Skinwalkers [Other nations, other cultures]

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu May 15 06:45:03 MDT 2003

Hunter Gray wrote:
> Note by Hunterbear:
> Other nations, other cultures.  The Navajo Nation, geographically bigger
> than the state of West Virginia, presently numbers about 250,000 people.
> In the wake of the very poor PBS film on Skinwalkers [and my scathing
> review], I continue to get inquiries about these Navajo "witch runners" --
> and the two consecutive pages on our large website dealing with the topic
> continue to be heavily visited.

This reminds me of something I forgot to post yesterday:

NY Times, May 14, 2003
Navajo Miners Battle a Deadly Legacy of Yellow Dust

CROWNPOINT, N.M. — I drove west across an ocher sagebrush plain, past 
pinto ponies grazing next to a Pentecostal revival tent, past the 
ribbed, rutted dirt road that leads north to Chaco Canyon, the sacred, 
ancestral home of the Anasazi, the ancient ones.

I was on the eastern edge of the vast Navajo Reservation, heading toward 
Crownpoint, a Navajo community of almost 3,000 people astride the 
Continental Divide about 100 miles northwest of Albuquerque. It is the 
administrative and educational hub of the Eastern Navajo Agency and the 
site of the Indian Health Service Hospital.

The Crownpoint I.H.S. hospital serves more than 20,000 Navajo who live 
in small communities and isolated traditional hogans across the high 
desert of northwestern New Mexico. I was driving to the Crownpoint 
Hospital to meet my good friend John Fogarty, a medical officer in the 
Indian Health Service. The Navajo in these parts call John the uranium 

The Diné (pronounced dee-NAY) or "the People," as the Navajo call 
themselves, have many stories about their origins. One says that as they 
emerged from the fourth world into the fifth and present world, they 
were given the choice of two yellow powders. One yellow powder was corn 
pollen, and that was the one they chose.

The other was the color of the dust that seems to give this land its 
golden hue, dust the color of yellowcake, the uranium oxide that fueled 
the nuclear age. So much yellowcake lies below the surface that a mining 
executive called this place the Saudi Arabia of uranium.

The Spirits said it had to be left alone. But from the late 1940's 
through the mid-80's, yellowcake was picked and shoveled and blasted and 
hauled in open-bed trucks, and then dried in mountainous piles at 
multiple sites in the American West. The Navajo, whose lands extend over 
western New Mexico, eastern Arizona and southern Utah, were at the 
epicenter of the uranium-mining boom, and thousands of Navajos worked in 
the mines. More than 1,000 abandoned mine shafts remain on Navajo land.



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