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The Sounds of Reality, by Third Mesa Music
The Sounds of Reality by Third Mesa Music


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by Al Swilling For Exclusive Use by SENAA International. All Rights Reserved
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The PATRIOT Act's Impact on Your Rights - ACLU

Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, a panicked Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which has directly infringed on many of the rights and freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights. This new interactive feature summarizes the impact of the PATRIOT Act on some of our most cherished rights.

Main Street America Fights Back - ACLU

Resolutions opposing the USA PATRIOT Act's erosion of our basic liberties have been passed in 325 communities in 41 states, including four state-wide resolutions. From major cities to rural towns, these communities represent nearly 52 million people. Click to see which communities have taken a stand and how you can pass a resolution in your town.

Visit our Video Page for Important Topics and Entertainment

 "The Enlightened Time" - Artist Jana Mashonee 
From the album American Indian Story


   This is artist Jana Mashonee's first music video, filmed amid the beautiful landscape of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the Arizona-Utah border.
   Through a superb combination of dazzling visual effects and a blend of contemporary and traditional music that speaks to the soul, she portrays a young Native woman on her journey of discovery of her people's tradition, of their spirituality, of self, and of the power that they hold. More importantly, she discovers that only by embracing her Native heritage–and herself–is she truly liberated.  
Al Swilling, Founder, SENAA International

Jana's music video, "The Enlightened Time," won Best Music Video award at Queens International, Buffalo Niagara, and Accolades Film Festivals in 2007 and 2008. — >Info>Hot Sheet

   SENAA International sends a big "Congratulations" to Blackfire for their win at the Native American Music Awards' 10th annual celebration on Saturday night, 04 October.
   Congratulations on your NAMA award. You certainly earned it.
   Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to raise public awareness of the racist forced relocations, and the human rights and Civil Rights violations against Indigenous Americans in this "enlightened" 21st century.
   For details about Blackfire and the other NAMA award winners, visit Brenda Norrell's Censored News
Also visit Blackfire's Web site at

    Watch Videos of Blackfire Interviews and Performances

California Sues to Block Bush Endangered Species Rules
Casper Star Tribune  -  31 DEC 2008
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California has filed suit against the Bush administration to block last-minute endangered species regulations that are intended to reduce input from federal scientists, Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Tuesday.
   Brown said the president is trying to gut the Endangered Species Act before he leaves office next month.
   "Unfortunately, the Bush administration has had an antipathy to using sound science," Brown said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "This is the latest assault as Bush goes out the door. It's intolerable."...
Human Rights Commission Hears Testimonies of 'Racism'
Navajo-Hopi Observer  -  30 DEC 2008
   FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Four of the five members of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission recently visited the communities of Winslow and Flagstaff to hear public testimony regarding race relation issues in areas including housing, education and civil rights.
   Chairperson Duane "Chili" Yazzie, Clarence Chee, Steven A. Darden and Irving Gleason spent over three hours in the chamber of the Flagstaff City Council listening to complaints that ranged from cultural insensitivity, disrespect and desecration of sacred sites, mistreatment and disrespect by places of employment and by places of business, the denial of legal process and clear, undisguised racism.
   Kelvin Long, the executive director of ECHOES (Educating Communities while Healing and Offering Environmental Support), addressed the Save the Peaks effort against snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks and other environmental issues in northern Arizona....

Bush's Farewell Gift to Peabody Coal: High Noon at Black Mesa  -  29 DEC 2008
   Two days before Christmas, officials from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) have granted a permit to Peabody Coal Company to expand their mining operations on Navajo and Hopi lands, despite opposition from local communities and problems with the permitting process including lack of adequate time for public comment on a significant revision to the permit, insufficient environmental review, and instability in the Hopi government preventing their legitimate participation in the process. OSM's "Record of Decision" (ROD) is the final stage of the permitting process for the proposed "Black Mesa Project," which would grant Peabody Coal Company a life-of-mine permit for the "Black Mesa Complex" in northern Arizona.
   Black Mesa Water Coalition, a Navajo and Hopi citizens organization working on indigenous sovereignty and environmental protection, has vowed to stop Peabody from causing further harm to Black Mesa. "We are looking into our options for how to stop this process from moving forward, including legal action. The permitting process was flawed and clearly rushed through before President Bush leaves office," said Enei Begaye, Co-Director of Black Mesa Water Coalition....

