Dził Nchaa Si An, or Big Seated Mountain in Apache, is shown on most maps as Mount Graham. At 10,720 feet above sea level, it dominates the otherwise flat landscape in southeastern Arizona’s Gila River Valley.
As one of the Southwest's "Sky Islands," it holds biological riches. The climate ranges from desert at the lowest elevation to subalpine at the highest, where green woods offer cool relief from the searing deserts below and precious springs trickle down the slopes to feed rivers like the Gila. Native species like the Mount Graham red squirrel cling to survival in the forests.
But to the Western Apaches, Mount Graham is more than a nice place to play during scorching summer months or a source of biological diversity. It's holy ground, sacred and alive to the Apache bands that call this corner of the Southwest home.