Monthly Archives: June 2011

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6/20/2011 Center for Biological Diversity: 1 Million Acres of Grand Canyon Watershed Protected From Uranium Mining

Center for Biological Diversity June 20, 2011 For Immediate Release Contact: Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504 1 Million Acres of Grand Canyon Watershed Protected From Uranium Mining: GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK— Interior Secretary Ken Salazar extended interim protections from uranium mining today for Grand Canyon’s 1-million-acre watershed through the end of 2011; the secretary also announced his support for a 20-year mineral withdrawal across the same area. Both protections ban new claims and block new mining on existing, unproven claims. The announcement quells fears that a two-year mining prohibition issued by Salazar in July 2009 would expire, opening the door to new mining claims and resulting mine development. Public lands around Grand Canyon National Park have been ground zero for new uranium mining that threatens to industrialize iconic wildlands and permanently pollute aquifers feeding Grand Canyons springs and streams.

“The world would never forgive the permanent pollution of Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs or the industrialization of its surrounding wildlands,” said Randy Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The only sure way to prevent pollution of the Grand Canyon is to prevent uranium mining, and today’s action makes important progress toward that goal.”

Salazar today directed the Bureau of Land Management to designate the withdrawal of the full 1-million-acre watershed from new mining claims as its preferred alternative in its ongoing environmental analysis of the issue, scheduled to be released in the fall.

“This is good news for the Grand Canyon, but we are disappointed that Secretary Salazar continues to show such enthusiasm for the mining of existing claims,” said Serraglio. “We hope the ‘caution, wisdom and science’ cited by the secretary as being so important in managing this precious area will lead to strong decisions to protect it from further pollution by uranium mining.”

Uranium pollution already plagues the Grand Canyon region. Proposals for new mining have prompted protests, litigation and proposed legislation. Scientists, tribal and local governments, and businesses have voiced opposition to new mining operations. Dozens of new mines threaten to industrialize stunning and often sacred wildlands, destroy wildlife habitat and permanently pollute or deplete aquifers feeding Grand Canyon’s biologically rich springs.

The segregation and withdrawal would prohibit new mining claims and mining on claims without “valid existing rights” to mine. Several claims within the withdrawal area that predate the 2009 segregation order will be grandfathered in; those are still vulnerable to mining.

In 2009 the Bureau of Land Management allowed mining to resume at the Arizona 1 mine within the withdrawal area and immediately north of Grand Canyon without first updating 1980s-era environmental reviews. The Havasupai Tribe, the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, the Center, Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust challenged that mine’s reopening in federal court — one of four lawsuits brought by the Center relating to uranium mining in the region since 2008. That suit is ongoing.

“Grand Canyon and the surrounding areas are some of the most recognized and prized landscapes in the United States. Allowing further uranium mining would cause untold damage and leave future generations asking why we didn’t do more to stop it,” Serraglio said. “That’s why we’ll keep defending the Grand Canyon and working to reform the antiquated 1872 mining law so that federal agencies finally have clear authority to deny mining proposals that threaten irretrievable damage to our public lands.”

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/images/cbd-press-footer.gif

6/19-6/22/2011 Home makeover in Box Springs Navajo Nation

6 19 – 6 22 2011 Holton Baptist Memorial Church Box Springs & Black Falls work crew

Please check out the link to a web album containing photos of Holton Baptist Memorial Church, Mississippi work crew at Alice Tso’s home in Box Springs. Thank you Holton Baptist Church and Box Springs and Black Falls residents for helping.

6/18/2011 Peoples Movements Assembly: Supai Guardians of Grand Canyon

Saturday, June 18, 2011 Peoples Movements Assembly: Supai Guardians of Grand Canyon: The Southwest organizing tour of the peoples’ Movements Assembly (part of the US Social Forum II), organized by Southwest Workers Union from San Antonio, Texas visited Havasupai Tribe at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the South rim. Supai village has been at the present site since getting removed from the North rim due to Roosevelt making it a National Park and have been ‘Guardians of the Grand Canyon” since before the ice age. The Supai village lives off the waters of the creek that is the lifeline of the Havasupai. Yet the creek and the purity of the water is threatened by uranium mining. The uranium trailings contaminate the water. We visited Carletta Tilousi, council member for the tribe, and Edmund Tilousi, vice chairman of the tribal council. The educated us about the issues and challenges facing the people who have lived at the canyon for tens of thousands of years, because of development, tourism, the national park and mining. The tribal government is in charge of health,solid waste, water, housing, education, community economic development and works with q 12 millions dollar budget.

