And now:Ish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:

X-Originating-IP: []
From: "Jake Davies" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

View From The Hogan 6           September 1999          136 days till the final 

Notes from Big Mountain

        It seems I am suffering from a bout of verbal diarreah this month, and View 
From The Hogan is a little longer than usual. Might I respectfully suggest (if you 
don't already do it) that you print it out and read it later, away from this infernal 

        As well as the "raid" on Paulines cornfield, we hear that my Grandma, Rena, is 
being threatened and intimidated. We hear also that the cows of one non-signing family 
have been snatched. Summer recess is over, Warmakers minions are back in the saddle 
with the daily grind of low-intensity warfare and siege tactics. The attack on Rena is 
grossly disturbing. I know the land she herds her sheep on, I have walked it every day 
for many, many, moons. The Hopi Tribal Council do not graze any of their animals 
there. The land has not been grazed by any animals for many years. This is not good 
for the health of the land as any Range-Management expert will tell you. By taking her 
animals across the fence to another "grazing district" her animals are doing the lands 
"owners" a favor. To continue to claim that the harassment of these grandmas is to 
protect the land is blatantly, and verifyably untrue. By the way, the fence Rena and 
her animals crossed was not between HPL & NPL, but between !
zing districts" of the HPL. As more details came in about the raid on Paulines 
cornfield, I was aghast ( a word I've longed to use) at the depth of the disrespect 
perpetrated. Bahe has , as usual, done an excellent job of translating Paulines 
statement about the incident. If you haven't read it, and I would highly reccomend you 
do, let me know and I'll pass it on.

        A recent visitor to the land made the following comment: " I think what's 
going on here is criminal." Those eight words contain volumes of truth. Let's begin 
with International Law, because there is such a thing, though currently the biggest 
"outlaw" on the world stage is the U.S. of A. What follows is by no means a complete 
list of laws that are, or have been, broken here at Big Mountain, but I would urge you 
to find copies of them yourselves and draw your own conclusions.
        Article II (c) & (e). Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime 
of Genocide.
        Articles 21 (2) and 22 (5) of the American Convention on Human Rights.
        Principles I, II, III, &V of the Helsinki Final Act.
        Paragraph 6 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial 
Countries & Peoples.
        Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
        Article 12 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
        Principle 7 of the Helsinki Final Act.
        Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
        Article I of the International Covenant on Economic, Socail, & Cultural Rights.
        Article I of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights
        Principle I of the Helsinki Final Act
        Paragraph I of the General Assembly Resolution 1803 (XXII) Concerning 
Permanent Sovereignty     over Natural Resources.
        Paragraph 2 of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial 
Countries & Peoples.

        And then of course, there are the Treaties. Is there anyone out there who does 
not know that of the many hundreds of treaties made between the U.S. and the 
inhabitants of this continent, not a single one has been honored? Co-signors of such 
treaties as GATT and NAFTA would be naive in the extreme to believe that the US will 
honor them if they become inconvenient.

        Then there is Domestic, Federal, and Constitutional law. Check out:
        U.S. Constitution, Amendments I, IV,VI,XIV, and XV.
        Native American Religious Freedom Act
        Native American Graves Protection Act.

        I'm not even going to touch the many Environmental Laws that are broken here 
with impunity.

        If any of you are familiar with U.S. Contract Law, check out the Accommodation 
Agreement. I'm not a lawyer, but I recognize a good joke when I see one.

        But, to be fair, I must also report on the other side of the coin.
        With my very own eyes I have seen "illegal" and "undocumented" sheep grazing.
        With my very own eyes I have seen roofs, hogans, & corrals be built and 
repaired, "without permission".
        With my very own eyes I have seen firewood collected "without permission".
        With my very own eyes I have seen elderly women "trespassing" on land composed 
of their ancestors bones.
        There are those that live in some of the large cities that take a perverse 
pleasure in claiming to be the "Crime Capital" of the country. Hah! There is more 
crime here "per capita" than anywhere I know.
        But in a very real sense all of the foregoing is irrelevant.
        It's not the issue.

