64 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 26 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/25/21

In Indian Country, It's Not the Weather, It's the Racism That's Leaving Thousands in the Dark

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments

From Smirking Chimp

Monumental Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Monumental Valley Navajo Tribal Park
(Image by minniemouseaunt from flickr)
  Details   DMCA

Around 30,000 homes in Texas still have no power, and millions of Texans remain under a boil-water mandate days after a deadly winter storm wiped out that state's weak water and energy systems.

In Texas, president Biden has officially declared this scenario a disaster, and the state's failed leadership stands squarely under attack.

Media coverage has been empathetic. Audiences across the country have heard the heart-wrenching stories of people like eleven-year-old Cristian Pavon, who froze in his family's mobile home, or Loan Le who died with her three grandchildren in a home fire in Sugarland.

But if deaths from lack of care, cold, and a lack of access to electricity are deemed disasters in Texas, how do we explain the fact that of the 55,000 homes in the Navajo Nation, about 15,000 don't have electricity now, or at any time?

If the fragility of the grid is an emergency requiring urgent attention at all levels of government in Texas, how do we live with the decades-long reality that tens of thousands of families in Indian Country have had no electricity and limited cell and broadband access not for a day or a week, but for years already?

Even as those needs got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no outcry about families unable to stay home because they couldn't refrigerate food or kids struggling to learn remotely with no light for reading and no wifi for miles on the reservation.

In Indian country, it's not the weather that's the problem, it's the racism and the disregard.

The flip side of the indigenous story is that fed-up Native Americans have been helping themselves and each other. And they're turning to renewable energy to transition not just to cleaner power, but also to become self-sufficient from greedy utility non-providers. Seeking energy independence, groups like Native Renewables have been advancing off-grid solar solutions to cut-off Navajo people, whether local government is supporting them or not.

And one of the leaders of this transition, Wahleah Johns, has just joined the Biden administration where she'll be heading up the Office of Indian Energy and sharing her experiences with the Navajo Nation and strategies for energy independence with thousands of other Indigenous communities.

Who knows, maybe she'd be willing to talk to some fed-up Texans.

You can see my interviews with up-and-coming indigenous leaders, and see them in action in local government, philanthropy, and self-organizing, this week on The Laura Flanders Show. Watch it on YouTube or on PBS stations across the country. Click here for listings.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Rate It | View Ratings

Laura Flanders Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Laura Flanders is the host of "GRIT TV" the new, news and culture discussion program aired daily on Free Speech TV (Dish Network ch. 9415) and online at the popular blog site Firedoglake.com. Flanders also hosts RadioNation, on Air America (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Jeff Sessions Sets Back the Clock

WTF White Women?

Democracy vs Dictatorship: Don't Let Bloomberg Muddy That Choice

Arundhati Roy on Fiction in the Face of Rising Fascism

Woodstock Urges Roaming

Is Donald Trump Responsible for Violence? Yes.

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend