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Arizona

Skiing On A Sacred Mountain

Flagstaff, Arizona - Hopi farmer Bucky Preston talks to the clouds that form atop Arizona’s tallest mountain. And they talk back. For 2,000 years, communication with the sky has been an important traditional farming method of the Hopi and their Puebloan ancestors. The clouds drift with Hopi prayers from the mountain they call Nuva’tukya’ovi – “place of snow on the very top” – to the tribe’s villages, providing life-giving rain and spiritual sustenance to the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. But last fall, the sacred conversation fell silent. “I did not have a harvest,” says Preston, 72. “It was the first time in my life that happened.” He says other farmers, who grow without chemical fertilizer or irrigation, experienced the same.

ASU Students Fight To Defend Multicultural Center

Arizona State University, like many other college campuses in America, is a pivotal location for the struggle against racism. The campus has had several incidents calling attention to the mistreatment of Black and Brown people in Arizona, such as when a Black professor was tackled to the ground for “jaywalking” by an ASU police officer in 2014. After the uprising against racism in 2020, many student groups have called for the defunding and disarmament of the ASU police department, as well as the creation of a “Cultural Excellency Center” on campus. The Cultural Excellency Center, also referred to as the Multicultural Center, is a long-running initiative spearheaded by the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition — a non-ASU-affiliated coalition of students who have been fighting for a space on campus since 2016.

Judge Refuses Injunction To Stop Sacred Oak Flat Destruction

Phoenix, AZ – This afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Steven Logan denied Apache Stronghold's request for an injunction preventing the giveaway and destruction of sacred Oak Flat to Rio Tinto/Resolution Copper.  Judge Logan said that Apache Stronghold has no right to ask the Court for help because they are not an officially designated a "sovereign nation."  Judge Logan said that the U.S. Government has no Trust Responsibility to the Apache even though their Treaty of 1852 says, "the government of the United States shall so legislate and act as to secure the permanent prosperity and happiness of said Indians." 

Officials Create ‘Fictional Gang’ To Punish Phoenix Protesters

Amy Kaper promises she is not a gang member. The 29-year-old graduate student does not run drugs, traffic guns, or work in any organized crime ring. But, she did protest police violence last year. For that, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Phoenix Police Department are aggressively prosecuting Kaper — and a group of 17 other defendants, including three minors — for being part of a criminal street gang following an October 17 protest in downtown Phoenix. In fact, officers and prosecutors allege the group is as dangerous — and in some ways more dangerous — than notorious gangs like the Crips, Bloods, and Hells Angels.

Emotional Court Hearing Over Proposed Copper Mine At Oak Flat Sacred Site

Opponents of a copper mine project that would obliterate an Apache sacred site east of Phoenix asked a federal judge Wednesday to stop work on the project. The group Apache Stronghold filed the first in a series of three lawsuits Jan. 12 to stop Resolution Copper from proceeding with a huge copper mine below Oak Flat, a site deemed sacred to many Apaches and other Southwestern tribes. The suit was filed three days before the Forest Service issued the final environmental impact statement regarding the mine project on Jan. 15, starting a 60-day clock on a land swap that would turn the land over to Resolution.  The site, currently a Forest Service campground, sits about 5 miles east of Superior just off U.S. Highway 60.

Black Lives Matter Protestors Charged As A Gang

Maricopa County, AZ - In Washington, D.C., members of a pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol and killed a police officer are so far being charged mainly with disorderly conduct and unlawful entry. The man photographed with his feet on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk faces three charges that carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison. After the violent siege, some members of the mob simply returned to their hotel. Many were quick to point out an apparent double standard when compared to the way police in D.C. treated Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer—like when they tear gassed protesters to clear the way for a Trump photo op, or when row upon row of National Guard troops stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial...

Yuma Hospital Fires ER Doctor For Talking About COVID-19

Dr. Cleavon Gilman, a well-known emergency-medicine physician, has been asked not to return to his work at Yuma Regional Medical Center for his social media posts about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona, according to him and his staffing agency. "What I don't understand about this is I have been advocating for Arizona; I have been calling for a mask mandate, the closure of schools and indoor dining," Gilman told The Arizona Republic. "I did all of this because we are seeing an unprecedented number of cases. This is my third surge — I know how this ends."

