Video from the Tree-sit 8/20/12


In the early morning hours of August 20, 2012 one protestor with a group of on-the-ground supporters erected a tree-sit to blockade the construction of pipeline that could be used to further desecrate the Holy San Fransisco Peaks.

As of 3pm on Monday August 20, 2012 the tree-sit has been in place for 10 hours. This also follows the successful action yesterday where a festive march meet in front of the Rio de Flag Sewage treatment plant and one individual locked-down without arrest:

Flagstaff Community Members: ‘No Wastewater on the Peaks’
Protester Locks Down City of Flagstaff Rio de Flag Waste-water Reclamation Plant

For further information and continued updates on the tree-sit and other actions and educational opportunists please see:

In solidarity with Indigenous resistance across the globe, toward decolonization everywhere We say no more desecration of the Peaks!



Tree-Sit Halts Pipeline Construction Protester Demands Clean Water and Clean Snow



Monday, August 20, 2012

Contact: Ariana Sauer (602) 388-3726
Xander Vautrin@ (847) 334-7212

Tree-Sit Halts Pipeline Construction
Protester Demands Clean Water and Clean Snow

This morning we erected a tree-sit to protect our community and our children from the City of Flagstaff’s sanctioning and use of hazardous treated sewage, which contains antibiotic resistant genes, in our public spaces. The ropes securing this tree-sit stretch across the projected path of the City of Flagstaff’s and Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort’s treated sewage effluent pipeline, currently under construction on Mars Hill near Thorpe Park.

After years of construction delays, court challenges, and resistance from community members, a 14-mile sewage pipeline that Snowbowl would like to see carrying millions of gallons of treated sewage effluent yearly from the City of Flagstaff to Snowbowl is near completion. Snowmaking is scheduled to begin at the end of November, when a combination of pharmaceutical, industrial, commercial, and household discharge will be sprayed from snow machines onto the San Francisco Peaks.

“If they choose to continue construction, they must publicly account for my life among the diversity of human and non-human beings their ecocide threatens.” said James Kennedy, the NAU student who currently sits atop the more than 75ft tall ponderosa pine tree. “For the purity of our water, for the safety of our community, and for the health of a fragile alpine ecosystem, we must halt this pipeline!”

Xander Vautrin, an on the ground supporter of the tree-sit believes “The City of Flagstaff, the Forest Service, and the Snowbowl Corporation are recklessly  disregarding the safety of the greater public, of wildlife, our water and our environment by refusing to consider the long-term impact of exposure to wastewater. “

Recently published research conducted on treated sewage effluent in Flagstaff has found antibiotic resistant bacteria after completion of the treatment process.  Though reduced by treatment, the bacteria “dramatically rebounded at the point of use.”1 This pipeline constitutes an urgent public health risk, as antibiotic resistance renders modern drugs ineffective against dangerous bacterial infections. This threatens the life of those in our community already at risk: the elderly, the sick, and the very young.

– Continued –

Additional research recently published in the Flagstaff Noise demonstrated a clear danger to plant life irrigated with wastewater, illustrating a serious threat to Groundsel, an endangered plant found only on the San Francisco Peaks.

“All water is connected. It is illogical and dangerous to believe that the effects of antibiotics, contraceptive hormones, industrial contaminants, and microbial pathogens —all found in Flagstaff’s treated sewage effluent—will be limited to a few runs on Snowbowl or to the Lowell Observatory grounds,” stated Derek Minnobloom another on-the-ground supporter of the tree-sit.

“Our public officials have failed all of us – not only to ensure our public safety, a clean healthy future for our water and our children – but also to protect the rights of indigenous peoples whose land we’re on,” stated Ariana Sauer, a volunteer with and a tree-sit supporter. “This action is in solidarity with the thirteen indigenous nations who hold this mountain sacred.”

We invite those of you who believe in the safety and health of our children, the sanctity of our environment, and the protection of public water to demand that:
– The City of Flagstaff rescind the wastewater contract with Snowbowl!
– An immediate moratorium on the City of Flagstaff’s use of treated sewage effluent in public spaces where any person may come in contact with reclaimed wastewater, until new research and technology is available to mitigate long-term environmental & community health risks.
-The use of public water in this desert climate of Flagstaff with only a projected 25-38 years of water left for people’s consumption, should be cleaned and used for people to drink, not for a private corporation to make a profit.-President Obama fulfill campaign promises to protect human rights and sacred sites.

