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Conversation with Alberta Nells

alberta nells
Alberta Nells A nineteen-year old youth leader of the Navajo Nation (Woundering People Clan, born for Salt Clan), Alberta worked with Youth of the Peaks to mobilize youth opposing the development of Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort on the San Francisco Peaks, held sacred by over thirteen Native American Nations. The proposed development would have required the use of treated wastewater to create snow, desecrating this sacred site. Alberta organized demonstrations and marches to protect this and other sacred sites from development while making public her concern for the survival of traditional culture. Alberta was known for her spiritual leadership qualities delivered in song and prayer, as a way of ensuring the ways of her ancestors were not forever lost. At only 16, Alberta received the Martin Springer Institute Moral Courage Award at Northern Arizona University and the Brower Youth Award.


The following interview was conducted at Omega Institute at the conference Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations.

Marianne Schnall: The theme of this conference is "Women Connecting Across the Generations". Why do you think dialogue among women of different generations is important?

Alberta Nells: There’s a lot of different knowledge to be learned from the different generations. You know with every generation of young people there’s a new technology that comes about or something new that they can learn. But then, as well, it’s important to know what’s coming from the past and coming from the generations before you, as well as the generations at present, and the one that’s coming after you, after your generation. And that it’s very important to have that dialogue among the different generations, just for that different knowledge that you can gain and the different things that you can learn, because even those that might seem like old knowledge, as knowledge from the past, that you can still use it in your everyday life, and somehow it’s going to bring another light into your life. A different perspective. And something that I really learned as being a young Dine woman, is that my generation now, as for my parents and for my grandparents, is very different and the technology that we have, and then I look back at my parents’ generation, and I look at my grandmother’s generation and I see how different it is as well as how much it has changed. And so much of the knowledge from those days influence me now, with how traditional and how original things were back then, and our traditional lifestyle. So I can take that knowledge and I can gather it within myself so I can preserve it for the next generation.

MS: In many ways it seems that honoring one’s elders and passing on the traditions and wisdom of ancestors is built into Native American culture. Is this something that comes naturally to Native Americans, that you think is missing from traditional American culture and values?

AN: I think possibly so. It kind of seems that when it comes to American culture, there’s that rebellion within the next generation but as for Native American culture, we learn about our stories, we learn about our songs, we learn about our prayers, and that’s what carries us into us living a good lifestyle, that we practice the life that was practiced before because that was put in place for you. And it is very different in that if you could just take the time to learn from your elders, from the people that came before you who have that knowledge, then there will be a lot to gain in light, and it kind of sets up a path for you in the future so that you can live a healthy lifestyle.

MS: What came to you from your matriarchal lineage? From your mother, from your grandmothers?

AN: Just how I structure myself. either as being a young Dine woman, or just being a regular human being, just seeing the way how their attitude, their life was. If they didn’t have their faith, I think about it every day. If I didn’t have my faith, if I didn’t have this way in which I pray, where would I be? Because through all the hardship, that’s what carries us through, in that through all the hardship that’s what keeps me going, and that I’m very thankful that there are things that my grandmother taught me before she had passed. My grandmother taught me some of the traditional foods, she taught how to structure myself. In a way, it’s something to think about, because you kind of wonder, like did she know that she was going to go, did she know that she was going to go into old age in time that she already knew when it was going to happen, so then she taught most of the grandchildren and her daughters and her son. And you kind of think about it. But my grandmother struggled through her whole life so then for the sake of her children, for the sake of her family, as she struggled, and as she struggled again, for the sake of her grandchildren and her children, so then she can preserve our traditional ways, so that we could have something for us as we grew up. So I find it as a part of me now. Because our elders – it kind of seems like everyone’s going up a notch, you know, our elders are getting older, going into old age. And soon enough our parents will be taking on that role. And us, as the young generation, will be stepping up, in which we’re going to be adults, and then the babies are going to become the youth. So it kinds of seems that as now, I’m really grateful for what my grandmother has taught me, so that when we step up a notch I can be prepared, and I’m very thankful for that.