Native American Battle Over a Mission San Juan Capistrano Garden Gets Ugly 
OC Weekly  -  25 DEC 2008
   Native American battle over the possible disturbance of an Indian burial site at a Mission San Juan Capistrano garden gets ugly.
   A legal battle over beautification of a long-neglected dirt lot over Mission San Juan Capistrano's Old Cemetery is born out of "a vendetta," according to one attorney arguing the case.
   Ed Connor, who represents the Diocese of Orange, blames Native American tribal leader David Belardes not getting along with Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano parish pastor Father Arthur Holquin for a protracted dispute that has drawn in the San Juan Capistrano Cultural Heritage Commission, the City Council, the California Native Heritage Commission, Orange County Superior Court and at least four groups of the Juaneño-Acjachemen Band of Mission Indians....
Feds OK Permit Revision for Arizona Coal Mine
Arizona Central  -  23 DEC 2008
   FLAGSTAFF - The federal agency that regulates surface mining has approved a permit revision that combines the facilities and coal reserves of two northeastern Arizona coal mines.
   The life of mine permit covers Peabody Energy's Kayenta Mine and allows operations to continue there until 2026. The Office of Surface Mining approved it Monday....
Late-term Rule Changes: Bush's Push to be Felt Across West 
The Denver Post  -  15 DEC 2008
   A flurry of end-of-term Bush administration changes in rules, permits and plans could alter canyons, mesas, grasslands and forests across the West.
   From the November rules for oil-shale development to a revision of the Endangered Species Act last Thursday to an oil-and-gas lease sale this Friday, there are a spate of changes that touch Western lands. And while the changes may benefit some commercial interests and create jobs, environmentalists are raising alarms.
   "The Bush administration is pushing to open as much public land as possible for short-term gain," said Roger Singer, the Sierra Club's Colorado regional representative....
West Virginia Citizens join with Navajo & Hopi Tribal Leaders 
and Community Members to Protest Office of Surface Mining  -  14 DEC 2008
   Charleston, WV and Denver, CO (HNN) – Citizens in West Virginia and the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona and New Mexico have more in common than they once thought. Both areas are dealing with loss of water, land and cultural resources as a result of surface mining, and both are frustrated with the systemic lack of enforcement and lack of citizen involvement from the federal government.
   "When we met with folks from the Navajo community out west, we realized we are having the same problems," said Vernon Haltom of Coal River Mountain Watch. "They are struggling with bad water, loss of culture and heritage, and systemic apathy from government agencies."...

Restoring Harmony with Reburial of Native American Remains
Artifacts and ancestors exhumed for construction of Playa Vista will be returned to the earth, ending a years-long rift between tribal members and developers.
L.A. Times  -  14 DEC 2008
   More than 15 years of acrimony came to an end Saturday when about 1,000 Native American remains that had been exhumed during construction were laid to rest and covered with white seashells during a sacred burial ceremony near the Westchester bluffs.
   For Robert Dorame, a Bellflower resident designated by the state Native American Heritage Commission as the "most likely descendant" of the American Indians buried at the site, the day represented a peaceful conclusion to a painstaking project in which he supervised the blessing and bundling of the remains.
   "The ancestors have been sitting in cardboard boxes in shelves on a trailer for a lot of years," Dorame said. "So you know, it's a great -- we use the word in our language awesko -- a rejoice. . . . We're happy it's finally come to an end."...

