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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice
Solidarity Demonstration at Forest Service Office to Save the San Francisco Peaks
No desecration for recreation! In Vallejo yesterday, Indigenous activists and their supporters demonstrated outside the US Forest Service Regional Office to demand an immediate end to the desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Arizona Snowbowl, a private company which leases land on the mountain from the Forest Service has started construction to expand a ski resort.
In Vallejo yesterday, Indigenous activists and their supporters demonstrated outside the US Forest Service Regional Office to demand an immediate end to the desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Arizona Snowbowl, a private company which leases land on the mountain from the Forest Service has started construction to expand a ski resort.
More than 30 people took part in the protest including many of those who participated in the 3 month spiritual vigil to protect Sogorea Te/ Glen Cove. Among them was Wounded Knee deOcampo, Miwok, California tribe and a Vallejo resident. He said 'we gathered here to deliver a message to the US Forest Service and try to get the word out: no more desecration and supporting developers to desecrate sacred sites'
Demonstrators held placards and banners including 'No Desecration for Recreation', 'Save the Peaks', 'No Poop Snow'. One placard asked 'what part of sacred don't you understand?'. The Peaks are Holy to more than 13 Indigenous Nations. Ironically, the US Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, is currently engaging in a consultation about sacred sites. Arizona Snowbowl, have already begun to lay wastewater pipeline and clearcut over 40 acres of rare alpine forest for the development, less than half of the planned development. Expansion of the ski resort also includes a controversial plan to use treated sewage water for snowmaking with potentially disastrous impacts on public health.
The prayerful action outside the USFS office on Mare Island, was opened by Wounded Knee. Sage was burnt and prayers offered. Many of those present spoke on the wider threats to sacred sites across the country, the need to defend the Peaks, and the importance of working together.
The Indigenous liason officer for the USFS came out to speak with the vigil. He offered sage and claimed support for the action. When Regional Forester Randy Moore initially refused to meet with demonstrators the crowd entered the lobby- carrying banners and placards. Immediately Moore came down and accepted the letter which demanded an end to construction work on the sacred site. Protesters demanded he call his counterpart in the Southwest Region and urge him to stop the desecration. Protesters continued to tell him about the Peaks until he was 'called away to a prior engagement'. Moore said that he would convey the message. Moore said that he had already heard from his counterparts in other regions about demonstrations at their offices.
The action in Vallejo took place at the same time as similar demand letters were delivered to the other regional offices across the country. In Portland, OR, Missoula, MT, Golden, CO, people took action to save the Peaks. The national day of action was called in support of campaigners in Flagstaff, AZ, and throughout the Southwest Region demanding their Regional Forester, in Albuquerque, NM, take action to end the desecration.
Wounded Knee said 'It is time for Indigenous people with the support of non-native Americans to stop the desecration of our sacred sites- enough is enough!'
Indigenous activists and their supporters in Arizona have taken direct action to stop work on the development several times in the last few months, and despite intense harassment and arrests, continue to defend the mountain. For more information visit http://www.truesnow.org
On September 21st the USFS Pacific Southwest Region will be holding a public consultation on Sacred sites.