The prompt this week is "everybody hurts sometime".
In 1966, Robert Bennett, then commissioner of Indian Affairs, stopped all development on 1.6 million acres of tribal land in Arizona that was claimed by both the Navajo Nation and the Hopi tribe.
Bennett imposed the ban to stop either tribe from taking advantage of the other while they negotiated ownership. The ban became known as the Bennett Freeze and initially affected approximately 8,000 Navajo tribal members.
No development meant no new homes, no home expansions and no home repairs. They were not even allowed to fix roofs or windows. They could not start any type of businesses and they were not allowed new schools, paved roads, electricity, gas or water.
The United States government flew helicopters and planes over the area and if any development or repair work was discovered they were made to take it out.
The area and the Navajos that live there have also been adversely affected by industrial mining operations for coal and uranium.
There are approximately 1300 uranium mines located within the Bennett Freeze area, most of which have been abandoned without proper cleanup, resulting in soil and water contamination.
Here are some of the statistics from the area.
- Average unemployment of Navajo Nation is 65%... former Bennett Freeze area is 95%
- 77% of homes are considered uninhabitable by U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
- 97% of the homes of DO NOT HAVE electricity
- 90% of the homes DO NOT HAVE running water
- 10% of the populace must make a daily trip someplace for uncontaminated water
- Cancer rates among teenagers living near mine tailings are 17 times the national average
- Reproductive-organ cancer in teenage girls is 17 times the national average
- Infant mortality rate is 7.5 times the national average
- Area has high rate of teenage suicide
Yes, we all hurt sometime, but these people...wow