Not Everyone Wants Peabody Out of Black Mesa
Shirley: Peabody 'a good neighbor'
Gallup Independent  -  13 DEC 2008
   WINDOW ROCK — Though members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes turned out in Denver to protest an upcoming decision by the Office of Surface Mining on Peabody Western Coal Co.’s life-of-mine permit, not all tribal members share their views.
   “The Navajo Nation is pleased that OSM will issue its record of decision on Dec. 15. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. considers Peabody Energy a good corporate neighbor, a good business partner and an exemplary employer of Navajo workers who are dedicated to their jobs,” said George Hardeen, communications director for the Office of the President/Vice President....
Protesters Urge Mining Delay
Tribes team to push for hold on Black Mesa coal mining permit
Gallup Independent  -  11 DEC 2008
   WINDOW ROCK—A delegation of 35 Navajo and Hopi tribal members, including Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa, met Monday with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining in Denver in hopes of delaying a record of decision on the proposed Black Mesa Project.
   The record of decision is the final stage of the permitting process. Peabody Western Coal Co. is proposing to revise its “life-of-mine” operation and reclamation plans for its permitted Kayenta mining operation and incorporate into those plans surface facilities and coal-resource areas at the Black Mesa Complex. Black Mesa is regarded as a sacred mountain to the Navajo people....
Tribes Protest Proposed Coal Mine on Ancestral Lands
The Denver Post  -  08 DEC 2008
   Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe representatives on Monday pressed the federal Office of Surface Mining not to grant a permit to Peabody Energy for its proposed Black Mesa coal mine in Arizona....
Nuvamsa Disagrees with Hopi Comments
Gallup Independent  -  09 DEC 2008
   WINDOW ROCK—Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa has taken issue with comments contained in an Independent story on Thursday regarding a possible threat of a takeover of the Hopi Tribal Office Complex on Wednesday.
   The information contained in the story was received in a news release from Bertha Parker, spokeswoman for the Hopi Tribal Council and personal interviews....
PSA - For Immediate Release
Black Mesa Water Coalition  -  09 DEC 2008
Navajo & Hopi Tribal Leaders & Members Urge Office of Surface Mining to Suspend Decision on Peabody Coal's "Black Mesa Project"
   Denver, CO – A delegation of 35 Navajo and Hopi tribal members, including Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa, met with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) at their Denver headquarters in hopes of delaying OSM's "Record of Decision" until the next Presidential Administration takes office. The "Record of Decision" (ROD) is the final stage of the permitting process for the proposed "Black Mesa Project," which would grant Peabody Coal Company a "life-of-mine" permit-- expanded mining operations and rights to tap the fresh water of the Navajo aquifer....
Obama May Tap a Strong Progressive to Manage Our Wilderness
AlterNet  -  08 DEC 2008
   Anyone who has visited a national park or traversed the country's diverse wilderness comes home with gorgeous, yet distressing images of it; those returning from a visit to one of the more than 562 tribes the federal government recognizes and is supposed to assist also bring back sad stories about it; and those of us who enjoy camping or fishing or hunting inevitably return home talking about it. "It" is the scenery and life found on the millions of acres of federal land left blemished and vulnerable by Bush Administration's Department of the Interior (DOI).
   As urbanization, economic restructuring and the insatiable lust for land and natural resources continue to threaten the still-astonishingly beautiful and rich land of this country, we should all care about whom President-elect Obama chooses to lead the DOI. The urgency of these issues came home twice this week as the Bush Administration delivered two parting gifts to big mining interests by rescinding two important regulations -- one requiring the DOI to prevent mining companies from dumping waste near public streams and another protecting federal land near the Grand Canyon from mining and oil and gas development....
New Rule Lifts Ban on Firearms in National Parks  -  06 DEC 2008
   Washington—People will soon be able to carry concealed, loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife refuges.
   The Bush administration said Friday it is overturning a 25-year-old federal rule that severely restricts loaded guns in national parks.
   Under a rule to take effect in January, visitors will be able to carry a loaded gun into a park or wildlife refuge–but only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon and if the state where the park or refuge is located also allows concealed firearms....
Policy Move Gives Mining Another Boost
The Wall Street Journal  -  04 DEC 2008
   WASHINGTON—The Bush administration is escalating a conflict with congressional Democrats over their efforts to block uranium mining claims near the Grand Canyon by planning to adopt a rule that could undercut Congress's power to prevent mining on public land.
   The move by the Bureau of Land Management—an agency of the Interior Department that manages 258 million acres of land nationwide–marks the second instance this week in which the Bush administration has delivered a policy victory to mining interests. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a proposed rule that would allow mining companies to dump waste near streams, despite objections from environmentalists and the governors of Kentucky and Tennessee about the proposal's potential impact on waterways....
Thanksgiving: A Native American View
by Jacqueline Keeler, Pacific News Service
Posted on January 1, 2000, Reprinted on November 26, 2008
   I celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving.
   This may surprise those people who wonder what Native Americans think of this official U.S. celebration of the survival of early arrivals in a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people....
Largest Environmental Meeting Sends Wake-Up Call
Scoop Independent News  -  09 OCT 2008 
   Barcelona, Spain, 9 October, 2008 (IUCN) – It’s time to wake up and take action to protect the planet’s natural wealth. That’s the message of the first part of IUCN’s World Conservation Congress.
   More than 8,000 specialists from the conservation community, governments, NGOs, academia, private sector, women and indigenous groups have gathered in Barcelona to discuss the most pressing issues of our time.
   “In the last four days the call to protect the planet has been heard from both government leaders and the NGO community,” says Valli Moosa, President of IUCN. “Environmental concerns are now at the top of the decision-makers’ priority list.”
   “Absolutely everyone now agrees that we can’t postpone decisive action if we are to avoid major disruptions in all spheres of human and natural activities,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “Business as usual is simply not an option.”...
AFN Should Use Term ‘First Peoples’ Instead of ‘Natives’
The Bristol Bay Times  -  09 OCT 2008
   We should approach the goal of having healthy First Peoples and total community wellness and independent living for everyone, including elders and people with disabilities in rural Alaska, in light of First People governments being truly sovereign.
   One of the first steps to achieving sovereignty in rural Alaska is for urban Alaska to view ordinary rural non-white people as people.
   We do not help the general white public view First Peoples as valuable human beings when we ourselves use negative slang words to describe ourselves. Because of the constant use of slang to refer to First Peoples by whites and most Natives, including the Alaska Federation of Natives, as the name boasts, most mainstream people see us as not respecting ourselves and thus not deserving of respect. The end result of this is, we don’t get a thing and end up surviving on meager corporate dividends, hand-outs or low wages.
   The AFN name needs a major fix fast. A better name would be the First Peoples Convention. When that change happens, we will be making progress, and true sovereignty in rural Alaska will be a possibility....
What to Do About RFID Chips in Your Wallet
TechRepublic  -  07 OCT 2008
Have you wondered about the security implications of RFID chips in your driver’s license, credit cards, and passport? The growing prevalence of RFID transponders in these items, and others, can raise security concerns. You should know what issues arise, and what you can do about them.

