Wells Mahkee: No snowmaking in the sacred San Francisco Peaks
"Well, it finally happened. Despite objections from a number of tribes throughout the Southwest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Arizona Snowbowl to continue with their expansion efforts, which will undoubtedly include artificial snowmaking.

It's no surprise that Snowbowl owner Eric Borowski was thrilled, adding that he would make a request to the Flagstaff City Council to use potable water to make artificial snow since tribes had previously complained about the use of reclaimed sewage effluent to make artificial snow. But if left with no choice, he was prepared to use reclaimed wastewater.

A previous recommendation made by Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke back in May stated that snowmaking was likely to be approved by the USDA, and that a water source "less offensive" to Native American tribes should be chosen for artificial snowmaking. Hmm... To me, that's pretty much like trying to decide if shooting someone with a .22 caliber rifle would somehow be less painful than to shoot them with a shotgun; it makes absolutely no sense no matter which way you look at it.

From Day One, all tribes with cultural affiliation to the sacred Peaks have vehemently opposed any form of artificial snowmaking, regardless of water source because they are all in agreement that man should not supersede their deities and that snow should occur naturally. Bucky Preston, a Hopi farmer, was quoted in an article not too long ago in which he stated quite simply, "It's against the creator to make snow. That's not humans' job.""

Get the Story:
Wells Mahkee Jr.: What part of 'no artificial snow' don't you understand? (The Navajo Hopi Observer 7/13)

9th Circuit Decision:
Navajo Nation v. US Forest Service (August 8, 2008)

Related Stories:
Opinion: Save the sacred San Francisco Peaks from destruction (07/12)
Expansion of ski resort at sacred San Francisco Peaks delayed (7/9)
USDA backs snowmaking plan for sacred San Francisco Peaks (7/6)
USDA expected to back snowmaking at San Francisco Peaks (5/21)
Ski resort accuses tribes of hypocrisy in sacred site flap (3/19)
Obama administration eyes compromise on sacred site (3/9)
McCain backs ski resort over tribes on sacred site (11/24)
Navajo Nation Council delays ski resort measure (10/23)
New case filed over sacred San Francisco Peaks (09/21)
Editorial: Money wins over sacred site in Arizona (06/22)
Cartoon: Real tears, fake snow at sacred site (6/19)
Editorial: Fake snow alright at sacred peaks (6/16)
Blog: No end to fight over San Francisco Peaks (6/15)
Tribes weigh next step in sacred site battle (6/9)
Supreme Court declines to hear sacred site case (6/8)
Supreme Court to consider sacred site case (6/1)
USDA official can't comment on sacred site case (4/29)
Navajo Nation seeks to resolve sacred site case (4/28)
Obama response awaited in sacred site case (3/23)
Tribes ask Supreme Court to hear sacred site case (1/6)
Tribes weigh next move in sacred site case (10/23)
Indian religious rights cases on high court's horizon (10/21)
9th Circuit delays ruling in sacred site case (10/06)
Interview: Attorney in San Francisco Peaks case (8/22)
Appeals court reverses course on sacred site (8/12)
9th Circuit issues rulings on sacred site, compacts (8/8)