Flagstaff Police Attack and Arrest Protect the Peaks Marchers

Posted: August 8, 2011 by earthfirstdurango in direct action, environmental justice, environmental racism, indigenous solidarity, logging, repression, resistance, sacred sites, water
Tags: ,

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News (Updated Sunday night)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Six people protecting San Francisco Peaks were targeted and arrested during a peaceful march for the protection of San Francisco Peaks. San Francisco Peaks defender Klee Benally, Navajo, was among those arrested.

In front of Macy’s Coffeehouse on Sunday afternoon, undercover police infiltrated the hundred person march in an attempt to squash the growing anti-Snowbowl movement.

The peaceful march by Native Americans and supporters was surrounded by police from the moment the march formed, marchers said.

An eye witness said, “They were just waiting to pounce. And they did!”

The six arrested were released on bail late Sunday. Klee Benally said in a message on Twitter: “Just released from jail. Protect the peaks. The struggle continues.”

Supporters protecting San Francisco Peaks said they will continue with a planned protest outside the US Forest Service on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

Native Americans are struggling to defend sacred San Francisco Peaks from snow to be made from sewage water at the Snowbowl tourist resort on the Peaks. The mountains are sacred to 13 Native American Nations. Medicine men gather plants on the Peaks and hold traditional healing ceremonies on the Peaks.

Already, the sewage water pipeline has resulted in clearcutting of grandmother trees.

Native Americans are urging tourists to boycott the Snowbowl Ski Resort, and join the support for American Indians upholding their traditions and sacred lifeways.

Further, supporters of the Protect the Peaks movement are urging an investigation of the Flagstaff police for the arrests of Native Americans and people of color. Already, the ACLU has released statistics revealing that Arizona police target American Indians during arrests.

For updates: Censored News

Snowbowl Protesters Lockdown for Second Time

Photo copyright: Alex SotoBreaking News, Monday, August 8, 2011

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Eight Snowbowl Ski Resort protesters locked down to barrels at 5 am, protesting the destruction to sacred San Francisco Peaks.

Police are now cutting away the protesters. Peaks police liaison Rudy Preston arrested at the scene.

Native American are struggling to defend San Francisco Peaks, sacred to 13 area Native American Nations. The Snowbowl Ski Resort is already destroying the sacred mountain with the clearcutting of grandmother trees, as a pipeline is put in to bring sewage water to the ski resort for snowmaking.

Native American medicine men gather healing plants and conduct ceremonies on San Francisco Peaks. The healing herbs would be contaminated by sewage water snow.

Photo copyright: Darrick Jay Hobbs.Tourists are being asked to boycott Snowbowl Ski Resort. Many Flagstaff businesses use Native American images, jewelry and culture for profit. Flagstaff residents and businesses are asked to protect Native American sacred places and join the efforts to defend San Francisco Peaks.

Thanks to Alex Soto and Darrick Jay Hobbs for sending photos to Censored News, via cellphone.

Check back for updates.

More info: TrueSnow.org

San Francisco Peaks defenders continue actions after arrests

By Protect the Peaks

Posted at Censored News

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — (August 7, 2011) More than one hundred people, including families with children and elders, marched through downtown Flagstaff on Sunday in protest of the destruction and desecration of the San Francisco Peaks by Arizona Snowbowl. Demonstrators first gathered at Wheeler Park where they were immediately ordered to leave the public park by the Flagstaff Police Department. As the march wound through downtown Flagstaff demonstrators were met with positive responses and support while dozens of police – many out of uniform — harassed the demonstrators. Police cars drove alongside the marchers. As the protesters passed out flyers and carried banners through Flagstaff’s Southside, police violently disrupted the march, grabbing those who were closest to the street and arresting them. As six marchers were handcuffed, the remaining demonstrators continued to yell demands for an end to the Peaks’ destruction.

“As long as Arizona Snowbowl, the Obama Administration’s Forest Service and the City of Flagstaff continue this ecocide and cultural genocide, we will not stop,” said Klee Benally (Dine’), one of the arrested marchers. “We will pray, march, protest, and take whatever action is necessary to ensure that our basic human rights, dignity and environment are safeguarded. Today’s unjustified force from the Flagstaff Police Department demonstrates that they are not on the side of justice or healthy communities. The Forest Service and City of Flagstaff are on the side of corporate interests that are destroying our communities.”