— Protect People – Clean Water, Clean Snow! –

Note to Editor & Reporter:
Interview with James Kennedy, NAU student and tree-sitter, available upon request.

Flagstaff Community Members: ‘No Wastewater on the Peaks’


Flagstaff Community Members: ‘No Wastewater on the Peaks’
Protester Locks Down City of Flagstaff Rio de Flag Waste-water Reclamation Plant

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — At approximately 10:30 am one protestor locked themselves to the Rio de Flag Wastewater Reclamation Plant. A march leaving from near-by coincided with the lock-down and dozens of people converged on the site to demand that the city of flagstaff and Snowbowl protect the people, ensure clean water and clean snow!

“In light of inevitable drought in the near future and the devastating desecration to the San Francisco Peaks that would occur if waste-water snow were to be used, today as a community we demand an end to any further plans to use reclaimed waste-water for snow making by Arizona Snowbowl on the Peaks.” Said one protestor who was part of the march but wished to remain anonymous.

After Locking themselves to the front fence of the waste-water facility, the protestor (name withheld for security due to not being arrested) , stated ” I am against the use of waste-water for recreation on the Holy San Fransisco Peaks.  The Peaks are sacred to numerous indigenous peoples culture. The peaks are not a place to introduce a volatile product such as sewage effluent snow to our community and the environment ”

Protestor Jezz Putnam also stated  “Recent studies have shown waste-water from the Rio de Flag Waste-water Reclamation Plant to contain anti-biotic resistant genes. This waste-water site has been using this water in our communities and we today we came together to say enough is enough! No more hazardous waste-water in our communities and never on the peaks.”

After four hours of holding down the front fence protestors left due to extreme weather and realizing their message had been heard without any arrests. The protestors decided to leave, but not without leaving their message to be heard tomorrow at the site too. The front gate was left u-locked shut with a banner reading “stop snowbowl”.

“We view this as a victory today. The message that waste-water is hazardous to communities must be heard. How long will the city of Flagstaff ignore this blatant health hazard? We must do everything we can to end the current desecration of the peaks and prevent further desecration to the peaks.” Said one organizer that has been fighting against the desecration of the peaks for nearly a decade.



Protect the Peaks Teach-in


After a long pause in Strongholdz Media’s page I am pleased to share this event with our readers. This Saturday there will be an amazing teach-in to provide a space for those interested in learning about the past struggles to protect the peaks and how to involve yourself in protecting the peaks. The agenda is below. Also, if you can’t make it to the event consider donating to support the costs of the event. You can make a donation through the Protect the Peaks page.

Strongholdz Media will be helping with the Direct Action Tract. We are hoping to also have a few trainings as well. Hope to see you there.

Peaks teach-in AGENDA

Teach-in for Protection of the San Francisco Peaks Agenda

Saturday, August 18, 2012 – Noon-6PM
Native American Cultural Center N.A.U.
Flagstaff, AZ

ONGOING: Youth Caucus in Lobby

12:15PM – Greeting & Prayer (Gathering Room)

12:30PM – Plenary Panel Discussion: The Historic & Contemporary Struggle to Protect the Peaks (Gathering Room) 1hr

Robert Lomadafki – Applied Indigenous Studies
Mary Sojourner – Author, Activist, Teacher
Kyle Boggs – Journalist

1:35PM – Endocrine Disruption in Wildlife from Environmental Chemical Exposure:
Implications for Wildlife and Human Health
(Gathering Room) 1hr

Dr. Cathy Propper – Professor of Environmental Endocrinology in the Department of Biological Sciences at NAU

Dr. Propper will provide a brief explanation of the endocrine
system, explain the types of environmental chemicals that can affect the
regulation of endocrine function, and describe some of the implications of endocrine
disruption in both wildlife and human populations.


2:40PM – 3:40PM – Discussion: Protecting Water (Pattea Conference Room)

Presenters: TBA

3:45 – 4:15PM – Food

4:15PM – 5:45PM – Plenary: “Protect Sacred Sites, Defend Human Rights” (Gathering Room).
From legal battles, listening sessions, policy issues, to the United Nations, this panel will address strategies and challenges in efforts to protect sacred sites.

