Don’t reduce our stories to mythology

Just north of Flagstaff, Arizona sits a volcanic mountain range, the San Francisco Peaks. The San Francisco Peaks are sacred to, among other tribes, the Navajo, or Dine. The name they call it is, Diichilí Dzil – Abalone Shell Mountain. According to them, the San Francisco Peak was adorned with Diichilí, Abalone Shell, Black Clouds, Male Rain, and all animals, beside being the home of Haashch’éélt’i’í (Talking God), Naada’algaii ‘Ashkii (White Corn Boy), and Naadá ‘Altsoii ‘At’ééd (Yellow Corn Girl).

In 1930, a ski resort (Snowbowl)was built and tribes were able to hold off any expansion of their sacred land until 1979, when the government intervened and the US Forest Service “claimed that religious rights would be unimpeded, even facilitated by the ski lifts.” Appeals were denied by the US Supreme Court. Snowbowl expanded.

Snowbowl has been trying to expand even more since 1997. The Forest Service demanded an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) be done before any new developments at the ski resorts expense. To date they have not done this.

Although the mountains are considered sacred to thirteen different tribes, the Hopi and Navajo both use the mountains for ceremonial purposes and approach the mountains with utmost respect. They also gather medicinal plants there.

So why am I writing about Snowbowl? Mountains far from me, that I may never see in my lifetime?

Because I am tired of society reducing our stories down to nothing and calling them myths. The way Native Americans were raised and the stories we were told by our elders are not myths. This is our beliefs and our history. Why does society believe that their Holy Bible is the only way? How can they believe someone was swallowed by a whale and lived? Yet not believe when we tell them our land is sacred. Lakota went through the same thing, while saving Pe’Sla. We had to see the comments and racist hatred from people who claimed our land was not sacred. How would they know?

The Native Americans in the Southwest are now fighting because the Snowbowl Ski Resort is using reclaimed sewage water in their snow making machines. They are literally skiing on poop and pee water on that sacred land. Land where those tribes still gather their medicines.

When I see the snow falling outside, today it is pink in color. I’ve never seen pink snow, but it tells me something is wrong with our environment. It still falls softly, not knowing it may be poison. I see the snow and say a prayer as other Natives, fight for their sacred land.

I think of our brothers and sisters to the South, fighting for their land. Sacred land a ski resort is desecrating in the name of money. All so rich people can go ski on their own shit.

They (Americans) have no idea how it makes us feel to see them being tourists on our sacred land. Next time you see Mount Rushmore, remember how many died trying to save those stolen Hills. Next time you see someone skiing, remember that sacred mountain in Arizona that is being pooped on.

Ain’t gotta lie to kick it


5 thoughts on “Don’t reduce our stories to mythology

  1. Not myths indeed. I think that there will be a future humanity who will see the wisdom for what it is: real and even backed up by science/scientific understandings that will develop. Our “modern era” has not caught up with what has already been known by the wisdom of ancient ones for ages. But this is the topsy-turvy world we have been living in for around 3,000 years in my opinion. One that forgot the goddesses and the natural cycles of things. Oh so much more I could say that I have learned and come to understand in recent years!

    Just know I support the turnaround of what has been the continual disregard for what is good and what is wise, and I hope that balance will come to the planet. I really do.

    Thanks for informing me more, Dana.

  2. Dana,

    The potentially good news is that pink snow is usually caused by algae.

    Beyond that, theft of Native lands is alive and well around the world. It is a very hot issue here in India, where we are at present. If anything, displacement of Tribal people seems to have intensified since I was last here two years ago. Back home in Vermont, conflicts over burial grounds, sacred sites, and hunting and fishing rights are ongoing.

    U.S. history is a sad series of broken treaties and promises. Every now and then there is an admission of wrong doing which is quickly forgotten as soon as an opportunity for economic gain comes along.

    Still, the stories are strong, we remain connected to one another, the spirits, the Ancestors, and the Creator. Try as they might, that has never been taken from us. Perhaps there is a promise in this. Perhaps in a world of shrinking resources and expectations a time will come, as in prophecy, when our ways, stories, and knowledge will be truly welcomed and headed.

    May it be so.

  3. San Francisco Peaks are also where all the Hopi Kachinas go home to, when it’s time for them to go home. Vine DeLoria’s “Red Earth White Lies”… damn goot book! Tackles the problem with Western Society looking down on our traditional stories as myths. I love how he used geology and several other western “sciences” to prove our stories are true. Diggin your pic of Flagstaff, too! Miigwetch, Dana.

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