Today we take direct action to stop further desecration and destruction of
the Holy San Francisco Peaks. We stand with our ancestors, with allies and
with those who also choose to embrace diverse tactics to safeguard
Indigenous People’s cultural survival, our community’s health, and this
sensitive mountain ecosystem.
On May 25th 2011, sanctioned by the US Forest Service, owners of Arizona
Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco
Peaks. Snowbowl’s hired work crews have laid over a mile and a half of the
planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and six
foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain.
Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen
to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline. Not only
do they disregard culture, environment, and our children’s health, they have
proven that they are criminals beyond reproach.
Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been
taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say “enough!”
As we take action, we look to the East and see Bear Butte facing
desecration, Mt. Taylor facing further uranium mining; to the South, Mt.
Graham desecrated, South Mountain threatened, the US/Mexico border severing
Indigenous communities from sacred places; to the West, inspiring resistance
at Sogorea Te, Moana Keya facing desecration; to the North, Mt. Tenabo,
Grand Canyon, Black Mesa, and so many more… our homelands and our culture
We thought that the USDA, heads of the Forest Service, had meant it when
they initiated nationwide listening sessions to protect sacred places. If
the process was meaningful, we would not have to take action today.
More than 13 Indigenous Nations hold the Peaks Holy. The question has been
asked yet we hear no response, “what part of sacred don’t you understand?”
For hundreds of years resistance to colonialism, slavery, & destruction of
Mother Earth has existed and continues here in what we now call Arizona.
The United States recently moved to join the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, evidently the US has not currently
observed and acted upon this declaration, otherwise we would not be taking
action today. This document informs our action, we also assert that UNDRIP
supports the basis for our action.
Article 11, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize
their cultural traditions and
customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past,
present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological
and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and
visual and performing arts and literature.
“Article 11, 2: States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms,
which may include restitution,
developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their
cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their
free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions
“Article 12, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice,
develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and
ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to
their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of
their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human
“Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen
their distinctive spiritual
relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used
lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to
uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.”
For nearly 4 decades, resistance to desecration and destruction of the Peaks
has been sustained. Prayer vigils, petitions, lobbying, protests, and many
diverse tactics have been embraced. Historic court battles have been
We continue today resisting Snowbowl’s plan to spray millions of gallons of
wastewater snow, which is filled with cancer causing and other harmful
contaminants, as well as clear-cut over 30,000 trees. The Peaks are a
pristine and beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and
endangered species of plants and animals.
Our action is a prayer.
We invite those of you who could not join us today and who believe in the
protection of culture, the environment and community health to resist
destruction and desecration of the Peaks:
- Join us and others in physically stopping all Snowbowl development!
- Honor and defend Indigenous Peoples’ inherent right to protect Sacred
- Resist colonialism and capitalism! Embrace diverse tactics to end
Snowbowl’s and all corporate greed
- Demand USDA end Snowbowl’s Special Use Permit
- Demand that the City of Flagstaff Mayor and Council find a way out of
their contract to sell wastewater to Snowbowl
- Demand that Arizona Department of Environmental Quality change its
permission allowing wastewater to be used for snowmaking.
— Protect the Peaks! –