   Anyone who has read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother—mentioned in a previous article, "Five good security reads"—should already have some inkling of how RFID technologies can become liabilities. While the events of Doctorow’s novel are unlikely to occur in the immediate future, there are potential dangers to poorly implemented RFID policies that can affect you right now....

22-29 November 2008
Join Us For The Caravan of Support To Big Mountain 
Resistance Communities of Black Mesa, AZ!

From BMIS  -  03 OCT 2008
 Greetings from Black Mesa Indigenous Support,
   We are excited to inform you that we are currently putting together efforts to bring a caravan of work crews that will be converging from across the country to support residents of the Big Mountain regions of Black Mesa who, on behalf of their peoples, their sacred ancestral lands, and future generations, continue to carry out their staunch resistance to the efforts of the US Government, which is acting in the interests of the Peabody Coal Company to devastate whole communities & ecosystems, and greatly de-stabilize our planet's climate for the profit of an elite few....
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake
Police Attack Algonquin Children, Peaceful Protesters
Censored News - Brenda Norrell - 08 OCT 2008

An Algonquin man is hospitalized after Quebec police shot him in the chest with a tear-gas canister. A disabled teenage girl was also treated with oxygen in the local Health Clinic. Twenty-two children under eight and two babies were caught in the tear gas shot by police.

