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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.
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.
artist Jana Mashonee's first music video, filmed amid
the beautiful landscape of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal
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
heritage–and herself–is she truly liberated.
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.
BLACKFIRE, ON YOUR NAMA AWARD! 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.
details about Blackfire and the other NAMA award winners,
visit Brenda Norrell's Censored
News. Also visit Blackfire's Web site at http://www.blackfire.net/
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
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
Farewell Gift to Peabody Coal: High Noon at Black Mesa
Counterpunch.org - 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
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....
American Battle Over a Mission San Juan Capistrano Garden Gets
OC Weekly - 25 DEC 2008
Native American battle over the possible disturbance
of an Indian burial site at a Mission San Juan Capistrano garden
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....
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....
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
"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....
Virginia Citizens join with Navajo & Hopi Tribal Leaders and
Community Members to Protest Office of Surface Mining HuntingtonNews.net - 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
"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."...
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
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
"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....
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
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....
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
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.
information contained in the story was received in a news release
from Bertha Parker, spokeswoman for the Hopi Tribal Council and
- 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....
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
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
Rule Lifts Ban on Firearms in National Parks Truthout.org - 06 DEC 2008
Washington—People will soon be able to carry concealed,
loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife
Bush administration said Friday it is overturning
a 25-year-old federal rule that severely restricts
loaded guns in national parks.
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
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.
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....
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
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
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.”...
Should Use Term ‘First Peoples’ Instead of ‘Natives’ The Bristol Bay Times - 09 OCT 2008
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....
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.
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....
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,
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
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.
Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819-435-2171
Canada and Quebec use riot police, tear gas, and
compliance' on peaceful Algonquin families to avoid negotiations. 'Pain compliance' is perfect description of Conservative's aboriginal policy, say community spokespeople.
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
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....
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....
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.
want it cleaned up.
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....
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
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
“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
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....
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
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....
'I do' Support an End to Mountaintop-Removal Grist.org - 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."
Navajo, Hopi and
Lakota Delegation Warned Lehman BrothersAlternate
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
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
of Desert Rock Gain Time
The EPA gives 30-day extension to comment on plant’s air permit
by Ted Holteen, Durango Herald, 22
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....
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....
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 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....
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
"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....
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....
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....
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
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....
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....
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
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
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....
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
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
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....
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....
agencies Finalize Navajo Cleanup Plan?
by Kathy Helms, Gallup
Independent, 01 JULY
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
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