The USDA's job is to ensure environmental justice and that the greater public interest and health are ascertained. In addition, the United States needs to realise its claim to democracy.
Facing desecration by Arizona Snowbowl are the sacred San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, AZ, home to a fragile ecosystem and watershed, with great spiritual significance to thirteen Indigenous nations.
The Peaks form the Dine' sacred mountain of the west, called the Dook'o'oosłííd, that figures prominently in the Dine' creation narrative. The people refer to it in their ceremonies, sing about it in their songs. Among many things, the West as a direction represents family -- the sacredness of being with those we are related to.
Arizona Snowbowl has been clear-cutting alpine forest on the peaks for new ski runs, and begun work on a 14.8 mile-long pipeline which would transport anywhere up to 180 million gallons of treated sewage effluent from the City of Flagstaff to the ski area for snowmaking.
Over 30,000 trees in the fragile ecosystem will be clear-cut if the plan continues to be executed. The full extent of the environmental and public health hazard the sewage effluent will bring, placed right at the top of the Navajo Nation's watershed, is yet unknown.
Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Arizona Snowbowl has chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline.
In a country claiming to embody democracy and freedom, resisters have persistently been arrested and denied the right to speak.
Arizona Snowbowl has breached, along with many other spoken and unspoken rights, the following articles in United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People:
Article 11, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
“Article 11, 2: States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.”
“Article 12, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.”
“Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard."