Confrontation over ceremony at sacred peaks
Tribal members who went to the San Francisco Peaks to pray were confronted by the manager of a ski resort, The Navajo Hopi-Observer reports.

The Save the Peaks Coalition went to the Snowbowl ski resort on opening day last Wednesday. Klee Benally, who is Navajo, said he and others were told to leave by the general manager.

"I told the Snowbowl representative that this was my church, I would not leave my church because this is where I pray," Benally told the paper. As the group left the mountain, Benally said they were stopped and questioned by a U.S. Forest Service agent.

Snowbowl is located on public land within the Coconino National Forest. The Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe and other tribes in the Southwest are fighting a decision by the Forest Service to allow the ski resort to use reclaimed wastewater to make snow. A ruling is pending from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Get the Story:
Tribal members face harassment on sacred Peaks (The Navajo Hopi-Observer 1/30)

Listen to Oral Arguments:
Navajo Nation v. Forest Service (September 14, 2006)

Appeals Court Documents:
Opening Brief [Word DOC] | Reply Brief [Word DOC]

Lower Court Decision:
Navajo Nation v. US Forest Service (January 11, 2006)

Approval Documents:
Final Environmental Impact Statement for Arizona Snowbowl Facilities Improvement | Forest Service Approves Snowmaking at Arizona Snowbowl

Relevant Links:
Save the Peaks Coalition - http://www.savethepeaks.org
Coconino National Forest - http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/index.shtml

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