Since May 25, 2011, the owners of Arizona Snowbowl, with the support of the U.S. Forest Service and the Flagstaff City Council, have laid over five miles of a 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline and have clear-cut over 40 acres of rare alpine forest. A current lawsuit against the Forest Service, focusing on human health impacts of wastewater snowmaking, is still under appeal in the 9th Circuit Court. The individuals at today’s march are separate from the Coalition involved in the lawsuit.

Sunday’s march joins four decades of sustained resistance to desecration of the Holy Peaks. Over the past three weeks since Snowbowl began clear-cutting, dozens of protest camps have been established on the mountain.

“The Week of Action is a culmination of efforts to directly address the lack of political will of the Forest Service and City Council to safeguard the community, public health and cultural rights,” said Nadia Del Callejo who was arrested while simply video taping the incident.

“The same profit driven push that has desecrated the Peaks, is the same sickness that has lead to the militarization of the border and is now trying to desecrate South Mountain, which is sacred to all O’odham.” said Alex Soto (Tohono O‘odham ) who was also arrested, “Sacred sites are under attack, but today we said no. Our solidarity in these struggles is re-establishing our traditional networks of support.”

Demonstrators invite everyone to join them Monday, August 8, 12:30 pm at the United States Coconino National Forest Service Office at 1824 S. Thomson St, Wednesday, 12:30pm at High Desert Investment at 504 E Butler Ave and Wednesday, 4:00pm at Flagstaff City Hall.

Protesters vowed to not stop until the desecration of the Peaks stops. “I am not afraid of what will happen to me if I protest, what I am more afraid of is what will happen if I do not stand up for what the Peaks are,” Stated Del Callejo.


Note to editors: High Resolution Photos Available.

(928) 600-0856

More updates:

• Protect the Peaks: City Hall Protest: Unstoppable after 17 Arrests!

Photos: Peaks Supporters Blockade Snowbowl to Protect Sacred Mountain

Can’t stop ’em now: San Francisco Peaks defenders protest at US Forest Service


  1. BREAKING NEWS: Peaks Supporters Locked Down on Snowbowl Road RIGHT NOW! Construction is stopped! Support Needed!

    BREAKING NEWS (AGAIN!!!!): Another lock down taking place RIGHT NOW on the peaks. Construction has been stopped. More jail support in the way of bail money will be needed. Also support at the 12:30 protest against the Forest Service would be great! More info to come. To donate refundable bail money talk to Beth at 928 254 1064.

    UPDATE: One Arrested – 4 sheriffs cars and at least 10 officers on site SUPPORT NEEDED! GO TO SNOWBOWL RD


    UPDATE from Peaks CookShack: Ground support harrassed and asked to leave we need support NOW

    Theyre cutting the barrels keep everyones safety in your mind.


    UPDATE via Taala Hooghan Infoshop: One more person arrested – apparently cops agrresivly cutting people out of lock devices with no regard for safety! People are needed now to witness! PROTECT THE PEAKS!

  2. Just found your website from facebook. Is the problem that the water is dirty? Is that what the problem is? Would it be the same problem if the water was purified? I am not trying to be rude I just want to understand because water is sacred and dirty water should be cleaned..

  3. Margo says:

    The water is treated sewage priscilla. the issue is long (decades long) and storied, so I would recommend googling news articles or watching The Snowbowl Effect (its on youtube) to get a better idea. i won’t pretend to have all the information but the quick of it is that the mountain is a sacred site for 13 indigenous tribes. it is the western mountain of the Dine and the home of the Kachinas to the Hopi. The issue is different for different people. Some do not want snow made at all because it interferes with the kachina making the snow. some don’t want reclaimed water because then they can’t pick medicine on the mountain anymore. then there are the environmental issues of animals, plants and of course some skiers getting sick from the treated sewage. People are also opposed to any expansion taking place because it is further desecrating the mountain. They have already clear cut tens of thousands of trees this summer and have begun ripping a trench up the side of the mountain to lay pipeline to carry the waste water. But yeah, watch The Snowbowl Effect on youtube. Its a little dated now, but it has lots of the history.

  4. fat bastard says:

    i so wish i could help but suck in junk town on paper if there is any nontravil work i can do send word to
    thanx/much love
    fat-b h,f,n,d!

