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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

San Carlos won't accept bribe

The Universtiy of Arizona recently made an offer of $120,000 to the San Carlos Apache, as part a Northern Tribes initiative, which is the consortium of universities responsible for the Mount Graham Observatory, which sits on Mount Graham. Mount Graham is sacred to the Apache People and the San Carlos, in particular, have vigorously opposed the construction of the Observatory on those grounds. Mount Graham is home to the Mountain Spirits that impart wisdom and a place for the people to hold their ceremonies. The proposal was rejected during a session of the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council.

San Carlos Apache rejected an offer of $120,000 from the University of Arizona, calling it a bribe, and said they would continue to honor their sacred Dzil Nchaa Si An (Mount Graham), as darkness envelopes the world because of violations of the sacred.

Apache elder Ola Cassadore-Davis, speaking in the Apache language during a special session of the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council, said the University of Arizona has done nothing but tell lies to the Apache people.

Speaking to university officials at the session, she said the offer of money is like an offer of ice cream.

"You talk to us now, offering bribes of cash in exchange for letting go of our defense for our Apache religion and culture, something like giving us a little ice cream to quiet us down.

"Money, like ice cream does not last, but our mountain stands there for us and we must stand for our mountain," said Davis, chairwoman of the Apache Survival Coalition.................

...After the council voted to reject the university’s offer, Apache elder Raleigh Thompson praised the council’s action. "I was so happy. They took a stand for their people, really their traditional people and their ancestors," said Thompson, former tribal councilman for 16 years.full article

Wendle Nosie, A San Carlos Member and founder of Apaches for Cultural Preservation was arrested for tresspassing(and later acquitted) on Mount Graham, in 1998.

A San Carlos man arrested for criminal trespassing on Mount Graham in August was acquitted last week because the prosecutor failed to prove his case.
Wendsler A. Nosie, a San Carlos Apache, was arrested on the mountain, about 70 miles northeast of Tucson, Aug. 30 by University of Arizona police officers after he reportedly went to nearby Emerald Peak to pray. William Foreman, an attorney for Nosie, said his client was called upon by a higher power, and that there was more to the case than the university's claim that its property had been breached.

"What was at stake was nothing less than the religious and cultural health of the San Carlos Apache people," Foreman said.

Foreman said that on Jan. 20, Graham County Justice of the Peace Linda Norton found that the prosecutor was unable to prove that Nosie was knowingly trespassing....

Nosie's wife, Theresa, said yesterday that Nosie went up the mountain to prepare for their daughter's Sunrise Ceremony, a religious practice to prepare a young woman for the coming of menstruation.

..."He just woke up one morning and said, 'I have to go up on the mountain to pray,'" she said.

Wendsler Nosie was stopped by a U.S. Forest Service worker while Nosie was walking down the private access road leading up the mountain, where the UA is building its large binocular telescope. Mrs. Nosie said the Forest Service worker warned her husband that the road was UA property, then called university police, whose officers arrested him on a charge of trespassing.article

In addition to working with the Apache for Cultural Preservation, Wendle Nosie has also organized the Mount Graham Sacred Runs. These runs have been conducted since 1992 and they include runners from many different indigenous Nations. This year's run was recently concluded.

Persevering, through pouring rain, Apache young people on the Mount Graham Sacred Run received special blessings from Apache and Pascua Yaqui medicine people, as they shared the power of the mountain, its medicine and waters.

As runners formed a prayer circle on top of the mountain, Wendsler Nosie, run organizer, spoke of the mystery of sacrifice and the need for balance in the world.

"Life is not right when it is too easy. You have to suffer for the things God will bless you with," Nosie told runners, the majority of them youths from San Carlos and White Mountain.

"It has been a Holy Mountain since the beginning of creation. This has been passed orally through our ancestors. It was taught to us that it was given to the world.

"Our culture, our language, our religion is being threatened. All of this is our identity. Our identity is the land and where God has placed us in this part of the world.

"We cannot let it end."article

Most Americans do not understand that sacred areas exist not only overseas but on this land as well. Not only do they not understand, they either resist education efforts or they scoff at the knowledge that has been presented to them. The analogies have been made before. What would the reaction be if natives were to occupy churches and,say, add slot machine rooms? Never mind the noise, go on with your prayers and services. Pay no attention to us. But don't come here on Saturday nights because that is our busiest time of the week and you will be subject to removal by our security. We've made a pretty good profit, using your church, so here's $10,000 dollars. Go buy yourself some new sunday school books and leave us alone.

check out the Mount Graham Coalition website here


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