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A Reformation of Monsters

Jessie: Turn to 101.5, KTNN

[Navajo corn grinding song fades in]

Brett: The people in this area, this region, here you see all these canyons and mountains and things out here, this, this side of the Navajo Nation is filled with resistors.

Jessie: This is Black Mesa, a section of the Navajo reservation here in Arizona.

Brett Isaacs is part Hopi, part Navajo, and he is working to transition this nation to solar.

Brett: In Navajo when you're born, they take your umbilical cord and they bury it. Essentially when you say where you're from it's where your umbilical cord was buried because that ties you back to where you came up out of in existence in this world.

[guitar strumming, woman’s laughter]

Lorraine: My name is Lorraine Herder

Jessie: A low-roofed house, a small herd of sheep, 11 skinny dogs wrestling. Lorraine is a matriarch, she makes decisions for this land and her daughter and granddaughter will stay just as she has. She sits and cards wool.

[sound of wool being carded]

Lorraine: I raise Navajo churro sheep and I herd sheep and then I also am a plant dyer. I just use these natural plants around here, the sagebrush. When I use that plant it used to come out yellow-green but during this summer when I used it it was almost like charcoal cause of the drought that we had all year.

[building minor music]

Jessie: Lorraine and her husband have fought to stay on their land as outside powers and a changing climate have encroached.

Dan: My name is Dan Herder. I met my wife in high school and she lived out here, and it was probably about the late 60s I think, in the early 70s is when they built the power plant in Paige and about around that time the early 70s they started mining, and they been pumping our aquifer all these years.

Jessie: Peabody, that is. The corporation who mined the seams of coal in this mesa, mixing it with aquifer water into a slurry in order to pipe it to the nearby Navajo Generating Station. This is Brett speaking again.

Brett: The latest colonizer is energy, so, coal markets, uranium, natural gas. All those industries touch the N