MS: Yesterday Gloria Steinem made the comment that “feminism is memory” and how much we can learn from indigenous cultures. When I interviewed Gloria recently she talked about how much of the inspiration for the suffragette movement came from Native American cultures and other indigenous cultures. She said, “I think the Iroquois Confederacy of seven nations was the confederacy that was the model for the U.S. constitution. However, the framers ignored the fact that female elders chose the Chief, advised the Chief and could depose the Chief; also that women controlled their own fertility and had two or three kids, two or three years apart. The sight of these cultures probably had a very great deal to do with inspiring the suffragists.” Is that your impression and experience too, that Native American culture has always held women in a more natural, higher regard?

AN: Yeah, I kind of think so. I think that there’s a stereotype out there saying that most Native American cultures are male-dominated, just because they see the stoic Indian man chief, but really behind that there’s always some sort of council of women. Within our nation we have to have a man that’s in the leadership role, because the women because there is such a balance that in which we don’t want to put a woman in the head of the leadership role, because they could be exposed to certain things that in which it could harm them. Because back then, they would go out to battle, that the women weren’t the warriors because the women to them, to our people, are such a sacred thing, that it can give life, and they didn’t want to expose or endanger that life-giving by sending the women off to war. It’s that same thing too, with the reason that we have a male because the male represents the protection ways, and the women represent the beauty way, and they don’t want the women to be hurt because the life-giving is such a sacred thing that they didn’t want to put that in danger. But there is always a woman though, there’s always a council of women that would speak on behalf of the families, on behalf of the children. But when it came down to speaking on the behalf of the lawyers and the veterans, that’s where those who practice the protection way would speak on behalf of that. So even within our nation they have that balance, so then in which no one was higher than the other because someone had a particular goal that they would speak on behalf of.

MS: You talked yesterday about how the term “feminism” confused you, that you didn’t understand it. Can you talk more about that?

AN: Yeah, because I have a different perspective. Like I didn’t know what feminism really means, like I didn’t grow up around it, because you know the way that we pray, the way that we pray for things, both male and female, within the plants, within our sacred fires, within the homes – that it’s just not one thing, it’s not just like saying one thing: woman, woman, one thing: male, male. It’s saying this particular thing, male and female, that in which we have that balance, so I don’t really understand what feminism means just because of the way that I was raised, the teachings that I was given by our ancestors.

MS: I loved how you talked about mother-earth/fathersky - the balance between the feminine and masculine – in all of us. What were the teachings that you instilled within yourself that could be incorporated into our culture, a way of looking at it as not just this literal gender thing. Tell us about that, the balance that is part of your culture.

AN: Well, we have to have a balance of both male and female, even within ourselves is our teaching. That within ourselves we have a female side and a male side, but depending on your particular gender, that’s what you practice, so as females, there’s our beauty way, and for the males, there’s the protection way, but even within those combined, we still have that within ourselves. There are a lot of teachings out there about those different things, and a lot of the teachings are within ourselves and the way that we structure ourselves. And I talked about it yesterday, how my grandmother was very strict about that, about the way that I would hold myself in public, because she would say you’re not going to go out there and be this radical person – no, you hold yourself humbly. Because you as a young Dine woman, yours is the blessed way. And that in which you have to hold yourself in harmony in a humble manner, because you as a young woman, there’s that purity that comes from us, that in which we have to be very careful in which way we hold ourselves, that in which the way we hold our chin up in that particular way. There’s a lot of different teachings about that.

MS: With your friends, especially younger women, is feminism even part of their consciousness? When you come to a conference like this, do you feel like there’s any part of it that you can relate to? Do you feel like there’s disconnect, that feminism speaks only primarily to North American, white, privileged women? As you know, what this conference is about is bringing in more of a diversity of voices and a larger perspective.

AN: Well, I think that with every area within different locations there is feminism that has to take place and that you know to a certain degree that has to take action. And I was asked about that Native American communities and my community and if that person, and if because we’re Native American, there’s an automatic Native American activist, Dine activist. And just for me personally I just didn’t really understand what that meant, but I know that there are a lot of issues facing Native American women as well. I’m not too sure who did this study but Native American Women are twice as likely to be stalked, to be raped, to be molested, or sexually abused, two times more than any other ethnicity or minority group in North America. And it’s scary because we’re only 1% of America’s population, but yet we’re twice as likely to be victims of those things. And around 80% is done by non-Native Americans. It’s very scary, it’s very scary. And I have had to deal with certain situations like that as well, and it is very scary. And just that there are a lot of different issues that in which Native American women face as well. You know, my mother, she’s a counselor, she’s a therapist on the reservation, and she has to deal with domestic violence. She has to help people, taking women to women’s shelters, and all these different situations, and there are just so many things, and it’s just so terrible how many different things are happening among the Native American women. And not just the women but the families as well, the children that are affected, the parents are affected by what’s going on.

