By Carl Reeverts
The Antioch Environmental Group held a potluck and fundraiser at the Antioch Inn Saturday to help pay for a trip to the Black Mesa Reservation in Arizona. Students wish to travel during the winter break to offer support to the elders of the Dineh tribe, which has been affected by large scale strip mining and relocation ordinances.
Antioch has a long history of collaboration with the tribe, that has throughout the years welcomed students to its community. At one time there was even a formal Co-op List Job that was filled on a regular basis. This time, homemade cuisine and good conversation had to bring in the necessary funds to cover the travel costs for a hand full of students to help, elders, many of which live alone, with household chores and repairs around the house.
There was plenty of food for the forty-odd Antioch students that participated. Most of the food for the event was produced locally and organically, with a good portion donated by local farms. The meal consisted of a variety of stews, vegetable dishes, corn breads and roasted duck. The ducks were killed humanely and cleaned at a local farm named Terry’s Farm, with the active participation of several Antioch students, myself included. I am a meat eater and the experience proved to be eyeopening, as it’s so easy to forget just how your food is made. Terry has been making the move towards self-sustainability since the 1970’s oil crisis and is a capable teacher of the dangers Peak Oil poses to a society that is so dependent on an unsustainable way of life.
Jake Stockwell gave a presentation about the struggle of the Dineh peoples at the Black Mesa reservation in Arizona. The reservation is comprised of a large area of shrub-land in Arizona, the ancestral homes of both the Navajo and Hopi. that holds the largest deposit of coal in the United States. The estimated 21 billion tons of coal is close to the surface, making it easy to extract via strip-mining. In 1966, a strip-mining lease was signed by both the Navajo and the Hopi to a coal company, now called Peabody Western, but compensation has yet to be received by the people living on the land. In fact, the treatment on the part of the coal companies, with support from the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been anything but fair. A forced relocation ordinance has crippled thousands of families and has maliciously destroyed the native culture since the 1970s. The mining operation is set to expand after the land is cleared. What is holding them back is the thousands of native people leading a thirty-plus year resistance to the destruction of their land and way of life.
After the dinner, a movie illustrated the struggle of the Dineh people that was made in the early nineties as a senior project.
The students that will make the trip to Arizona will likely spend two to three weeks of their Christmas break in the reservation before returning to campus in the spring.
By Carl Reeverts