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“You have a responsibility.”

President, Diné CARE

“I got drafted [to Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (CARE)]… it was like, ‘Hey, you’re from Dilkon, but you happen to live in Durango where you have a library, where you have access to internet, there’s a bank there – we need your help.’ So that’s how it started and I’ve been doing it ever since. Oh gosh, since ’88.”

“It’s the same, it’s just different issues. We worked on forestry, that’s how it started. It was a toxic waste incinerator that was going to be built in Dilkon. There was no translation, so the [people] didn’t know. So we just informed the people, let them make the decisions. And it’s been that way ever since.”

“Even just now when I gave a presentation on what’s happening with Navajo Generating Station, I just said, ‘Hey, so we consulted with experts and attorneys and this is what’s before us now.’ Just giving information.”

“[Diné CARE was] trying to dissolve after we won our first issue in ’89 and it didn’t work out that way. We had people continuing to call us and we said, ‘Oh no, no we’re done, we’re finished.’ But finally we had to call a meeting in ’91 and all these other groups from around the reservation, from coal mining in Black Mesa to oil and gas, they all came and said, ‘You know what, you guys made history, that was a huge company you guys defeated. So we should just use that name and keep going because its known.’”

“So all these people from different issues, they became the board members [of Diné CARE]. It’s really just a collective just to work together and help each other. And a lot of it has to do with tribal government, that hasn’t changed, that’s the same.”

“But tribal government has changed because back then we were able to get resolutions through. Now we have resolutions going up but they don’t do anything. So that needs to change. Now it’s like [our leaders] want to be in total control, it’s what they want, not what the people want. Back then our leadership listened to some extent to reason and information, now they just seem to be off on their own. Back then there were a lot of [citizens] attending Chapter meetings, and now there’s just not. So how do you approach that?”

“Places where the companies have lost out, it’s because of our language. They don’t know what to expect, or what we’re saying. Like with uranium, we didn’t have one person, it was a leaderless movement, so they had nobody to blame.”

“I’ve been trying to get out of [Diné CARE] for a while. But you know, you always find people like Daniel and Kendra and I mean, you know, they are good people all over. So in a way it’s almost a curse! And then, i’s also how you grew up, that’s what you do. If you’re in a position to help your community, you have a responsibility. So, I work with people that that was drilled into. That’s how we hang in together.”

Will you add your voice?

Demand cancellation of the March 2018 oil and gas lease sale, and all future sales, in Greater Chaco until proper protections for the people, environment, and cultural resources are put in place.