Congress Approves Bill to Force Opening Access to Yakama Nation Sacred SiteTweet
In addition to the provision to transfer 2,400 acres of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands to a foreign mining company, the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains an amendment, Section 2867 Ensuring Public Access to the Summit of Rattlesnake Mountain, to force open public access to a sacred Yakama Nation mountain.
The summit of Rattlesnake Mountain, called Laliik by the Yakama Nation, is currently off-limits to the general public. If approved by the Senate and signed by President Obama, Section 2867 of the NDAA would allow for roads to be built to the summit of Laliik and allow for the general public to have open access to the mountain that is considered sacred by the Yakama Nation, Nez Perce and Umatilla.
In a letter to Washington State Senators Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell Yakama Nation Tribal Chairman JoDe Goudy states:
“Yakama Nation is even more strongly opposed to this amendment (Section 2867). Laliik (our name for Rattlesnake Mountain) is a sacred mountain to the Yakama People and promoting public access-including motorized access- would constitute and adverse effect to the spiritual quality of the Mountain and the character defining features that make it eligible as a Traditional Cultural Property under the National Historic Preservation Act. Senators, Laliik is our Mount Sinai. This is where Smohalla, our most revered prophet and teacher set forth teachings and practices that are followed to this day. When our Long House leaders feel that a young adult is ready and worthy, Laliik is where they are sent to fast and to have vision quests. This is not a place for Airstreams and Winnebagos.”
Northwest tribes, Southwest tribes and the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association have all voiced strong opposition to the troubling land deals added to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.
Sign the White House petition to stop Yakama Nation Sacred Site Desecration