-Leroy Jackson died because he tried to protect the land," says Diné CARE president Earl Tulley. "If he didn't stand up against logging, he'd still be alive."
Jackson, a Diné CARE co-founder, was found
dead in his van near Chama, N.M., last October (HCN, 11/1/93).
Despite suspicious circumstances, investigators ruled it an
accidental methadone overdose. Friends and family say he never used
"I was with him for 20 years," says
Jackson's widow Adella Begaye, "and I know he didn't die
accidentally by his own hand, I know that in my heart."
His death brought Diné CARE more
visibility, but also revealed how dangerous this fight had become,
A lot of money and resources are at
stake in the Chuskas, she says, adding that the next battle will
probably be over major oil reserves. Begaye believes that her
husband had simply become too successful at foiling big-money
Friends and co-workers have vowed to
continue Jackson's work. "If you believe in something, it's going
to cost," Tulley says with conviction. "So we are staying the
course in the midst of sorrow and disbelief. We want to fulfill
Leroy's wishes to make people accountable for the raping of the