Even The Navajo Can't Stand Her
I was blogging before there was actually a word for it. In this case, it related to a bunch of Oregon white holier-than-thou types sniffing at me that the evil Hopi thugs were beating up the poor innocent Navajos in Arizona. Well, having grown up a piece in New Mexico, and having played a lot of touch football at the Indian School on Cerillos Road in Santa Fe, I was sure they had it backwards.
After all, the Navajo reservation in NW Arizona, NE New Mexico, and a bit of Utah covers an area the size of West Virginia with half a million Navajo completely SURROUNDING the Hopi Reservation of about 10,000 Hopi, a group noted for their NON-Violent approach to religion.
As urban-dwelling farmers for thousands of years, they were quite a contrast to the hunter/gatherer Navajo. Perhaps the snooty white women had it backwards.
After all, the Navajo/Apache have a bit of a rep among the Pueblo Indians - Hopi slang for Navajo refers to their alleged favorite method of killing victims, Tuh-sah-vo, or "Head Crushers."
"No, no!" I was told: "You don't know anything you STUPID WHITE MAN
So, my wife and I packed up the van, and WENT there. I'd been there before several times — my favorite shortcut home from the West Coast used to be north off of I-40 to the Grand Canyon at Williams, AZ, thence east along the gorge of the Little Colorado, juke north to Tuba City, then across to Farmington and Ship Rock, and thence down to Santa Fe. I had driven through the Hopi Rez several times, cutting south from Tuba City to the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, but hadn't stopped.
This time, we did. A series of investigative pieces followed over a few years. Alas, the national Press Corpse knows about as much about Native Americans as they seem to know about "facts," and my reports stand in stark contrast to the typically flim-flammed "dude" who's spent a couple days in Indian Country and thinks they can write with authority on the cross-cultural issues involved. After more than 500 years, we still have very little idea WHO it was that we stole this continent from. (In most cases, they might as well be from Mars, for all we know about them.)
I visited again, and rode the back country with a Hopi Range monitor, who showed me the "Sun Dance" sites, etc. in 2002. It may be time to go again. Anyway, this piece is in the news again, and I've spent two days bringing the broken links back up to date.
Since you're getting this for free, you won't complain if I reprint the 2000 article. Take a couple days. I'm researching on some amazing stuff. From my website, 2000:
Who is Marsha Monestersky
(And Why is She Saying all those Terrible Things about the Hopi)?
or, the Internet record of
M. Monestersky (Hjulstrom)
an investigative report by Hart Williams
NOTE, March 2007: Ms. Monestersky is in the news again, this time for her unwelcome presence on the Navajo Rez. This report dates from 2000, and chronicles both her 1996 "excommunication" from Louise Benally and the 'Sovereign Dineh Nation' and her 2000 Exclusion hearing in Hopi Tribal Court. This Jewish activist with old ties to the NATLFED/Communist Party USA insists that she should be on the NPL/HPL no matter what tribal courts and organizations on either side of the "Hopi/Navajo" dispute have to say about it. Ironically, as a gringo, tribal courts have very limited jurisdiction over her, which, perhaps, explains her ability, over a decade and more to, evidently, remain where she's not welcome.
[3-29-07 - I have resurrected most broken links, and added time-appropriate new links where available.]
"Guests and fish smell after three days."
— B. Franklin/Poor Richard
"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents ..."
-- Robert F. Kennedy, THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE (1964)
IT IS FIT AND PROPER FOR US TO BANISH MARSHA MONESTERSKY (HJULSTROM), FROM OUR HOMES AND LAND FOREVER....
—Sovereign Dineh Nation, 1996
On January 9, 1998, a forum entitled: "PROPHECIES, DREAMS, STRUGGLES: THE CULTURE AND RELIGION OF THE DINEH" began in New York City:
"Good afternoon. Welcome to the Church Center for the United Nations and welcome to this forum. My name is Liberato Bautista. I am the main representative of the UN Office of the General Board of Church and Society to the United Nations, and we're glad that you're here. The World Council of Churches, the Women in Development represented here by Maria Arias-Zeballos, and our board has served for several weeks now as a steering committee in preparation for this forum and for some other activities that will culminate in a delegation that is going to Black Mesa in the first week of February."
