The real Kat James passed me the link to this. You truly can find anything on YouTube.
This series of videos highlights the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Act, one of the great crimes perpetuated by Washington, D.C., against Indian people. This is why I first went to the Diné reservation to report on Indian issues, and it's why I kept going back, doing my best to share with a disinterested outside world what was happening to more than 15,000 Navajo people.
The relocation forced people who didn’t speak English and who’d lived their entire lives freely on the land as subsistence farmers and sheepherders into government housing where they had to pay rent, utilities and taxes — things they’d never been exposed to before.
Imagine that you have the entire landscape as your home and that you migrate back and forth across that landscape with your family, herding sheep, growing corn, and drinking water from washes and springs. First, the water disappears, drained off to feed the coal mine's slurry line. Then the government tells you that you can’t have sheep because... well, they don’t want you to overgraze the land, even though you've been doing this without their help for centuries. Then they tell you that you must disappear and that your hogaan, the burial sites of your ancestors, and everything you've known is going to be off limits to you. They force you to sell your sheep, drop you in a government house, and force you to pay rent. You don't have a job. You've never been to school. You don't read or speak English. And your entire lifestyle, the rhythm of your life, is gone forever.
So many Diné were heart-broken by this. Many became homeless. It’s such a terrible thing. Words can't adequately describe to you the loss that relocated Navajo feel. The Navajo I know in the Denver area are all victims of this forced relocation, and their carry the grief with them everywhere they go. What was done to them was a sin against humanity.
I don’t often get gritty and political on this blog, but I thought you all might find this interesting or at least be curious as to why I ended up spending so much time with the Navajo.