Ruben Solis Garcia, Reynaldo Padilla Teruel, & Nicole Soto Rodriguez presented at the Community meeting between the tribal government and the community residents. Solis connected the uranium issue facing the Havasupai Tribe and the uranium mining in South Texas and the contamination of drinking water.

The SW PMA tour team hiked 8 miles down thw grand canyon to reach the supai village, but we joined Carletta Tilousi in the helicopter on the way out of the Grand Canyon. We said goodbye to Supai Village but we all said “we will be back.”

Native American Justice Struggle, Peoples Movements Asembly Tour
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/06/native-american-justice-struggles.html
(Interviews with IEN’s Jihan Gearon and Wahelah Johns of Black Mesa Water Coalition.)

Havasupai: Peoples Movements Assembly SW Organizing Tour:
http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/06/havasupai-peoples-movements-assembly.html
Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 10:03 AM

6/18/2011 Havasupai: Peoples Movements Assembly Southwest Organizing Tour

6/18/2011 Havasupai: Peoples Movements Assembly Southwest Organizing Tour By the Peoples Movements Assembly. Southwest Organizing Tour A road trip through the United States Southwest Region to organize social movement gatherings, Peoples Movements Assembly, and to meet and interview ‘luchadores’ and ‘luchadoras’ of the frontline struggles for social change. Dianna Uqualla from the Supai Tribe. It was an honor for us to interview with Dianna Uqualla from the Havasupai Tribe located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the southern rim. She is a traditional elder and leader of the tribe and has served on the Tribal government council. She is fighting to save her village and people from the encroachment of uranium mining. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lBuq7UMVBA Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 9:54 AM

6/16/2011 Gallup Independent: From Geronimo to the A-bomb – Cold Warrior – A Navajo soldier remembers the fight to stop communism

6/16/2011 Gallup Independent: From Geronimo to the A-bomb – Cold Warrior – A Navajo soldier remembers the fight to stop communism By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau Gallup Independent: WINDOW ROCK – During last week’s hearing on indigenous rights before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Chairman Daniel Akaka treated the audience to “Geronimo did not die in Pakistan,” a film by Ryan Red Corn and Dallas Goldtooth. The film refers to the use of Geronimo’s name in the U.S. operation to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Akaka said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., recently chaired a meeting for him on racial stereotypes and “it was unfortunate at that time that Geronimo was up in the news.” Red Corn, an Osage from Oklahoma, said the Geronimo code name is just another way for the United States to paint Natives as enemies of the state. “That has to change if we are not only to survive but thrive as respective nations.”

According to the film, “Geronimo” was not killed in Pakistan. He was not a code name or a mission call sign. “He is the grant writer from Shiprock who stays up all night trying to get her people access to drinkable water. He is a paramedic from Wide Ruins who drives the ambulance faster because he knows no other help is coming. He is alive in the woman from Sky City who prays before every meal because that’s how she was raised. … Geronimo isn’t dead. … He’s alive in me.”

Ross Bigman didn’t know much about Apaches or Geronimo when he served as a communications sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division during the Korean war. Bigman, 78, recalls being at the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School in Fort Benning, Ga., in 1954 when he first learned about Geronimo.

“When I went through Jumpmaster School, the paratroopers that I was jumping with, they would all yell out ‘Geronimo!’ and I was wondering what it was all about. I asked the colonel, ‘Why are they yelling out ‘Geronimo!’ when we jump?’ And he says, ‘What Indian tribe do you belong to?’ I said, ‘I’m a Navajo.’

