August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flagstaff Police Attack and Arrest Protect the Peaks Marchers

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos: Navajo Klee Benally attacked and arrested by Flagstaff, Arizona, police. Photo by Youth of the Peaks.
UPDATE: Protect the Peaks statement on arrests posted at:

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Six people protecting San Francisco Peaks were targeted and arrested during a peaceful march for the protection of San Francisco Peaks. San Francisco Peaks defender Klee Benally, Navajo, was among those arrested.
In front of Macy's Coffeehouse on Sunday afternoon, undercover police infiltrated the hundred person march in an attempt to squash the growing anti-Snowbowl movement.
The peaceful march by Native Americans and supporters was surrounded by police from the moment the march formed, marchers said.
An eye witness said, "They were just waiting to pounce. And they did!"
The six arrested were released on bail late Sunday. Klee Benally said in a message on Twitter: "Just released from jail. Protect the peaks. The struggle continues."
Supporters protecting San Francisco Peaks said they will continue with a planned protest outside the US Forest Service on Monday at 12:30 p.m.
Native Americans are struggling to defend sacred San Francisco Peaks from snow to be made from sewage water at the Snowbowl tourist resort on the Peaks. The mountains are sacred to 13 Native American Nations. Medicine men gather plants on the Peaks and hold traditional healing ceremonies on the Peaks.
Already, the sewage water pipeline has resulted in clearcutting of grandmother trees.
Native Americans are urging tourists to boycott the Snowbowl Ski Resort, and join the support for American Indians upholding their traditions and sacred lifeways.
Further, supporters of the Protect the Peaks movement are urging an investigation of the Flagstaff police for the arrests of Native Americans and people of color. Already, the ACLU has released statistics revealing that Arizona police target American Indians during arrests.
For updates: Censored News:

Destini Vaile: Fracking the Blackfeet


Photo copyright Destini Vaile, Blackfeet
Censored News

Destini Vaile, Blackfeet: "This well is visible from the road between East Glacier and Browning. I found Bison hair near the flimsy fence. The well pad where this open pit is located sits directly between two wetlands. The tribal government approved on-site open pits, like this one, and metal tanks for storage of fracking liquid, which is a mixture of millions of gallons of our fresh water and a slurry of toxic chemicals. These things do and have overflowed, right here on the reservation."

Flagstaff Snowbowl Protesters Take to the Streets


Protect the Peaks! Week of Action Takes to the Streets

On Friday, August 5th, more than 50 people marched through the streets of downtown Flagstaff to raise awareness of Arizona Snowbowl’s eco-cide and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. The march was part of a week of action to bring community members together to protect the Peaks.

On May 25th 2011, authorized by the the Obama Administration’s Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service, owners of Arizona Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Since then Snowbowl’s crew of a handful of workers has laid over 5 miles of the planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and eight foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain. Snowbowl is currently in the process of clear-cutting more than 30,000 trees and burning slash-piles.

Before the march began Flagstaff Cops kicked protestors out of Hopi Square, demonstrators continued nearby flyering and engaging in a spontaneous community forum about the issue.

Carrying banners that read, “Stop Snowbowl Cultural Genocide” and chanting, “Community Health Over Corporate Wealth!” marchers walked and took the streets for more than two hours distributing flyers.

A member of Youth of the Peaks, an Indigenous youth organization, witnessed Flagstaff Police Department Officer Simpson badge #41 texting “dealing with mother f–kers.” A crowd erupted in protest as he was reprimanded by a superior officer. An “official” report of misconduct was later filed against him.

A 2-story banner reading, “Environmental Degradation, Cultural Genocide, Racism, Public Health Threat. Don’t Regret Today. Destroy Snowbowl,” was hung over the square where hundreds of people were gathered during Flagstaff’s monthly Art Walk.

At approximately 7:30PM, as the crowd of 50 marchers crossed Aspen St., a Flagstaff cop grabbed one person from behind and arrested him for “obstructing a public thoroughfare.”
officer. An “official” report of misconduct was later filed against him.
art to “Art Walk” by hanging signs that read, “I love eating poop snow.”

Messages such as, “Your Silence Doesn’t Stop the Truth” were also projected onto buildings along with images of Snowbowl’s recent clear-cutting of the Holy Mountain.
Indigenous youth also held a “Zombie March” with over two dozen young people dressed as Zombies symbolizing the public health threat sewage effluent snowmaking poses.

From August 4-9, 2011 events are planned in Flagstaff, Arizona to protest Snowbowl ski area and the Obama administration’s US Forest Service sanctioned desecration of the holy San Francisco Peaks.

Upcoming Events:
Sun. 7th – MARCH FOR THE PEAKS! – 12:30PM
Meet and start in Wheeler Park downtown Flagstaff, AZ. Bring banners and signs.
Mon. 8th – RALLY AT USFS OFFICE! – 12:30PM
At Coconino Forest Service Office – 1824 S. Thompson St. Flagstaff, AZ (Near AZ Daily Sun off of Old Rt. 66) Come on your lunch hour. Bring banners and signs.

504 E Butler Avenue (across from New Frontiers)

Meet at Flagstaff City Hall on Rt 66 side. Bring banners and signs, drums and song.

Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline.
Encampments have been established on the holy Mountain in protest of the destruction and desecration.
All are welcome to camp and bear witness to Snowbowl’s desecration.
For more than a dozen years Indigenous Nations, environmental activists, and concerned community members have worked together to protect the holy site and surrounding area from further ecological destruction, public health threats, and spiritual desecration.
Arizona Snowbowl’s development plans include clear-cutting 74 acres of rare alpine habitat that is home to threatened species, making new runs and lifts, adding more parking lots and building a 14.8 mile buried pipeline to transport up to 180 million gallons (per season) of wastewater to make artificial snow on 205 acres. The Peaks are central to the ways of life of more than 13 Indigenous Nations. The use of wastewater undermines internationally recognized rights of Indigenous people; rights that the Forest Service and administration is obliged to protect.

Converge on the Mountain!
Join an established base camp or start your own

More info:

Contact Flagstaff City Officials and urge them to RESPECT the environment, Indigenous culture, and protect public health by finding a way out of their contract to sell Snowbowl wastewater!
PHONE: (928) 779-7600
Contact Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and express concern that there was no meaningful public process when the agency approved wastewater for snowmaking. File a complaint and demand full public review!
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
1110 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
(800) 234-5677 – Toll Free
Northern Regional Office
1801 West Route 66, Suite 117
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(877) 602-3675 – Toll Free
Contact the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which heads the Forest Service, and urge them to revoke the Special Use Permit for Arizona Snowbowl for greater public interest.
The USDA has been holding hearings on protection of sacred places due to the Peaks controversy. Urge the USDA to immediately place an administrative hold on all development on the San Francisco Peaks!
Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Phone: 202-720-3631
Send Letters to the Editor of your local papers.
Arizona Daily Sun:

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