ACTIVISTS LOCKED DOWN TO EQUIPMENT TO PROTEST DESTRUCTION ON SACRED SAN FRANCISCO PEAKS
Article updated Saturday.
New photos posted Thursday night:
French translation of this article:
Protest Halts Snowbowl Pipeline Development Thursday
Six people were arrested and one taken to the hospital for heat exposure after they locked themselves to heavy machinery to protect sacred San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl development. Five adults and one juvenile were arrested. Another juvenile was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center for excessive heat exposure.
Native Americans are protesting pipeline construction to the Snowbowl ski resort, which would carry sewage water for snowmaking. Native American medicine men gather herbs for healing on the mountain. Since time immemorial, the mountain has been sacred to 13 area American Indian Nations.
Kris Barney, Navajo, 22-year-old, was among those arrested. "Today, I took it upon myself to put out a message to the world about the importance of protecting Dooko'o'sliid, the Holy San Francisco Peaks. I was raised and taught to respect this mountain and all that lives and makes its home on her.
"With my involvement in physically attaching myself to an excavator I put my own health at risk in order to speak and act on behalf of all those who cannot speak for themselves: the birds, the plants, our Holy People and those yet unborn.
"This is a continuation of years of resistance, prayers, legal battles and with this action it is my hope that all Indigenous Peoples and others throughout North, East, South and West come together to offer support to the San Francisco Peaks and help put a stop to the Arizona Snowbowl's plan to further destroy and desecrate such a sacred, beautiful and pristine mountain. Our warriors I call all of you, wherever you are, to step up," Barney said.
On Thursday at sunrise, Navajos and others released a statement as they began this action.
"Today we take direct action to stop further desecration and destruction of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. We stand with our ancestors, with allies and with those who also choose to embrace diverse tactics to safeguard Indigenous People’s cultural survival, our community’s health, and this sensitive mountain ecosystem.
"On May 25th 2011, sanctioned by the US Forest Service, owners of Arizona Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Snowbowl’s hired work crews have laid over a mile and a half of the planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and six foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain.
"Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline. Not only do they disregard culture, environment, and our children’s health, they have proven that they are criminals beyond reproach.
"Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say 'enough!'" the group said. (See entire statement below.)
Those arrested were: Nadia del Callego, 27, Kristopher Barney, 22, Evan Hawbaker, 22, and Elizabeth Lavely, 28, Hailey Sherwood, 20, and two 16 year old juveniles. One of the juveniles was taken to the hospital for heat related illness.
Activists are protecting sacred San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl pipeline construction, which would carry sewage water for snow. Native medicine men gather herbs for healing on the mountain, sacred to 13 area Indian Nations.
Photos: Rally Thursday afternoon in support of the Snowbowl action.
Here's the statement of the defenders, before they locked themselves to heavy machinery and were arrested today:
Thursday morning, June 16, 2011
Contact: Beth Lavely
*PROTECT THE PEAKS – STOP DESTRUCTION AND DESECRATION NOW!*
Today we take direct action to stop further desecration and destruction of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. We stand with our ancestors, with allies and with those who also choose to embrace diverse tactics to safeguard Indigenous People’s cultural survival, our community’s health, and this sensitive mountain ecosystem.
On May 25th 2011, sanctioned by the US Forest Service, owners of Arizona Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Snowbowl’s hired work crews have laid over a mile and a half of the planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and six foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain.
Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline. Not only do they disregard culture, environment, and our children’s health, they have proven that they are criminals beyond reproach.
Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say “enough!”
As we take action, we look to the East and see Bear Butte facing desecration, Mt. Taylor facing further uranium mining; to the South, Mt.
Graham desecrated, South Mountain threatened, the US/Mexico border severing Indigenous communities from sacred places; to the West, inspiring resistance at Sogorea Te, Moana Keya facing desecration; to the North, Mt. Tenabo, Grand Canyon, Black Mesa, and so many more… our homelands and our culture under assault.
We thought that the USDA, heads of the Forest Service, had meant it when they initiated nationwide listening sessions to protect sacred places. If the process was meaningful, we would not have to take action today.
More than 13 Indigenous Nations hold the Peaks Holy. The question has been asked yet we hear no response, “what part of sacred don’t you understand?”
For hundreds of years resistance to colonialism, slavery, and destruction of Mother Earth has existed and continues here in what we now call Arizona.
The United States recently moved to join the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, evidently the US has not currently observed and acted upon this declaration, otherwise we would not be taking action today. This document informs our action, we also assert that UNDRIP supports the basis for our action.
Article 11, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
“Article 11, 2: States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.”
“Article 12, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.”
“Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard."
For nearly 4 decades, resistance to desecration and destruction of the Peaks has been sustained. Prayer vigils, petitions, lobbying, protests, and many diverse tactics have been embraced. Historic court battles have been fought.
We continue today resisting Snowbowl’s plan to spray millions of gallons of wastewater snow, which is filled with cancer causing and other harmful contaminants, as well as clear-cut over 30,000 trees. The Peaks are a pristine and beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and endangered species of plants and animals.
Our action is a prayer.
We invite those of you who could not join us today and who believe in the protection of culture, the environment and community health to resist destruction and desecration of the Peaks:
- Join us and others in physically stopping all Snowbowl development!
- Honor and defend Indigenous Peoples’ inherent right to protect Sacred Places
- Resist colonialism and capitalism! Embrace diverse tactics to end Snowbowl’s and all corporate greed
- Demand USDA end Snowbowl’s Special Use Permit
- Demand that the City of Flagstaff Mayor and Council find a way out of their contract to sell wastewater to Snowbowl
- Demand that Arizona Department of Environmental Quality change its permission allowing wastewater to be used for snowmaking.
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