Going up the mountain to pray

Going up the mountain to pray

Diné students left out of school ski trip to Dook’o’sliid

By Krista Allen
Special to the Times


Fifth-graders at Lura Kinsey Elementary School go to the Arizona Snowbowl every year.

But Diné students whose parents have traditional beliefs stay behind.

“I talked about it with my daughter and with my family,” said Catherine Esquivel, the indigenous liaison for the city of Flagstaff, who is originally from Ts’ahbiikin, Arizona. “We don’t go up to Dook’o’ooslííd, our sacred mountain just for leisure. We go up there for prayer.”

Esquivel, who is Yé’ii Dine’é Bitáá’chii’nii, born for Kiyaa’áanii, said she has been asking Flagstaff school officials for years if there are alternatives for the Native students who choose not go on the ski trip to Snowbowl.

“I was told there’s another activity they can do and that’s staying at school,” she said during the public hearing – hosted by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission – at Flagstaff High on March 20.

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