For Immediate Release, July 17, 2009
Andy Bessler, Sierra Club, (928) 380-7808
Carletta Tilousi, Red Rock Foundation, (480) 488-6821
Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 310-6713
Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust, (928) 774-7488
Media Advisory: Grand Canyon Rally to Focus on Uranium Threats
A July 25-26 Gathering at the Sacred Red Butte Will Host Traditional Havasupai Ceremonies, Concerts, and Forums to Stop Uranium Mining Near the Grand Canyon and Havasupai Traditional Lands
GRAND CANYON, Ariz.— Conservation groups today announced support of the Havasupai tribe in its convening of a traditional gathering at Red Butte, a sacred site just south of the Grand Canyon. The gathering will include prayers, ceremonies, concerts, and forums focused on protecting the Grand Canyon and traditional Havasupai lands from uranium mining. Members of the public are invited to attend and add their voice in support of saying no to uranium mining. The media are invited to attend the entire event, which will include a press conference at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 25.
The rally responds to sharp increases in new uranium mining claims, exploration, and permitting to reopen old mines on public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. Uranium development threatens to damage wildlife habitat, industrialize iconic wildlands, and contaminate surface water and groundwater feeding regional seeps and springs, including Havasu springs and waterfalls near the Supai Village in Grand Canyon. The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and Grand Canyon Trust have mounted legal challenges against new uranium exploration in the area and have urged the Obama administration to protect those lands, which are sacred to the Havasupai and other tribes.
The Havasupai tribe and conservation groups have also been actively opposing efforts of the Denison Mine Company to reopen the Canyon Mine, an old mine located on the Kaibab National Forest near Red Butte, the site of the upcoming rally. Denison is seeking groundwater aquifer permits from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to operate the Canyon Mine and extract uranium. The tribes’ sources for drinking water, as well as sources for other communities along the South Rim and Colorado River, lie directly downstream from the site of these proposed operations.
This gathering will be held south of the Grand Canyon National Park near Red Butte, a sacred site for the Havasupai tribe. On Friday, members of the Havasupai tribe will hold a private ceremony meant to use prayers to focus positive change towards ending uranium mining. On Saturday, members of the public will be invited to join the Havasupai at a free public concert at 6 p.m. with performances by traditional Havasupai, Hopi, and Aztec dancers; bands like Burning Sky, joined by John Densmore, drummer for the Doors; Casper from Hopi Land; and Navajo songwriter Clarence Clearwater.
The media are welcomed to attend at any time during the events on Saturday and Sunday and a news conference will be held Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the conclusion of the private Havasupai ceremony. A map to the gathering can be found at www.arizona.sierraclub.org.