The first: presentation that I found the most informative was by Lisa Atcity on the artificial making of snow on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. Lisa informed us that waste water is what companies use to make fake snow. Lisa reported on the Hopi Nations findings on the subject because they are the most active in resisting the fake snow. Hopi people are also known as the Peaceful People and they live in three mesas consisting of a total of twelve villages and over 1.5million acres of land. The 1978 American Indian Religious Freedoms Act is supposed to protect American Indian sacred sites which are not successful at protecting the San Francisco Peaks. The reclaimed waste water being used to create snow on the ski resorts, are affecting the lives of animals and plants in the area. Because the reclaimed waste water is made up of water from sewage it may be contaminated so the companies making the snow treat it with antibiotics and chemicals found in household cleaning products; these two substances make it hard on any plants and animals that come in contact with the runoff of the fake snow, throwing off the natural balance of the native species in the area. One of the pros that seemed the most legitimate was the fact that the treated waste water kills parasites and bacteria during the treatment process. I found it very amusing to hear that people bring their families, friends and kids to play in fake snow made from human and animal waste.
The second: presentation I found the most informative was the from Alicia Gangone regarding the Lakota tribes in South Dakota and Mato Tipila (Bears Lodge) or referred to as Devils Tower by non-Natives. The two sides of the Mato Tipila debate are the Native people trying to preserve their sacred site and the non-Native mountain climbers. The two side’s conflict with each other because the month of June is significant to the Lakota people for the reason that it starts off the summer solstice and the beginning of ceremonies such as the Sun Dance, Vision Quests, and the area is used for prayer and religious practices. The non-Native climbers also feel that the month of June is significant to their culture of climbing because the Devils Tower to them is one of a kind and one of the most desired places to climb in the United States. Both side’s present decent arguments but one thing they can both agree on is that the month of June is one of the only months with manageable weather to spend time outdoors in the north western tip of South Dakota and north eastern border of Wyoming meet. I absolutely loved the fact that the Lakota people rather than have the park closed to outsiders and ban non-Natives, they preferred to have the park open to anyone and allow non-Natives to make their own decision to choose not to climb during the month of June out of respect for the Lakota people and their sacred time of ceremony. I feel that this is a great way for the Lakota people and non-Natives to learn to respect one another and find a way to work together. It would be a great show of respect to see both sides find a resolution on this debate and hopefully the rest of the country could learn from the example that the Native people and non-Natives set in this situation.
The third: presentation that I found interesting and informative was the presentation by Maverick Lang of the Muscogee Creek Nation regarding his tribe’s original land and sacred sites located in Georgia. The main reason why I enjoyed this topic so much was because; when I came to Haskell in fall 2010 the city of Lawrence has been trying to build a traffic way through the wetlands in southern Lawrence. The preservation of the wetlands here on the Haskell campus and south side Lawrence are very important to the history of Haskell and the struggles that Native children had when they came here in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to go to boarding school. The same situation is happening in Georgia with the Muscogee Creek Nation’s sacred sites; many grave sites and unmarked graves are located in these wetlands and many Native people’s culture and beliefs go hand in hand with leaving the land to be preserved. The city in both situations on the other hand want to build a traffic way right through the middle of the wetlands to make traffic less complicated and make commuters daily routine a little bit easier. The idea has been brought up to make the traffic way go around the wetlands keeping the sacred/cultural sites intact and making the traffic way a less direct but still shorter route. The city and wetlands preservation teams are continuing to combat one another with conflicting ideologies. I am hopeful that a peaceful resolution will be achieve that works for both sides without one or the other being forced to compromise more than they are willing to compromise.