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Area Briefs: Sacred Wind affiliate ready to deploy fiber to 723 homes


An affiliate of Sacred Wind Communications-New Mexico, SW DineNet, is preparing to deploy fiber-to-the-home to 623 Navajo homes in McKinley County, Sacred Wind announced on Tuesday.

As a winning bidder in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which works to establish broadband access in unserved areas, SW DinehNet completed the FCC’s final vetting process and will use the funding to complete the largest fiber-to-home project on Navajo lands.

Following completion of the vetting process, SW DinehNet has entered into the next phase of conducting formal engineering, prior to installation of the fiber.

The project will include 54 miles of fiber optic mainline cable.

Catherine Nicolaou, external affairs and marketing manager for Sacred Wind, said, “If it wasn’t for additional funding opportunities like the FCC, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to expand into these hard-to-reach areas of the Navajo Nation.”

Phoenix CEO resigning

PHOENIX – Phoenix Indian Center’s board of directors announces that Patricia Hibbeler will leave her role as CEO, effective Nov. 3.

She will return to her tribal community in Montana, where she will serve as executive director for Tribal Member Services for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribe of the Flathead Reservation.

Patricia joined Phoenix Indian Center in October of 2004 and has played a vital role in the center’s growth.

Hibbeler said, “I have thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed my time as CEO of Phoenix Indian Center, where we’ve worked to assist those in our community with employment, support, and language and culture revitalization.

“I have every confidence that this important work will maintain relevancy and continue at a high level,” she said, “and that Phoenix Indian Center will remain committed to educating the larger community on the beauty of our cultures and traditions.

The center has grown under her leadership over the past 17 years.

Board President Traci Morris said the staff has increased by 25% and the budget has tripled.

“Through her tireless efforts and passion for our community,” Morris said, “we have reached more people and elevated our events to now be recognized among the best in the Valley.”

UofA to change name of center in honor of first Native doctor

TUCSON, Ariz. — A dedication ceremony to rename the University of Arizona’s Native American Research and Training Center to the Wassaja Carlos Montezuma Center for Native American Health will take place Friday, Oct. 22, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Montezuma was Arizona’s first Native American physician. The renaming of the center in his memory honors Dr. Montezuma’s achievements, advocacy and enduring impact on American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The ceremony will include a Native blessing ceremony to commemorate the new name, as well as comments by university and tribal leaders.

Montezuma was born into the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Four Peaks, Arizona, in 1866.

His name, Wassaja, means “to signal” or “to beckon” and Montezuma did just that as one of the first Native American advocates for tribal self-determination and land protection in the United States.

He died from tuberculosis on Jan. 31, 1923.

Apaches try to protect Oak Flat in 9th Circuit

WASHINGTON – Apaches from Arizona are in federal court this week to save their sacred site known as Oak Flat from being destroyed by a copper mine that would swallow their holy ground in a nearly 2-mile-wide crater deeper than the Eiffel Tower, according to Beckett, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the free expression of religions.

If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t intervene, the government will turn this historically protected land over to a foreign-owned mining company that will obliterate the sacred ground where the Apache conduct important religious ceremonies.

In Apache Stronghold v. United States, Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit community organization, is asking the Ninth Circuit to stop the crooked land swap with a mining company that will completely destroy the sacred land and devastate Apache religious life.

Becket is representing Apache Stronghold, arguing that the destruction of sacred sites is a flagrant violation of the free exercise of religion.
Attorney Luke Goodrich and Dr. Wendsler Nosie Sr. will be available for comment immediately following the hearing.

Members of Apache Stronghold, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and supporters will protest on Friday outside the courthouse during the virtual hearing at Civic Center Plaza (Larkin St. between Grove St. and Fulton St., San Francisco).

In addition to Becket, Apache Stronghold is represented by attorneys Michael Nixon and Bill Carpenter.


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