Tribes, individuals struggle to protect sacred sites

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SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. – A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling emblematized the disregard for indigenous religion held by some in the dominant society.

The U.S. Forest Service manages the San Francisco Peaks as public land and, since approving the site for development in 2005, has faced multiple lawsuits from the Navajo Nation, the Hopi, White Mountain Apache, Yavapai Apache and Hualapai and Havasupai tribes.

The tribes argued under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that they regard the mountain as “an indivisible living entity. … home to deities and other spirit beings.”

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