Above photo: Getty images.
“Reinforcement of racist legal legacies of native dispossession.”
The Pueblo of Zuni would be remiss in this context to remain silent on the recent legal position taken by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Chi’chil Bildagoteel (i.e., Oak Flat) and the Resolution Copper mine in Arizona. The Administration’s stated position is unfortunate and extremely troubling, as it is in fact little more than a continuation of a policy of containment and erasure of Native peoples (see Whyte 2017) that directly contradicts in substance, content, and spirit the Administration’s own E.O. 13985. This position is a reinforcement and reproduction of racist legal legacies of Native dispossession in the United States (see Hand et al. 2012; Hutt 2009; Miller 1998) that gives preference to and promotes resource extraction and environmental destruction to the detriment of the capacities Native people indelibly require for any advancement or support of equity. It cannot be stated strongly enough that this position advanced by the United States government and its DOJ are some of the most intensive institutional and structural barriers that continue to undermine equal opportunities, produce and reproduce social and economic inequities and health disparities, and-in effect if not intent-work to simultaneously promote and perpetuate material, epistemic, and ontological injustices on Native peoples (see Hand et al. 2012; Fricker 2009; Kidd et al. 2017; Miller 1998; Tsosie 2012; Wilson 2017).
This consideration is fundamental and its foundational geographical implications and explications cannot be overstated for the Pueblo of Zuni and, indeed, all Native peoples of the lands and waters that comprise the United States: without directly, foundationally, and restoratively confronting and continually materially addressing and redressing geographical injustices of governmental and colonial-settler actions, programs, and procedures that have occurred-and continue to occur-over space and time, the Biden-Harris Administration and 0MB cannot sincerely, meaningfully, honestly, or effectively advance any reasonable levels or forms of equity and support for Native peoples. On the contrary, the Administration will simply perpetuate and reproduce ongoing injustices of ethnically cleansing Native peoples from Native lands (see Kantor 2007; Wemytewa 2012; Whyte 2017; Wildcat 2013).
Read the letter from the Pueblo of Zuni to the Biden administration: 20210701-pueblo-of-zuni-letter-to-president-biden_zuni-governor-signature_01july2021-protest-of-stance-against-apache