Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie makes a fact-finding tour of the proposed Grand Canyon Escalade site on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.

NEWS ADVISORY – Monday, October 22, 2012

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie (Littlewater, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake, Baca/Brewitt, Casamero Lake, Ojo Encino, Counselor) made a fact finding tour today of the proposed Grand Canyon Escalde site on the rim of the Grand Canyon near Bodaway-Gap, Arizona.  Councilman Tsosie was accompanied by approximately ten local chapter residents that are in support of the proposed Escalade project.   Councilman Tsosie, also a member of the Resources and Development Committee for the Navajo Nation, has not taken a position on the project but has expressed a desire to understand all sides regarding the issue.  Councilman Tsosie said he wanted to understand the concerns of the local residents and to see first hand impacts on Traditional Cultural Places (what many are calling sacred sites) that are near the proposed Escalde site.

Local chapter residents expressed their support to Councilman Tsosie for the project, stating that the project would bring desperately needed jobs and income to the area and holds the potential of keeping children and grandchilren living in the area as well as badly needed new homesites.  Local residents also informed Delegate Tsosie that, despite claims by opponents to the contrary, there were no active homesites or grazing leases that would be impacted or disturbed by the project.  They noted that the Bodaway-Gap Chapter had voted to approve a land-use plan designating the area the project would be located in as an economic development zone and this was done long before the Escalde project had come along.  They also addressed the issue of sacred sites by noting that nine (9) Navajo Ceremonial Practitioners had written letters in support of the Escalade project and had spoken on the issue of sacres sites.   Cecil Nez of Coalmine Canyon and Tuba City wrote in his letter:

My Grandmother was of the clan- “where the rivers come together” -TOO AAH HIDII LH-and had the teaching of offering prayers, corn pollen, and the four sacred mountain sacraments at the base and banks of where the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River come together. This was a sacred to place to them, where they offered prayers and placed sacraments on the banks -where the rivers come together-and what was offered was then taken to the ocean on their behalf-because that’s where the river ran to.  This was done on an annual basis to bring abundance of rain for crops that were planted and for good forge for the livestock, water for the earthen dams.  Then rain clouds originated from the ocean and the clouds came out to the reservation, from where rainwas requested from the Confluence area. 

Many Navajos and other Native Americans offer their prayers and corn pollen from the rim of the cliffs of the Grand Canyon and call it a sacred site, but in reality its down in the Canyon where the two rivers meet. If a com pollen is offered from the rim of the cliff of the canyon, it is blown away by the strong winds and its no wonder all we have on the reservation is winds and occasional tornadoes. 

I do my prayers and offerings at the foot of the river banks, where the two rivers meet, as taught by my ancestors and my grandmother. 

There is more than this I have to give and can assist in haying a background history  of the Confluence written up with Mr. Thompson. The other thing I am privileged to do is make a prayer and offering ceremony in the Canyon on behalf of the development.  This will alleviate all the un-necessary delays or compliances people who oppose this development.

The site of the proposed Grand Canyon Escalde as it exists today.

 Editors Note:  The original post included Gevern Begay, Bodaway-Gap Chapter official in the picture contained within the post.  Mrs. Begay attended the tour with Councilman Tsosie as part of her official Chapter duties and not as a supporter of the Escalade project.  We apologize for any confusion the picture may have caused and have changed the picture attached to the post.  KAL – Oct. 27, 2012