SENAA International Statement
Regarding HTC Interference With the Camp Anna Mae Sundance
by Al Swilling, Founder, SENAA International

In the interest of protecting our rights as Indigenous People to freely express our spirituality according to our cultures and traditions, SENAA International considers the actions of the Hopi Tribal Council (HTC), aka the "Hopi Tribe"; the Hopi Chairman; and especially the Hopi Police during the Camp Anna Mae Sundance Ceremony as being a shameful betrayal of their own culture and ancestral heritage, and a slap in the face of every Indigenous American and First Nation on the North American continent.

In the continuing struggle of Indigenous Peoples of all First Nations for the right to conduct our spiritual ceremonies according to our various beliefs and cultures, the actions of the HTC and its Hopi Police are a deplorable disgrace. Such actions give a false impression to non-Indigenous people that First Nations are intolerant of each other's spiritual practices and beliefs. This is NOT the case. Clearly, the actions of the HTC and Hopi Police at the Camp Anna Mae Sundance are neither those of the Hopi People nor of any other First Nation. Such behavior is in blatant contradiction of Hopi Prophecies and the words of noted and respected Hopi spiritual leaders. The actions of Hopi Police against the Sundance Ceremony have made a mockery of Hopi religious teachings and dishonors the Hopi People. Furthermore, it is a serious insult to all Indigenous people. It is SENAA's sincere hope that the actions of Hopi Police and the HTC are not construed by others as being the actions or attitude of the Hopi people or Indigenous People in general. Such behavior can only come from those who hold nothing as sacred, who have been seduced by materialism and greed into a lifestyle devoid of spirituality and completely alienated from the Creator's will. Only those who have turned their backs on the Creator and the Creator's will could sink so low and be so intolerant of others' rights to worship the Creator.

When reading the accounts of the Sundance incident at Camp Anna Mae and the ongoing struggle of Dine'h at Black Mesa, there are two areas of potential confusion and misconception that should be clarified in order to see the true nature of the struggle and how the desecration of the Sundance Ceremony is significant in that struggle. SENAA International hopes that this statement will help to make clear the true nature of the struggle.

The two major areas of potential confusion and misinterpretation are: 1. The difference between the Hopi People and the "Hopi Tribe," or Hopi Tribal Council (HTC); and 2. The true nature of the "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute."

The Difference between the Hopi People and the "Hopi Tribe":

Without going into lengthy detail, SENAA contends that the Hopi People are not represented by the Hopi Tribal Council. The HTC and the Navajo Tribal Council (NTC), were both created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. government for the sole purpose of signing over Hopi mineral rights to various mining companies. This was the extent of the HTC's authority, until the mining companies decided certain areas should be depopulated for mining purposes and that those depending on the N-aquifer for drinking water should be eliminated to give the mining company exclusive and unhampered use of the N-aquifer's water for use in its slurry line and the coal that also resides under those same populated areas. Clearly, the actions of the Hopi Police, who were acting on orders from the HTC, were not in accordance with either the Hopi culture or the wishes of the Hopi People. If the Hopi Police had been acting in accordance with Hopi culture, the Sundance would not have been disrupted, and certainly no one would have been arrested and mistreated. It is, therefore, erroneous to assume that the actions and proclamations of the "Hopi Tribe" are the actions or proclamations of the Hopi People. This difference has been demonstrated by Hopi citizens time after time in the course of the struggle of Black Mesa Dine'h and the history of the so-called "land dispute."

The True Nature of the "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute":

Regarding the true nature of the "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute," this "Dispute" is not a dispute between Dine'h and Hopi citizens. The dispute is an illusion that was created by HTC and NTC attorneys (both were former Peabody employees) in order to make more land available to Peabody Coal for mining. The "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute," did not exist in real life, only on paper between two BIA created, owned, and operated "tribal councils". Until the HTC is turned over to and acts in accordance with the wishes of the Hopi citizens and the BIA ceases to control the HTC's actions, it will continue, in SENAA's opinion, to be nothing more than a puppet government controlled by the BIA and other federal agencies who stand to profit from Peabody's unobstructed mining of the area. It is the same puppeteers who are responsible for the disruption and desecration of the sacred Sundance Ceremony at Camp Anna Mae.

Common sense tells anyone who knows the cultures of the Hopi and Dine'h people that such desecration is unthinkable to Hopi citizens--or to any Indigenous Nation that values its religious freedom and practices its own spiritual ceremonies. If any action is taken that violates another's ceremonial worship of the Creator, it is not the action of Indigenous People. In SENAA's opinion, the Hopi Police of Hopi blood who participated in the disruption and desecration of the Sundance ceremony, who arrested and mistreated the Dine'h women and issued trespassing citations to those attending the sacred gathering have brought dishonor and shame to their culture, to their people, and to their ancestors. SENAA will pray for these poor, deluded souls, that they will come to realize the shame they have brought to their people and the mockery they have made of their own spiritual beliefs and will repent and seek forgiveness from their people and from the Creator. Meanwhile, SENAA will continue to publicly condemn their actions.