There are women that are taking action in which they’re helping these abused women, they’re helping these victims, but I wouldn’t know if they would call themselves feminists. If you’re helping your sister through a situation, if that makes you a feminist. It’s just - what is the word feminism? You know, I’m not too sure what it means [laughs] but just one sister helping another, is just family, that’s what it is.

MS: Much of your advocacy is about protecting the earth, particularly the mountains that the Navajo hold as sacred. Do you think that there’s a connection in Native American cultures between respecting and honoring women and honoring and protecting the earth?

AN: Like I said before, you know, we’re helping protecting a mountain, and one of our sacred mountains, and that those sacred mountains to us we call it as our grandmother and as our mother. So in a way we’re helping another woman through her struggle, her destruction. And that’s why my grandmother is very strict to me about how it was that I carried myself, because that mountain that we’re protecting represents a woman. We call the water a woman, which is mother Earth, we call it a female mountain. And we don’t think of it as just as another mountain but as a family member – we respect it in the same way we would respect an elder or a grandmother. And we honor in that way, so that in a way you could kind of say I am a female helping another female, because that’s what it represents, it represents our mother, that provides us with the herbs and the medicines for our ceremony. And with that mountain there are the plants up there as well. But there is also that balance as of the male and female among that mountain with the different plants on it, the different animals. What it comes down to is that I’m helping to protect the sacred land in which I’m helping the grandmothers, I’m helping the mothers, I’m helping the grandparents, and that’s how I contribute to being healthy. Because my grandmother, she’s no longer around, and when I look at that mountain, the way that I pray to it, calling it my grandmother, that’s is who my grandmother is now, that mountain. And now I have to work to work harder in which I don’t want any more destruction to come to that mountain.

MS: There is so much to learn from Native American culture. Gloria’s comments made me think maybe we need to go back and look at indigenous cultures to remind ourselves of all those instinctual principles and ways of living. Isabel Allende said yesterday that we tend in America to push our families away, whereas Native American culture always does the opposite – what wisdom can we learn from how Native Americans embrace the strength that comes from fostering family, community and connection? I even love that in addition to your mom, you brought your Dad here, to a woman’s conference.

AN: Yeah. [laughs]

MS: That strong sense of connection and family is another thing we can learn from your culture.

AN: Family is a very important thing. That even in the toughest situations, if someone in your family messes up, you don’t push them away, you embrace them, and you talk to them, and you talk them through it. And it’s like that with pretty much almost everything. That which if someone is in a tight situation, if someone messes up, you don’t push them anyway. And that as long as you’re family, you can’t push your family away. You cannot say, “You are not my family anymore – I disown you.” You can’t do that, because they still have the same blood, they still have some of the same features as you, and you can’t push them away. So with that, you just have to embrace them and take care of them and help them through their rough times.

And that’s something that could be very much strongly used, is just embracing each other and not hurting someone by their flaws, but leading them through it by taking their hand and leading them through it. And that when people just push each other away, it creates an unhealthy environment and it really hurts the whole family itself. So that in these different situations, if there’s that embracing of families, even if they’re not blood related, you can still embrace people as your family.

I always bring people into my home and my parents learn to love them and they end up adopting them as well. So my mom will be like, "Oh, my son in California, or my son somewhere else…" [laughs] So it’s all about raising family and there are those who are unfortunate enough that they don’t have a family.

It kind of seems that the people in my life that grew up without families are the ones that really do embrace other people, because they learn that, well, I myself may not have a family by blood, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a family out of line. I see a lot of people to embrace, and that’s what I really learned, you know, you have to embrace people. You have to bring them in as family. I see them as another brother and sister. So just that embracing of each other. There are so many things that can be learned, that which you kind of think is it "the Native American way", or is it common sense? [laughs] You think about that.

