San Francisco Peaks Petition

Representing the Navajo Nation, IPLP faculty, staff, and students have submitted a petition before the Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the San Francisco Peaks and the religious practices and spiritual beliefs of the Navajo people.

Students participating in the International Human Rights Advocacy Workshop have been actively involved in research and writing legal briefs and memoranda related to the case. The petition challenges an agreement between the City of Flagstaff and a private ski resort allowing the continued use of treated sewage effluent to create artificial snow on the San Francisco Peaks. The extension of the agreement between the city and ski resort was made without consultation with the Navajo Nation or other stakeholders opposing the agreement.

The San Francisco Peaks are sacred to the Navajo people and 13 other tribes in the region. The peaks have formed a traditional boundary for the Navajo Nation’s ancestral territory since time immemorial and provide resources used in ceremonies and cultural practices. The use of treated sewage on this sacred mountain disrupts Navajo traditional practices and desecrates a vital part of their religious and cultural identity.

Filed in spring 2015, the IACHR petition calls for the immediate cessation of the use of treated sewage on the peaks, remediation measures to mitigate the damage caused to the peaks, and the implementation of consultation measures with tribal communities for projects affecting sacred sites. As the petition enters a vital stage in the proceedings, IPLP continues to represent the Navajo Nation, involving students in advocacy efforts to bring awareness to this important human rights campaign and gain recognition and protection of tribal communities’ religious and cultural practices.

In order to promote our mission to protect and promote Indigenous peoples’ human rights, IPLP provides case archives of our advocacy projects to assist legal practitioners and advocates.

Here are resources related to our petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the San Francisco Peaks:

Petitions to the IACHR



Media Coverage

Thematic IACHR Hearing on the Impact of Extractive Industries on Indigenous Peoples in the U.S.

Navajo Nation Reaches Out to IACHR in San Francisco Peaks Battle