The Fight Over Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks

Project: Native Women Leaders and Advocates Defending Sacred Places in the Southwest

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Source: Indian Country Today Media Network
Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

The San Francisco Peaks are a sacred to over a dozen native tribes in the southwest. They have also long been the hotbed of controversial views and court battles going back to 2000. The Arizona Snowbowl, a ski resort located on land managed by the forest service on the Peaks, entered into a partnership with the City of Flagstaff to use reclaimed wastewater to make fake snow. The Hopi, filed a suit against the city, and then recently voted unanimously to support the implementation of a filtration system if they withdrew their lawsuit. However, the citizens of Flagstaff have only just been made aware of the recent deal (per confidential requirements by law) and thus, the people have been unable to voice their say, including the 12 other tribes that consider the Peaks sacred. Many -Native and non-native alike, have voiced their opinion that they don’t believe the filter will be enough.

The treated wastewater is already required to meet water quality standards set by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, but critics have long complained that some pollutants, including hormones and pharmaceuticals, get through the city’s treatment systems and threaten human and environmental health.

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