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Old 01-19-2006, 12:25 PM   #1
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Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., Calls San Francisco Peaks Ruling...

EXTENSION OF 1800S POLICY OF EXTERMINATION OF NATIVE PEOPLE

Pledges to continue efforts to save Dookıoıosliid from further
development, desecration


WINSLOW, Ariz. * In some of his strongest sentiments to date, Navajo
Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., has equated a U.S. district judgeıs
recent decision regarding the San Francisco Peaks to the federal
extermination policies of the late 19th Century.

President Shirley said that to Navajos and other Native Americans, U.S.
District Judge Paul Rosenblattıs ruling to allow expansion of the
Arizona Snowbowl ski area and the use of reclaimed effluent to make
artificial snow harkens back to the policies of U.S. President Andrew
Jackson.

Those policies led to the removal of Creek, Cherokee and Choctaw tribes
from their aboriginal homelands, freeing millions of acres for the
occupation and development by non-Natives who coveted the land. Jackson
is credited with pushing the Indian Removal Act through Congress in
1830. The Navajos were subjected to forced removal beginning in 1863 and
were kept in captivity until 1868. Thousands died en route and in
captivity.

Because Native people refused, resisted or fought to remain on their
lands * unsuccessfully trying to use the court system to help themselves
* they were deemed savage, uncivilized or expendable.

President Shirley made his comments following the showing of the
documentary film ³The Snowbowl Effect² by Klee Benally at the La Posada
Hotel here on Saturday. He said the federal governmentıs policies and
actions were reflected in the saying of the time, ³The only good Indian
is a dead Indian.²

³Itıs really unfortunate that a government respected around the world,
trying to spread freedom around the world, to have a policy like that,²
he said. ³If you desecrate and destroy the peaks, youıre doing away with
a way of life. When is that going to be understood? Thatıs killing
Native American nations. Thatıs killing us.²

Dr. Shirley said Judge Rosenblattıs decision is the third recent one to
go against 13 tribes that have repeatedly expressed the sacred nature of
the mountain to government officials. The first decision against the
tribes came March 8, 2005, when Coconino National Forest Supervisor Nora
Rasure approved the Snowbowl plan The second decision occurred June 9,
2005, when Southwestern Regional Forester Harv Forsgren of the U.S.
Forest Service in Albuquerque upheld Ms. Rasureıs decision.

³When weıre talking about the San Francisco Peaks, thatıs our essence,
and that essence is the whole of me,² Dr. Shirley said. ³Itıs my mind,
my heart. Itıs what identifies me. Itıs what makes me a Diné person.²

President Shirleyıs concerns were echoed by Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman
Todd D. Honyaoma, Sr. He said the court ruling was especially
disappointing because it came the night his clan was beginning kachina
dances.

³It really hurt, what that judge has done,² the Vice Chairman said.
³Money is what theyıre basing that decision on. They never made a
courtesy to come out to our reservation, sit down and tell us whatıs
going on.²

Vice Chairman Honyaoma agreed with President Shirleyıs call to have
tribes unite with a single voice.

³Not just in Arizona but throughout the U.S.,² he said. ³We are the
caretakers. Letıs all get together. Forget about other issues, political
issues, and challenge what has happened. We will appeal this decision.²

President Shirley said it hurt when the judge said thereıs no place that
Native Americans go that could be called a shrine.

³What more need we say to be understood?² the President said. ³The whole
of the San Francisco Peaks is our mother. The whole of it is a shrine
and we go there all the time.²

He said he believes the mentality that would create policies and arrive
at legal judgments that damage, desecrate or destroy Native culture is
very much in evidence.

³Iıd sure like to have my children and their children and their children
continue to be, the way the Creator created us,² he said. ³I continue to
pray and hope that somewhere in there the higher powers will listen,
will hear our plea. It hurts to know that there are those out there
against sacred ways who worship money. I think this is what itıs all
about.²

³Itıs very unfortunate that there are people like that out there,² he
said. ³These are the ones who we are standing up against.²

The President told the organizers of the showing, the Save The Peaks
Coalition, that he supported their efforts and would do what he could to
help them achieve their goals.

³As long as Iım President, Iıll stand with you to the best of my
ability.²
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:58 PM   #2
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Those are some strong words and I'm glad he's standing up for something so precious to us. I bet them skiers in Flag are happy with the snow coming down today. I bet they are cheering, so that they can have the fun they deserve, cheer to stomp on other people's way of life. I even wrote a letter to Senator John McCain, I didn't even get a response. What else are we to do? I live beneath the peaks and see it everyday as I walk out of my home, but it seems like believing in your country and serving is worth nothing when your own government can't even stand by your side. It makes me upset to hear this, but spiritually I know the Peaks is still ours to began with. I'm glad our President is standing up for his people and I'm happy he stood up for them miners at Black Mesa. Obviously, federal judges can be paid off, I just hope an investigation follows. I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce Babbit's change is involved too. What pity.
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