The following comments by Bahe Katenay, Navajo from Big Mountain, Arizona, were censored and
deleted by Indian Country Today in September of 2004. With the Navajo tribal government now pressing for another power plant
in this region of Dinetah, Bahe's comments remain vital.
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
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
God and places where she did her Kinalda (puberty ceremony).
“Places where the Twin Warrior Gods made their divine
deeds are also
desecrated 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
natural gas pumping stations and strands of pipelines crisscrossed
everywhere?” Katenay asked.
“Then to make things worst, what if these gas reserves were illegally
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
Many Dine’ of course have to pay for the natural gas or
propane from companies that desecrate their Holy Lands. Many
household 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
holds ancient archaeological sites and a large portion of
the creation stories related to all geographical features of
Energy development threatens the Navajos’ Four Sacred Mountains,
located in the region from Flagstaff,
Ariz., southern Colorado and
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
(In 2004, a report by the Environmental Working Group’s showed the
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
Here's the article that Bahe's comments were deleted from: