FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Klee Benally, Dine’ (Navajo), was ordered by Coconino Justice Court Judge Howard Grodman to perform community service as consequence to his prayerful act of resistance to desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks.
Klee took action on August 13, 2011 to address Arizona Snowbowl ski area’s clear-cutting of 74 acres of rare alpine forest and the laying of 14.8 miles of a waste water pipeline in furtherance of a US Forest Service and City of Flagstaff supported project to spray artificial snow made of wastewater effluent on the Peaks, which are held holy by more than 13 Indigenous Nations.
The state prosecutor was seeking 12 months probation, restrictions barring Klee from going onto Snowbowl road, and community service. Defense attorney, Matt Brown of Brown & Little, P.L.C., argued on Klee’s behalf.
During the sentencing hearing Klee responded expressing that restricting his ability to go onto the Peaks, including Snowbowl road, would place an “undue burden” on his religious freedom.
Judge Grodman stated, “I think that your motivations for protesting were genuine and heartfelt,” he then offered the option for Klee to do community service in assisting with a Northern Arizona University class called “Investigating Human Rights.”
“If you would be willing to participate in that class, assist in that class, I think you’d have a lot to offer the students, that would be the entirety of my sentence,” stated judge Grodman.
When issuing his sentence, the judge expressed that he was unaware until recently, that Klee had made the documentary, “The Snowbowl Effect.” Judge Grodman stated that he had used the film in a class he taught years ago.
Klee was also ordered to pay restitution to Arizona Snowbowl in the amount of $99.24 for construction worker’s wages Snowbowl claims we’re “lost” due to Klee’s prayerful action.
“How can I be ‘trespassing’ on this site that is so sacred to me? This is my church. It is the Forest Service and Snowbowl who are violating human rights and religious freedom by desecrating this holy Mountain…” said Klee in a previous statement, “Their actions are far beyond ‘disorderly’.”
“This experience has shed light on what my ancestors, and all those who have gone before me in the struggle for justice and dignity, have faced. This experience cannot be isolated from the larger context of 500 years of colonial aggression. Our ways of life are being attacked by this ‘justice’ system, the Forest Service, and by those who value money more than life and ecological integrity.”
“Indigenous Peoples in the United States have no guaranteed protection for our religious freedom. When our spirituality and cultural survival is threatened, what choice do we have but to take a stand? If Congress and the Obama administration don’t take immediate action to address this critical issue, more and more people will put their bodies in front of Snowbowl’s destructive machinery.” stated Klee.
In August 2011, The Havasupai Tribe, Klee Benally, and the International Indian Treaty Council, filed an Urgent Action / Early Warning Complaint with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), on the desecration of the Sacred San Francisco Peaks. CERD Chairperson Alexei Avtonomov responded to the complaint with a letter to the U.S. in March 2012, “The Committee requests information on concrete measures taken to ensure that the sacred character of [the San Francisco Peaks] for indigenous peoples are respected, including the possibility of suspending the permit granted to the Arizona Snowbowl, to further consult with indigenous peoples and take into account their concerns and religious traditions.”
Since June 16, 2011, nearly 30 people have been arrested during protests or other actions addressing Snowbowl desecration and eco-cide on the Holy Peaks. Most have taken deals offered by state prosecutors which have resulted primarily in community service, with about 8 cases still pending.
In a previous statement Klee affirmed, “The struggle to protect Dooko’osliid (San Francisco Peaks) continues, we must defend our ways of life and the natural law. As long as our hearts beat with an understanding that our actions are for future generations and cultural survival, then this struggle is not over.”
16th Annual No Thanks, No Giving!
Indigenous Action presents:
16th Annual No Thanks, No Giving!
Food share, anti-colonial resistance & solidarity discussion circle, & online fundraiser!
1:30p – 4pm
We will prepare and serve mutton stew and other foods for all who join us. Please bring any dish to contribute if you wish, we also plan on actively distributing (possibly mobile) any extra foods.
Local volunteers needed! Contact: email@example.com
At 2:30p we will have a talking & action circle focused on anti-colonial resistance & solidarity. Representatives of Kinłani Mutual Aid, Haul No!, volunteers with Protect the Peaks, and autonomous organizers supporting unsheltered relatives will present & discuss upcoming actions & organizing. We will also discuss building Indigenous solidarity with local efforts to Free Palestine. Come ready to share, support and get involved! Everyone welcome!
This event is free, please bring donations for unsheltered relative support (tents, sleeping bags, tarps, jackets, etc).
This is also our yearly fundraiser for Táala Hooghan infoshop and Indigenous Action activities!
