Sacred Sites: Groups Continue to Call for Action on San Francisco Peaks
On June 15, a day before the annual National Sacred Places Prayer Days was set to begin, a group of more than 20 Flagstaff community members confronted Arizona corporations requesting an immediate halt of construction and withdrawal of their contracts with Arizona Snowbowl, according to a press release by the organization Protect the Peaks. The members held banners and signs as a letter was delivered to RSC Equipment Rentals and their parent company, Stronger United. According to the release, these actions were part of a coordinated effort to address contractors complicit in Arizona Snowbowl’s destruction and desecration of the San Francisco Peaks – a sacred site within American Indian culture. Letters were also delivered to Towsley Welding & Construction in Big Bear, California, and to High Desert Investment Company in Flagstaff.
The Protect the Peaks group is asking for a Call to Action Week and requesting people to share their disapproval with the companies during the week of June 18 – 22. The group has petition forms available at its website that can be filled out and faxed or e-mailed to the three companies. The letters state, “To the 13 indigenous nations that hold this mountain sacred, you are an accomplice in cultural genocide.” The Call to Action week hits the same time as National Sacred Places Prayer Days, June 16 – 24, which will see observances and ceremonies held across the country in support of locations designated as Native sacred places. “Ceremonies are being conducted as far too many Native American peoples are engaged in legal struggles with federal agencies that side with developers that endanger or destroy Native sacred places,” said Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, president of The Morning Star Institute, which organizes the National Sacred Places Prayer Days. The Call to Action comes a week after a pair of young Flagstaff residents embarked on a hunger strike to oppose the artificial snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl and the desecration of the San Francisco Peaks. Leslynn Williams, Dine’ mother, stated in the release, “ It’s important that we continue to fight for our sacred Holy mountain, our future generations depend on our efforts to protect the Peaks. Today, our culture and mother earth are under attack on all levels by greedy corporations, from the stripping away of our water rights by corporations like Salt River Project, Navajo Generating Station, to the desecration of our sacred sites. We have to take a stand now and take action today.”