Sacred Mountain near Columbia River Threatened

sacred mountain rattlesnake mountainFrom the website Roundhouse Talk:

Tucked within the 1,000-page defense bill passed by the Senate last week is a provision that would open the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain — a site considered sacred by members of the Yakama Nation — to the public.

The mountain, known as “Laliik” in Yakama, lies in the Hanford Reach National Monument and, for the most part, public access is now restricted. But opening the area for more public use has long been a goal of outgoing Congressmen Doc Hastings.

Hastings had previously sponsored similar bills that never gained traction in the Senate, so this time he added a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015, a vast, $580 billion piece of legislation that covers military spending with a host of other land management issues tacked on.

The act also includes provisions to turn Hanford’s B Reactor into a tourist destination as part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a move applauded by the Tri-City Development Council and others.

The measure easily passed the House earlier, and with Senate passage it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Opening Rattlesnake Mountain to the public, especially motorized access, is a major concern for the Yakama Nation, Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy wrote in a letter to Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray in October.

“Senators, Laliik is our Mount Sinai,” Goudy wrote. “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 Winnebegos.”

Doc Hastings is known as one of the most pro-corporate senators in Washington DC (and that’s saying something). He has consistently opposed environmental protections, protection of women’s rights, and other issues.

Lalíik (Rattlesnake Mountain) is held sacred by native peoples of the Columbia Plateau, including the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Wanapum, Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Yakama, and remains a spiritual epicenter to this day.

Deep Green Resistance Seattle is following the evolving story of this sacred mountain. We are reaching out to our members and allies across the region around this issue. We stand to protect all sacred land.

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