Authors: Anna Rondon, GFA Fellow Candidate, Class 5 Whenever my family traveled from Richmond, CA, to our Navajo homeland, we would pass by San Francisco Peaks. My mother would tell us then to bless ourselves by breathing in four times – to breathe in the powers and strength of the Peaks into our physical and mental being. This mountain is one of the four sacred mountains in Navajo culture. We always honor these mountains. We are the mountains and they are us as Dineh.
On August 25th, I had the honor of helping to organize the Protect the Peaks protest in Albuquerque, NM. The protest was held in order to prevent the desecration and destruction of San Francisco Peaks, sacred to 13 Native American Nations. We indigenous peoples have to say enough is enough! We are protesting the construction of a pipeline to the Snowbowl ski resort, which would carry sewage water for snowmaking. Construction crews have already cut down 40 acres of rare alpine forest and cut a six-foot wide and six-foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain, where medicine men gather herbs for healing. Runoff from the snow made with this wastewater will be harmful to plants, animals and humans who inhabit the mountain. "The strength of our heart and our spirit is our prayers, the strength and heart of our prayers is our mountains, and the strength and heart of those mountains is our great spirit," Navajo grassroots organizer Norman Brown told the protesters. "That's how we are tied in to this land. That's how and why we've never given up." We refuse to accept this destruction for recreation at the cost of cultural genocide! The Peaks are a beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Our sacred mountain is under attack. In addition to our protest in New Mexico, three other groups held solidarity protests at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices in California, Montana and Colorado. The USDA - Forest Service is putting the financial gain of one man ahead of centuries old traditions and beliefs held by native peoples as they destroy our sacred mountain. Please visit truesnow.org to see how you can help!