SENAA is very disappointed, although not surprised, that the U.S. government did not intervene and prevent the HTC's disruption of the Sundance. On June 15, 1924, Congress passed a law which made all Indigenous Americans citizens of the United States. By virtue of that law, the disruption of the Camp Anna Mae Sundance was, for Dine'h and all who attended, a blatant violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the right to worship and to peaceably assemble, a right that every Indigenous American is entitled to. In light of existing federal laws protecting all people's right to worship whom and how they please, SENAA holds the U.S. government and its Bureau of Indian Affairs squarely responsible for the Hopi Police's desecration of the Sundance and guilty of being an accessory to, if not the mastermind of, the infringement of Indigenous Americans' right to religious freedom and their Constitutional right "peaceably to assemble".

SENAA will join others in insisting that the Hopi Police, the Hopi Tribal Council, and the BIA be made to not only answer for the infringement of the Constitutional rights of others but to also, in some way, make up for the disruption and desecration that they imposed upon the Sundance participants, including a public apology for their deplorable actions..

The true nature of the "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute" is that it is first and foremost a spiritual battle. "As above, so below" is a shared belief among several spiritual paths. SENAA International shares that belief. It is our contention that victory on the spiritual level will bring victory in the material world. If Dine'h are victorious in the spiritual battle for freedom and remain strong spiritually, then events will follow that will bring victory on the material level. The power of prayer and of living in harmony with Creator's will can bring powerful results, as the SENAA family has witnessed on several occasions. Dine'h elders are also aware of the power of prayer and ceremony. They also know that the Sundance is a powerful ceremony. Likewise, the BIA and Hopi Tribal Council know that spiritually strong people cannot be vanquished. The key to completely conquering and subduing any person or group of people is to first break their spirit and weaken their faith in the Creator. The spirit that possesses faith in the Creator cannot be broken. That is what has kept Dine'h at Black Mesa so strong in the face of almost intolerable treatment. The fact that every Dine'h family has a Hogan in addition to their homes attests to their strong spiritual ties.

It has always been the practice of the U.S. government and big business to steal from and relocate any First Nation or group of Indigenous Americans that possesses anything of value. It is no different today. The desecration of the Sundance by Hopi Police was an attempt to prevent Dine'h from gaining spiritual strength and to weaken the faith that they already had through subjugation and oppression. It backfired! Not only did the Sundance continue in spite of the disruption, it brought The People and supporters closer together than ever before, not only strengthening their faith in the Creator but their faith and spirit of friendship toward each other, as well. Once again, Dine'h at Black Mesa have drawn strength from adversity. This is a testament to their strong connection with the Creator and Mother Earth. As long as their connection and faith remain strong, they will not be defeated.

In the very near future, SENAA International will conduct what we will call a "Worldwide Prayer Gathering," where we will ask Dine'h supporters around the world to come together in spirit with Dine'h elders in prayer to the Creator for guidance to help secure Dine'h victory at Black Mesa.

This will be as true a gathering as if we were physically at Big Mountain with Dine'h. Our presence will be felt at Black Mesa, and rest assured that each participant will also feel Dine'h presence. Even though, on the physical plane, hundreds or thousands of miles might separate Dine'h and supporters during the Gathering, the spirit knows no distance. In spirit we will be side-by-side, joined together as if holding hands, standing in unity before the Creator. In this Gathering of spirits, neither the Beast In America, the Hopi Police, nor the Hopi Tribal Council can interfere with our worship of the Creator and drawing on the Creator's strength.

The details of the Prayer Gathering will be announced on support lists and on SENAA's web sites. We ask all Dine'h supporters to gather with us at that time. Creator's help is needed now more than ever. Look around, see the signs, then join us at the Worldwide Prayer Gathering. There is no such thing as "trespassing" on the spiritual plane, and the Hopi Police and BIA have no jurisdiction or power there.

It is interesting to note that, in spite of the Hopi Police's efforts to stop the Sundance, it still took place. For all their efforts, they could not silence the worship of the Creator. Because the Sundance participants endured in spite of threats and efforts to stop it, they have magnified the Creator's blessings upon them and Dine'h. Each person who persevered has brought honor to self and to Dine'h and has blessed that sacred ground with his or her courage and faith. SENAA is forever grateful for such strength of spirit, especially for the courage and faith demonstrated by the five Dine'h women who were arrested yet went right back to the Sundance Ceremony as soon as they were released from jail..