One thing that I really think can be used from Native American teachings is – take only what you need. Because it kind of seems like that when money and greed comes around, people take more than they need. And there’s this new green movement, but when you look at it Native Americans have always been green. That when we butcher an animal we use every part of it. It’s not like how the green movement is now – it’s not like recycling bins, but we found ways of reusing things, And if people can just learn to only use what you need, instead of taking more, then I’m sure a lot of things could be preserved, and so much could be done. And it’s unhealthy – you know, you take more food than you need. What’s next, diabetes? You take more than you need, then what’s next, you’re in debt. So there’s all these different things that which have really influenced our communities with greed and taking more than what we need, but now there needs to be a time in which we change that, for the sake of our people, for the sake of our families, and to help ourselves and rebuild these new healthy communities.

MS: You have really become a leader in terms of getting younger people involved with Youth of the Peaks. What has that been like? That’s another way of fostering community, helping organize these intergenerational groups around a common cause.

AN: It has it’s ups and downs – it has its positives and negatives, and within border towns or city towns there are quite a bit of Native Americans, young native youth who are thirsty for their language, who are thirsty for their knowledge of their people. Yet it’s very unfortunate, because so many parents have to leave the reservation for them to find jobs because there are not many jobs on our reservation so they have to leave to the city for them to get jobs. And the young people would feel disconnected, because Grandma’s house was probably two hours away or something – they can’t be up there all the time. So there’s this disconnection in which they’re not at their sheep camps, they’re not at their home. There are even some don’t even know their own clan.

So when they see that there’s something worth fighting for, when they see that there’s a sacred site that needs to be saved and they understand that, that’s when their thirst and they’re wanting of learning these ways becomes stronger, because they didn’t grow up around that. And they realize that there is a sacred significance in saving this mountain and that’s what drives them to become involved. And we try to make it so that it also attracts them in, whatever their interest is. And a lot of these different youths, we can look at them and think oh, they patched up their jeans, but when you think about it, they patch up their clothing, they use patches that they made – and when you look at it they’re very creative. And so many of them are creative in different arts, they’re creative either in performing arts, or they’re creative in drawing, painting, even sewing and that with that – you use that as well, to create programs and different things that we use, and different knowledges – like it kind of seems like we connect two worlds, as the traditional ways, and the ways of today. And that we intertwine them so that these kids, these youths can be doing things which interest them, and yet at the same time they can still learn their traditional ways and learn how to cook the traditional foods.

And my role in these type of things is me providing the traditional background, helping with the getting of medicine men to do prayers, or doing cultural activities or different things like that. So, it is that big intergenerational thing for having elders and young people come together. And to me that’s one of the most beautiful things. I wouldn’t feel right having a gathering without an elder there to do the prayer or a medicine practicioner without having the traditional foods there as well. So that’s something that I really try to influence because we are trying to protect the sacred site and we have to try to incorporate as much of our traditional teachings, our traditional people, as possible.

MS: The mountain became your cause. There are so many worthy causes out there but often times people don’t feel like they can make a difference. What would you say to people today about getting involved?

AN: I would just say, never give up. Because if there is anything that the different struggles that we’re fighting against, that’s what they want to see. They want to see us fail, they want to see us give up. But if we can continue to empower ourselves and empower others – even though if it doesn’t seem as if we’re getting through to anyone – if you can just touch one person, if you can just touch one person’s heart, if we can just get through to one person – that’s as big of an impact that you can make. It’s one of the biggest impacts that you can make. If you can inspire someone who’s suffering, even if you have a few accomplishments, they don’t realize how big those accomplishments really are. And if you look back on it, you would be like, wow, we actually did this and this and touched so many people. That right there is such a big impact. And to never give up. To never give up. Because if there’s anything that those that we’re battling, is that, they want to see us fail. But you have to just keep on going.

At times you’re going to feel stressed out, you’re going to feel tired – like how long can I keep this up, for the rest of my life? If anything, never give up. Even when, like in our case, you know, we’re facing the law system. We’re in the court rooms. And even though if we lose a court battle or win a court battle, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop. So you just have to keep on going.

And one teaching that I was always taught, was when you do good for others, that when you do good for other people or you help someone in their time of need, you don’t really ask for anything in return. Because somewhere, in some way along the road, you’re going to be blessed. You’re going to be blessed with something that which is going to help lead you, either through your life, or through your job or anything. And it’s going to help you in some sort of way. So that’s just a teaching that I was taught. So for me working in these different struggles, it’s like OK – I’m doing this for the people, I’m doing this for the land, I’m doing this for the next generation and the generation before us. Because I know that someday, I’m not going to end up just doing this for nothing. That I’m not just doing this just so that I can do it – there’s a meaning behind it. And it’s the same way too – for all the different young people, for all the different men and women out there, working on something, they have a reason in that you just can’t give up, you just can’t give up on your faith, you can’t let anything drag you down.

