We now have MORE people opposing the ill-conceived proposal for The Escalade project at our sacred place, The Confluence, than the outside developers. (By the way, these developers have been personally attacking anyone who opposes them.) Here is the link to the petition, now outnumbering their petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-stop-plans-to-develop-the-grand-canyon
From High Country News’ Peter Friederici, via the Adventure Journal Website:
For more than 50 years, residents of Gap, Arizona, a western sliver of the Navajo Nation, have watched tourist traffic zoom by on Highway 89, headed for the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and southern Utah’s national parks. Except for a single gas station and a few ramshackle jewelry stands, there’s little here to attract vacationers’ dollars. And so, few locals objected in July when the Navajo-Hopi Observer began running full-page ads that blared: “It’s time that the Navajo People enjoy a fair share of Grand Canyon Tourism!”
But they weren’t prepared for the scale of those tourism plans — a mega-development with hotels, stores and even a tram. The ambitious proposal raises questions about who has the authority to make land-use decisions here, where an impoverished Indian nation borders federal land that most Americans believe should remain protected forever. It also threatens relations with the neighboring Hopi Tribe and Grand Canyon National Park, highlighting divisions between tribal, local and national decision-making as well as competing visions of the best way forward for a community stuck in neutral.
“We know that we can make money without destroying the place,” says Navajo rancher Franklin Martin. “But we have to learn to do things ourselves. I think we’d be gullible to take this offer.” More …
Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly’s December 31 for The Confluence Partners LLC to get community support for the proposed gondola tram/luxury resort on the northeast rim of the Grand Canyon passed quietly in the night.
There is no word from Window Rock, the Navajo Nation capital, on whether Shelly will forge a deal with this group, which yesterday unleashed a vitriolic newsletter that personally attacked people who have publicly opposed their development, such as publishing photos of opponents’ homes, and smearing the words of others who have made public statements against the project.
Shelly, in a memorandum to developers, asks them to conduct a “public outreach campaign.”
The newsletter, if an example of such public outreach, is dedicated to personal attacks against opponents.
In a memorandum early last year, Shelly told developers they must give proof of community support by Dec. 31, 2012, in order for him to enter the tribe into a business relationship with them. Continue reading
I weep when I dream about Sagebrush, a place known to my Navajo family as Tsaa Tah.
While the country fought about civil rights and the Vietnam War, my family, the Blackwood Streak and Bitter Water clans, lived in hogans made of stone, canvas tents and a house built by my father at Sagebrush. Our winter sheep camp in the arroyo cradled three flocks of sheep next to a corral made of limestone. Sage grew tall in the deep ravines. Shorter sage covered the mesas and rock outcroppings. Trees were nonexistent, except for a lone juniper every few miles.
My family held tight to their earth-based faith and strove to live in harmony with the land. But sometimes we had to fight the elements to keep our animals and ourselves alive.
In the winter of 1967, a giant snowstorm hit the Navajo Nation and buried Sagebrush and my family. Then-Navajo leader Raymond Nakai called it the “worst weather disaster in modern Navajo history.” While my relatives sat marooned at Sagebrush, I was a 9-year-old second grader stuck at Tuba City Boarding School, a military-style residential hall and elementary school. Continue reading
Bodaway/Gap chapter officials last Sunday, Dec. 16, heard an informational report on the proposed Escalade tourist development for The Confluence.
We were prepared for yet another “illegal” vote to be called unexpectedly, at the last minute, this time. An estimated 50 opponents of the controversial project showed up, ready to cast opposing ballots.
But, no vote happened. We expect the chapter will try to spring a surprise vote in favor of the development before their terms of office expire Dec. 31. Stay tuned.
Background: On October 3, Bodaway Gap Chapter continued with an illegal meeting from Sept. 26 that was closed down by the police and ended by the chapter president.
Sandy beaches have reappeared more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, an early measure of success for a massive flood last week designed to rebuild habitat along the Colorado River in the iconic Grand Canyon.
However, it will be weeks before scientists know whether the six days of high flows realized the Department of the Interior’s goals of moving more than 500,000 metric tons of sediment down the canyon.
Slideshow and audio of KTNN with Darlene Martin of Bodaway/Gap speaking on the Confluence issue.