Howard Shanker – Attorney for Navajo Nation, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Save the Peaks Coalition among others.
Dr. Anthony Lee, Sr. – President/CEO Dine Hataalii Association, Inc.
Alberto Saldamando – Indigenous Environmental Network
Carletta Tilousi – Havasupai Traditionalist
Leonard Gorman – Office of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission
Rodney L. Tahe – Office of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission

5:45PM – Youth Caucus Closing Presentation



1:35PM – 2:35PM – Action Part 1 (Pattea Conference Room)

New Ndn Activism, Old Culture-Based Resistance
Facilitated by: Haastin Hweyaanii

Peaks Action Film
Facilitated by: Louise Benally


2:40PM – Action Part 2 (Gathering Room) 1hr.

Messaging Through Direction Action
Facilitated by: Jezz Putnam – Stronghodz Media
Many forms of Direct Action have been taken to help protect the Peaks. We will take a look at actions from  the past and present years that illuminate the rich resistance to Snowbowls development. As a group we will break-down the tactic and tools used in each action, read the communiques and statements of the actions, discuss the perceived audience and finally point out the goal of the actions.



New Zine on Resistance to Loop 202


New Zine on Resistance to Loop 202.

In time for a quick read before the Tuesday ADOT meeting! I will more than likely be re-updating this zine after the vote but here is a rough draft. Hope it can help inspire more action in response of the proposed loop 202 extension.

And if you have not had the chance to read the first zine about this freeway a link to that zine is below as well.
For more information please visit:

No South Mountain Freeway
Gila River Against Loop 202

Indigenous Elders & Supporters Occupy ALEC Member Salt River Project Headquarters


TEMPE, AZ — Indigenous Dine’ (Navajo) and O’odham elders and supporters are taking direct action by occupying Salt River Project (SRP) headquarters today at 10am. This action is occurring while the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) holds their “States & Nation Policy Summit” in Scottsdale, AZ. SRP is on ALEC’s corporate board.

Louise Benally, a resident of Black Mesa impacted by SRP’s operations, is delivering a letter to SRP that outlines critical concerns of her community. She expressed that “My community is heavily impacted by Salt River Project’s coal and water extraction activities. SRP has extensive ties to Peabody Energy’s massive mining operations and the Navajo Generating Station which they co-own. Coal mining has destroyed housands of archeological sites and our only water source has been seriously compromised. Their operations are causing widespread respiratory problems, lung diseases, and other health impacts on humans, the environment, and all living things.”

“…We demand that SRP & Peabody meaningfully involve the indigenous communities they are impacting, and that they convert to non-fossil fuel based energy sources and address the health impacts on our communities.”

“…ALEC, acting in the corporate interests of SRP & Peabody Energy, continues policies & operations that are not only devastating whole communities and ecosystems, but greatly de-stabilizing our planet’s climate for the profit of a few, the so-called 1%.” stated Benally.


Ofelia Rivas, founder of O’odham VOICE against the Wall, was protesting SRP. Rivas, an elder and activist, said, “As Indigenous
People we understand that the balance of the land is the balance of our people and any disturbance of that is very devastating, not only
to our spiritual health, but to our deep connection to the land and all living things. As Indigenous People we are not separated from our
environment. We’re deeply connected to everything in the universe: the land, the mountains, water, air, and all plant and animal life.”
Rivas said highway construction, including the proposed loop 202 freeway extension that threatens South Mountain, would devastate more sacred land. Further, O’odham oppose the continuing construction of the US and Mexico border and the militarization.
“Trade policies such as NAFTA and CANAMEX alter our way of life and threaten our Him’dag. We will no longer accept the violence the state attempts to enforce on us along their border, especially the aggressive legislation of ALEC. Indigenous Peoples demand the
implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the rights of our Mother Earth,” Rivas said.
“Enough is enough, it ends now!” The massive canals constructed before the illegal occupation of O’odham lands are now being utilized by Salt River Project. O’odham culture is deeply rooted throughout this area, which is as far north as the Phoenix Valley, as far west as the coast of Mexico in what is now Rocky Point, east as the San Pedro river and as far south as Hermosillo and the Sierra Madres Mountains.

