City delays settlement over wastewater at sacred site in Arizona

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

A settlement between the Hopi Tribe and the city of Flagstaff, Arizona, has been put on hold indefinitely.

The tribe reached the settlement to address the use of reclaimed sewage at the San Francisco Peaks. But some city council members questioned the costs of building and maintaining a filtration system required by the deal, The Arizona Daily Sun reported.

Leaders of the Navajo Nation also expressed objections because they weren't involved in talks. Native activists who have been fighting to protect the peaks were concerned as well.

“It’s hard to stand against what the Hopis are doing, but it’s hard to be completely left out, as stakeholders,” Navajo activist Klee Benally told the city council, Indian Country Today reported. “I can’t support further contamination of the sacred San Francisco Peaks.”

The city has a contract to supply reclaimed wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl, a privately-owned ski resort. The facility uses the wastewater to make fake snow.

The Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and other tribes contend the presence of the treated sewage desecrates the sacred site. But they were unsuccessful in making their case through a series of lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service. The Arizona Snowbowl is located in the Coconino National Forest.

Get the Story:
SETTLEMENT TABLED (The Arizona Daily Sun 3/10)
San Francisco Peaks Settlement Between Hopi and Flagstaff Comes Under Fire (Indian Country Today 3/10)

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