Trump Administration Is Rushing To Mine Sacred Tribal Land

In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company. The administration pushed to finish the environmental review process, a necessary step to transfer ownership to copper mining company Resolution Copper, and its two parent companies Rio Tinto and BHP, to December 2020, almost a full year ahead of the planned completion. "The Trump administration is cutting corners and doing a rushed job just to take care of Rio Tinto..."

Inmate Kitchen Workers Forced To Serve Expired Meat In Prison

Arizona - Incarcerated people who work in the kitchens at the Eyman, Lewis and Yuma state prisons claim they were forced to serve expired meat to their fellow inmates, resulting in foodborne illnesses. Several inmates report being diagnosed with H. pylori infections, which they attribute to the food and unsanitary conditions in the kitchens. The inmates say they were subsequently put on antibiotics in recent days and weeks to treat the infections.  KJZZ is not naming the inmates because they fear retaliation for speaking out about the prison conditions.

Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls Committee Releases Final Report

Arizona's Study Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has posted its final report, including dozens of specific legislative, law enforcement and other policy recommendations to address the ongoing crisis. After nearly a year of in-depth research, which was slowed by COVID-19 and some enforcement agencies choosing not to participate, Arizona got its clearest picture to date of the increasing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. "Our work will not end with this report; this is only the beginning," said Chairwoman Rep. Jennifer Jermaine, D-Chandler.

Native Americans Tear Gassed, Arrested On Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Twelve people, including at least eight Native Americans, were arrested near an immigration checkpoint in Southern Arizona on Indigenous Peoples' Day after United States Border Patrol agents and Arizona law enforcement officials violently repressed a peaceful action held Monday morning by roughly 30 land and water protectors. The O'odham Anti Border Collective—a group of Akimel O'odham, Tohono O'odham, and Hia Ced O'odham tribal members that seeks to promote the cultural practices and protect the homelands of all O'odham nations "through the dismantling of colonial borders"...

Protesters Block Highway Near Border Wall Construction

Tucson - Activists and allies of two O'odham groups protesting the construction of a border wall along ancestral tribal lands in southern Arizona temporarily blocked the highway leading to construction sites in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Members of the two groups, the O'odham Anti Border Collective and Defend O'odham Jewed, and non-Indigenous allies set up early Monday morning what they described as a "soft blockade" of State Route 85, using caution tape and canopy tents to stop traffic, some of which also was headed to the Lukeville border crossing with Mexico. 

How Residents Rallied To Get Their Post Office Back

On an otherwise typical summer day, rumors started spreading in the small rural mountain community of Munds Park in northern Arizona: The local post office had been shuttered. As the chatter and gossip grew on social media, Allison Tiffany, a seasonal resident, drove down to check. She found a suspension notice taped to the building’s glass door. “It was so shocking that you had to find out for yourself,” she said. “Sure enough, the doors were locked.”  The closure was “extraordinarily disruptive,” said Tiffany, who became the de facto organizer of the community’s response.

And Now The Really Big Coal Plants Begin To Close

Old, small plants were the early retirees, but several of the biggest U.S. coal burners—and CO2emitters—will be shuttered by year’s end. When the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona shuts down later this year, it will be one of the largest carbon emitters to ever close in American history. The giant coal plant on Arizona’s high desert emitted almost 135 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2017, according to an E&E News review of federal figures. Its average annual emissions over that period are roughly equivalent to what 3.3 million passenger cars would pump into the atmosphere in a single year.

Koch-Funded Group Helped Develop Plan To Kill Future Of Phoenix Light Rail

Much of the plot to kill the future of light rail in Phoenix was hatched in a window-tinting shop on South Central Avenue. At first, the plot was narrow. Celia Contreras, owner of Tony’s Window Tinting, sought only to halt or alter Valley Metro Rail’s plan to build a six-mile track connecting south Phoenix to its 26-mile rail system. Opponents of the rail extension held meetings in Contreras' shop — a nondescript garage bounded by a Mexican restaurant and a dollar store  — where they worked on raising awareness for their cause.
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