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The Magic of

This Place...


The Magic of this Place... is a compilation of works inspired by and in collaboration with the Greater Chaco Coalition. The artists are all participants in the Land Arts of the American West program. September 2018


Everyone holding this zine is connecting with the lives within the sacred lands of Diné (Navajo) and Pueblo Peoples. As we begin our communications, let us fully acknowledge from where we are writing and give thanks for the living mountains, valleys, and waters, which sustain our lives, and form Diné and Pueblo ancestral homelands. Let us ground our communications in awareness of where we are and may the mannerism of Diné and Pueblo Peoples enter our lives and fill us with gratitude, love, care, and respect for all that is shared between us and all beings. After experiencing the complex, heartbreaking reality of the Fracking is Fracking Reality Tour, led by Daniel Tso, we spent some time absorbing and reflecting. We heard about the fractured social and physical health of the communities in Northwest New Mexico. We saw the oppressive density of oil and gas wells. We smelled and tasted their toxic tailings. We listened to the omnipresent vibrations of the pumps. We touched the poisoned ground, where seeds of sustenance and lives of ancestors lie. We felt the headaches and heartaches that daily impact the lives of those whose homes reside here in the “national sacrifice zone.” We were charged by this community to hold this experience within our hearts and share what is forming there with our communities. In their own words, we pass this charge on to you. “We’re speaking from the heart, in the hopes that it touches your heart, motivates you to join our work. This is a critical time. The balance of nature is disrupted. We all need clean air, water, a place to live. Talk to your family, friends. Ask them to call and write to their representatives. I hear there is a device called ‘Instagram.’ You can Instagram it.” - Daniel Tso “The reality that we’re facing is we need help. People are dying. The land and water are suffering. We shouldn’t need a PhD to say harm is happening. It’s the culture of violence that needs to be disrupted--violence on our land, violence on our communities. It’s time to take a hard stand, what side we’re on. Are we for life or death? Peace or violence? It’s going to come with a lot of sacrifice, changes in the way we live. We were given everything we need--land, water, seeds. We now have an obligation to grow together. We need everyone to work together, because of the urgency.” - Anonymous


The magic of this place… There are sacred mountains North of us, East, West, and South of us… There are over 200 Chaco Houses spread across the landscape— each based on the Sun, Moon, and the Stars, aligned with them —that’s incredible.


There were great scientists here, trying to do something… The information—it’s encoded in nature—it leads to discoveries of how to survive in a desert ecosystem.” – Mario Atencio, Diné CARE


More than 91% in Northwest

are currently

Gas companies, wells in the San

More parcels are

auctioned off in


of public lands New Mexico

leased to Oil &

with over 40,000

Juan Basin alone. slated to be

the near future. - San Juan Citizens Alliance Oct. 2016


sometimes what lies in the open is invisible here is a natural gas well. underlying it are miles of pipelines, fractured foundations, and a cocktail of chemicals. here is someone’s yard. underlying it are millennia-old traditions of deep spiritual relations in an ancestral Homeland. we bury our ancestors underground. our roots lie there, with our pasts. what lies underneath is invisible. it cannot be seen, but it can be felt. many things are like this in the Greater Chaco area, invisible and sensible. spirituality, history, and culture cannot be seen and can be felt. racism, methane, and depression cannot be seen and can be felt. we bury our toxins underground. our ancestors lie there, with our plants. when seeing is believing, feeling is a bias. to find oil & gas undergound geologists use machines that feel the layers underground respond to seismic shocks. the machines tell the geologists what they’ve learned in a way that they can see. seeing is believing and feeling is understanding


Health Effects of Fracking

This indicates the common symptoms and health impacts known to be linked to chemicals associated with unconventional oil & gas development, including some of the chemicals captured in air samples as part of the project. Brain and Nervous System - Dizziness, headache, confusion, memory problems, impaired motor function: hydrgen sulfide, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, methylene chloride. Eyes, Nose, and Throat - Rashes, irritation, tearing eyes, bloody nos, cancer of the nose and throat: benzene, toluene, ethylbeneze, xylene, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde. Lungs - Cough, asthma, difficulty breathing, COPD, silicosis, lung cancer: Fine particulate matter, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, hydrogen sulfide, ozone, silica, radon, and methane. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these impacts. Heart and Blood - Anemia, chest pain, heart attack: arsenic, carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter, radium. Digestive System and Liver - Irritation of stomach and intestines, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage: formaldehyde, arsenic, xylenes. Reproductive System - Premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects like neural tube defects and congenital heart defects: Particulate matter, other exposures are likely contributing to reproductive system effects .


“WHEN YOU HAD THE CHANCE, DID YOU SAY SOMETHING?” - our children


“It’s a mystery what’s underground. Not everything is meant to be revealed to us.”


“The plants we use for medicinal purposes--they don’t grow everywhere. We were always told to take only what you need. They are also protecting what’s underneath. Everything has to be in balance for that plant to keep growing every year. We’re changing

things. What we take from the ground, from underneath, it has consequences. There is life underground--lizards, snakes, creatures. It’s coming to where the creatures don’t want to go underground. We saw snakes in March--that’s not supposed to happen.” - Samuel Sage


For more information and to learn how you may help the efforts already underway, please visit the Greater Chaco Coalition @ frackoffchaco.org Greater Chaco Coalition includes: Indigenous Community Leaders, Native Groups, Non-Profit Organizations, and Public Lands & Water Protectors in the Southwest and across the country working to stop fracking in Greater Chaco. Follow the Greater Chaco Coalition on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram We want to particularly thank Mario Atencio, Samuel Sage, Daniel Tso, and Beata Tsosie-PeĂąa for meeting with us and generously sharing ways in which the Land Arts of the American West program can be of service to the Greater Chaco Coalition Onward, in solidarity, Asha Canalos Blaise Koller Brionna Garcia Erin Gould Jeanette Hart-Mann Jessica Zeglin Kyle Holub nicholas b. jacobsen Rowan Willow Ryan Henel Sarah Canelas Xena Gurule


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The Magic of This Place  

The Magic of This Place is one of three zines created by 2018 Land Arts of the American West artists while visiting the Greater Chaco Region...

The Magic of This Place  

The Magic of This Place is one of three zines created by 2018 Land Arts of the American West artists while visiting the Greater Chaco Region...

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