“He says, ‘Geronimo was an Apache Indian, an Apache warrior. He’s one of the most famous Indian warriors in the United States that surprises the enemies. That’s the reason when we jump out in combat operations we identify ourselves as Geronimo – to surprise the enemies.’ He said, ‘You ought to be very proud to call yourself Geronimo. You’re one of the American Indians.’”

Bigman, originally from Kaibeto, was surprised to learn this. When he made another jump, he said, “My parachute opened and I was going down and somebody hit my parachute on top of me. I looked up and then I saw this soldier. I recognized it was the master sergeant. He was yelling, ‘My parachute collapsed!’” Bigman grabbed the parachute and held onto it, and they came down together. “He was really proud and he shook my hand and he said, ‘You really saved my life.’ Some of the other soldiers that saw what happened, they congratulated me, too. After we landed, I yelled out, ‘Geronimo!’

“To me, that’s how Geronimo was used. They’re not calling the enemy Geronimo,” he said, as in the case of bin Laden. “We’re calling ourselves Geronimo. This is my understanding and I sure would like to make that correction. They’re really praising Geronimo, that’s what they’re doing.”

Bigman’s fellow soldiers thought he should receive an Air Medal for his selfless act. “The master sergeant told the company commander, and the other soldiers, they all shook my hand for what I did,” he said. “I never did receive that medal.”

Bigman served in the military from 1952 to 1955. He made it as far as Hawaii, where he waited to get called out to Korea but never left stateside, according to his wife Dorothy. But he did see action, of sorts, in late May or early June 1953 in Nevada. He doesn’t recall the exact date.

“I was one of the participants in one of the A-bomb tests down at Nevada,” he said. “I don’t hear too well. They dropped the atomic bomb on us and that’s what ruined my ears.”

From March 17 to June 4, 1953, the United States conducted 11 nuclear tests at Nevada Test Site as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole. Reporters were allowed to view the detonation of “Annie,” the first shot, from News Nob, about 6.8 miles south of the shot tower. The government wanted to show the American public that nuclear weapons could be used defensively, without destroying large urban centers and populations.

An estimated 18,000 Department of Defense personnel participated in observer programs during Upshot-Knothole. The largest participation was in Exercise Desert Rock V, which involved members of all four armed services. The troops were briefed before the detonation on nuclear weapons characteristics and effects and on personal protection and observation of a nuclear detonation. Marine Corps helicopters also were tested to investigate the capability of helicopters and their crews to withstand a nuclear burst and its effects.

“We were sent from 82nd Airborne Division to Las Vegas and down to Yucca Flats,” Bigman said. “There was a military camp out there and we went through some briefing. We were in foxholes and we all had our eyes closed and we covered our face and we were down in the trench. One thing that they told us was, ‘Once you see the flash you can jump up and stand on top and watch the mushroom going up,’ so that’s exactly what we did.

“Even though I had my eyes closed, I still saw the flash. They had a countdown from 10 all the way down to zero. When they said ‘Zero’, that’s when the flash came on. We jumped up and we got on top of the trench and we were standing there maybe close to five minutes. We were watching the mushroom and all of the sudden, BAM!! They never told us about the aftershock. I fell back into the trench because of the blast, it was so strong. Some of the other soldiers they also fell back into the trench. We kind of scratched ourselves.”

He remembers the soldiers seeing rain coming off the cloud from the blast. “They said, ‘Look, it’s starting to rain up there.’”

About 10 minutes later, he said, helicopters came by and picked them up from their location about 6 miles out from ground zero and transported them to a mile from the blast site. “The day before, we went through where they were going to drop this bomb. It had been a city, a really nice town. They had a military camp there and then they had really nice cars and really nice buildings. They had silhouettes like people down the street, and that’s where they dropped the A-bomb.

“They dropped us off and then we walked all the way into the zero area. Right along the way we saw some jackrabbits. Their guts were blown out and some of them were still kicking. Everything was burning, all the grass and all the vegetation that was in the area, they were all burning. We went all the way back into the zero area and that town was gone. Everything was destroyed. The military had some tanks out there and they had artillery out and they were completely destroyed. Everything was just burning.”