Shelby Knox was talking to me yesterday and talking about a time in which it really got her down and she was kind of lost, but she was able to gather up her own strength to continue. And I’ve been through that as well – and to a point where I think do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? But with the right direction, with the right attitude, with the right prayers, it will get through, and in that way it will set up a good life for you so that you can receive blessings, and that all will be well and just never give up. Have faith always. Think about those who have struggled before you. And how much easier you want it to be for the struggles for the people behind you. And a lot of the causes and reasons why we are doing these things is because we want to help out the other people, we want to help out the other clans. It’s not really for selfish reasons. We do it for the well being of these different things. And that with that guidance we’re going to make it, and when people come to me and they’re in a rut, I tell them, “Don’t worry about it – you’ll be OK. You’ll be all right.” I might not have a solution, but that’s all I can say, because I know that’s what’s going to happen. So for all the young people out there, for all the older people out there, children, women, elders, just never give up.

MS: Yesterday when they were talking about fear you talked a lot about how your spiritual beliefs and rituals help comfort and support you.

AN: Yeah, my spiritual and traditional beliefs are what have led me through all my hardships. Even when it was grief within our family. That’s what’s going to lead me through. It was there before me, before I was born, and it’s set within me for as I live, and it’s going to be set for me as I become an elder and going through old age, and my spirituality is what leads me through everything, whether it’s fear, happiness, joy, grief – that whatever comes ahead of me, that’s what is going to lead me through. Because that was what was set in place for me. If it wasn’t meant for me, then I wouldn’t have been born with it. I wouldn’t have been born with the families that I have. If it wasn’t meant for me, then I wouldn’t have it, but I do, and I just can’t let it just sit there. You have to actually use it because it’s a gift. It’s something to be honoring and cherishing in everyday life.

MS:: How would you describe your spiritual beliefs?

AN: Just living life, living life the right way, taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, taking care of the land, tending to the land, balancing yourself out with your different emotions - because if you tend to have an unbalance of emotion, then one will overcome the other and it can just be a big mess. And just balancing yourself out, balancing out your thoughts and just taking care of yourself and your family. Making sure that you just take what you need, not anything more, not anything less. And that one thing that I was taught very strongly about was, make sure you take care of yourself before you take care of others, and in that way I look at it as a prayer, because if I just keep going and going and going, it can affect me, and I can just drop over and just like faint or whatever, but there is spirituality in all that. But I don’t really notice, men can be like “Oh, I’m going to take some time for myself,” and I’m like “what does that mean? What does that mean, to take time for myself?” [laughs] But when I’m in ceremonies, and I’m praying, and I’m in sweat lodges, it’s like OK, this is my way of taking time for myself, because I am praying for myself as well as the well being for others. So that’s what really leads me through and keeps me strong, keeps me going.

MS: I know you said you dedicated your speech yesterday to your grandmother. If you had to distill the wisdom that you got from her, what comes to mind? I am sure there was so much, but is there one particular wisdom that feels the most relevant to you that is still very powerful in your life?

AN: I think the most wisdom that I can take from my grandmother that she left me would probably be how I carried myself. I carried myself as a young woman, and how I’m going to carry myself as a woman, and how I’m going to carry myself as an elder. Just because I was the only grandchild that was actually active in this movement and whenever we would go and visit her, that was her main subject, was to talk to us about that as well as the teachings of the mountain and the different herbs, so I think that’s something that I very much cherish because she knew that I was active in the community and she led me through it practically holding my hand, and she knew that was my interest, she knew that was something I was trying I was trying to achieve. And she made sure that she was there for me to talk to me, to lead me through it. And that’s something that I very highly cherish. You know, I cherish everything that my grandmother taught me, but that’s one of the main things that I very much cherish. Because she was always there for us, she was always there for us when we started.