        Let me try to explain.
        In navigating my way through lifes sometimes complexity I have always found it 
extremely useful to distinguish between two things, Rules and Laws. The distinction is 
simple, rules have exceptions and change rapidly, laws are absolute and change slowly, 
if at all. In any conflict between the two, I will hopefully opt for THE LAW 
everytime. I admit to the necessity and wisdom of rules some time, but I think to 
confuse rules and laws is the cause of much misunderstanding. Much of the mythology 
called science is rules. And, this is the point, much of the dominant societies "laws" 
are rules. These rules are owned and created by those with power. I do not believe 
there is a single reader who has not had personal experience of this fact. As Corbin 
Harney puts it "These so-called laws that we've got today, they make them every hour 
on the hour. Then they keep changing the law, because whoever presents it doesn't like 
the law of whoever presented it before, so they make another law to!
lace the first one."
        So what is THE LAW?
        Some would call it the Creators Law, some would call it Natural Law or the Law 
of Life, some might say Conscience. Yet another might call it Original Instruction. 
Leonard Peltier astutely perceives 3 levels of Original Instruction. The first is the 
Original Instruction given to humanity, all 2 leggeds. Then there is the Original 
Instruction given to each  of the many different Peoples, and then there is the 
Original Instructions given to each of us as individuals.
        I can't tell you what the LAW is; we must each come to it ourselves, by paying 
attention to how the world works, by listening to our hearts, and by listening to 
those with wisdom, the Elders. On this last point I offer the following pearls.

        Whenever the subject of the Whitemans law came up, my Grandma would always say 
"when they can make it rain, when they can make the grass grow, THEN I'll listen to 
their law"

        Robertas well known statement "The Creator is the only one who will relocate 
me" cannot be surpassed for simplicity.

        My current favorite though is another anecdote from Pauline. Seems that one 
day yet another official came by with yet more paperwork. " It's the law" he told her. 
Pauline took the offered paper and asked "This is the law you say?". "Yes, yes!" 
answered the official eagerly. Pauline opened the door to her woodstove and placed the 
paper inside. Within seconds it was reduced to ashes. "Oh well " she sighed, "it 
failed the first test".

        Pauline has been "deprived" of the "benefit" of a school education.
        She has the sharpest mind I have ever encountered.
        Could these two facts be related?

        If it were possible for me to communicate just one thing,  if it were possible 
for me to pass on to you just one simple truth, it would be this: THE NON-SIGNING 

        If as Katherine Smith suggests there are 7 non-signing grandmas, surely they 
must be known as the Magnificent Seven?

        It continues to rain and rain here. I have never seen the Mesa so green. For 
some years now the BIA/HTC has been claiming that the drought is the reason for the 
continued reduction of the peoples small flocks. What are they going to do now? Maybe 
it's too wet for livestock? Recently I heard murmurings that actually its going to 
take "years" to recover from the drought. Yeah right.....It's hard to exaggerate what 
a blessing the rains are. We do not live in a climate of abundant rainfall. Sometimes 
it rains, sometimes it doesnt. We do not have rivers we can divert for irrigation. We 
cannot turn a spigot and turn on sprinklers or drip irrigation for pasture or the 
cornfields.( For those of you with plumbing, do you not feel as Gods & Goddesses to 
have such power over the water of life?) We must depend on THE LAW. So when we have a 
really wet summer like this year, it is impossible not to experience it as a gift The 
sheep are fat with the abundant grass. This is good for the new !
 growing inside them. We 2-legged are eating plenty of delicious fresh corn, potatoes, 
squash, pumpkins, tomatoes etc. This is a great help in dealing with the daily grind 
of low-intensity warfare and siege tactics.

        At the end of the last VFH I told you of the "raid" on Paulines cornfield, and 
that  I couldn't understand how a few women growing corn could be a threat to the HTC. 
Well, obviously such a thing as women working together in life-sustaining acttivities 
is a threat to any patriarchal institution such as the Hopi tribal Council, but I 
think the real reason may be simpler, I think I've surmised the real reason the HTC 
wants the cornfield left unguarded. The cornfield is right beside the road. Every day 
Hopi "Law enforcement officers" (I'm sorry, but it is impossible for me to write those 
words and not laugh) travel the road, making  sure the land is safe for their bosses 
cows. Now, I don't know how many of you have seen Hopi cops, but like most cops I 
know, the kindest thing that  can be said is that from their appearance they certainly 
seem to enjoy their food. There are no donut shops round here. A field full of fresh 
corn may be just a little too much temptation. Fortunately 2!
en are still standing guard.