Please donate online via PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/indigenousaction
Support Indigenous autonomous organizing and agitation!
*We will not host a livestream this year.
When: Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023
1:30pm – 4:00pm MST.
Where: Táala Hooghan Infoshop1704 N 2nd St, Kinłani (Occupied Flagstaff), AZ
MASKS REQUIRED This event will be held both indoors and outdoors (dress warm!) with limited indoor space. We will maintain social distancing & mask protocols for immunocompromised relatives.
For 16 years we have hosted No Thanks, No Giving! as an anti-colonial event to bring together radical Indigenous voices, share traditional foods, and benefit unsheltered relatives at Táala Hooghan Infoshop in Kinlani (Flagstaff, AZ). More info: www.indigenousaction.org
#nothanksnogiving #MutualAid #indigenousmutualaid #solidaritynotcharity
New Book: No Spiritual Surrender, Klee Benally
New Book: No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred is a searing anti-colonial analysis rooted in frontline experience.
NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE & SELECT BOOKSTORES: No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred
No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred is a searing anti-colonial analysis rooted in frontline experience. Klee Benally (Diné) unrelentingly agitates against colonial politics towards Indigenous autonomy and total liberation of Nahasdzáán (Mother Earth).
Available now from Detritus Books detritusbooks.com
406 pages | $20 Nonfiction | Paperback Available in select bookshops.
About the author: Klee Benally is a Diné (Navajo) anarchist and undisciplined agitational propagandist. Originally from Black Mesa. Klee currently resides in occupied Flagstaff, Arizona. kleebenally.com, indigenousaction.org
Wholesale inquiries: detritusbooks.com
Now booking speaking tour dates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous Action Podcast Episode 17: Decolonization isn’t a Holiday
Rejecting Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Tokenism
Hosts Klee and Bonn talk with some awesome guests & revisit our 2017 ‘zine “Uprooting Colonialism: The Limitations of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” We dig into the questions, “How do whitewashed celebrations of Indigenous Peoples Day undermine decolonization?” and “What does it mean to be an anti-colonial abolitionist?”
Amrah Salomón J. is a writer, artist, activist, and educator of Mexican, O’odham and Tohono O’odham, and European ancestry.
@oodhamantiborder, @defendoodhamjewed, Cashapp: $DefendOodhamJewed, Paypal.me/DefendOodhamJewed, Venmo: @DefendOodhamJewed
Kittie Kuntagion, @kittiekuntagion
Andrew Pedro, @desert.dweller.58 Got tired of seeing disapointing activist bullshit, now focused on music. Organizes metal/punk shows on and of the Rez.
Bonn: @bonnabella.xvx, Venmo: bonnabellaxvx
About the podcast: Indigenous Action is an autonomous anti-colonial broadcast with unapologetic and claws-out analysis towards total liberation. We feature radical frontline Indigenous voices and dig deep into critical issues impacting our communities. So take your seat by this fire and may the bridges we burn together, light our way. www.indigenousaction.org/podcast
Email us at IAInfo@protonmail.com.
From the 2017 ‘zine: “…if the state dismantles these statues and proclaims Indigenous Peoples’ Days, what do we actually achieve if the structures and systems rooted in colonial violence remain intact? Is it merely political posturing or window dressing to diminish liberatory agitations? Our senses are heightened as most re-brandings of Columbus Day into IPD appear to whitewash ongoing colonial legacies… If the goal is for Indigenous autonomy, liberation of the land, people, and other beings, then why plead with our oppressors to merely acknowledge or recognize our existence?…To claim Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an act of decolonization is a failure of liberal assimilationists… Symbolically ending Columbus’ legacy while continuing to perpetuate and benefit from the violence of the ‘doctrine of discovery’ is just one more dead-end direction of Indigenous liberalism. If we understand that colonization has always been war, then why are we fighting a battle for recognition and affirmation through colonial power structures?… Indigenous Peoples’ Day, as a process of collusion with occupying state forces, risks becoming a colonial patriotic ritual more than anything that amounts to liberation.”
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Indigenous Action Podcast
- Indigenous Action Podcast Episode 17: Decolonization isn’t a Holiday
- Indigenous Action Podcast Episode 16: Fuck a Valentine, Indigenous Abolition Feminism
- Indigenous Action Podcast Episode 15: 15th Annual No Thanks, No Giving: Indigenous Anarchism
- Indigenous Action Podcast Episode 14: Queering #MMIWG2ST
- Indigenous Action Podcast Episode 13: Unsettling Climate Colonialism
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