Coal Mine Closures Creating a Heating Crisis
Hopis are abruptly losing their primary heat source with closure of the coal mines on the Colorado Plateau in 2019. For decades Hopi households have received free coal cards to obtain sufficient coal for the winter. They only had to obtain a small amount of firewood to start their coal.
Now, all at once, Hopis are having to find alternatives.
Propane, electric and firewood all require cash income to provide.
Wood costs less than gas or electric, but many families lack the means to obtain firewood (due to low cash income and/or transportation and tools to do wood cutting).
Visualize that it takes 3 long bed pick ups with wood piled as high as the cab to supply one household. This wood has to be cut on forests that are at least a 2 hour drive from Hopi or purchased from vendors.
Compounding the challenge, many families do not have the right type of stove to burn firewood.
Short Term Emergency Support Project for elders in need of firewood.
This fall and winter, we are helping fund firewood deliveries to Hopi seniors who lack the means to obtain firewood. Our volunteer, Hugh Hoglan, is coordinating a small-scale support project in coordination with Hopis we know who are reaching out to help elders at 2nd Mesa. All photos on this page were taken by Hugh or Lainie Hoglan in fall, 2019.
Hugh has mainly been working with Hopis at 2nd Mesa to: haul wood, repair trucks and trailers, and purchase wood cutting equipment, and develop skills with chain saw use and maintenance. He also helps find sources of firewood, good deals on good quality used wood stoves, and hauls loads of wood in his own pick up and trailer.
We suggest that Hopi people who are looking for support with firewood and coal contact their village Community Service Administrator to see what support help may be available through their village or the Hopi Tribe during this transition time of coal mine closing.
Donations in support of firewood for Hopi elders and others in need of winter firewood are welcome.
We are a small, but dedicated, all-volunteer group based in Sedona and the surrounding Verde Valley. None of us receive compensation for our work.
Donations of pick up trucks and/or trailers in good working condition are welcomed by Hopi woodcutters.
We are providing funding in support of:
- the chimney sweep training classes being taught by Red Feather Development Group non-profit
- installation of 2 solar heaters demos for a community center and a home as part of Red Feather’s work to pilot development of sustainable heat sources
- we also purchased 2 large loads of wood for the 2nd & 1st Mesa villages which Red Feather coordinated and had delivered to 2 village woodlot compounds for distribution to elders in need.
See info on October 3, 2019 program presented by Red Feather Development Group that we sponsored: Hopi Winter Heating Crisis
Red Feather Facebook page describes many of their current projects.
Hopi and Coal Mining on Black Mesa, article in our blog
“Ancestral Hopis adapted to using coal dug by hand from natural seams…archaeological remains show that Hopi ancestors in the Black Mesa area have used coal extensively during the 13th to 17th centuries.”
Coal Runs for the Hopi, article in our blog
This informative article by Mary Boles from 2013 gives an idea of the work involved in getting coal from the mine.