Skip to main content

News Release

Apache Stronghold

Next week, July 21-24, Western Apaches and their supporters will gather in eastern Arizona to honor Apache holy places by participating in the 31st Annual Mount Graham Sacred Run. The event was started in 1991 by Dr. Wendsler Nosie, Sr., former San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman and leader of the nonprofit Apache Stronghold. The four-day-long run and prayer will begin at the Old San Carlos Monument ( ) and will end atop Mount Graham (Dził Nchaa Si An, in the Apache language), a Sky Island oasis surrounded by a “sea” of Sonoran desert. The public is invited to respectfully participate and support the event. Prayers for wellness and solidarity are welcomed.

The Mount Graham Sacred Run spotlights the ongoing occupation of the mountain for scientific pursuits by research universities and institutes, including the Vatican, the University of Arizona, Ohio State University, Notre Dame, Germany's Max Planck Institute, and Italy's Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory. Since the late 1970s, Jesuit astronomers have sought to use this sacred and ecologically unique mountain to pursue their own scientific research, including the Church’s search for extraterrestrial life.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Despite Apaches’ sustained opposition to telescopes on Mount Graham, no Pope has yet to meet with or listen directly to the San Carlos Apache Tribal government or Apache Spiritual Leaders. As recently as 2018, the office of Vatican representative Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley assured San Carlos Apaches that the Holy See would “provide the appropriate follow-up.” Four years later, and decades since the Vatican initiated its occupation, the Pope has yet to reach out to the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

  • To Participate in the Mount Graham Sacred Run, contact Vanessa Nosie, 928-215-1476
  • To Learn More, check out historian Joel Helfrich’s article, “The ‘Pope Scope’: Vatican Attacks on Western Apaches and Mount Graham” (
Apache Stronghold - logo