Wednesday, March 16, 2005

"Smaller" Problems Further South 

And if that stuff below wasn’t enough, consider that the struggle to protect wild and sacred areas extends to places other than ANWR as well, often places not so far from our homes.

Flagstaff, Arizona has decided to expand its ski area on the San Francisco peaks, a mountain area that all of the local tribes consider a sacred place. They will make the ski area bigger and use wastewater for snowmaking. All of this over the objections of the local tribes, mostly Hopi and Navajo:

Despite receiving nearly 10,000, mostly negative comments on a proposal to expand the Arizona Snowbowl and use reclaimed wastewater for artificial snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Coconino National Forest Supervisor Nora Rasure gave the go-ahead to proceed Tuesday during a noon press conference. It was probably the most difficult decision of her career, Rasure said. "While I must carefully consider impacts to traditional values, I am also charged to make decisions about uses of the national forest that meet other needs of the American public.

Again, it’s about greed. Why do it? Because we want the cash. And the cost?

Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Hopi Cultural Preservation Office director, said, "In a time when the Hopi Katsina Spirits have answered our prayers for rain and happiness, Coconino has placed a dagger in the Hopis' spirituality. "It is not just a breach of the forest service's trust responsibility for the tribe, but a breach of the Hopi people's trust in Coconino National Forest," Kuwanwisiwma said. "The Peaks are the home of the Katsinam (spirit messengers) and the focus of our prayers for rain and snow. The use of reclaimed water on such a sacred site can only be described as sacrilegious."

[Navajo Nation President Joe] Shirley asked, "What happened to that First Amendment right in the world of Native Americans? We're also supposed to be citizens of the great superpower of the U.S. government. What happened to our rights?" He questioned whether it was going to take a "million man and a million woman march on 'Washingdoon' to be heard. I think that's one of the things we need to look at…”

And the load gets heavier… remember that the original invasion of illegal immigrants beginning in 1492 was what eventually displaced the tribes from their sacred peaks in the first place. Maybe if the tribes had built a giant steel wall around the sacred peaks, hired thousands of armed border agents…?

Snowbowl receives green light; Forest Service decision angers Native leaders

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