After an invocation and a long-winded speech, with a short teaser from the infamous "documentary" "Broken Arrow," the real mover and shaker of the proceedings was introduced:
"It is wonderful to be here and to see all of you. My name is Marsha Monestersky. I am a consultant to the Sovereign Dineh Nation and I am also co-chair to the NGO Human Rights Caucus at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. It is wonderful to see you all today and to see the support for the Dineh."
The only problem was that Marsha Monestersky allegedly WASN’T a consultant to SDN. According to the SDN Primenet site, she was actually on the run from the Navajo Tribal Police, criminal charges having been filed against her by and according TO the SDN:
[Note: The SDN takes its name from having "seceded" from the Union, the Navajo Nation, and, one presumes, Planet Earth — claiming to obey no law whatsoever, save for that that the "gods" conveniently supply them. Strangely, the "gods" always seem to urge the SDN to do what the SDN originally WANTED to do....]
No one could doubt Monestersky’s devotion to The Cause. The only problem was that the SDN claimed she operated from a moral compass that seemed entirely her own.
Benally, the leader of the Big Mountain resisters seemingly posted a document on-line accusing Monestersky ("Monstersky" in the link) of some serious transgressions:
THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON WHO HAS:
Was this the SAME person who in 1998 was stage-managing a film, shaman and Dineh show for goggle-eyed New Yorkers and UN bigwigs?
It was. According to Mauro Oliveira of SOL Communications (on whose stationery Monestersky is listed as a board member, and in whose behalf Oliveira writes to the Hopi Tribal Council in an undated letter posted at Sol’s website):
[Note: It seems an act of sheerest lunacy that Oliveira would write to the Hopi Tribal Council, "this is the person who organized the UN trip to paint you as devils before the world" as a means of convincing the Tribe NOT to exclude Monestersky from the Reservation, but there it is in black and white. Thus far, I have no explanation for this strange "character witness" epistle. HW]
Reporter Jerry Kammer, profiled Monestersky this way in the ARIZONA REPUBLIC on February 2, 2000:
"A former student radical and labor organizer, Monestersky calls herself a "consultant" to the Sovereign Dine Nation - as some Navajos resisting relocation label themselves. At 47, she's perhaps the most visible member of an international community of non-Indians protesting relocation. She's also the most controversial."
Indeed, the earliest record of Marsha (Hjulstrom at the time, if Benally is to be believed) is, seemingly, this posting, from 1992, from the Native-L Archives:
Is it Monestersky? The internal evidence seems to indicate that it is.
By 1997, Monestersky was in New York City, instrumental in arranging the abortive visit to HPL of Abdelfattah Amor, the UN "Special Rapporteur for Religious Intolerance" whose presence at Big Mountain in early 1998 was meant, some believe, to both embarrass the United States, and accomplish through negative publicity what endless lawsuits, protests and an almost endless litany of half-truths and distortions could not: denying the Hopi Tribe jurisdiction over the HPL, the former "joint-use" lands.
Amor didn’t bother finding out that there was another side to the dispute, and, when he arrived in Arizona in February 1998, was embarrassed to find that he was, technically, trespassing by visiting the HPL without bothering to ask for permission, and infringing on a Hopi religious ceremonial month.
[Amor refused to meet with Hopi Tribal leaders on Hopi land, evidently preferring, instead, to believe the oft-repeated lie that the Hopi Tribal Council was a "puppet government" and that the late Dan Evehama, "Emory" (Holmes?) and Martin Gasweseoma at Big Mountain were the true Hopi. Not an auspicious record for someone battling "religious intolerance."]
