Two years ago community members and an Indigenous youth empowerment media collective called “Outta Your Backpack Media” (OYBM) came together with a vision to establish a space that cultivates active resistance to capitalism, environmental & social injustices in and around our community of Flagstaff. Since then Taala Hooghan infoshop has hosted all ages shows, film screenings of hard to find political movies, the Free Free Market, silkscreening, D.I.Y. art skill shares, and provided meeting and event space for other organizations. OYBM has worked with more than 300 youth and produced dozens of short films at free youth workshops, some of which have been screened nationally and internationally at film festivals.
This is a response to news releases sent out by Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley & the Hopi Tribal Council.
Read the news and releases below this statement.
(Friday, October 2nd, 2009) Window Rock, AZ — In a recent proclamation the President of the Navajo Nation, Joe Shirley Jr., sided with the Hopi Tribal Council in an attack on democratic rights of the Dine’ people to protect their environment and health of their communities.
Shirley stated that “Local and national environmental groups [are] unwelcome” on reservation lands.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 25, 2009 | Contact: Elouise Brown, Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Committee President – www.doodadesertrock.com
DOODA (NO) DESERT ROCK RELIEF AT US EPA ENVIRONMENTAL
APPEALS BOARD PSD PERMIT DECISION
“We are relieved to hear that the US EPA Environmental Appeals Board finally granted the agency’s request to take back the clean air permit for the failed Desert Rock Power Plant. It confirms our position that the initial permit grant was ill-considered and premature,” said Elouise Brown, President of Dooda Desert Rock. The organization, a grassroots Navajo effort to block a third coal-fired power plant in the Four Corners area, continues to resist and have a very active encampment for almost three years.
U.S. Government Ignores Public Health Dangers of Sewer Water Snowmaking
Concerned Citizens File New Lawsuit to Force Government to Study and Disclose Effects
of Ingesting Snow Made from Treated Sewage Effluent
Flagstaff, AZ — A group of concerned citizens will not let the potential health risks of using treated sewage effluent to make snow at the Snowbowl ski area on the San Francisco Peaks outside of Flagstaff get swept under the rug on a technicality. Although Snowbowl is a private, for-profit entity, the ski area operates on federal land under a special use permit. As a result, the federal government must approve Snowbowl’s plan to use 100% reclaimed sewer water to make snow—something that is not done anywhere else in the world. The City of Flagstaff agreed to sell Snowbowl the treated sewage effluent and off they went, or so they thought. The San Francisco Peaks are well documented as sacred and holy to, at least, thirteen of the tribes in the Southwestern United States, all of whom viewed the decision as a direct threat to their religious and cultural survival. Litigation on cultural and religious issues surrounding the project was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently declined to consider the case. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case left a decision of an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in place which, as is often the case, went against the tribes. The use of reclaimed sewer water to make snow, however, was not only repulsive to people who hold the San Francisco Peaks sacred, it raised concerns from skiers and the community over the safety of being immersed in, and even eating, snow made from non-potable treated sewage effluent.
Supreme Court Affirms Tribes Have No Religious Rights,
Tribes and others Call For Congressional Action to Protect Sacred Places
Flagstaff, AZ — On Monday, June 8th 2009, the Supreme Court denied the petition by Tribes & Environmental groups to hear the case to protect the holy San Francisco Peaks.
For nearly a decade, the Save the Peaks Coalition, Tribes, Environmental groups, and community members lead an effort to stop the Snowbowl ski area’s plan to expand it’s development on the Peaks, and make snow from treated sewage effluent. The ski resort operates on the Holy Mountain through a lease by the United States Forest Service, which sanctioned the proposed development in 2004.
We are getting information that the uranium industry has mounted a full out battle to stop the MT Taylor Traditional Cultural Property nomination. They have hired a professional to work within the community of Grants to drive the wedge issues. The Grants uranium people are sending letters that have far exceeded the numbers of letters received in favor of preserving MT Taylor.
We need every person to write a letter to the Cultural Properties Review Committee and tell them how they feel about Mt Taylor and why it is important to protect it, so that the Cultural Properties Review Committee can feel strong in approving the TCP due to strong public support.
If this nomination is not successful, the nominating tribes (Navajo Nation, the Pueblos of Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, and Laguna) will not be allowed to reapply again for five years. This will mean that the mining operations can resume on the mountain with no controls or concern for native religious interests. We cannot let this happen. Please write your letter. Please forward this email to anyone that you know who may be interested.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Tuesday, January 6th 2009
Contact: Klee Benally – Save the Peaks Coalition
Tribes & Environmental Groups Petition Supreme Court in Appeal to Protect Religious Freedom & Environmental Integrity of Sacred Mountain
FLAGSTAFF, AZ – On Monday, January 5th 2009, Tribes & environmental groups in Arizona filed a unified petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear appeals in a precedent setting legal battle to protect religious freedom and the ecological integrity of the holy San Francisco Peaks.