"With Anything Manmade There Is Going to Be Danger": The Cultural Context of Navajo Opinions Regarding Snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks


  • Adam Dunstan Anthropology Department Brigham Young University


Among the many ways that academics conceptualize sacred space, one of my favorite definitions of sacred space is land that people are willing to fight or debate over (Lane 2001). This is certainly the case with the San Francisco Peaks. We can see this in the strong negative response of some Navajo towards a proposal to expand a ski resort - the Arizona Snowbowl - located on this mountain.

I was shocked one day during this project when, while setting up an interview with an elderly Navajo woman, she asked me if I was for or against this ski resort expansion. She then informed me that if I were for it, she would "run me out". Whether she was joking or not (I believe she was) this reflects the degree to which some Navajo see the ski resort expansion as a threat to the San Francisco Peaks.

Author Biography

Adam Dunstan, Anthropology Department Brigham Young University