Letter to the editor: Skiing is a privilege, not a right, in the high desert

An aerial view of Snowbowl Nov. 16 shows man-made treated effluent on the mountain and the demonstration held by Protect the Peaks at the entrance to the chairlift. (Protect the Peaks)

An aerial view of Snowbowl Nov. 16 shows man-made treated effluent on the mountain and the demonstration held by Protect the Peaks at the entrance to the chairlift. (Protect the Peaks)

I was privileged to grow up skiing on that mountain (the San Francisco Peaks); I had a season pass for 16 years, but when Snowbowl decided the recreation of the privileged affluent class of society (yes, me) was more important than respecting the Native culture and spirituality, I decided that I didn’t want to participate in 21st century colonialism. Because that is exactly what it is.

Everyone here arguing they have a “right” to ski are expressing their “entitlement” to ski in Arizona, a place that often doesn’t see enough natural snow to open the resort for skiing.

Skiing is a privilege of the upper class and it is not a right. I was fortunate enough to get to ski that mountain as a kid when there was enough snow, and I was even more fortunate to be raised with morals and respect of my fellow human beings and Earth.

The arguments here are inherently racist. If you cannot respect a culture that belongs to a specific race, and outwardly mock those people, you lack morals and are expressing racist viewpoints. This is absolutely nothing short of 21st century colonialism and you are perpetuating it.

Claims about Natives wearing white people’s clothes, not living traditionally, driving trucks, and using social media is flagrantly naive. Do (we) even realize that white people forced natives to some of the most inhospitable lands of the country, forced their kids into schools where they were prohibited and punished for speaking their native language and forcibly assimilated into white-man’s culture? These opinions are very short-sighted and dangerously naive.

A great comparison would be if Native Americans reclaimed what land was originally theirs and went and put a casino in every church in the state. Why should they not be allowed to make a profit in people’s places of worship if white people can do the same?

(We) are all perpetuating modern day colonialism for (our) privileged entitlements.

William Lee

Flagstaff resident

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