Ray Aguilar stated that “the air conditioning and power we enjoy and water we drink comes at the suffering caused by SRP and Peabody’s exploitation of the land and people. When will we realize that our privileges our based on this? We must take further action. I just spent one week doing direct, on-land support with Black Mesa residents assisting with basic essential human needs.  That’s why I’m here today. This critical situation would not exist if not for these greedy corporations.”

Peabody Energy, also an ALEC member, is the world’s largest private-sector coal company. With 2010 sales of 246 million tons and nearly $7 billion in revenues, Peabody creates 10 percent of U.S. power and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

Since 1974 more than 14,000 Dine’ families have been forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands due in large part due to U.S.-backed tribal councils and cola mining.

To protest the deadly legacy of environmental and cultural destruction caused by the company’s collusion with Peabody Energy the protest has stated the following:

Big Mountain Sovereign Dine’ Nation

P.O. Box 23501

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Salt River Project

1521 N. Project Drive

Tempe, AZ 85281

David Rousseau, President

John R. Hoopes, Vice President


American Legislative Exchange Council

Ben Shelly, Navajo Nation President

LeRoy N. Shingoitewa, Hopi Tribe Chairman

Barack Obama, United States President

Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona

Gregory H. Boyce, CEO, Peabody Energy

Peabody Energy Corporate Headquarters

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission

Ben Nuvamsa, Former Chairman, Hopi Tribe

Black Mesa Water Coalition

Black Mesa Trust

Forgotten People

Gila River Indian Community

Zuni Salt Lake Coalition

Indigenous Environmental Network

Center for Biological Diversity

International Indian Treaty Council

To the Owners, Operators, & Beneficiaries of Salt River Project,

We are a community that is heavily impacted by the Salt River Project’s coal and water extraction activities. We are particularly impacted by Peabody Energy’s mining operations to which you have extensive ties, the Navajo Generating Station which you co-own, and the exploitation of the water that underlies our ancestral lands. We wish to formally bring before you some critical concerns of our community.

The Navajo Generating Station and Peabody’s mining operations cause widespread respiratory problems, lung diseases, asthma issues, other health impacts on humans, the environment, and all living things. We don’t have access to health insurance. The plants and animals are also impacted and there are no studies on that. There is no remedy for that for now.

Peabody is an extremely disrespectful company, they’re tearing up everything for the coal. Mother earth and our cultural resources such as sacred sites are not at all respected. Back in the mid-nineties, grandmothers were defending the land when the mine was being expanded more and more, and we witnessed peoples’ graves being totally bulldozed. They have been exploiting and destroying sacred places, and that is not being talked about.

And the coal ash that they’re trying to dump on our lands now—it’s really no different than the uranium that we have suffered from for so many years. It’s toxic and poisonous, and there’s no safe place to store the coal ash.

The mining needs to stop. Until then, we demand that you honor the clean air act and the EPA’s highest standards by installing the best retrofit technology available on the Navajo Generation Station to reduce pollution from mercury, arsenic, and other toxic pollutants being released in to the air.

Our water is being exploited and our aquifers have been depleted for decades, causing springs to go dry and vegetation to change. Salt River Project needs to stop manipulating the Navajo and Hopi tribal governments, coercing them to sign agreements without consent from tribal members. Our water resources are not replenishable, and without the water, we cannot continue our way of life.

The beneficiaries of the energy and water you sell must realize that our suffering is a direct result of their consumption. They must also understand that the continued taking of finite “natural resources” is creating imbalances that threaten the survival of everyone’s future generations.

These issues are not being heard: Stop exploiting and destroying our ancestral homelands. Stop poisoning us. Stop meeting behind closed doors. Stop greenwashing your unfair and harmful practices. Recognize that you have a unique ability and thus a responsibility to put an end to these things, and that by not­­­­ doing so you are also harming yourselves.

For background information:

For information on ALEC protests: and


Call for Indigenous Convergence to Resist ALEC! – November 29-December 3 – Onk Akimel O’odham Lands (Scottsdale, AZ)

Un-occupy Our Lands!
Indigenous Peoples Gathering in Resistance to Corporate & State Terrorism

Tues. Nov. 29, 6PM – 9:30PM

At Serena Padilla Residence

Onk Akimel O’odham Nation (Salt River)

9312 E. Thomas Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85256

For more information and to see the entire invite please visit: AZ Resist Alec



My name is Serena Padilla. I live in Occupied Onk Akimel Jeved, now known as the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

I am in support of an Indigenous convergence before and during the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference, scheduled for November 30-December 2, in hopes to share, connect and build solidarity amongst all the Indigenous Nations that are affected by ALEC.  

