BIG MOUNTAIN, AZ – Today (8-17-01) at approximately 5:00 a.m., the Office of Hopi Lands, Hopi Range Management, Resource Enforcement Services, Hopi Tribal Police, Navajo County Sheriff, and BIA impoundment trailers entered Camp Ana Mae, a sacred religious area located in Big Mountain, Arizona.
Awakened by sounds of machinery, several witnesses observed the desecration of the sacred Sundance ground. Land management employees were observed cutting down arbor logs and the Sundance tree with chain-saws. A front-end loader destroyed sweat lodges, fire pits, sweat rocks, alters, and the Sundance arbor. Religious paraphernalia, which included tobacco ties, flesh offerings, and eagle feathers were seized or left behind and trampled by machinery.
Eric Crittenton, a resident of Camp Ana Mae, was arrested while trying to photograph the destruction. Eric, who is a minor, was home alone at the time of the incident.
Local residents arrived at Camp Ana Mae around 8:00 a.m. to take part in a weekly prayer and sweat ceremony.To their shock and disbelief, residents were blocked by local, state, and federal law enforcement.
Officers stated that all trespassers would be arrested. Residents counted fifteen vehicles leaving the area, and included several trailers piled with confiscated arbor logs and the Sundance Tree.