Editorial: Gila River Indian Community to blame for highway path

Petroglyphs in the South Mountains of Arizona. Photo Brandon.wiggins via Wikipedia

Arizona newspaper doesn't think a lawsuit filed by the Gila River Indian Community will stop the South Mountain Freeway from passing through the sacred South Mountains.
The Gila River Indian Community says the planned South Mountain Highway will destroy some of the tribe's sacred places. So it joined neighbors in suing to stop the project.

The suit drips with irony — and reminders of lost opportunity.

The best way to avoid altering South Mountain would have been to route the highway through the Gila River reservation. Tribal leaders drew that idea into a planning document in the late 1990s, but a few years later renounced it.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials had done little to review the possibility, adding to acrimony that had festered since construction of Interstate 10 bisected the reservation.

When the issue of a South Mountain Freeway route through the reservation eventually went to Gila River residents in 2012, they voted for not building the highway over a building it in their community.

It wasn't an honest choice, because the highway will be built.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Tribe could have saved mountain from highway (The Arizona Republic 7/2)

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Gila River tribe sues to prevent South Mountain Freeway (The Arizona Republic 7/1)
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