Religious Freedom & Expression on Trial in Klee Benally Sacred Mountain Defense Case

13 Jun

No Verdict After 3 Hour Trial

Klee Benally, Dine’ (Navajo), was on trial today for a prayerful action taken in August, 2011 to protect the Holy San Francisco Peaks from desecration due to ski area expansion. During the 3 hour hearing, the state prosecutor presented witnesses from the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Snowbowl & Coconino County Sheriff’s department who testified that Mr. Benally was “trespassing” and had committed “disorderly conduct” on the Holy Mountain.

In the packed courtroom, testimony and questions centered around whether or not the area where Snowbowl’s desecration of the Holy Peaks was clearly marked with “no trespassing signs” and whether or not Klee was “disorderly” in his actions.

“Religious freedom and the right to express opposition to desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks is what was on trial today.” stated Klee, “The struggle to protect Dooko’osliid (San Francisco Peaks) continues, we must defend our ways of life and the natural law. As long as our hearts beat with an understanding that our actions are for future generations and cultural survival, then this struggle is not over.”

Cross Posted from Indigenous Action Network

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