History

 

Black Mesa Water Coalition is dedicated to preserving and protecting Mother Earth and the integrity of Indigenous Peoples’ cultures. Our vision is to help build and strengthen sustainable, healthy communities while striving to empower young people.

We are primarily located in Flagstaff, Arizona, with additional offices and staff across the Navajo Nation. BMWC was formed in 2001 by a group of young students to address issues of water depletion, natural resource exploitation, and health promotion within Navajo and Hopi communities. We continue to be led strongly by young adults while relying on an inter-generational support network. BMWC has been working to organize Navajo and Hopi communities for the protection of our lands, water and future generations. We work in collaboration with surrounding communities and organizations to more effectively address the problems we collectively face.

The effort to protect our lands and waters is connected to so many facets of life and living. The problems our communities are facing are deeply tied to a history of colonization and a growing reliance on an unsustainable culture and lifestyle. The roots of these problems are not always easy to see and many times cannot be easily remedied. BMWC has grown into an organization that is not only reactionary when needed, but also proactively working to build stronger, more sustainable communities.

The coalition was organized as a response to the destructive coal mining operations in the Black Mesa region, a sacred area in Navajo culture and the locus of important ceremonies and teachings. BMWC focuses on environmental justice with an inter-generational and empowering approach, recognizing that the conservation issues faced by Navajo and Hopi communities are linked not only to sustainable cultures but also to larger indigenous and environmental movements worldwide; BMWC partners with the Indigenous Environmental Network and Native Movement. Initiatives include the No Coal and Environmental Justice Program, the Navajo Green Economy Program, and Leadership Development and Movement Building.