Yesterday, elders from the Dine, Hopi and Lakota nations came to Manhattan and staged a friendly takeover at a LehmanBrothers annual shareholders’ meeting. Lehman Brothers manages an investment fund that is the major owner of PeabodyCoal. Peabody is mining on and near native lands in the Southwest.
The dislocation of Native Americans and destruction of their lands to serve the energy needs of an extravagantsociety is nothing new.
In the 1970s, when the country was undergoing yet another an energy shortage, President Carter declared that the FourCorners area of the American Southwest was a “National Sacrifice Area.”
Last year, the Hopi joined the Dine or Navajo Nation in a federal lawsuit. It alleged that Peabody Coal Co. engagedin a conspiracy with the Department of Interior to defraud the tribes and prevent the fair payment of coal royaltiesto the tribes. The Black Mesa area has perhaps the largest coal deposit in the United States.
But in addition to financial concerns are issues of relocation, environmental degradation and respect for NativeAmerican people, traditions and land.
- Roberta Blackgoat, leader of sovereign Dine nation. She is 85.
- Chief Joseph Chasinghorse, Sundance chief from Lakota nation, who in 1999 got buffalo protected inYellowstone National Park
- Leonard Benally, resister at Big Mountain and one of the organizers of the Lehman takeover
- Arlene Hamilton, coordinator of Weaving for Freedom and human rights defender at Big Mountain.