Photo source: Brenda Norrell's Censored News.   See more photos there.
Contact information:
Marylynn Poucachiche
Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819-435-2171

Canada and Quebec use riot police, tear gas, and 'pain compliance' on peaceful Algonquin families to avoid negotiations. 'Pain compliance' is perfect description of Conservative's aboriginal policy, say community spokespeople.

by Barriere Lake Community
Censored News

   KITIGANIK, RAPID LAKE, Algonquin Territory -- The Conservative government and Quebec used riot police, tear gas, and "pain compliance" techniques to end a peaceful blockade erected by Algonquin families from Barriere Lake, rather than negotiate, as requested by the community.  
   The blockade on Highway 117 in Northern Quebec began at 6:00am Monday, with nearly a hundred community members of all ages and their supporters promising to remain until Canada's Conservative government and Quebec honoured signed agreements and Barriere Lake's leadership customs. Around 4 pm, nearly sixty Quebec officers and riot police encircled families after a meal. Without warning, police launched tear gas canisters, one of which hit a child in the chest.
   "Our demands are reasonable," said Norman Matchewan, a spokesperson who was racially slurred by Minister Lawrence Cannon's assistant earlier in the election. "We're only asking for the government to uphold the agreements they've signed and to stop illegally interfering in our customary governance. The message we've received today is that Stephen Harper and Jean Charest are unwilling to even play by their rules."...

Barriere Lake Algonquins in Ottawa
US Supreme Court to Hear Navajo Coal Royalty Appeal
Steel Guru  -  05 OCT 2008
   The tribe has alleged that Peabody Energy conspired with the US Department of Interior to persuade the tribe to accept a lower royalty than other government officials believed the tribe should be paid....
Court Stalls Snowmaking on Sacred Arizona Peak
RezNews  -  04 OCT 2008
   FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A federal appeals court that approved a plan for snowmaking on Arizona's San Francisco Peaks, sacred to Indian tribes, is giving opponents time to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court....
Tribes Want Action on Tuba City Dump Site
Gallup Independent  -  27 SEP 2008
   WINDOW ROCK—The Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe are tired of investigations of the Tuba City Open Dump.
   They want it cleaned up.
   Studies since 1999 have indicated the presence of uranium and other metals in the dump and shallow groundwater exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards. The tribes have repeatedly indicated that clean closure — or excavation, removal and off-site disposal of all buried wastes — is the only acceptable option to prevent future contamination....
Carbon Is Building Up in Atmosphere Faster Than Predicted
The Washington Post  -  26 SEP 2008
   The rise in global carbon dioxide emissions last year outpaced international researchers' most dire projections, according to figures being released today, as human-generated greenhouse gases continued to build up in the atmosphere despite international agreements and national policies aimed at curbing climate change....
Navajo Nation Going for the Green—Energy That Is
Gallup Independent  -  23 SEP 2008
   WINDOW ROCK — Recently when Navajo Nation Vice President Ben Shelly visited Niagara Falls and listened to the roaring water, it reminded him that water is power, and power is forever.
   “As long as the sun shines there is power, clean power. The wind’s the same way. As long as the wind blows, it provides power,” Shelly told a crowd gathered Friday at Navajo Nation Museum for “Bridging the Gap; Solar Power for All,” moderated by Anna Rondon....
Lehman Brothers: Deadly Stocks   Alternate Link
by Brenda Norrell  -  19 SEP 2008
   After Arlene Hamilton purchased stocks in Lehman Brothers, so the Navajo, Hopi and Lakota delegation could address stockholders in 2001, Arlene called me. Arlene said she had been threatened and believed she would be killed. She also said authorities had rifled through her papers at her Navajo weaving project office in Flagstaff, Ariz. Shortly afterwards, Arlene was killed in a car wreck near Kayenta, Arizona. Roberta Blackgoat, longtime Navajo resister of relocation, died at Arlene's memorial in San Francisco.
   That same year, 2001, Cate Gilles, longtime news reporter on Black Mesa, who covered other Indigenous issues, was found hanged in Tucson. We were all friends with the Navajo environmentalist Leroy Jackson, cofounder of the Dine' Citizens Against Ruining our Environment. Leroy was found dead in 1993, after his life was threatened for protecting the grandmother pines from logging....
Bush Family Cleaning up on Transfer of Public Lands to Private Hands
Online Journal - 16 SEP 2008
   (WMR) -- WMR has learned from a senior Democratic congressional source that the Bush family, most notably former President George H. W. Bush, is reaping windfall profits from the transfer of title of public federal and state lands to private hands. The elder Bush, according to our sources, has a vested financial interest in land title companies that specialize in the transfer of public lands to private interests.
   The revelations represent the first evidence that the elder Bush has benefited from the transfer of public lands to private hands in a giant scheme to defraud federal and state governments, as well as the American taxpayers and Native Americans....
Indigenous Native American Prophecy
Excerpts from The Fifth Gate 
And More
The Trail of Tears
Introductory narration by Wes Studi, Tsa-La-Gi
Rich-Heape Films, Inc.
Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal
National History Day 2008 - Indian Removal Act
James McAvoy & Kevin Gillis
The Long Walk to Bosque Redondo
from: Nanebah Nez

