Part 1: Broken Rainbow
The Broken Rainbow is a movie that depicts the displacement of the Navajo people in Arizona by the government of the United States (Maria and Victoria 1). This displacement followed the occupation by the Navajo of a land that had the potential of producing coal, oil and generating electricity.
The power plants
The power plants were built to ease the concerns of the people of California that had rejected the idea of sharing the water of river Colorado. Arizona politicians adopted the Central Arizona Project that led to the construction of power plants in Page and Laughlin. A lot of water was used to slurry the coal that was being mined at the Black Mesa.
John Boyden was a central figure in Utah democratic politics for a long time. Not only did Boyden have friendly ties with governors but also with presidents. As a prominent Salt Lake City lawyer, Boyden was a strategic candidate for legal cases that went on at the time. Following an earlier rejection of Boyden by the leaders of the Navajo tribe that led to the appointment of Norma Littell as the attorney of the Navajo, Boyden felt rejected and sought the services of Hopi Council. He signed agreements with majority of the Hopi villages in a bid to restore his legitimacy (Maria & Victoria 1). Boyden managed to persuade the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to recognize his legitimacy through the petition he filed with the department of interior asking the department to grant the Hopi full mineral rights.
DOI’s waiver of environmental regulations
The Department of Interior waived environmental regulations in the area to allow for increased mining due to the potential of the area and the interest of the U.S. government to increase the production of energy. The land that the Navajo and Hopi occupied was of great interest to the government of the United States. The Black Mesa super formation was perceived as a potential region for the exploration of power, oil and gas (Maria & Victoria 1). The region has rich-coal deposits that raised the interest of the government. The Black Mesa, though perceived as an environmental disaster, was a significant economic and political development. In this regard, the United States government was keen to advance its political interests by increasing the economic prospects of the region and by nation. Compromising environmental regulations was a possible way to achieve this goal.
Signing of the treaty and compensation
The United States government and the Navajo leaders signed an agreement in 1868 at Fort Summer. The agreement was signed on the promise of a number of things that include establishment of a reservation, compulsory education for young children, agricultural incentives and supply of seeds to the Navajo people by the US government (Maria & Victoria 1). The agreement also encompassed protection of the rights of the Navajo people, building railroads and forts. In addition, the treaty proposed compensation of tribal members which included provision of clothing, food and raw materials of up to five dollars per individual Navajo tribal member.
Part 2 Cursed by Coal: Mining
Things have changed for the Hopi and Navajo people in Arizona following the events that occurred in the Black Mesa. Cursed by Coal video depicts this region as abundant of energy resources especially coal. The vast coal deposits in this region has made it attractive for mineral exploration. The coal explored in this area provide electricity that powers the entire Southwest region. It has also created jobs for the Navajo people. However, the region has encountered far reaching environmental implications due to mining. Xu reports that the future of Navajo people is likely to be characterized by environmental degradation, displacement and health concerns (1). The relationship between the Navajo and the Hopi has been fraught for many years. Krista observed that before the arrival of the Europeans, the two tribes had a peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationship. While the Hopi occupied agricultural villages on top of the Mesa, the Navajo settled and grazed their livestock below the mesa (1). The forced interment of the Navajo in the 1860 made them encroach the Black Mesa. This encroachment marked the beginning of perennial land dispute among the two tribes that has existed to date.
Krista, Langlois. “Why the Hopi rangers are impounding sheep at Black Mesa.” High
Country News. (2014, November 26). Available at http://www.hcn.org/articles/why-are-hopi-rangers-impounding-sheep-at-black-mesa
Maria, Florio and Victoria, Mudo. “The Broken Rainbow.” YouTube. (2010, December 16).
Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5z8OgMfXXc
Xu, Iris. “Cursed by Coal: Mining the Navajo Nation.” YouTube. (2015, March 18).
Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4uGCj6knVw