Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 16, 2012

Corporations confronted for roles in Peaks desecration

Corporations Confronted for Roles in Snowbowl Human Rights Violations
Call to Action: Call-in! Don’t Give-in! Week June 18 - 22

Photo by Dawn Dyer

By James Kennedy
French translation:
FLAGSTAFF, AZ – On June 15, 2012, more than 20 Flagstaff community members holding banners and signs delivered a letter to RSC Equipment Rentals and their parent company, Stronger United, requesting an immediate halt of construction and withdrawal of their contracts with Arizona Snowbowl.
The actions taken today are part of a coordinated effort to address contractors complicit in Arizona Snowbowl’s destruction and desecration of the San Francisco Peaks.  Similar letters were delivered to Towsley Welding & Construction in Big Bear, CA and to High Desert Investment Company in Flagstaff, AZ.

Photo by Kyle Boggs
Toby Manuelito, 10-year-old Diné youth, read aloud a letter of demands after management refused to meet with him. As he read the community's statement, Toby and the other community members were rudely interrupted and verbally harassed by employees. Toby chanted as he left the building, “When our human rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”
After presenting a letter requesting RSC and Stronger United’s support for human rights in Northern Arizona, community members gathered on the sidewalk, holding banners and chanting. An employee approached the group requesting they leave the area, and then made a number of racist remarks, demanding the group that if they were so concerned about sanitation, they should “go back to the reservation and tell everyone to clean their yards.” The employee then pushed Toby Manuelito before leaving.
Flagstaff resident James Kennedy stated, “It is shocking to receive such a hostile and disrespectful response from this well known company. I guess its no surprise that a company furthering Snowbowl’s efforts would make such a racist remark about indigenous people to Diné children.”
A representative of RSC Equipment Rentals (Stronger United) identified Snowbowl as the company’s “biggest client.” Much of the equipment and heavy machinery used in Snowbowl’s construction operations has been supplied by RSC, a nationwide corporation.
Leslynn Williams, Dine’ mother, stated, “ It’s important that we continue to fight for our sacred Holy mountain, our future generations depend on our efforts to protect the Peaks. Today, our culture and mother earth are under attack on all levels by greedy corporations, from the stripping away of our water rights by corporations like Salt River Project, Navajo Generating Station, to the desecration of our sacred sites. We have to take a stand now and take action today.”

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