McCain: 'I do' Support an End to Mountaintop-Removal  -  16 SEP 2008
   In a town hall meeting yesterday in Orlando, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked if he supported an end to the economically and ecologically destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. His reply: "I do."
   Mountaintop removal is decimating Appalachia -- 25 percent of Wise County's historic mountain ranges have been destroyed forever.
   McCain couldn't let well enough alone. He then incoherently continued, "I've seen a dramatic improvement in the behavior of the coal companies. They are doing a much better job."
   Watch it:...  
Navajo, Hopi and Lakota Delegation Warned Lehman Brothers   Alternate Link
by Brenda Norrell  -  15 SEP 2008
   NEW YORK -- A delegation of Navajo, Hopi and Lakota warned Lehman Brothers stockholders of the dire consequences of their actions in 2001. In a rare move, censored by most media, the Navajo, Hopi and Lakota delegation warned Lehman Brothers, after it acquired the financial interests of Peabody Coal, of the spiritual consequences of mining coal on sacred Black Mesa and the aftermath of Peabody Coal's machinations that led to the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute.
   Lehman Brothers is now in the midst of financial collapse, with its bankruptcy producing a rippling effect throughout the world's economy....
Cobell v. Kempthorne: Judge Agrees to Issue Indian Trust Order to Speed Appeal
Indian Trust List Serve, 28 AUG 2008
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 -- U.S. District Judge James Robertson agreed today to enter a written order next week that will allow Indian plaintiffs to promptly appeal his latest rulings in the long running class action lawsuit over the government's mismanagement of Trust funds for 500,000 individual Indian Trust beneficiaries.
   Dennis M. Gingold, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, notified the Judge of plaintiffs' intention to appeal an August 7 ruling during a status hearing this afternoon. The appeal will focus on the judge's two recent opinions, including the most recent ruling that $455.6 million is due individual Indian beneficiaries....
Opponents of Desert Rock Gain Time
The EPA gives 30-day extension to comment on plant’s air permit
by Ted Holteen, Durango Herald, 22 AUG 2008
  Opponents of the proposed Desert Rock power plant in northwest New Mexico won a small victory Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency granted a 30-day extension to allow several groups and the state of New Mexico more time to review and appeal Desert Rock's air-quality permit.
  The new deadline to file an appeal is Oct. 2.
  Thursday's decision also allowed Desert Rock representatives to participate in the appeals process, and it also denied a request by the opponents to stay a decision by the EPA on carbon-dioxide emissions by Desert Rock.
  The EPA issued the Prevention of Significant Deterioration, or PSD, air-quality permit July 31. By law, the EPA allows 30 days from the issuance of the permit for appeals to be filed, but Mike Eisenfeld, the energy coordinator for San Juan Citizens Alliance in New Mexico, said the Desert Rock case is an exception to the regular rules....

