Navajo Healers call for Day of Prayer for Holy San Francisco Peaks
Contacts: Cora Maxx-Phillips, Dine Hataalii Association (928) 349-1092
David Johns, Dine Hataalii Association (928) 221-9167
Navajo Healers Call For A Day Of Prayer For The Holy San Francisco Peaks
By Dine' Hataalii Association Photo: Hopi Tewa March by Jeneda Benally
U.S. Department of Agriculture approves Arizona ski resort to use sewage water for snowmaking on sacred mountain
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The Day of Prayer is scheduled on Saturday July 17, 2010. Navajo medicine men and women urge all tribal nations to stand in solidarity with their prayers to protect the Holy San Francisco Peaks and to support the litigants who will be challenging Arizona Snowbowl Ski resort’s use of sewage wastewater for snowmaking development on Friday, July 20th, 2010 at 1:00 PM in the United States District Court before the Honorable Mary H. Murguia at 401 W. Washington Street Phoenix, Arizona.
Navajo medicine men and women of the Dine Hataalii Association (DHA) and the Azee' Bee Nahagah of Dine' Nation (ABNDN), gathered over the weekend to discuss the recent decision by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will allow Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort to either make use of potable drinking water from the city of Flagstaff or to use reclaimed wastewater (sewage water) for snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks. “Historically the San Francisco Peaks are held very sacred to more than 13 tribes in the southwestern United States. The proposed activities by Arizona Snowbowl and the U.S. Forest Service will continue to desecrate the religious and spiritual significance of our Holy San Francisco Peaks.” states David Johns, acting president of the Dine Hataalii Association.
The upcoming U.S. District court case, The Save the Peaks Coalition v. U.S. Forest Service, will hear oral arguments on the potential public health risks of human ingestion of reclaimed wastewater snow and the U.S. Forest Service’s lack of adequate public health and safety research. Effluent wastewater can contain pharmaceuticals, hormones, endocrine disruptors, industrial pollutants, and narcotics that could be dangerous to native plant habitats, wildlife and humans.
"We want to offer our prayers so that this case may be effective in safeguarding Dooko'osliid (the San Francisco Peaks) and our ways of life from harm.” states Cora Maxx-Phillips, board member of the Dine Hataalii Association, “The Day of Prayer is to help protect and preserve the wellness of our sacred mountain and all living things.”
The Dine Hataalii Association were litigants in a previous case addressing religious freedom violations if the ski area expansion and snowmaking were to desecrate the Holy Peaks. Last year the Supreme Court denied that legal challenge and upheld a lower court's ruling affirming Native Americans have no religious freedom when it comes down to U.S. public land management decisions.
On July 29 at 5:00 PM, the Flagstaff City Water Commission will be holding a public hearing at the Flagstaff City Hall to decide whether or not they will approve a contract to sell potable drinking water to Arizona Snowbowl instead of reclaimed wastewater. Concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the public hearing and express their opposition to both options that will allow the utilization of Flagstaff drinking water or reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking.