UNCENSORED Bahe Katenay, describing the desecration of Dinetah, the sacred place of origin, and the
polllution and desecration from widespread oil and gas wells here.
Censored by Indian Country Today
By Brenda Norrell
Bahe Katenay is responding to the fact that the Bush administration
developed a task force to facilitate
industry requests and fast track
requests for drilling. The Bureau of Land Management increased oil and
permits by 70 percent since the previous administration.
Bahe Katenay, Navajo from Big Mountain, Ariz., said oil and gas
drilling is violating Navajos’
most sacred region, the Dine’ place of
origin, near present day Bloomfield, N.M.
“Gas reserves are drilled in places where White Shell Woman was found
by Talking God and places
where she did her Kinalda (puberty ceremony).
“Places where the Twin Warrior Gods made their divine deeds are also
with drilling, piping, wells and recreation activities. The
Dine’ have lost these lands and their ‘puppet’
tribal government have
refused to fight for a claim to this area,” Katenay said.
Katenay point out that sacred land is being violated while many Navajos
haul propane tanks in the backs
of their trucks for fuel to cook with.
“What would the Christians do if their Holy Lands were dotted with
gas pumping stations and strands of pipelines crisscrossed
everywhere?” Katenay asked.
“Then to make things worst, what if these gas reserves were illegally
tapped with permission
from a puppet government that is made up of
their own people. Finally, how would they feel if these natural
were being bought off cheap from their nation, exported away
to another country and none made available for their use?
“To the Dine', this has happened when our Holy Lands were made
available to gas companies in
northwestern New Mexico in a region known
to us as Dinetah.
“Today, several major gas pipelines are routed out towards southern
California. Many Dine’
of course have to pay for the natural gas or
propane from companies that desecrate their Holy Lands. Many Dine'
do not receive piping so they haul their propane bottles to
the local markets to get them filled.”
Katenay said the place of Dine’ origin, Dinetah in northwestern New
Mexico, still holds ancient
archaeological sites and a large portion of
the creation stories related to all geographical features of that area.
development threatens the Navajos’ Four Sacred Mountains,
located in the region from Flagstaff, Ariz., southern Colorado
northern New Mexico, he said.
“I travel from Black Mesa to these areas when I can. I am disturbed
every time I come back to
my Holy Land. I see new drilling and new
roads that scar the wooded mesas and buttes. I always wonder if the
of our Creators are still alive there. Despite this, I still
get a sense of healing when I look upon Gobernador Knob or
Mesa and its surrounding canyonlands.
“But I am also saddened when I think that, because these lands were
given away for profit, the
rest of our sacred lands everywhere are
being desecrated, today: Mount Taylor, San Francisco Mountains, and Big
(In 2004, a report by the Environmental Working Group’s showed the
federal government has offered
27.9 million acres of public and private
land in New Mexico for oil and gas drilling. New Mexico ranked second
12 western states for lands currently leased and second for the
amount of land currently producing oil and gas.
Juan County, the place of origin of Dine’, was among the top three
counties targeted, along with Eddy and Lea counties,
according to the