Nonetheless, in September of 1999, an e-mail epistle sent to several internet mailing lists stated that "apartheid" must end at Big Mountain, and carried the distorted claim that: "A Report issued by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance of the UN Commission on Human Rights makes a finding of discrimination by the US." The letter was signed by, among others, "Marsha Monestersky, Consultant, and carried the return address "Dinetah29@aol.com," which was the regular e-mail address for letters allegedly to and from Ms. Monestersky.
[What Amor actually said, tucked away down in a long report and all but obscured in the midst of a blizzard of bureaucratese, was this: "On the subject of Black Mesa, the Special Rapporteur calls for the observance of international law on freedom of religion and its manifestations." Not exactly the damning accusation the Big Mountaineers had hoped for.]
Monestersky had, by co-chairing the UN NGO Human Rights Caucus while in "exile" in New York, seemingly managed to convince, with endless testimony from Navajo resisters, and a wealth of other "green" testimonials, that the poor Navajo of Big Mountain were being denied their very right to practice their religion by jack-booted Hopi Rangers in thrall to the U.S. Government and the 'nefarious' Peabody Coal Company.
Amor received the obligatory (and seemingly intellectually intimidating) letter from Thayer Scudder, Professor of Anthropology at CalTech.* [see article]
Another attempt to have the Navajo religion declared "matriarchal" and the relocation a violation of "women’s rights" by the same UN panels (and to have another Special Rapporteur) died in its infancy. The UN was having no more. Whether this was because of Monestersky’s involvement or lack of it is unclear from the record.
But Monestersky was no longer "in the dog house" as far as the SDN was concerned. Armed with a letter from San Francisco "environmental lawyer" Charles Miller, Monestersky returned to live near HPL sometime in 1998 as a "legal assistant," exploiting Tribal Law that forbade exclusion of same, as Miller put it in a letter to many of the same newsgroups in August of 1999: "As an attorney, I represent Navajo families who reside on the Hopi Partitioned Lands ("HPL"). I have retained Ms. Monestersky to be my legal assistant and consultant with regard to this representation."
[Note: This article is entirely from the internet record, and whether Text of response to the Hopi Tribe submitted from the: "Law Office of Charles M. Miller 225 Bush Street-16th floor San Francisco, CA 94104 Telephone: (415) 439-8357 Facsimile: (415) 439-8358 Cellular: (415) 608-0635 e-mail: email@example.com VIA FAX AND U.S. MAIL July 2, 1999 RE: NOTICE OF PROPOSED ORDER OF EXCLUSION MARSHA JOAN MONESTERSKY:" is authentic or a forgery is unknown. Such is the nature of the Internet]
Was Monestersky a "legal assistant and consultant"?
Certainly in June 1999, the following was sent via e-mail to activists and newsgroups around the world:
The opening statement that she has lived on Black Mesa for the past seven years is questionable, unless one believes that midtown Manhattan is an extreme eastern arm of Black Mesa, since she was demonstrably there through most of 1997. Add to this Miller’s alleged statement in the letter quoted above:
"You should be advised that Ms. Monestersky does not reside on the Reservation. Therefore, the Proposed Order is incorrect to the extent it seeks to remove Ms. Monestersky from the Reservation because she resides there. Therefore, we will only address the several reasons why Ms. Monestersky, as a nonresident of the Reservation, is not in violation of Hopi Ordinance 46 and not subject to exclusion."
As for that legal term, "pro se—Denotes that a party is appearing ‘for himself,’ rather than with representation by an attorney" states the Mississippi Bar’s "Guide to Legalese."
And an "Administrative Court" is a "Court of Limited Jurisdiction" something like a bankruptcy court, or a tax court. Monestersky’s assertion that her suit was "initially successful" seems to indicate that the case was lost when taken to an actual court of competent jurisdiction.
The SDN alleged in 1996: "You and your twin sister, Rita Sebastion (sic), are not Dine' and you both shall not imply or claim to be the ‘Monster Slayer Twins’, or the fulfillment of Dine' (and Hopi) prophecy; You shall go back to your world that you came from, taking with you, your lies on paper, your ventriloquist dolls, and your followers," which some might feel indicates a rich fantasy life.
