South Mountain: AFter a long fight, a new freeway leaves cultural sites in ruins

Culture August 19, 2021 News

From Arizona Republic | Sacred Spaces by Debra Utacia Krol, Arizona Republic

In May 2018, construction crews blew some fingers off Moadak Doak.

Work crews triggered a controlled blast at a site on South Mountain in Phoenix, then in the days and weeks that followed, cut a 200-foot-wide swath through three ridgelines on the mountain's southwestern flank.

What remained was a path for a new freeway.

Traffic managers said the freeway would add a new connection for a growing urban area. But for Native activists and traditional people, the demolition of 33 acres of desert peak represented the loss of an old connection, a desecration of a place that O'odham and Pee Posh peoples called sacred. And because the mountain is outside the boundaries of tribal lands, Native people were forced to fight their cause in the court system.

Photo by Cheryl Evans / The Republic

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