        For those of you who do not live in Northern Arizona, and as one of  View From 
The Hogans aims is to bring you the words of the Grandmas directly, I include a letter 
written to the Navajo Times. Any of you who have seen "Broken Rainbow" will be 
familiar with Katherine Smith. Like all of the elders here, her oral tradition leads 
to a simplicity and poetic power  in her words that is lacking in much of the way the 
Whiteman speaks. No words are wasted. So I urge you to read her letter "slowly and 
carefully", which is always the best way to listen to Elders..

Editor                          July 29th
Navajo Times

        We heard of a law called PL 93-531 about twenty three years ago. At that time, 
the people within the HPL were peaceful, all of our people smiled with nice faces and 
they were polite and helped each other. At that time, this crazy law came, we didn't 
even know that this law was made and what it did to us.
        We didn't see the judge that passed this law , and we didn't go to court at 
that time. They passed this law in Washington, not on Navajo land.
        Now, not only one law has been passed, more laws have come to us. I'm still 
here yet on the Big Mountain. I have fifty grandchildren, four generations. What 
happens to them now that the Hopi and the Whiteman have swallowed our land. They have 
swallowed our livestock and our big cornfields. Now they want to swallow our life, our 
        I've seen a lot of police around Big Mountain, because we have the Sundance. 
We left the gates of the dance and police chased us, stopped us and ticketed us. I 
think these police are so hungry, nothing to eat, they want to swallow us after they 
have eaten our land and livestock. After I am gone what are they gonna swallow next.
        So police harassment is going on in the HPL today. The policemen have a badge, 
so they tell the jailor at the office lies about us on their land. Their words and 
stories are not true. The police want to capture me like they did Peter McDonald. If 
the big trouble comes, with large crowds and a lot of police, then somebody gets 
killed, then they will quickly capture the seven ladies who didn't sign the agreement 
and take us to prison.
        We are already in prison, but they won't lock us up. I think thats why they 
are really bothering us. We can not support or let policemen make up stories to scare 
        Please read this letter. This is a true letter.

Katherine Smith
Big Mountain

        I have received enquiries as how to support ceremonies here, and before 
answering I wanted to clarify some points with the Bosses, so I paid a visit to 
Robertas. As usual Unclejake was out with the sheep. As usual I found this Great 
Grandmother cross-legged on the floor weaving. Not just one rug though, she was 
surrounded on 3 sides by looms with unfinished rugs. Without interupting the rhythmn 
of the weaving, without taking her eyes from the rug, she answered my questions. One 
of the things she said was "tell them to use their own ways, to use their own 
ceremonies, and to pray for Big Mountain." A point so obvious that I had forgotten to 
mention it to you.

