Havasupai to hold protest gathering at Red Butte

HAVASUPAI, Ariz. - The Havasupai Tribe will hold a uranium protest gathering July 25-26 at Red Butte in the Grand Canyon.

Havasupai Vice Chairman Matthew Putesoy said the public is invited to attend to add their voice in support of rejecting uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

Havasupai Chairman Don Watahomogie said on behalf of the tribe he urges everyone to join them at the foot of sacred Red Butte to unify their voices and call on the federal government to work with the Havasupai Tribe to protect these sacred lands from any further uranium mining.

"We are proud to host this historic gathering as our ancestors have done for generations at Red Butte," the chairman said.

Denison Mining Co., a Canadian company, is threatening to reopen Canyon Mine near the South Rim and two other mines near the North Rim. The Canyon Mine is within 10 miles of the sacred Red Butte.

Putesoy said the tribe, other tribes and environmentalists are opposing groundwater permits which Denison Mines is seeking from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Vice Chairman Putesoy said in a news release that the Havasupai Tribe, known as the guardians of the Grand Canyon, fear that contamination from uranium mining could harm the animals, air, water and people. He said the Havasupai religion is also being directly impacted by the uranium mines.

Havasupai leader Rex Tilousi stated in the news release that "Red Butte is the lungs of Mother Earth."

The Havasupai, along with Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Grand Canyon Trust oppose the uranium mines on or around the Grand Canyon.

A free public concert will be held at 6 p.m. July 25; a public forum on uranium mining and protecting sacred sites will be held July 26 at Red Butte in the Grand Canyon.

The performers for the concert include Burning Sky with former Doors drummer John Densmore, Hopi reggae artist Casper Lomayesva and Navajo performer Clarence Clearwater.

Free campsites and food will be provided but those attending should bring utensils and camping gear.

Guest speakers will include Dennis Banks and Havasupai elders.

For more information, including directions, call (928) 774-6514 or log onto www.arizona.sierraclub.org.

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