Tribes stress preserving culture at 3-day town hall
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 6, 2006

Angelique Soenarie

PARADISE VALLEY - American Indian representatives from across Arizona began a three-day session Monday to map out how to prevent their culture from slipping through the sands of time.

The theme of the 26th-annual Arizona Indian Town Hall is "Preserving Arizona's Tribal Cultural Resources, Sites and Languages."

Alicia Nosie 18, a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe hopes to carry on her tribe's cultural traditions. Nosie, who spoke during a panel discussion at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort, said the University of Arizona's Mount Graham International Observatory is one example of development on a sacred site.

"It is sacred for Apaches and other tribes," said Nosie, a freshman at Arizona State University. "It's kind of like they're putting a telescope on a church. That's where we go pray and get herbs and stuff. We don't want them to destroy our ground."

Her father, Wendsler Nosie Sr., was acquitted of criminal trespass at the Mount Graham observatory for praying in preparation for his daughter's passage to womanhood, called the Sunrise ceremony.

"I just don't want the youth to lose their culture, because in the next 10 years, there probably won't be anymore Apaches or culture," said Nosie, who participates in sacred runs. "We don't want to compromise who we are and someday become who we are not."

This week, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community will hold a film festival by the American Indian Film Institute. Admission is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Salt River High School Lecture Hall.

Information: (480) 850-8056.