Plaintiffs in Peaks Case Considering Appeal
by Cindy Yurth, Tséyi' Bureau, Navajo Times, 21 AUG 2008
  CHINLE - Following a reversal of fortune in the courts, eight plaintiffs in the lawsuit to prevent the use of treated wastewater to make snow on the San Francisco Peaks are considering whether to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to spokesmen for President Joe Shirley Jr. and the Sierra Club.
  In an en banc ruling published Aug. 8, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous ruling by a three-judge panel that would have prevented the snowmaking scheme at the Arizona Snowbowl ski area.
   Among the appellants were the Navajo Nation and three other tribes who claim the use of reclaimed sewage effluent, even if cleaned up enough to meet federal drinking water standards, would defile a sacred mountain, render the area's medicinal plants unusable, and nullify some of their ceremonies....

Environmental Groups Challenge Desert Rock Decision
by Cornelia de Bruin, The Daily Times, 15 AUG 2008
  BURNHAM — A coalition of seven environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice attorney Nick Persampieri, Thursday filed a challenge to the federal Environmental Protection Agency's July 31 decision to grant an air permit for Desert Rock.
  Desert Rock Power Plant is the 1,500 megawatt pulverized coal-burning plant proposed near Burnham, about 30 miles southwest of Farmington on the Navajo Nation.
  Even so, Horn Creek eventually splashes its way to the canyon bottom and into the Colorado River, a vital water source for 25 million people from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to San Diego. In that mighty river, the Orphan’s radioactive dribble is diluted to insignificance....
Freeze Residents Impatient with Planning Process
by Cindy Yurth, Tséyi', Navajo Times, 14 AUG 2008
  TUBA CITY - The residents of the former Bennett Freeze do not understand why it is taking tribal planners so long to figure out what they need.
  In the words of Coconino County supervisor and Tuba City resident Louise Yellowman, "We need everything."
   "The government keeps asking us, 'What do you need?'" said Yellowman at a final input meeting held Aug. 6 for residents of the former Bennett Freeze....
Environmental Groups, Tribes to Continue Efforts to Protect Sacred Peaks
Navajo-Hopi Observer, 12 AUG 2008
  FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Arizona's sacred San Francisco Peaks and the neighboring tribal communities were denied environmental justice Friday in a split decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in favor of the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort in its efforts to expand and contaminate the area.
  "The court failed to consider the claims of the impacts to human health form coming into contact with the treated waste from reclaimed water and did not take seriously the tribes' legal claims because of a court technicality," said Andy Bessler with the Sierra Club in Flagstaff, Arizona. "The decision leaves unaddressed water quality issues, since the Court failed to decide if using reclaimed water on the Peaks was safe for the environment or for human health."
  The San Francisco Peaks, north of Flagstaff, Arizona, are sacred to 13 tribes and are important spiritual and geographic boundaries. The tribes had brought legal claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the National Environmental Policy Act against the U.S. Forest Service from implementing a snowmaking proposal using reclaimed water to make artificial snow on the Peaks....
Forest Service, Snowbowl Win Right to Use Fake Snow
Money wins out over religion, some say
by S.J. Wilson, Navajo-Hopi Observer, 12 AUG 2008
  FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Just one day after Indian Country registered its shock over the settlement in Cobell v. Kempthorne - $455.6 million rather than the $58 billion sought - 13 Arizona tribes learned that they had lost their bid to protect the sacred San Francisco Peaks from desecration by the use of treated wastewater to make artificial snow at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.
  Eleven Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals justices filed a split decision in Pasadena, Calif. on August 8, with seven justices joining Judge Bea in affirming the district court's denial of relief on all grounds. Judge Fletcher penned the dissent, joined by two justices.
  Attorney Howard Shanker, who represents the Navajo Nation, White Mountain Apache, Yavapai Apache, Havasupai, the Sierra Club and other plaintiff-appellants, said that the Ninth Circuit en banc hearing was the last best chance for tribes to have legal protection under RFRA....
Circuit Court Overturns Peaks Ruling
by Karen Francis, Diné Bureau, Gallup Independent, 11 AUG 2008
  WINDOW ROCK — In a long awaited 100-page decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that using treated wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona to make artificial snow does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and overturned a previous ruling that would have protected the mountain that is sacred to at least 13 Indian tribes.
