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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Message from Youth of the Peaks

To Youth, Parents, Elders:

To the Flagstaff City Council:

To the Arizona Snowbowl:

To the Flagstaff Police Department:

As Youth of the Peaks we wish to send greetings and good health to you! Welcome to 2006!

It is customary during this time to make a New Years resolution, to clear up bad feelings, mend relationships, and commit to new beginnings. With this New Year, we would like to once again ask Arizona Snowbowl to resolve to respect our sacred mountain, our culture, our people, and our community! The San Francisco Peaks are sacred to 13 indigenous nations and are an integral part of everyday life and worship. When Indigenous peoples pray at this sacred mountain, they pray for all of humanity. All of humanity is affected if the mountain is desecrated.

The Youth of the Peaks strive to build a world founded in justice, dignity, and peace. We strive to live life with more dignity, more respect, and more happiness. We are young people committed to learning about our cultures and traditions. We wish to know the songs, dances, ceremonies, stories, and knowledge that our elders can pass down to us. How can we understand this knowledge, honor and respect it if the sacred mountain is being desecrated?

We recognize and commend the Flagstaff Police Department for its own steps towards positive transformation. We look forward to seeing the new look (khakis and Polo shirts) and pray that with this change in clothes also brings a more positive approach towards youth and the diversity of our communities. We would like to offer our services in any way towards building a more culturally sensitivity department. We feel that it would be appropriate for indigenous elders and teachers to share with you cultural taboos, reflections on racism, colonization, culture and traditional histories.

We ask the Flagstaff City Council to make a New Years resolution to honor sacred sites and to listen to the voices of the Indigenous peoples of this land. We ask the City Council to please say No! to selling reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl. By doing this you will show the world and the people of this community what it means to have respect for the diversity of spiritual practices rather than compliance to cultural destruction for the dollar. Yet, a healthy economy can also support cultural diversity. Flagstaffs economy is driven by indigenous people from the labor to shoppers. If the City of Flagstaff sells this reclaimed water to the Arizona Snowbowl it will have a hand in desecrating one of the most sacred sites to 13 indigenous nations. What message will that send to the Indigenous peoples of this land who are a major economic base to Flagstaff? What message will that send to all peoples of faith in this community? This is a time for healing and reconciliation, not furthering of injustices.

We wish to thank our parents for their continued support. We ask our parents to continue giving us the love we need to maintain our efforts to protect our culture. This is a cross-generational movement built on families supporting one another and passing the torch to their children to continue to work for a better world. Again, we thank our parents for their support; we could not have made it through the past few months trials and tribulations without the love and care of our parents. We invite all families to join our efforts.

We further wish to thank our Elders for their continued support. For spending time to teach us to grow as people and maintain our strength. We attempted to honor all that our elders have given us by hauling wood for many of them. We will continue to show our appreciation by maintaining these types of humble efforts. We want our elders to know that we are here to listen to you, to learn about our cultural and traditional knowledge. We know we need the guidance our elders provide. Protecting our sacred mountain, preserving our culture, defending the health of our Earth, and strengthening our community can only be achieved with the blessings and teachings of our elders. We want to learn more about our traditions and culture. We want our elders to know that we are here to help support them. We want our elders to know that our commitment to them will never cease and it will only grow.

As Youth of the Peaks, we strive to see the bigger picture. We see that we are ALL Youth of the Peaks; we are all of these sacred mountains, of this holy land. We are sustained by it. By the water it provides, the food it produces, and the air that we breathe, this land is what keeps us alive. We see that across our nations many people are struggling, including young people. There is a lot of pain. We face language loss, violence, alcoholism, drugs, hopelessness, suicide rates, feelings of loneliness, and loss of land. The Youth of the Peaks has become of family of families and a community of communities working together to heal these wounds. It has provided a place where we are loved and cared for and can work positively in our communities.

To the Youth the time is now it is a New Year, and a new day is coming. We can choose how to live our own lives. Resistance comes from within. It is time to listen to our own voices, our own stories, our own histories, and be guided by our parents and elders. We call for your support to start working locally. We will be starting Youth of the Peaks chapters across the Southwest encouraging local struggles by connecting to a broader Youth Movement, with the same values that we have expressed of dignity, respect, justice, sustainability, and protection of sacred land. Our struggle is yours, and yours is ours. We are artists, food growers, students, teachers, workers, filmmakers, and revolutionaries. We wish to build a world where many worlds can fit. It is not just Snowbowl there is a whole world out there struggling for respect, dignity, and protection of the sacred. Everyday there are struggles we must all go through. We have to transform our world so we have a stronger voice. It is possible to say that we are in the process of creating new histories. We have an ongoing connection to this mountain, land, and culture and it has been disrupted. As Youth of the Peaks, we want to continue our way of life that has been passed down to us so that we are able to carry it on for future generations.

A new voice is emerging from the Southwest, United States. It sweeps in from the peaks, from the sacred mountains, from the high deserts, and fills the cities, towns, and reservations with hope and a new sense dignity. It writes of a new story and of a new day - of the youth, the dignified, the indigenous, the marginalized, the women, the farmer, the worker, the exile the different. A Youth Movement is here that is creating a new story, a story of healing, a story of hope.

Happy New Years! from the mountains of the Southwest,

The Youth of the Peaks (the ones in camouflage)


At 4:06 PM, Anonymous jcrit said...

Best Wishes for this year. As a teacher, I posted, in my classroom, photos of Snowbowl taken last week, showing the idle ski lifts, and the road closed signs. The caption: No snow, no go. May the rulings go against the desecraters, and may the snows return!

At 8:14 AM, Blogger will canby said...

Posted on Tue, Feb. 14, 2006
Olympics offer a nice tan, but some athletes are getting burned
Philadelphia Daily News
CESANA, Italy – Under the noon day sun, 7,800 feet up in the Alps...
Europe is enjoying its warmest winter in decades, but there is no joy here in Mudville - otherwise known as the Turin Olympics. Where there should be snow, there is often dirt and dust, much of it kicked up by half-completed construction and roads not conducive to the increased traffic an Olympic Games invites. At the mountain sites, the warm daily sun has made 40-degree midday temperatures feel more like 60, created slushy puddles and muddy walkways and heated debate over its effect on the rash of crashes in skiing and luge events.
Here are some staples. Skiers prefer the artificial snow to real snow, which is another way of saying they like their conditions to be a little fast and icy. What they are not crazy about is that midday sun, which turns their dependably fast slope into one dotted with perilous soft spots and even bald spots.
On Monday, four women skiers crashed during training runs on a mushy Fraitive Olympique downhill course. Canadian Allison Forsyth tore knee ligaments, ending her Olympic hopes. "I know exactly what happened,'' she said. "My left ski got caught in a hole.'' In the day's most harrowing crash, American Lindsay Kildow had one ski slide out on her and another jut into a dead spot, launching her grotesquely into the air and onto her back.


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