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Dineh (Navajo) youth imprisoned for documenting desecration

by Rachel Scala Thursday, Aug. 23, 2001 at 4:29 AM
savebigmountainla@saveourplanet.org

A sacred Sundance arbor on the homesite of a Dineh resistor was bulldozed by Hopi officials Friday with the support of BIA, and Navajo County police. A young Dineh was arrested for attempting to document the desecration of his church. This follows the recent attempt by officials to shut down a Sundance ceremony happening at camp Anna Mae, by setting up roadblocks, cutting off the nearest water source and turning away food, water medicine and doctors

Dineh (Navajo) youth imprisoned for documenting desecration

Camp Ana Mae, the well-known site of SunDances, home to Louise Benally and her children at the foot of Big Mountain, Arizona has been bulldozed by Hopi Tribal authorities.

Although it is not yet known exactly when the order came through, the site is reported to have been cleared Friday August 17 in the early morning hours, following the arrests for criminal trespass of Louise Benally's 17 year old son Eric Crittendon and of Arlene Hamilton-Benally, who were

there at the time. According to Ms. Hamilton-Benally, Eric

had been arrested for attempting to photograph the demolition of the arbor, sweat lodges and Tree of Life and all other components of the ceremonial area next to his mother's home. When Ms. Hamilton-Benally approached the officers to ask for his release into the custody of his

family, she was arrested as well.

Hopi Tribal police have the area secured and no one is permitted entrance at this time. One local resident has tentatively received permission to enter and photograph the home site Saturday.

Many conferences and protests concerning the relocation of Navajo and Hopi people on the division of the former Joint Use Area brought about through public law PL 93-531 have been held here over the last three decades. Louise Benally is one of the few remaining residents who abstained from

signing a lease agreement with the Hopi Tribe. Louise Benally named her homesite after the late Ana Mae Aquash, the AIM activist who was murdered and had her hands cut off for post-mortem fingerprinting by the FBI in the 1970's for her pursuit of civil and religious freedom for native people.

Said Cedric Kuwaninvaya of the Hopi LAnd Team, "This is just one of the steps that the Hopi Tribe will be taking to enforce its jurisdiction over the Hopi Reservation." After local residents watched the Hopi Tribal staff stuff the Tree of Life into a woodchipper and haul the other remains away in trailers, he continued,"We will keep a close eye on the former site of the Camp Ana Mae to ensure that the trespassers (family) do not try and establish another camp at which they hold unwanted gatherings and celebrate their lawlessness."

For More Information Contact:

Rachel Scala

rscala@juno.com

**********************************************

In a statement issued the evening of August 18th, Louise Benally offers

instruction and encouragement to her community.

Hey there! They tore the tree down, the

arbor and the lodges! but, the people's prayer's are still in place, the

rangers, and all the police agencies involved are all lost and have no

concept of having a life or understanding of it , so don't waste too much

of your time on them, we need pressure at all levels starting with the

governor of AZ Jane Hull, U.S. attorney general's office civil rights

dept. We need a civil rights attorney in AZ ... and fund raising for a

legal project. If you need info on that contact me at this address.

sparkles_plen79@hotmail.com

Thanks to you for your support.....

Contact Governor Jane Hull at:

http://www.governor.state.az.us/post/index.html or call her at

602-542-4331 or Fax 602-542-1381

Contact list of appropriate public officials:

http://www.blackmesais.org/relocatethis.html

take care...lb

***************************************************

Contact list of appropriate public officials:

http://www.blackmesais.org/relocatethis.html

For the latest information about Camp Anna Mae Sundance Grounds, go to

http://www.blackmesais.org/anna_mae_sundance_2k1.htm

In LA contact savebigmountainla@saveourplanet.org

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