Monday, June 22, 2009

Indigenous fight for rights in Arizona

San Francisco Peaks

Yep - making artifical snow from reclaimed sewerage effluent, spraying it on a sacred mountain (sacred to over 13 tribes), in Arizona, to make a snow-park! The supreme court in the US have thrown out the appeal.

"Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona skiers may soon be spared the inconvenience of living in one of the Union’s warmest and driest states.

Last week the high court removed the final legal hurdle blocking Arizona Snowbowl from making artificial snow with reclaimed sewage effluent on the San Francisco Peaks—a plan which 13 southwestern tribes say will desecrate their sacred mountain.

In a long-running lawsuit filed against the the U.S.Forest Service (the ski center's landlord) the Navajo and several other tribes had sought protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, arguing that to make snow on the mountain would decrease the "spiritual fulfillment" tribal members get from practicing their religion. By declining, without comment, to act on the tribes' appeal of a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court effectively gave Snowbowl the go-ahead.

Lawyers for the tribes say they still have several options (which appear to be long shots) for blocking Snowbowl. For now, though, Snowbowl is free to busy itself with that time-honored Western tradition: moving water uphill toward money."

The supreme court considered this:


Whether the Ninth Circuit correctly held--in conformance with this Court’s precedents--that a snowmaking plan that would "diminish the sacredness" of government land in the view of certain Indian tribes imposed no substantial burden on those tribes’ religious exercise."

In other words, in the courts opinion there is no substantial burden imposed upon the tribes 'religious exercise' even though the tribes have described a diminishing of the sacredness, in their view, from the development.

Don't listen to the indigenous people - what they have to say doesn't matter?

Is it over, have these tribes given up? I don't think so!
Native names for the peaks:

Dook'o'oosłííd—Diné (Navajo)
Dził Tso—Dilzhe’e Apache
Tsii Bina—Aa'ku (Acoma)
Nuvaxatuh—Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute)
Hvehasahpatch or Huassapatch—Havasu 'Baaja (Havasupai)
Wik'hanbaja—Hwal`bay (Hualapai)
Sunha K'hbchu Yalanne—A:shiwi (Zuni)
'Amat 'Iikwe Nyava[10]—Hamakhav (Mojave)
Sierra sin Agua Spanish
The Peaks—Anglo Arizonans

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