By Elouise Brown/Dooda Desert Rock
Listen to audio of protest in New York:
NEW YORK – A delegation of Indigenous Peoples from all over the world rallied at Sithe Global LLC in New York City, to ensure that Sithe understands the impacts of their proposed Desert Rock Energy Project on the local, Navajo people at the proposed site.
Elouise Brown, President of the Dooda Desert Rock committee, and Enei Begaye, Executive Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition, attempted to deliver a letter to Sithe telling them that local people do not support the project. Sithe did not meet with them.
News reporters accompanied Elouise and Enei into the building, but were ordered to “leave immediately.” Enei and Elouise, as tribal members of the Navajo Nation who Sithe Global is doing business with, asked to deliver a letter to Sithe Global. Receptionists called the Sithe Global office several times and left two messages, but Sithe never came down or called back. The receptionists refused to deliver the letter but directed Elouise and Enei to a messenger center at a different location, where they sent the letter.
“I don’t understand how the proponents of the Desert Rock Energy Project from our Navajo Nation can do business with a corporation that will not speak to members of the Nation who would be directly impacted by the project,” says Elouise Brown.
“At least we know we delivered the letter, and they have an idea there are many Navajo people opposed to this project, and only a couple who want the project.”
Outside Indigenous Peoples from all over the world who are in New York for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UN PFII), rallied, chanted, and held signs in solidarity with the Dooda Desert Rock Committee. Suspiciously, soon after the rally started, large moving trucks were parked in front of the building, blocking protesters from being seen on the street. Elouise and Enei were part of the Indigenous Environmental Network delegation to the UN PFII. Together, the group profiled the disproportionate impacts their communities face as a result of the expansion of fossil fuel development in their homelands, resulting in contamination and depletion of water, compounding climate change, and exacerbating health impacts.
Enei Begaye said, “These are resource wars. These companies are occupying sovereign Indigenous territories, and not just in Iraq. In this country, from the Navajo Nation to the Arctic, the Indian wars continue.”
The letter can be found at http://www.dooda-desert-rock.net/
Contact: Elouise Brown, Dooda Desert Rock, 505-947-6159 Jihan Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network, 218-760-1370 Enei Begay, Black Mesa Water Coaltion, 928-380-6296
Photo: Elouise Brown and Tom Goldtooth. Courtesy photo.