September 2012

Newsletter from Kaih Khristé King

The Voice Of The People

The attempt to silence our cry.

 

I speak to you today as an observer. I do not speak on behalf of any given individual, family, community, clan or tribe. I speak to you from my soul.

I speak to you from the Verde Valley in Northern Arizona. The state of Arizona, once home to nations of indigenous people, is now a broadening picture of how little respect is expressed to these nations today. These ancient cultures have lived in these lands for thousands of years and yet are given very little say in the manner of care the lands receive. The waterways, the mountains, deserts and even the stones and rocks are sacred. These lands, and all creatures who inhabit them, are the church for native cultures – their sanctuary.

A few yesterdays ago, I was an observer at a City Council meeting regarding issues relating to Montezuma Well – a natural limestone sinkhole through which some 1,400,000 US gallons of water flows each day through two underground springs. The water is highly carbonated – and is the home to at least five endemic species that live only in the Well. Those of the Yavapai nation believe they emerged into this world through the Well – as such, it is a most sacred place to them – and for many local tribes. Hopi, Yavapai, Apache and Navaho all visit the Well to gather its sacred water.

Let me say, I have spent many hours at the Well, and it is more than a sinkhole, a body of water or a habitat for rare species – the Well is a holy place where Heaven and Earth merge. The trees speak there. And the undeniable beauty of the place charges the heart with appreciation for God’s creation.

The City Counsel was in session that day to consider a water company’s request for permission to drill a well into Montezuma Well’s aquifer. I watched (and teared up) as many Native Americans and other members of the general community spoke on behalf of saving the sanctity and the original setting of the Well. But the sincere heart of the community was ignored and the water company was given permission to drill. I do not know the status of the water company’s license at this time, but my point is the voice of the People was silenced!

As you read this – again the voice of the People is shouting – but those ‘in charge’ have their foot on our throat.

The sacred San Francisco Peaks are a volcanic mountain range located in north central Arizona. Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona reaching 12,637 feet into the blue-sky heavens. As the remains of an eroded stratovolcano, an aquifer within the caldera supplies water to neighboring towns. Located in Coconino National Forest, it is a popular site for outdoor recreation. The Arizona Snowbowl ski area is located on the western slopes of Humphreys Peak. ‘Snowbowl’ continues to be the subject of major controversy involving environmental groups and several Native American tribes.

Why the controversy and why should anyone outside of Arizona care? Because our entire planet is in jeopardy due to the abuse and misuse of the Mother who provides for us our bodies, the air that we breathe, the water we drink and the food that we eat. All she asks in return is respect. But let me go on to describe why the San Francisco Peaks are important to us all.

1889! Biologist Clinton Hart Merriam’s study of the Peaks and surrounding areas showed a set of six life zones found from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the summit of the mountains. Merriam used the term life zones to describe areas with similar plant and animal communities. On the planet there are a total of seven. The seventh is the tropical zone. The San Francisco Peaks contain four of six life zones. Ponderosa pines forest, mixed conifer forest, subalpine conifer forest (spruce-fir) and the only alpine tundra environment in Arizona, all grace the slopes of the Peaks. This is why environmental groups are so deeply committed to the well-being of the Peaks and their forests.

The San Francisco Peaks have been sacred to at least thirteen tribes of indigenous people since Creator birthed them to this Earth. The Peaks and all their natural wonder are an altar for worship – a church without walls – a place for sacred ceremony and a meeting place for communion with Spirit. For thousands of years, the beautiful San Francisco Peaks have received the gentle footsteps of Hopi ancestors. To the Hopi nation the Peaks are a gathering place for the Katsinam (kachinas).

2002! Arizona Snowbowl (the ski resort on the Peaks) proposed a plan to expand and begin making artificial snow from reclaimed water made of treated sewage effluent. The Coconino National Forest leases land to the ski resort. An alliance of Native American tribes and environmental groups sued, attempting to stop the proposed expansion citing serious impacts to cultural practitioners, public health risks and environmental concerns.

2011! Construction began on a wastewater pipeline to the Peaks. An ongoing series of protest actions has been the public response. August 2011, Diné musician and activist, Klee Benally protested the clear-cutting of 74 acres of rare alpine forest and the laying of 14.8 miles of a reclaimed wastewater pipeline – Snowbowl’s intention – create artificial snow made of reclaimed wastewater.

I have been following the continuing public outcry through The Noise art & news magazine, published in Flagstaff, Arizona. Publisher Charles Seiverd wrote a comprehensive article in the September 2012 edition citing the danger to plant-life from wastewater irrigating. Recognizing that the sacred Peaks have four of seven life zones, alive in the forests on the Peaks, why would we clear-cut large sections – and do they not deserve better than potty water?

Can you imagine the public uproar if a Christian Church was torn down to provide the public a merry-go-round or maybe a wastewater park with lots of slides devoted to recreation? Can we not reconsider where we play – and where we place our recreational arenas?

Question: Is it time to take a real good look at what we are doing to the sacred Home Planet? Recently, I heard presidential candidate Romney shout, “Yes! We will drill! We will drill!” Is any body listening to the reports of the damage we do to our Mother Planet when drilling – and fracking which causes earthquakes in locations where (previously) earthquakes were unknown – and spilling oil into once productive and pristine waters.

The point is there is no need to drill and to damage our environment. All the technology is right here, right now, so that we never again need a drop of oil fouling our waterways and a high-tension electrical wire crowding our skies. Tesla knew it and so do the geniuses of our time. You may want to explore the internet and check out some of the technology and conscious, ‘futuristic’ inventions that are available right now, just waiting for the world’s leaders and powerhouse corporations to accept the gift. You may want to check out the Keshe Foundation and ThriveMovement.com

In light of today’s news, regarding the pain experienced by our Muslim brothers and sisters regarding a film that insults their spiritual beliefs; we see how very important it is to honor all religious practices. All that is required from us is to “Love each other as I love thee!” Love will blunt the angle of anger. If each of us demonstrates love for others (and their ways), if we make conscious decisions, if we respect all manner of worship – then the promise of 2012 will manifest.

And that promise must carry us forth into a just and real future. Every prayer, every compassionate act counts. Why? Because God is watching!

 

Kaih Khristé King

 


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