There seems to be a lack of candor in the bio for the "Law Journal" article. And further research reveals that this purported "Law Journal" may represent something far more sinister than a mere forum for yet another White "activist"s determination of who IS and who ISN’T a legitimate Hopi, and how we Whites shouldn’t interfere with Indigenous Peoples (except, of course, in this case, on this side of the question).
Strangely, Monestersky’s article contains NO footnotes or citations. This is all but unheard-of in law reviews, and there are virtually NO references to the many legal cases and appeals filed in the 30-odd years of the modern HPL/NPL dispute. Monestersky’s "legal" article doesn’t sound legal at all: merely a political rehash of every "genocide," "coal conspiracy," "radiation" and "bulldozer" allegation made a thousand times before to various "activist" groups on behalf of the HPL Navajo "resisters" over the past quarter century.
Even the title "American Apartheid," seems to barely even fit the story itself. The parallel is difficult, if not impossible to find in the article.
But putting "Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals" into a search engine turns up something quite disturbing, and unanticipated.
The "CCLP" who publish "VERDICT Magazine" and "VERDICT" itself are – according to the website, "The Truth About NATLFED" both fronts for (and have been known as such since the early 1970s) an organization known as the Provisional Party of Communists, but is more commonly referred to by its main front name, the National Labor Federation, or NATLFED, or the CPUSA/P (Communist Party USA, Provisional).
Links on the ex-NATLFED site include FACTnet, the Anti-Defamation League, articles in the NEW YORK TIMES, the American Family Foundation site, Rick Ross (a debunker of "cults"), and others. There is a large archive of articles (going back decades) at: http://www.users.interport.net/~xnatlfed/artindex.html
According to the Anti-Defamation League, "The CPUSA/P which has been described as a cult, attracts idealistic young followers with "progressive" volunteer opportunities, but soon allegedly attempts to brainwash supporters, turning them into soldiers ready for a revolution aimed at overthrowing the United States Government ... According to Professor Harvey Klehr of Emory University ... CPUSA/P has its members live communally, work continuously and give their money to the organization, prompting charges that they are "political Moonies."
The NEW YORK TIMES [11/14/96] reported:
Sinister, indeed. But what does this have to do with the "CCLP" and VERDICT Magazine?
From the [New York] Daily News, 11/14/96:
Listed on the NCCLP Board of Directors on the letterhead that came with my copy of VERDICT: "Amanda Reid, J.D." and "Daniel P. Foster, J.D."
[Note: at LEAST five other names on the letterhead have been identified as long-time NATLFED operatives, one of whom was, additionally, disbarred in the same case cited above. Others are currently being identified. This investigation is ongoing. - HW]
According to the organization that operates "The Truth about NATLFED" website (ex-members and parents of members):
And, on another page: CCLP "Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals," and this facsimile of the VERDICT cover:
The Eagle-bearing-scales logo is the same (albeit it is used inside my magazine copy) used on the NCCLP letterhead. There is no reasonable doubt that CCLP and Verdict are fronts of the same organization arrested in New York City in 1996.[Was "former student radical and labor organizer" Monestersky there when the arrests transpired? The record is unclear. She is nearby at the UN in 1997, however. The coincidence is legally unconvincing, and yet it is remarkable.]
This reporter obtained a copy of the magazine containing Ms. Monestersky’s "legal article" and it IS the same publication. Cheaply printed with two-color card stock cover and blank inside front cover, the "magazine for legal professionals" claims to be a quarterly and clocks in at a mere 48 pages (barely more than a newsletter)! The ads are, often as not, business cards from lawyers. Vendors I contacted stated that smaller ads cost them about $100 each and that they were telephonically solicited. They knew nothing about the magazine itself.
Just in case, however, I contacted the source quoted in one of the NEW YORK TIMES pieces, who replied: "I would guess that none of the contributors know exactly who they're dealing with, but some may actively support what they do know about them. I assure you, with no doubt, that this is the same VERDICT which is put out to boost the same CCLP for the same Natlfed." (source asked name not be used).