They marched through the zero area and went another mile out where they were picked up in a pickup truck and hauled another six to eight miles away to be tested, Bigman said. “We went through a machine that was testing radiation on us. When I went through, that radiation, it just sounded – bzzzzzzzz. That’s how much radiation I had on me.”

From there they went outside the camp to a place near Las Vegas where they had left some uniforms the day before. “We took all our clothes off and they gave us some special soap to shower in. We took showers and we cleaned ourselves and we put on new uniforms. We took everything out, even our boots. Right after we took us a shower they gave us another test on the radiation. When I went through that, it went beep … beep … beep. That’s the way it was sounding. That’s how much radiation, I guess, I had on me.”

After that, he took leave and caught a bus back to Kaibeto. When he got there he was told that it had rained about three days earlier. “I guess they got that rain from that atomic blast and from that cloud. I was really surprised. There are quite a few Navajo people around Tuba City, around Kaibeto and Page that have died of cancer. There’s a lot of cancer up there. One of my brothers and one of my sisters and some of my relatives, they died from cancer. I’ve been going for tests. I have all kinds of spots on my body. I kind of think that’s part of the radiation,” he said.

Bigman sought compensation for his loss of hearing. “They told me, ‘Your military record is gone. You don’t have a military record.’ They’re giving me a hard time right now about those damages that they did to me.”

6/17/2011 Gallup Independent: 6 pinched at Snowbowl protest

6/17/2011 Gallup Independent: 6 pinched at Snowbowl protest By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau Gallup Independent: WINDOW ROCK – Six protesters were arrested Thursday in what has become a continuing battle over the sanctity of the San Francisco Peaks vs. economic development at the Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff. “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,” activists stated in a press release timed to coincide with the early morning protest. Eric Borowsky, general partner in the Snowbowl, was out of town when the protest occurred but said later that he had been kept informed about “the illegal actions by a small group of protesters who have been arrested.”

Two individuals chained themselves to a piece of heavy equipment which was being used in the construction of a 14.8 mile pipeline to carry reclaimed wastewater to the Snowbowl for use in making artificial snow during the ski season. The U.S Forest Service approved the construction May 25.

Since that time, work crews have laid more than a 1-1/2 miles of pipeline and have cut a 6 foot wide by 6 foot deep gash into the holy mountain, protesters said. “Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say ‘enough!’”

The Snowbowl released a statement saying that at approximately 5:15 Thursday morning Snowbowl Security staff came upon six individuals as they trespassed and entered the closed work zone along Snowbowl Road. Security immediately called law enforcement, and together with the Summit/Fort Valley Fire Department, they extracted the individuals from the work zone. No property or equipment damage occurred and work on the pipeline began after a two-hour delay.

“It is unfortunate that thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent by several agencies on this frivolous act to gain publicity. Dozens of hikers, bicyclists, and tourists were not allowed to go up Snowbowl Road until the incident was over,” according to the statement. “This is another example of opposition groups and individuals showing their lack of respect for the law and judicial process. Snowbowl will strongly encourage the maximum criminal and civil charges against these individuals.”

Klee Benally of Flagstaff, whose family members are party to a lawsuit against the Snowbowl, said he was among a group of protesters at the base. “At sunrise or so, about eight people went up and six people chained or locked themselves in some fashion to equipment that Snowbowl was using to dig the pipeline trench and move the pipeline into place.”

Four people – two people locked to each other back-to-back – were removed from inside the pipe trenches. Four people dressed in HazMat-style suits and others holding banners and blocking Snowbowl Road were moved by police off to the side of the roadway where the protest continued, Benally said.

He condemned the construction as an attempt to undermine the judicial process, since the 9th Circuit Court still hasn’t ruled on the case with the Save the Peaks Coalition and other plaintiffs. “We have very few options, especially as indigenous people, when it comes down to protecting our sacred places.”

The Snowbowl’s Borowsky said, “It is unfortunate that the people that organize these illegal activities do not have the courage to chain themselves to the construction equipment and violate laws. Instead, they allow their naive and underage followers to risk arrest, imprisonment and very significant fines. These leaders hide behind their banners and megaphones a short distance away while their followers are arrested. Most leaders have courage; these leaders do not. I suggest that the followers allow their leaders to be out front in the future.”

