Navajo Nation Seeks UN’s Help To Stop Snowmaking

September 21, 2011

Read More About The Controversy

Tensions are high as Native Americans oppose a project that will make snow out of treated sewage for a ski resort on an Arizona mountain they consider sacred.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The president of the Navajo Nation is seeking the help of the United Nations Human Rights Council in a last-ditch attempt to stop snow making out of recycled waste water on the San Francisco Peaks.

Last year, the Navajo Nation contacted James Anaya, a University of Arizona Human Rights Law Professor, who reports to the UN about indigenous people. The tribe and its medicine men asked him to examine the snow making issue and advise the UN.

Anaya recommended the UN ask President Barack Obama to suspend the permit authorizing the use of reclaimed waste water on the San Francisco Peaks.

Anaya and Navajo President Ben Shelly addressed the council on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

"The waste water will contaminate the soil and vegetation and interfere with our ceremonies and prayer," Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly told the human rights council. "Such a contamination will prevent our traditional medicine men and women from effectively treating their patients."

The tribes’ lawsuit challenging the approval of snow making on grounds of religious freedom failed two years ago.