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FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA Concerned Diné – Navajo – and other indigenous rights supporters will be holding a protest to expose Peabody Energy's deliberate process of confiscating Indigenous history.
The protest will be held outside the Cultural Review meeting at the Museum of Northern Arizona's Colton House in Flagstaff.
The meeting is the first of a series of meetings scheduled to develop the critical structure for regulation and implementation of the protection of sacred sites in the mining and expansion areas leased by Peabody Energy."With more community interest and support, Peabody can be stopped from desecrating more of the endless network of ancient dwelling sites. The less involvement by communities the more Peabody and their archaeologist (Black Mesa Archeology Project) will steal and profit, because cultural and human rights of the antiquities aren't being enforced."
states Bahé a Black Mesa resident and organizer of the protest.
The protest is intended to highlight the absence and removal of any public process attached to the regulatory and legal protection of intact and removed ancient sites that are being found in collections.
Concern has been growing due to recent revelations that Peabody Energy withheld and restricted documentation and research that pointed to the relocation of millions of Indigenous remains, artifacts, and sacred objects called the "Black Mesa Archeology Project.”
More than one million remains and items of cultural significance are currently being held in cardboard boxes at universities.
“Black Mesa Archeology Project's transfer was initiated before the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was created and when many of today’s tribal leaders were children,"
according to Brian Dunfee of Peabody Energy.
NAGPRA was established in 1990 and requires,
“federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American "cultural items" to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations.”
To date, there has not been an inventory conducted of the Black Mesa Archeology Project artifacts that complies with current laws regarding protection of Indian artifacts.
The Black Mesa Archeology Project includes 1.3 million artifacts currently held at two American universities.
According to Jon Czaplicki, an archaeologist with the Bureau of Reclamation the Cultural Review and Update Meeting, CRUM extends its range from December 22, 2019 only and does not address the excavations and disruption of intact sites by Peabody in prior years. No one seems to answer where these artifacts and funerary properties would be held after that time, and if they would be separated from their sister and brother collections or the intact sites endangered in the Kayenta Mine lease with Navajo Generating Station.
Participants of the rally are also calling for leadership, solidarity and participation led by Traditional Indigenous Peoples to discuss the impact that the exclusions by Peabody Energy has on true restoration and repatriation.
Rally Against the Theft of Antiquity, Stop Peabody’s Restraint on Black Mesa Navajo History
Wednesday, October 30
11 am - 2:30 pm
Museum of Northern Arizona's Colton House
3101 North Fort Valley Road
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
updated 4:20 pm edt; posted October 30, 2013 7:30 am edt