All six protesters, including two minor Dine females, were charged with misdemeanors and released, Benally said, adding that three separate complaints were filed against law enforcement alleging excessive force when removing protesters from their locks.

“This issue is definitely far from over,” he said. “We do have the process the Forest Service initiated, we do have the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and we have other means to fight to guarantee protection for sacred places. We shouldn’t just roll over. I don’t think any peoples would consciously, readily accept the just wanton desecration of an area that is so holy and part of the essence of the ways of life for one nation, let alone 13 nations.”

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Chairman Duane “Chili” Yazzie last week told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that the U.N. declaration fills the gaps where U.S. domestic policy and federal laws have failed to protect sacred sites such as the San Francisco Peaks.

“The United States must respect and abide by international law regarding indigenous human rights, specifically those that address sacred sites,” he said. Navajo believes the use of wastewater will contaminate medicinal plants used in ceremonies and prayers and diminish their effectiveness.

6/17/2011 World People's Conference on Climate Change & the Rights of Mother Earth

Brenda Norrell From: World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth – June 17, 2011 in News, UN climate change negotiations: Building the People’s World Movement for Mother Earth. Press Release: Bolivia calls for urgent high level talks on cutting climate pollution. BONN, 17 june 2011 – At the close of UN climate talks in Bonn that failed to address the huge shortfall in emission targets compared to what the science suggests is necessary, Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia called for a high-level meeting to discuss how to drastically reduce climate pollution. “In order to have success at the UN climate conference in Durban in December we need to have a clearer willingness to increase the emissions reduction pledges that are on the table.” Ambassador Solon said.

“We have seen in these two weeks not much engagement in science but a lot of engagement in business. There has been no movement on the big issue of reducing emissions but instead a proliferation of proposals on new market mechanisms.” Ambassador Solon said.

“All the reports show a problem of science and a problem of leadership. We need deep cuts and we need developed countries to take the lead That is why we propose an ad-hoc high level meeting dedicated to the issue of increasing targets.” Ambassador Solon said.

Reflecting on the two weeks of talks the Ambassador outlined concerns regarding the future of the Kyoto Protocol, with new market proposals, and hope for consideration of the rights of nature.

“The lack of ambition for Kyoto Protocol worries us very much. Countries are abandoning the international rule based system. Some developed countries are proposing effort for the second period that is even less per year than they are doing now.” Ambassador Solon said.

“We have seen proposals for markets for the oceans, so called ‘blue carbon’ we are surprised and concerned by these. The problem with the reference level for markets such as these is that it is based on assumptions that are not real. And there is the great possibility that the new market mechanisms will just create more hot air.” Ambassador Solon said.

“With parameters that are not real countries try to get a bigger share of certificates of reductions and in that way instead of developing new sources of finance we will develop new sources of deterioration of our natural systems.” Ambassador Solon said.

“Many of the proposals that we have had advanced have had interesting discussions such as the issue of the rights of nature an the integiry of ecosystems. This is key for us because we are all part of a system and until now we have not recognized the limits to our exploitation of natural resources that will affect precisely that system.” Ambassador Solon said.

6/15/2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: US EPA Administrator Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/15/2011 US EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works CONTACT: EPA Press Office press@epa.gov 202-564-6794 Madam Chairman, thank you for inviting me to testify about EPA’s ongoing efforts to protect our health by reducing the air pollution that affects millions of Americans. I know this subject very personally because my son is one of the more than 25 million Americans battling asthma. Let me begin my testimony with a matter of fact: pollution, such as mercury and particulate matter, shortens and reduces the quality of Americans’ lives and puts at risk the health and development of future generations. We know mercury is a toxin that causes neurological damage to adults, children and developing fetuses. We know mercury causes neurological damage, including lost IQ point in children. And we know particulate matter can lead to respiratory disease, decreased lung function and even pre-mature death. These pollutants – and others including arsenic, chromium and acid gases –come from power plants. These are simple facts that should not be up for debate.

