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“It’s like they’re drawing blood.”

Navajo Elder
Interview from Translation

“I was born about three and a half miles from here on the Apache line. It was just me and my brother raised by my parents. We didn’t have vehicles or things like that then. I really enjoyed growing up here.”

“We had two hundred sheep and fifty goats, and plenty of horses that we used to go to the store. Now we don’t have any sheep, so it’s hard to get wool in. The wool that I have came from Arizona from my late husband’s family. They gave me some wool and I’ve carded it, got it prepared, and it’s sitting back there already colored. Right now I’m working on quilts for church. They want blankets for Christmas to give as gifts… Then I’ll start working on weaving during the winter when I’m home. I’ve got two looms outside.”

“It depends on the size of the rug, but [weaving] takes quite a long time. Maybe two weeks just cleaning it because you have to wash it, pick it apart, take all the debris off of it.”

“All the work you do to make a rug: you’re washing the wool, coloring it, preparing it, and then when you take it into nearby border towns they’ll just say $20, $30, and that’s what happened recently. I took one in and was only told $25. So I brought it back and people come from out of state to the mission and one of them paid me $200 for the same rug.”

“With my mom and my grandma, when they used to weave, they would take it to the traders and they would get groceries or goods in return, or cash with it.”

“My son works on the railroad, he works in different states. So I give him one of the rugs and he’ll sell it for me and I get quite a bit for it. Now, even with the rugs that are sold, you go back and look at the prices and they’re double or triple the price you sold it for.”

“We were always told that it is mother earth, it’s your mother, the earth is your mother. You know how a human has blood? When they come to draw your blood it hurts, even when the do the pricking of fingers to take out the blood it hurts. Just think about how the earth suffers. It’s like they’re drawing blood when they take the oil. Just think about how it feels, how it’s suffering.”

“A lot of people have lost their lives because of the different diseases because of the sediments that are coming up. You look around and a lot of trees are dying.”

“About three or four years ago I planted all these different kinds of vegetables and fruits. I took about forty loads of corn from one of the fields and it was all growing well. After that I tried again and it didn’t grow. I think it’s maybe because of the water, so I didn’t plant again last spring.”

“There’s a pump on the other side of the mesa. I sometimes lose sleep because I wake up at all times of the night thinking about what they’re putting in the ground. All that’s affecting the wildlife and then the livestock and people are eating it. Right now people are hunting for deer and elk and it has affected them too, so when they eat the meat it’s probably affecting them.”

“I think there’s more illness now then there used to be. Back then, we drank water out of ponds, that’s where we got the water. You know people would take their barrels out there with their wagons and bring in the water and we would drink it. And you would just be pushing the tadpoles aside and drinking the water. But nowadays even that has been affected. Even though we have running water. Back then we didn’t have hospitals and I don’t remember getting sick like that. People weren’t told you were sick because you drank that water there.”

Maybe if we all pull together and attend meetings, with a large amount of people, to talk about the issues, maybe we would be heard. But way back our ancestors, our parents already approved it. Our parents already signed, you can’t change things.”

“There are a lot of diesels on the road between here and Counselor, and you they come over the hill or they don’t make room for vehicles. A couple weeks ago I was going out toward Ojo Encino and the grater was going and then the diesel came up and I had to make room for the diesel and that’s where I drove over a rock that hit the oil pan and made a hole.”

“There’s all these pipes that are above the ground… you see it all over the place, where it’s exposed. And you hear on the radio they’re advertising, they’re saying “report if you see any pipes that are exposed” and you do, and they don’t do anything about it. Why do they talk about it if they’re not going to do anything about it?”

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.