Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 14, 2022

Sacred Mount Graham Run Begins as Vatican Continues Decades-Long Occupation of Apache Holy Land

31st Annual Sacred Mount Graham Run Begins as Vatican Continues Decades-Long Occupation of Apache Holy Land

Sacred Run to Dzil Nchaa Si’an (MT. Graham) 2019 Photo by Steve Pavey

By Apache Stronghold
Censored News
July 14, 2022

Next week, July 21-24, Western Apaches and their supporters will gather in eastern Arizona to honor Apache holy places by participating in the 31st Annual Mount Graham Sacred Run.

The event was started in 1991 by Dr. Wendsler Nosie, Sr., former San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman and leader of the nonprofit Apache Stronghold. The four-day-long run and prayer will begin at the Old San Carlos Monument ( ) and will end atop Mount Graham (Dził Nchaa Si An, in the Apache language), a Sky Island oasis surrounded by a “sea” of Sonoran desert. 

The public is invited to respectfully participate and support the event. Prayers for wellness and solidarity are welcomed.

The Mount Graham Sacred Run spotlights the ongoing occupation of the mountain for scientific pursuits by research universities and institutes, including the Vatican, the University of Arizona, Ohio State University, Notre Dame, Germany's Max Planck Institute, and Italy's Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory.

Since the late 1970s, Jesuit astronomers have sought to use this sacred and ecologically unique mountain to pursue their own scientific research, including the Church’s search for extraterrestrial life.

Despite Apaches’ sustained opposition to telescopes on Mount Graham, no Pope has yet to meet with or listen directly to the San Carlos Apache Tribal government or Apache Spiritual Leaders. As recently as 2018, the office of Vatican representative Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley assured San Carlos Apaches that the Holy See would “provide the appropriate follow-up.”

Four years later, and decades since the Vatican initiated its occupation, the Pope has yet to reach out to the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

To Support Apache Stronghold, visit and

To Learn More, check out historian Joel Helfrich’s article, “The ‘Pope Scope’: Vatican Attacks on Western Apaches and Mount Graham” (


Dr. Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Apache Stronghold,

Joel Helfrich, Mount Graham Coalition,

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