However, Madam Chairman, while Americans across the country suffer from this pollution, special interests who are trying to gut long-standing public health protections are now going so far as to claim that these pollutants aren’t even harmful. These myths are being perpetrated by some of the same lobbyists who have in the past testified before Congress about the importance of reducing mercury and particulate matter. Now on behalf of their clients, they’re saying the exact opposite.

The good news is that to address this pollution problem, in 1970 Congress passed the Clean Air Act – which was signed into law by a Republican President, and then strengthened in 1990 under another Republican Administration.

Last year alone, the Clean Air Act is estimated to have saved 160,000 lives and prevented more than 100,000 hospital visits. Simply put, protecting public health and the environment should not be – and historically has not been – a partisan issue.

Despite all the distractions, let me assure you that EPA will continue to base all of our public health protections on two key principles: the law and the best science. Allow me to focus on two current activities.

On March 16, after 20 years in the making, EPA proposed the first ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. While many power plants already comply, the standards will level the playing field by requiring additional power plants to install widely-available, proven pollution control technologies.

Deployment of these technologies will prevent an estimated:

17,000 premature deaths
11,000 heart attacks
120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms
11,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children
12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions
850,000 days of work missed due to illness

This proposed rule, which is going through a public comment process, is the product of significant outreach to industry and other stakeholders.

As we work at EPA to cut down on mercury and other toxins from power plants, we’re also trying to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide through the “Clean Air Transport Rule” we proposed last year.

This rule requires 31 states and the District of Columbia to reduce their emissions of these two pollutants – which contribute to ozone and fine particle pollution across state lines – thereby significantly improving air quality in cities across the U.S. Utilities can achieve these reductions by investing in widely-available technology.

Once finalized, this rule will result in more than $120 billion in health benefits each year. EPA estimates this rule will protect public health by avoiding:

14,000 to 36,000 premature death

· 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis

· 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks

240,000 cases of aggravated asthma
440,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms
26,000 hospital and emergency room visits

· 1.9 million days of work or school missed due to illness

These numbers represent a major improvement in the quality of life for literally millions of people throughout the country – especially working families, children and older Americans.

While some argue that public health protections are too costly, history has repeatedly shown that we can clean up pollution, create jobs and grow our economy all at the same time.

Over the 40 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew more than 200 percent. In fact, some economic analysis suggests that the economy is billions of dollars larger today than it would have been without the Act.

Simply put, the Clean Air Act saves lives and strengthens the American workforce. As a result, the economic value of clean air far exceeds the costs. Expressed in dollar terms, the benefits of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 alone are projected to reach approximately $2 trillion in 2020, with an estimated cost of $65 billion in that same year – a benefit to cost ratio of more than 30 to 1.

With legislation pending in Congress to weaken and gut this proven public health protection law, I urge this committee to stand up for the hundreds of millions of Americans who are directly or indirectly affected by air pollution.

I look forward to your questions.

R203

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View all news releases related to air issues

6/16/2011 *PROTECT THE PEAKS – STOP DESTRUCTION AND DESECRATION NOW!*

LOCKED DOWN: Protest halts Snowbowl destruction on San Francisco Peaks  News Alert: Six people were arrested and one taken to the hospital for heat exposure after they locked themselves to heavy machinery to protect sacred San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl development. Five adults and one juvenile were arrested. Another juvenile was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center for excessive heat exposure.

Activists locked down to equipment on San Francisco Peaks Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights brendanorrell@gmail.com
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said that a woman who was unchained in the closed area was issued a citation for third degree trespass and released. Two 16-year-old juveniles face one count of third degree trespass. Nadia del Callego, 27, faces one count of third degree trespass and one count of contributing to delinquency of a minor. Kristopher Barney, 22, Evan Hawbaker, 22, and Elizabeth Lavely, 28, face one count of third degree trespass. Hailey Sherwood, 20, faces one count of third degree trespass, one count of contributing to delinquency of a minor and once count of endangerment.

