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City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred site

The sacred San Francisco Peaks in Arizona. Photo by Tyler finvold / Wikipedia

The city of Flagstaff, Arizona, extended a contract to send treated sewage to the sacred San Francisco Peaks, an issue that's being raised in an international human rights case.

The city initially signed a five-year contract to supply reclaimed water to the Arizona Snowbowl. The privately-owned ski resort uses the treated sewage to make fake snow, a practice that desecrates the sacred mountain.

Last August, the city extended the contract for 20 years and authorized a higher volume of wastewater to be sent to the resort, The Arizona Daily Sun reported. The changes were adopted without public comment or consultation with the tribes that hold the San Francisco Peaks as a place of worship and the home of spiritual beings.

The contract is just one of the issues raised in a petition that the
Navajo Nation filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The international tribunal may or may not take up the matter but it could help raise awareness of the importance of the sacred site.

“This is a last-chance, desperate effort by Navajo to get the Obama administration to look at this,” professor Rob Williams of the University of Arizona’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program told the Associated Press. “You would hope that U.S. policymakers would take another look at how they manage that mountain.”

The program filed the petition on the tribe's behalf.

Get the Story:
Tribe turns to international commission in ski resort fight (AP 3/26)

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