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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Something special for NAKED EDGE fans



The real Kat James passed me the link to this. You truly can find anything on YouTube.

This series of videos highlights the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Act, one of the great crimes perpetuated by Washington, D.C., against Indian people. This is why I first went to the Diné reservation to report on Indian issues, and it's why I kept going back, doing my best to share with a disinterested outside world what was happening to more than 15,000 Navajo people.

The relocation forced people who didn’t speak English and who’d lived their entire lives freely on the land as subsistence farmers and sheepherders into government housing where they had to pay rent, utilities and taxes — things they’d never been exposed to before.

Imagine that you have the entire landscape as your home and that you migrate back and forth across that landscape with your family, herding sheep, growing corn, and drinking water from washes and springs. First, the water disappears, drained off to feed the coal mine's slurry line. Then the government tells you that you can’t have sheep because... well, they don’t want you to overgraze the land, even though you've been doing this without their help for centuries. Then they tell you that you must disappear and that your hogaan, the burial sites of your ancestors, and everything you've known is going to be off limits to you. They force you to sell your sheep, drop you in a government house, and force you to pay rent. You don't have a job. You've never been to school. You don't read or speak English. And your entire lifestyle, the rhythm of your life, is gone forever.

So many DinĂ© were heart-broken by this. Many became homeless. It’s such a terrible thing. Words can't adequately describe to you the loss that relocated Navajo feel. The Navajo I know in the Denver area are all victims of this forced relocation, and their carry the grief with them everywhere they go. What was done to them was a sin against humanity.

I don’t often get gritty and political on this blog, but I thought you all might find this interesting or at least be curious as to why I ended up spending so much time with the Navajo.

7 comments:

RitaSV said...

Sounds a lot like what our government is still doing to people now. Forcing people to buy health insurance, required submission of private health records to the government, exempting the SEC from the freedom of information act, accessing private credit card data without search warrants, assassinating Americans who are suspected of involvement in terrorism without benefit of trial, making itself the only provider of student loans, etc. The bigger government gets the less it seems to get right so I can never figure out why people want more and more government involvement in their lives. *sigh*

Ridley said...

Oh spare me the tears on health care, Rita. It's nowhere near the same thing.

Don't want to buy health insurance? Fine. Pay the tax instead. No one's forced to change their way of life.

Health care is something local, state and the federal governments have been paying out on for years. Requiring people to pay for their own is merely the government balancing its checkbook.

We've had it here in MA for years and neither the people nor the state government are broke. In fact, our economy is growing at twice the national rate, our unemployment's lower and we've nearly 100% coverage. Not sure what's not to like about that.

JennJ said...

OH wow that is just heart wrenching! God bless them that's terrible!!! To totally just overthrow a people that were here LONG before we were like that has always seemed one of the most abonimable things to me. I'm not proud of our forefathers for that and I've always found that sickening. :( Thanks for the video Pamela more people should see this.

RitaSV said...

I respectfully disagree, Ridley, those poor people were ordered by congress to leave their homes because the government believed they knew better. The government does NOT always know better as you can see in the heartbreaking situation the Navajo found themselves in. It is sobering and the government continues on a growing scale to abuse other categories of people on different issues, ignoring individual rights.

I apologize, Pamela, as it was not my intent to hijack your comment thread but that abuse at the hands of government just struck me so strongly that I couldn't help make the comparison to something I could relate to in today's current events.

What a tragedy, Pamela. It seem slike the more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm glad there are people like you bringing situations like this to our attention. It's the only hope.

I'm also glad that you are bringing this to our attention. The depths that the Federal government in both Canada and the US have mistreated Native People is astounding.

Diane W. said...

Wow, how incredibly sad! Really, it's unbelievable that this issue is STILL going on in this country and we are STILL doing the same thing we've been doing for 100 years. Thanks for the link, I will use this video in my homeschool this year.

Diane

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