Hopi Radio KUYI provided this report from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office: “Summit Firefighters cut the chains and locking devices off of each protester. As one juvenile was being freed she began to pass out and was immediately accessed by medics and was subsequently transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for excessive heat exposure. Five adults and one juvenile were arrested and transported to the Juvenile Detention Center or the Coconino County Detention Facility.”

Activists are protecting sacred San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl pipeline construction, which would carry sewage water for snow. Native medicine men gather herbs for healing on the mountain, sacred to 13 area Indian Nations.

Photos: Rally Thursday afternoon in support of the Snowbowl action.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday morning, June 16, 2011
Contact: Beth Lavely
Tel: 928.254.1064
protectpeaks@gmail.com

*PROTECT THE PEAKS – STOP DESTRUCTION AND DESECRATION NOW!*

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 under assault.

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, and 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 and customs.”

“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 remains.”

“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 fought.

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 Places
– 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.

6/10/2011 Cronkite News Service: Native Americans ask for greater sovereignty at congressional hearing

Cronkite News Service: Native Americans ask for greater sovereignty at congressional hearing  By NICK NEWMAN  http://cronkitenews.jmc.asu.edu/clients/?p=8623

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Chairman Duane Yazzie (center) listens to Indian rights activists after a Senate hearing where Yazzie asked Congress to give Native Americans more autonomy to govern themselves.  (Photo by Nick Newman)

WASHINGTON – For Arizona Native Americans Duane Yazzie and James Anaya, the need for the U.S. to stop marginalizing indigenous peoples and start listening has never been greater. The men were among several who testified to Congress Thursday on the need to pass legislation that abides by the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples — passed in 2007 but only approved by the U.S. in December. “Oftentimes, too many times, throughout our relationship, the federal government has decided it knows best what is proper for us,” said Yazzie, chairman for the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

“We have always known what is best for us. We continue to know what is best for us,” said Yazzie, who said the “big-brother attitude” of the government has created gaps in U.S. policy.

The declaration recognizes the rights of native peoples to “self-determination, institutions, cultures and traditions,” while also barring discrimination against indigenous peoples. Only four countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. – voted against the declaration in 2007 and the U.S. became the last nation to endorse it.

No opponents were present at Thursday’s oversight hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which heard from nine speakers who urged the U.S. to embrace the declaration.

Anaya, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said that while the declaration is non-binding, it should be a model for legislation on Native American rights in the United States.

The University of Arizona law professor said that just as the Supreme Court has “referred to other international sources to interpret statutes, constitutional norms, and legal doctrines,” courts should look to the declaration.

Anaya also said that following the declaration would let the U.S. continue the role as human-rights leader that began in 1948 when it led the fight for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Since then … it has been somewhat slow to take any kind of leadership role on indigenous peoples. The United States can and should now play that leadership role again,” he said.

Ryan Red Corn, an Osage filmmaker from Pawhuska, Okla., said there is a need for laws mirroring the declaration because of issues of national and tribal jurisdiction.

“If the state has jurisdiction over us, where are they when the drug dealers are in my neighborhood? Where are they when rapes are going unprosecuted?” Red Corn asked.

“I want to live in a time when human rights are not seen as a radical idea,” he said. “These are not extra rights, but they are basic human rights that everyone else has in the country.”

The most passionate witness was Yazzie. He cited disputes between developers and tribes over sacred tribal lands, for example, that threaten to contaminate soil and vegetation needed to perform ceremonies and prayers and could prevent a “Navajo traditional medicine person from treating his patient.”

He warned of negative environmental consequences if the U.N. declaration does not spur Native American-friendly legislation.

“We have something to say, something to offer. We believe we can help heal the Earth and provide hope for the future,” Yazzie said. “Western science is not enough. We must be at the table. It is our Earth, too, and it is our life, too.”

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Web Links:

_ United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/drip.html

_ Senate Indian Affairs Committee webcast:

http://indian.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?hearingID=e655f9e2809e5476862f735da16ddd16

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Rachelle Todea, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission

P.O. Box 1689

Window Rock, Navajo Nation (AZ)  86515

Phone (928) 871-7436

Fax (928) 871-7437

rtodea@navajo-nsn.gov

www.nnhrc.navajo-nsn.gov.