        I'm a sheepherder.
        I spend vastly more time with sheep and goats and dogs than I do with 
        Most of you reading this do not, therefore I'd like to tell you a little about 
sheepherding, and by implication, sheep, as they are as an integral part of what is 
going on here as the Grandmas, and also because someone wrote me and said I "seemed 
intelligent for a sheepherder". I don't feel competent to judge wether I am 
intelligent or not, but the people I live with have been sheephereders all their 
lives, usually from even before they could walk, and these sheephereders are the 
wisest people I have ever met, so I remain hopeful.
        Some years ago, when I was living with my Grandma and Grandpa, we went through 
a rather "lean" period one winter of being "cash poor".
        Breakfast was mutton soup, frybread, and coffee. Lunch was mutton soup, fry 
bread, and coffee. Supper was, well, you figure it out. This went on continuously for 
eight days. Each day the soup got thinner. I have to ask you to trust me that you 
cannot imagine how tasty mutton soup is to me since that time. I now experience 
"Mutton Hunger", a curious complaint that afflicts Traditional Dineh. When I visit 
Babble-on, after a few days I start to yearn for mutton. Store bought, Whiteman-raised 
mutton can relieve the condition slightly, but only mutton from the land I live on 
will bring relief. It's a very real form of homesickness. The sheep and goats we live 
with eat a whole variety of food and medicine plants that give a unique flavor to the 
meat. In a different area, the plant life varies in different ways, the sheep eat a 
diferent diet, the sheep taste different. To eat the mutton is to partake of a 
sacrament, an acknowledgement of connection to an area of land, the source of !
lives, our home.
        At the time of this "lean period", I'd only been herding sheep for six months. 
In many ways it was a "chore". I did it because my Grandma and Grandpa shouldn't have 
to do it at their age. It was something of an inconvenience. One day soon after, I was 
standing on a rock watching the flock, and I was invaded by the statement " A happy 
sheep is a tasty sheep". Maybe the flock had been collectively psyche-bombing me with 
that notion, but I realized, and have since found it impossible to forget, that in a 
most real way I owed my life to the sheep. From that moment on , my attitude to the 
sheep altered. As a sheepherder, my function, my "job", is to serve the needs of the 
flock, not vice versa. I hasten to add that their "needs" don't always match their 
"wants", but mostly they do. My job is to assist them to do what they want, but pretty 
much it means I just follow them around, and be on-call 24 hours a day for them. These 
are not "resources" in the Whiteman sense, they are not "!
omic units". We let them do their thing. No drugs, dipping, controlled breeding,.... 
we let the Men sheep and the Lady sheep do what comes naturally to them. Consequently 
the flock is composed of all sizes, shapes, colorings, and personalities. We know the 
lineage of each animal, its mother, grandmother, great grandmother,.... sometimes we 
know the father. We know them as individuals. There is little "control" imposed on 
them. This makes it in some ways much more work for us. The old sheep, the grandmas, 
are not killed beacuse they are no longer productive. They are looked after with care, 
in gratitude for their offspring that will sustain us, even though it means more work 
for me, picking the medicines for their ailments, slowing the whole flock down so they 
can keep up.etc. Lambing is the time that is most work for sheepherders. The weather 
is usually at its worst, mid winter, and any weak or sickly lambs must be bought into 
the hogan, kept warm, bottle fed, etc. Pre and Pos!
tal care is my job. We cannot afford to lose any, especially as the flocks are so 
small nowadays. The flock must be checked several times a night to see if there is any 
problem births. Every single lamb that makes it is an affirmation that life will go 
on, at least for now. It is a gift we cannot presume the right to, but must earn by 
following THE LAW. I love "my" sheep. I cannot ignore that they are relatives. With 
each passing day, they teach me new things about life. I guess the sheepherders life 
is not for everyone, but I remain the richest man I know. When the BIA take the 
peoples sheep it is much more than economic terrorism, it is an assault on the very 
source of life for these people. We know it is not done to protect the land, but out 
of greed and a kind of fear-based hatred. Every winter the Grandmothers need help to 
protect and defend their flocks. This coming winter will be no exception.

        I note with curiosity that the majority of emails I'm receiving are coming 
from females. I further note that among the sheepherding/support community, females 
again predominate. The frontlines here at Big Mountain are occupied by Grandmothers. 
With them stand mothers, and daughters, and sisters. This seems to be so in so many of 
the other places around the world where the war against life rages.
        Where are the men?
        (a cry heard too often, I fear)

        But then, what the hell do I know,........ I'm just a sheepherder.

                        "Disobedience is the first step towards freedom"

                        I thank you for taking the time to read my words.

                        Your prayers, support, and correspondence are invited.

                        For all my relations

                        Bo Peep
                        Consultant to SDN (Sheepherder Defense Network)
                        Probationary Member, Union of Sheepherding Philosophers, Local 

                        reachable via [EMAIL PROTECTED]

P.S. To all those who have written to me, please be aware that owing to the pressing 
needs of the flock, the corn, and the Grandmas, the office is sometimes left 
unattended for days at a time. It may take as much as a half  
moon between when you write, and when you hear back from me. Around here the 
information superhighway is a muddy jeep trail. Please be patient, you will hear from 

If you have received this update as a forward, but want to sure of getting them in the 
future, please let me know and I will add you to the list. Also if there are any  
"back issues" you don't have, again, let me know.

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