritually looking at it the Hopi Tribal Council has no basis in controlling our land. We believe their purpose is to tarnish the cultural and traditional patterns and destroy our leadership structure through scheming ways.

According to the wisdom and knowledge of our elders, we received Divine Laws and identity as Hopi (peaceful) from our Divine Creator. That if we use them wisely we will have along, peaceful, life as a people. But if we carelessly adopt a foreign system of laws we will face unfortunate situations.

So we look on from the spiritual point of view as the so-called Hopi Tribal Council adopted their own man-made bylaws and constitution. In so doing they cast away the laws of our Creator, our Traditional leadership and also our religion. Therefore they are no longer Hopi. Their identity is lost. They are no longer caretakers of the land. Their only interest now is in abusing the land, our mother.

(The following is written by a reader, his views and understanding, related to Hopi prophecy and knowledge.)

We did not mention the World Court who will send an observer to the hearing. They may even visit our Village for talk. We don't know when at this writing. We cannot judge the sudden appearing miracle. However, the prophecy stated someone will appear one day and look into the wrongdoings of Hopi Council and the Bahanna government where we, the Traditionals, cannot step anymore. They will be punished.

Now is the time you can help us push this through. Any organizations or individuals on a global scale. Arouse public opinion for this cause in regaining our independence. We trust this can be done. Write to the three organized establishments we mentioned. We would be happy to get letters of support so that we know you are behind us.

Thank you.





During the Navajo relocation deadline of July 7th for a showdown there was no direct action. Protest marches of Navajo and outside support groups were in evidence ending with the main event near Big Mountain of the cutting of more than a half mile of partition fence by the Navajos. At this time things are at a stand still. Promoters of relocation are at their wits end, scratching their heads, figuring the next move that might work. The Hopi Tribal Council Chairman demands relocation plan in 30 days. Insisting that Navajos are trespassers subject to eviction.

Most impressive is Bill (S. 2545) which Senator Cranston (Calif.) introduced in condemnation of the relocation ruling (PL-93-531), that this ruling has not worked after 12 years. His bill is calling for a moratorium on relocation. It also calls for the establishment of a Presidential Advisory Committee to study the remaining problems. The Committee would consist of the Secretary of the Interior, four members of Congress, four Hopi Indians and four Navajo Indians. The Hopi and Navajo delegations would consist of two from each Tribal Council, two Traditional leaders, and two elders facing relocation.

If we understand correctly the moratorium would cut all further funding for relocation through the fiscal year 1987. So we expect nothing will happen for quite some time. This depends on the passing of the bill.

To be Continued:




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Terms of Use Agreement Between Katherine Cheshire and SENAA International

Asquali, thank you for coming to be our friend

You may publish on your web page and in print you may not altar the Elders words.
And please give credit where its due IE, The Hopi Elders, our HIndu Friends, and TTEF, And This is not an exclusive....

We wish that it be very clear none of this information is for money or exchange in any manner other than the spiritual gifts left to us to help educate the world and find spiritually minded seekers to trust to help accomplish the original goals of our elders who had the wisdom to leave us a corn meal trail and the information to assist. If you are in agreements with this you may publish the information I sent you, ON your Honor for the Highest good of the peoples.

Blessings and Balance,

Dee see mana
aka, Katherine Cheshire


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