At this time, I am opening my grounds to accommodate all Indigenous participants coming to our territory due to the ALEC Conference. I am opening my grounds for camping and access to my outside kitchen. 

I hope this gathering will strengthen our connections as Indigenous Peoples, now and for the future generations to come. AZ Resists ALEC!

de-occupy! PRESS RELEASE



Dry River Collective Press Release
For Immediate Release:
 November 27, 2011

Media Inquiries:  Dan Todd, 520-982-1835,

                                    Ofelia Rivas, 520-395-7910,

Additional Information:;


Noted Writers and Academics to Speak at Benefit

For Traditional O’odham Resistance and Anarchist Collective

Activist and scholar Ward Churchill, writer and speaker John Zerzan, and Professor of Religious Studies/Classics at the University of Arizona Dr. Julian Kunnie will speak at the Dry River Radical Resource Center on December 10, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. to benefit O’odham VOICE Against the WALL, which since 2003 has organized and advocated for the traditional O’odham leaders and O’odham communities, and the Dry River Collective, a center for anarchist organizing in Tucson for almost seven years. The event, “De-Occupy O’odham Lands!”,  is a reminder that O’odham remain on only a third of their original lands and remain in resistance to the illegal occupation of O’odham  lands by the United States and Mexico.


            Ward Churchill is a prolific American Indian writer, a member of the Rainbow Coalition Council of Elders, and on the leadership council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. In addition to his numerous works on indigenous history, he has written extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the repression of political dissent. Five of his more than 20 books have received human rights writing awards. Former Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department, until July 2007 Ward Churchill was a tenured full Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Colorado/Boulder, where he received numerous awards for his teaching and service. In April 2009 a jury unanimously found that he had been fired by CU in retaliation for his observations on 9/11 and in violation of the First Amendment.  Professor Churchill is currently litigating to have that verdict upheld.

            John Zerzan has been active in the anti-authoritarian movement from the ‘60s on and has articulated a critique of technology and civilization that has deepened and sharpened hostility to capitalism.  In recent years he has been published in the theory journal TELOS, the Detroit publication Fifth Estate, Eugene’s Green Anarchy, and Species Traitor (an anarcho-primitivist journal). His books include Elements of Refusal (1988, 1998), Future Primitive (1994), Against Civilization (1999), Running on Emptiness (2002), Twilight of the Machines (2008), and Origins: A John Zerzan Reader (2010). Future Primitive Revisited will appear in Spring 2012. His weekly Anarchy Radio broadcast streams live on KWVA radio, Eugene. Oregon, USA; past shows are available at

            Julian Kunnie is a Professor of Religious Studies/Classics at the University of Arizona  He is the author of numerous articles in various internationally recognized journals and books.  His books include Indigenous Wisdom and Power: Affirming our Knowledge Through Narratives (2006), Is Apartheid Really Dead? Pan Africanist Working Class Cultural Critical Perspectives (2000), and Models of Black Theology; Issues of Class, Culture, and Gender (1994).  His forthcoming book is Globalization and Its Victims: Wars Against the Earth and the Impoverished of the World (Rowman & Littefield).  He is currently working on a prison research project that interrogates issues of race, class, and gender and is geared toward preventing the incarceration of youth, particularly those of color, entitled Enchained Humanity: A Comparative Study of the Infliction of Incarceration on Persons in United States and South African Prisons.

            The event will be held at Dry River, 740 N. Main (University and Main).  It is open to the public.  A delicious vegetarian meal will be served at 6:00 p.m. and speakers will begin at 7:00.  Donations of $10 to $20 are requested, but no one will be turned away. The Dry River Radical Resource Center is a community space offered by anarchists for live music, free services from clothing to computer access, and fundraising for a wide array of popular causes.  Since 2005 it has hosted musicians, filmmakers, writers and political organizers from all over the world.  Run by volunteers, it is sustained entirely by donations.