Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Navajo Nation wants federal consultation Obama promised on San Francisco Peaks

Scroll down for message from Klee Benally, Save the Peaks 
IGR Committee passes resolution requesting emergency federal consultation for snowmaking on Dook'o'osliid

Navajo Nation Council press statement

History has shown that failure to include the voices of tribal officials in formulating policy affecting their communities has all too often led to undesirable and, at times, devastating and tragic results," - President Barak Obama

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Intergovernmental Relations Committee unanimously passed a resolution today requesting emergency consultation with federal agencies regarding snowmaking on Dook'o'osliid, the San Francisco Peaks.

On Nov. 2, 2009 President Barack Obama issued a Memorandum on Tribal Consultation to federal executive departments and agencies confirming that they are responsible for strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the U.S. and tribal nations through consultation and collaboration. Pursuant to the president's memorandum, the committee on behalf of the Navajo Nation is requesting emergency consultation and collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Justice.

"History has shown that failure to include the voices of tribal officials in formulating policy affecting their communities has all too often led to undesirable and, at times, devastating and tragic results," said Obama, in his memorandum.

The three federal agencies are actively engaged in enabling Arizona Snowbowl to make snow on Dooko'o'sliid, which is a sacred and holy site to 13 tribes in the Southwest, including the Navajo Nation.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act also requires tribal consultation when a federal agency's project or effort affects a site that holds religious or cultural significance to a Native American Tribe, such as the case with the U.S. Department of Agriculture granting approval for snowmaking on the sacred Dooko'o'sliid.

In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted approval for snowmaking, using either reclaimed (effluent/treated wastewater) water or potable water for snowmaking at the Arizona Snowbowl, which the tribes continue to oppose. The proposal to use reclaimed water resulted in a civil lawsuit filed by various tribal nations due to public health concerns. Recently, however, the USDA has proposed using drinking-quality water as an alternative source, which the tribes still oppose.

On Sept. 2, the Flagstaff City Council will decide to (1) amend its current contract with Arizona Snowbowl to allow either directly delivered reclaimed water (effluent water/treated waste water) or indirect delivered reclaimed water (potable or drinking water) contingent upon Snowbowl committing to one or the other, (2) leave the original agreement in place and provide direct delivered reclaimed water (effluent water/treated waste water), or 3) develop a new agreement to use indirect reclaimed water (potable/drinking water) only.

The view of the Navajo Nation is that if the federal government is engaged in further desecration of sacred sites, then consultation and coordination with tribes needs to occur before any funds, approvals, permits or authorizations are given to Arizona Snowbowl for snowmaking using reclaimed or re-injected potable water. Both reclaimed water and potable water are still being considered by the Flagstaff City Council.

Honorable Raymond Joe, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, sponsored the resolution. The committee passed the resolution with a vote of 7-0.

Navajo Nation officials oppose supplying any type of water source to Snowbowl for snowmaking, City Council decision postponed

By Navajo Nation Council
Aug. 31, 2010
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- Officials from the Navajo Nation and many other American Indian Nations gathered Monday evening at the Flagstaff City Council's special meeting to oppose amendments that will allow artificial snow to be made on Dook'o'oslííd, the San Francisco Peaks.

The Navajo Nation strongly opposed the making of artificial snow, whether it was made with potable water or with recovered reclaimed water.

Despite the special meeting's purpose to decide which water source to use to make artificial snow, Council delegates Thomas Walker, Jr. (Birdsprings/Leupp/Tolani Lake), Rex Lee Jim (Rock Point), Leonard Chee (Birdsprings/Leupp/Tolani Lake), and Navajo Nation Vice President Ben Shelly all opposed any and all snow making strategies.

Vice President Shelly spoke of the importance of water to the people on the Navajo Nation and that Dook'o'oslííd is precious to Navajos and many other tribes. He furthered mentioned that utilizing essential water for snowmaking is not eco-friendly, and that it is not a safe choice for anyone, even those who support snowmaking on the Arizona Snowbowl.

