FLAGSTAFF-"Winter Solstice," a Save the Peaks compilation album created to benefit and bring awareness to the protection of the sacred San Francisco Peaks, has been nominated for Compilation of the Year for the 2007 Native American Music Awards (NAMMYs). Winter Solstice features 16 premier Native American hip-hop, reggae and spoken word artists and was produced by ECHOES, a non-profit cultural and environmental organization based in the Southwest.
"Our intention was to create an album that would spread the word nationally about the importance of protecting sacred sites and human rights," said Kelvin Long, executive director of ECHOES and co-producer of the album. The NAMMYs honor the outstanding achievements of today's leading Native American artists. NAMMY winners are determined through an online voting campaign as well as a NAMMY review board. If "Winter Solstice" were to garner the coveted Compilation of the Year, it would bolster the growing support for the protection of the San Francisco Peaks.
Gabriel Yaiva is the co-executive producer of the album. He also owns and operates 4th World Entertainment and is an ECHOES member. "When we were putting this album together we had the objective of getting the youth involved in this important issue that affects all of us. This is happening here in our backyards," Yaiva stated. "This nomination is a tribute to the people and the continued fight against cultural and environmental genocide."
"Winter Solstice" features artists such as Casper Loma-Dawa (2005 NAMMY winner), Jay Nez (2005 NAMMY winner), Yaiva and Night Shield (2007 NAMMY nominees), Aztlan Underground, Red Cloud (Sony recording artist), Eagleman RedDay, Supaman, Ras K-Dee (2006 Best of the Bay award recipient) and many more.
The Save the Peaks efforts were initiated by the Indigenous peoples of the Southwest to protect the sacred San Francisco Peaks located in northern Arizona from threats of development. The movement recently won a federal ruling under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Calif. The 9th Circuit Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling that would have allowed the use of reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow on the peaks, which are sacred to 13 southwestern tribes including the Diné, Hopi, Zuni, Havasupai, Hualapai, Apache, Tohono O'odham and San Juan Southern Paiute.
"This is a very important decision that sets great precedent for people who are concerned with Native American rights and religious freedom," said Howard Shanker of the Shanker Law Firm, PLC. Shanker represented the Navajo Nation and other tribes, Rex Tilousi, Dianna Uqualla, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Flagstaff Activist Network in the 9th Circuit Court appeal. Shanker stated that because of this decision, other tribes throughout the nation could have the ability to rely on this case to help protect sacred sites that are of cultural and religious significance.
ECHOES has been in the forefront of the campaign to save the sacred peaks, Long states, "The vision of our participation in this event is to promote the opportunity to cultivate the developing relationships between the grassroots movements with the Native American music industry, allowing for cultural and environmental respect to foster through interaction at the NAMMYs." Casper Loma-Dawa, contributing artist and community leader said, "This compilation was something that was needed for our people. I'm proud to be a part of this I hope it will inspire leaders of the next generation."
For additional information or to vote for the "Winter Solstice" album go to www.votenative.com or to get more information on supporting the Save the Peaks Movement, go to www.savethepeaks.org.