The West Coast mailing address is a somewhat disheveled private residence (not law offices, as one would expect, at a minimum) in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles, near the confluence of the 10 and 405 Freeways.
Perhaps Ms. Monestersky is entirely oblivious to the ultimate purposes of her publishers. There is no hard evidence that she is a member of the "cult," as the ADL terms it. According to the Anti-Defamation League:
Still, "group propaganda suggests that the real aim of [CPUSA/P] recruiting efforts is to attract followers for the eventual overthrow of the U.S. government," and Ms. Monestersky seems by her writings and actions openly hostile to the U.S. government for disagreeing with her policies. So we can’t DISCOUNT a connection between Monestersky and CPUSA/P aka NATLFED. Certainly the UN visit was an attempt to publicly embarrass and humiliate the US Government.
The only fact confirmed thus far is that Monestersky’s "legal article" has been published by and acted as a fundraiser FOR a group known to advocate the violent overthrow of the government. Still, in the same issue, VILLAGE VOICE columnist Nat Hentoff and famed San Francisco lawyer Nathan Cohn have articles, although I have been unable to learn whether or not the articles were printed with Cohn and Hentoff’s knowledge. [2007: Hentoff refused to reply to repeated requests for clarification.] Do THEY support NATLFED (they are listed as on the CCLP’s Board of Directors as well, on the letterhead)?
There is no indication one way or another.
On August 18, a breathless Monestersky allegedly wrote, for wide distribution on the internet:
From the Anti-Defamation League Backgrounder: "In the early morning of Tuesday, November 12, 1996, prompted by a telephone tip suggesting child abuse, police officials raided three adjacent brownstones in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Once inside, the officials discovered a maze of secret tunnels linking the houses, extensive supplies, large barrels and freezers stocked with food, and a small arsenal of weapons. Police arrested close to 30 members of the Communist Party USA/Provisional (CPUSA/P)
Nonetheless, when terms like "American apartheid," and "genocide," are used, and statements like: ". In 1974, the Washington Post published an article, "Whose Home on the Range?", that basically said, "If you want to find out who's running the Hopi Tribal Council, you could call the Mormons in Salt Lake City [Utah]" are made before members of the World Council of Churches, then there ARE no guarantees that groups like NATLFED aren’t being recruited as a "last resort" if final evictions are attempted by the BIA at Big Mountain.
The only certainly is that there is no overabundance of truthfulness here.
As this is written, Ms. Monestersky is awaiting a hearing before the Hopi Tribal Council. She has (seemingly) sent out a letter over the internet, asking:
We know some of the contents of Mr. Oliveira’s letter were. Who can say who her friends and enemies are? After all, when Louise Benally allegedly wrote her SDN letter, allegedly excluding Monestersky from Big Mountain, many SDN allegedly signed the alleged letter:
From Louise Benally in 1996:
It seems ironic, indeed, that Kee Shay will now be the other party at the exclusion order hearing to bar both Shay AND Monestersky from the Hopi reservation.
At the same time, she’s the accepted spokesperson for the Big Mountain resistance, as putting her name into any search engine will readily prove, and was the contact person, evidently, for AP writer Pauline Arrillaga’s story that was carried from coast to coast, from the Boston Globe to the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard (often with just the AP tag, no byline):
"By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, Associated Press Writer, Jan 31, 2000
A jubilant Monestersky posted this personal letter* she’d received to the Internet shortly thereafter. It began:
"Navajos living on Hopi land to face eviction proceedings after Feb. 1
"By PAULINE ARRILLAGA"
[*NOTE 2007 - One seriously doubts that such an intimate letter was sent to anyone on the Hopi Tribal Council, which, according to my sources, was never contacted by the "reporter" in question. This is, frankly, corrupt reportage by any standard of minimal professionalism. - HW]
We just don’t know who she’s writing to.
2007 NOTE: On June 27, 2002, Monestersky lost her final appeal in the case Monestersky v. Hopi. Technically, she is permanently excluded from the Hopi Reservation, although my sources indicate that she has never paid any attention to the order. —HW