Target: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Goal: Support the Peshlakai family in their fight to stay on the land their ancestors have lived on for generations
Stella Peshlakai Smith and her family have lived on the grasslands of Wupatki in northern Arizona for generations. Ever since Wupatki became a national monument, the Peshlakai family have slowly trickled out of the area. They either left voluntarily or under the pressure of the National Park Service. Although the Peshlakais and many other Navajo families have lived there for generations before the area became a national monument, the National Park Service still strive to eradicate any private use of the public land that they oversee.
Since Stella Peshlakai Smith is not only the last member of her family on that land but also the last Navajo to live on the Wupatki National Monument, when she passes and her residency permit dies with her the Navajo presence in the Wupatki will be gone forever. Stella Peshlakai Smith and her family, including the members of her extended family, continue with their struggle against the National Park Service in Wupatki, and also continue to fight for the land their family members have lived on for generation upon generation.
Although the struggle over the land still continues, the decision of whether the Peshlakais and other Navajos may live on the land is completely up to elected officials. Sign this petition and support the Peshlakais and other Navajos whose families have thrived on the Wupatki land for generations.
Dear Governor Jan Brewer,
It has come to my attention that Stella Peshlakai Smith is the last member of the Peshlakai family and the last Navajo to still live on the Wupatki National Monument. Furthermore, when she dies, the presence of the Navajo in the Wupatki area will die along with her. Although I understand that the land is now a national monument and that private use of public land is discouraged, I also believe that Navajo families should be allowed to maintain their lives on the Wupatki land. I feel like it must have been a devastating time for the Peshlakais and other Navajo families when they were told they could not continue living on the land their relatives generations before them thrived upon.
To be told to leave the land she grew up on must have given Stella Peshlakai Smith feelings of pain and sadness that would be incomprehensible to people who have never been in such a situation. I urge you to consider helping the Peshlakais and other Navajo families who used to live on the Wupatki land in their struggle to return to the land they once called home.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Smack via Wikimedia