  The Navajo Nation v. U.S. Forest Services was heard by an en banc court on Dec. 11, and the latest ruling was issued Aug. 8.
  The court’s majority opinion states, “The only effect of the proposed upgrades is on the Plaintiffs’ subjective, emotional religious experience.”
  The court found that there was no substantial burden on the free exercise of religion using the Supreme Court precedence of Sherber v. Verner and Wisconsin v. Yoder. The court also stated that the plaintiffs “cannot dictate the decisions that government makes in managing ‘what is, after all, its land.’”
Because there was no substantial burden, the compelling interest standard cannot be applied, according to the court....
Snowbowl Wins Latest Court Fight vs. Navajos
by Michael Kiefer, Arizona Republic, 09 AUG 2008
  A federal appellate court on Friday sided with a Flagstaff ski resort, ruling that its plan for using reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow does not violate the religious freedom of Native Americans.
  The ruling sets up a potential showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Arizona tribal leaders, environmental groups and their attorneys pledge to appeal their case.
  Regardless, there will be no snowmaking at the Snowbowl this winter....
Snowmaking OK'd at Snowbowl Resort
by Michael Kiefer, Arizona Republic, 08 AUG 2008
  A federal court of appeals on Friday ruled that using reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow at a Flagstaff ski resort does not violate the religious freedom of Native Americans.
  The decision out of the court's Ninth Circuit in San Francisco overturns an earlier appellate decision to the contrary. The issue has see-sawed since January 2006, when a federal judge in Prescott first ruled that Arizona Snowbowl's plan to run a pipe up the mountain from a water treatment plant in Flagstaff was acceptable under federal environmental law.
  A coalition of tribes and environmental groups led by the Navajo Nation appealed the decision on religious grounds, and it was overturned in March 2007 by a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit. Snowbowl's owners asked that the case be reviewed en banc - by the entire bench of appellate judges - which came back with a 9-3 decision in favor of Snowbowl....
Meetings Held to Educate Public on Black Mesa EIS
Black Mesa Project document is lengthy and confusing, some say
by S.J. Wilson, Navajo Hopi Observer, 14 JULY 2008
  KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - When one reads the Black Mesa Project Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS), it appears that the Hopi Tribe is a cooperating agency in the process-something that is just plain wrong, according to Vernon Masayesva of the Hopi Tribe.
   "The Office of Surface Mining wants you to know that the Hopi Tribe was involved in creating this document," Masayesva said, as fellow tribal member Jerry Honawa hoisted the heavy bound document in the air for all to see. "Now we are finding out, that's not the way it is. This [the Hopi Tribe as a cooperating agency] was never discussed by the Hopi Tribe. This was never brought to the Hopi Tribal Council."
  Masayesva opened a public meeting hosted by the Black Mesa Trust, Black Mesa Water Coalition, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club at the Hopi Veteran's Center on July 1....
Upgrades Temporarily Halted at Snowbowl
by Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times, 10 JULY 2008
  CHINLE – The supervisor of the Coconino National forest has denied the Arizona Snowbowl’s request to upgrade its ski school area pending a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the ski area near Flagstaff can expand its area and make snow using reclaimed wastewater.
  “It’s a small victory,” declared Robert Tohe, environmental justice coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter.
  In a letter to Sierra Club chapter director Sandy Bahr, forest supervisor Nora B. Rasure said she received letters not only from the Sierra Club but also from the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Pueblo of Acoma, and the Hopi and Havasupai tribes opposing the upgrade....
EPA, agencies Finalize Navajo Cleanup Plan?
by Kathy Helms, Gallup Independent, 01 JULY 2008
  WINDOW ROCK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and four other federal agencies have finalized a five-year plan for cleaning up a legacy of radioactive contamination resulting from years of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.
   The plan is outlined in a report prepared for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
  The committee requested the plan last October after four hours of testimony from representatives of the Navajo Nation. Waxman criticized the federal government for 40 years of “bipartisan failure” that resulted in “a modern American tragedy.”
  The landmark plan by EPA, in partnership with the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission represents the first coordinated approach created by the five agencies....
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