"Our community members, elders, spiritual leaders, deem this sacred mountain very holy and sacred," said Council Delegate Walker. "It is the corner stone of the Navajo universe. We will do all necessary for the world, public, and the community members of Flagstaff to know this. We stand here with the tribal leaders who have already spoken, we stand united and our position has been consistent."

Council Delegate Leonard Chee addressed the Flagstaff City Council next, saying, "I'm here as a member of the Navajo Nation Council. The Navajo Nation is gravely concerned about our water supply. Simply put, I still cannot get my mind wrapped around how this question is even being considered today."

In December 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack designated all Arizona counties, except La Paz and Yuma counties, as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by drought and that the state is preparing for imminent long term drought. It was further noted that the request by Arizona Snowbowl to use drinkable water for non-essential recreational purposes is quite honestly unacceptable.

Many Indian Nation leaders gathered to protect Dook'o'oslííd. Present at the Council meeting were leaders and representatives from the Hopi tribe, Havasupai Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, Yavapai-Apache Nation and the Hualapai Tribe. In addition, community members from the Navajo Nation also expressed their disapproval of utilizing potable and recovered reclaimed water for artificial snow.

"Always save a little for tomorrow," added Council Delegate Chee. "Just because we have some water now does not mean we should waste it. That is our stand on the water source."

The special meeting began at 5:30 p.m. and was still in session at 11:45 p.m.

The Flagstaff City Council concluded that a decision will not be made until Thursday, 10 a.m. at the City Hall after agreeing deliberation and decision making would be unduly compromised in the early hours of the following day.

Message from Klee Benally, Save the Peaks
Spread the word:

Your presence is needed at this very important meeting!

If you cannot attend, please send an email or call today!

City Council Meeting Continues Sep 2nd

Thanks to all of you who attended, written, and commented on the sale of potable water to snowbowl.


When: September 2nd at 9:30 AM

Where: City Council Chambers

Located at City Hall, Rt. 66 & Humphries

PLEASE Keep Calling and E-mailing

Call Flagstaff City Council and voice your opposition to giving AZ Snowbowl our drinking water!

(928) 779-7600
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

It was an intense meeting for sure. The auditorium had a capacity of 810 people. There must have been close to 800 in attendance.

For those of you who had to leave early or didn't get a chance to join us...

There were about 9 tribal leaders, over 100 speakers, and about 6 hours of total comments. The ones missing from the table were the USDA.

Council members, especially Coral, Celia, and Art, raised some very important questions regarding sustainability, economics, social responsibility, and the USDA subsidy.

At the end:
The council decided to hear all public comments. It lasted until about 12:35 AM.
The council then decided to meet Thursday at 9:30AM at the City Council chambers (City Hall- 211 West Aspen Ave).
While they will only take written comments between now and at the Thursday meeting it is REALLY important that those who oppose using drinking water for snowmaking have a strong presence in the room. When voting the city needs to see that we hold them accountable!
So, PLEASE come join us between 9:30am-12pm at the city chambers for the vote. This can be a real historical turning point for Flagstaff, where the city might actually choose a commitment to environmental integrity, social justice, and long term sustainability.

N ADDITION PLEASE keep writing and calling the council. Snowbowl knows it is about to lose not only an $11 million dollar pay check, but also all the profits from snowmaking they were already banking on! They will do EVERYTHING they can to sway the city vote, which seemed to be opposed to snowmaking at the meeting.

Klee Benally - Independent Indigenous Media - Indigenous Youth Empowerment! - Protect Sacred Places - Flagstaff Infoshop

Skype: indigenousaction

ALSO SEE: Flagstaff City Council vote extended until Thursday after long public comment

The Flagstaff City Council will meet again Thursday morning, Sept 2, 2010, to discuss whether to sell drinking water to Arizona Snowbowl to be used for snowmaking.The meeting is essentially a continuation of one held Monday night that stretched into Tuesday morning. Public comment dominated that meeting, with more than 800 people in attendance. Hours of public testimony caused the council to postpone a formal discussion and vote on the matter.

1 comment:

Adam schreck said...

Why hasn't anyone commented on this... Simply because it leaves you's 2010 for earths sake people. Snowbowl, another waste of youths time and money. Apparently that money should be used for education.

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