  5. Blockade Halts Ski Resort’s Desecration of Peaks!

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Flagstaff, AZ — August 8th, 2011. Nine people took direct action at 5:00 AM on Monday morning; blockading the ongoing destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. The nine individuals directly confronted the eco-cidal actions of Arizona Snowbowl, halting their daily clear-cutting and pipeline excavation plans for eight hours. The group’s police liaison, who was attempting to ensure the safety of the demonstrators, was immediately arrested. More than 50 law enforcement officials, using industrial saws and a jack hammer to forcefully break apart the blockade.

    “The action we took today is one part of a series of events with the intent to stop Snowbowl, the US Forest Service, and other corporations from further desecrating the Holy San Francisco Peaks,” stated Haley Coles after being released from jail. “The pipeline will not be tolerated. Spewed waste water turned into artificial snow will not be tolerated. Clear cuts, slash piles, and burning of hundred-year old trees will not be tolerated. The Holy mountain will be defended, and the desecration will be stopped; at whatever cost. We have the mountain on our side,” said Coles.

    James Kennedy, also arrested during Monday’s blockade, stated, “Today, a small group of people decided that they had enough of wealthy investors, cultural genocide, and privileged white people who are indifferent to the destructive impacts of their recreational activities. We decided to take matters into our own hands and you can too. Whatever you feel is sacred, defend it with all your heart and take a risk, because our future generations will not forgive inaction.”

    Jenna Tomasello, who was also part of the action, stated that “Almost all of our options have been exhausted. The US Supreme Court failed to protect religious freedoms of Native peoples. The Flagstaff City Council has failed to meaningfully listen to its constituents who have consistently vocalized their opposition to Arizona Snowbowl development for decades. And the US Forest Service has failed to protect the public from the environmental impacts of treated sewage effluent. It is time for more people, wherever you are, to open your eyes. Respect the land of which we are dependent on and the people that the land has been stolen from. The only choice for us is to take action against those who threaten Indigenous cultures, the environment and our future. It’s frustrating that we had to do this in order to make this point clear.” stated Tomasello.

    “For those of us who have chosen to fight the colonial strongholds, we have also chosen to fight for the minds that hold this power. If harmony is to prevail, all beliefs attempting to control nature must be liberated. We belong to the Earth; the Earth does not belong to us.” stated Tom Lang, who was part of the protest.

    All 10 arrested were released within hours due to strong outpouring of community support.

    17 people have been arrested during the week of action to “Protect the Peaks.” 23 arrests have been made since June when 6 people locked themselves inside the pipeline trench and to Snowbowl equipment.

    “This was an autonomous action planned by those who took part. It was beautiful and powerful and very responsible. They took every measure to ensure their safety. Nobody was unwillingly put in the way. A crowd was not gathered.” stated Rudy Preston, police liaison for the protesters who was also arrested. “The Civil Disobedience roadblock on Snowbowl Road was not a family event or publicized with the rest of the legal actions planned for the ‘Week of Action.'”

    “Today will be a day for families, elders, youth, and all people of conscience to come out and once again speak up!” stated Preston.

    Since May 25, 2011, the owners of Arizona Snowbowl, with the support of the U.S. Forest Service and the Flagstaff City Council, have laid over five miles of a 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline and have clear-cut over 40 acres of rare alpine forest. A current lawsuit against the Forest Service, focusing on human health impacts of wastewater snowmaking, is still under appeal in the 9th Circuit Court. The individuals at today’s action are separate from the Coalition involved in the lawsuit.

    The San Francisco Peaks are Holy to more than 13 Indigenous Nations.

    They are a place of worship, a place where deities reside, a place where offerings are made, where herbs are gathered, where emergence has occurred, and more.

    Monday’s blockade to protect the Peaks joins four decades of sustained resistance to desecration of the Holy Peaks. Over the past three weeks since Snowbowl began clear-cutting, dozens of protest camps have been established on the mountain and solidarity actions have occurred in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

    Demonstrators invite everyone to join them on Tuesday, August 9, at 12:30PM to protest High Desert Investment, the private company in-charge of the current clear-cutting, located at 504 E Butler Ave. Afterward, there will be a gathering at the Flagstaff City Hall at 4:00PM to continue vocalizing opposition to Snowbowl’s destruction and desecration.


    Note to editors: Video & High Resolution Photos Available Upon Request.

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