Target: Ben Shelly, Navajo Nation President
Goal: Stop proposed development project which would cause great environmental harm and the loss of culturally significant sites.
A billion dollar development along the Grand Canyon has drawn intense controversy from within the Navajo Nation whose land would house it. The Smithsonian reports that the Grand Canyon Escalade project would machine a massive gash in the rock face, drain vital groundwater in an already-parched land, and may not even be legal. Yet developers’ manipulation and lofty promises have swayed many, and continue to threaten this World Heritage site.
Picture a tramway stretching more than a mile hauling thousands of tourists each day to the canyon floor at a place many tribes consider sacred: the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. Hotels, restaurants, gift shops and the associated trash would scar the canyon. These same lands play a crucial role in the creation stories of the Navajo and other groups including the Pueblo of Zuni, the Hopi and Havasupai tribes.
The developers, Confluence Partners, insist that very few First Nations people oppose construction. They claim there is no evidence of the area being particularly sacred. A strong, grassroots movement called Save the Confluence has arisen nonetheless.
Join tribal families, members of the National Park Service, Sierra Club and others standing together to save this sacred place. Call on the Navajo Nation President to reject Grand Canyon Escalade once and for all.
Dear President Shelly,
Many from within the Navajo Nation have criticized the rushed vote which demonstrated luke-warm support for the Escalade project. While Confluence Partners promise millions in annual revenue for the Navajo, damage to sites considered sacred by at least 18 tribes is too great a sacrifice.
The Confluence is precious to people like Renae Yellowhorse, who in an interview with the Smithsonian explained just why Escalade would be a disaster. “If they come in and build their walls, they’ll tear out the heart of mother earth,” she said. “The Holy Beings will be distracted by the lights and the noise. They won’t be able to hear our prayers.”
Many First Nations people share her objections. Ultimately developers are concerned with making money for themselves and not with the cost, or the benefit, for the Navajo and others. Please, protect this precious land and reject the Grand Canyon Escalade.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Caaz via Wikimedia Commons