And the first time I was travelling, it was my first time travelling to a conference and getting on a plane and I was sixteen and I was so scared, I was just like, “Oh, I don’t know if I should go!” And she was like, “It’s OK – your grandpa’s going to do a prayer for you – you’ll be all right.” And I got on the plane and I was so scared and nervous, and I was so scared once the plane started leaving because it’s going so fast and it’s shaking and I’m just like “Uhhh!!” And then that feeling when the plane leaves from the ground and I was just like so tense and I was ready to just like rip my backpack in half. And then I was just like, "It’s Ok, it’s OK – your grandparents’ prayers are with you, your grandparents prayed for you, nothing bad is going to happen. You have the guidance of your elders back at home. So you’re OK, you’re OK." So after that I finally settled down. And here’s a five hour flight so I was like bored the whole way! [laughs] So you know, my grandparents have always been a support and you know whenever we went up there they would always ask, “Oh, what’s new with this, what’s new with that?” And I would always give them an update.

MS: I’ve heard you talk about having to get comfortable as a speaker and as a leader. Are you growing more into that role? You seemed so confident and comfortable yesterday on stage, but I saw your video at the Omega site talking about how that had initially been challenging for you.

AN: Yeah, it was very difficult, you know, just for me to find my voice at first. Just because of the passing the path to me where I’ve had to speak my voice and I have had certain problems in which I’ve had very terrible comments made to me. As me being a different colored skin and me being a different gender. And I’ve had some very bad comments made, and some of which were said right in front of teachers or administrators and they didn’t do anything. So after facing those type of things, I never felt as if I had a voice or anything like that.

So at first, when I first started public speaking, it was very difficult. It was very difficult. You know, sometimes I would forget what clan I was, or I would just be like, “What’s my name?” [laughs] But I just speak, I just tell myself, you know, just speak from your heart and it would just come out as if I was like breathing out air. And it kind of just came naturally, once I grew the confidence I also grew on how to speak.

It’s so funny because after speaking people come up to me like, “Thank you, thank you.” And I just feel like, “Oh my god, what did I just say?” [laughs] Because I just like I spoke straight from the heart, that I didn’t really remember. But I learned that because I spoke from my heart, that I had that guidance from the holy people - that is one of the sacred gifts that we are given, is the ability to speak. We have stories about how we were given the ability to speak from the holy people and all that. So I felt that when I speak on these sacred issues, that really makes me think that the holy people that gave me this gift, that I’m speaking for them, I’m speaking on behalf of them, because of the gift I was given. That in which I have a voice of my own, and now I’m using it in a good way and I’m being blessed in that way.

I just feel that as I get older, I’m learning more, I learn how to be more articulate and different things like that. And I’ll learn more along the way.

MS:What is your wish or prayer for the children of the future?

AN: My wish for myself, for my people, for my elders, one thing that I really strive for, is for our sacred places to be left alone. For our sacred places, for our sacred lands to not be under threat. And for the San Francisco Peaks, for them to be in danger no longer. And that my main wish, that my main prayer, is that they won’t be desecrated by the ski resort. Because if anything that I’m concerned about is - if this is allowed to happen, where’s our next generation going to be? I don’t want them to be the next generation to come and say, what’s so great about that mountain, because this mountain is desecrated. I want the next generation to be able to come into this world and look at that mountain, this is my mother, this is my grandmother. Our people strived and fought for this mountain. So in that way I am going to be able to pray to it. And I want that mountain to be as beautiful and as pure as it is now, for the next hundreds of thousands of years, for the next generations to come, so that the next generation of people won’t be lost, that they can go to a place that which can embrace them as a parent or grandparent would. And for them to pray.

And that’s what I want to happen, that’s what I wish to happen, is for the prayers to never stop, for our sacred land to be protected, for our people so we can grow to be healthy people again. So then we can continue our prayers, that we can fight diabetes, that we can fight domestic violence, that we can fight drug and alcohol abuse, substance abuse, and that we can go back to our traditional ways, and protect our ways without greed, without jealousy, without all of these different issues, that we can go back to living the balance of health and happiness. That’s my wish, that’s my goal. That what our ancestors struggled for, our elders have been struggling for. And that the concerns of a sacred site should not be a concern but it should be our prayer. So that’s my prayer, that’s my wish.


For more information, visit Save the Peaks.

Note: Portions of this interview were featured in the article Coming to Terms with the "F Word" which appeared at The Women's Media Center.

Feminist.com's Archive of Features from the
Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations Conference



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©Marianne Schnall. No portion of this interview may be reprinted without permission of Marianne Schnall .

Marianne Schnall is a widely published writer and interviewer. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Feminist.com and cofounder of EcoMall.com, a website promoting environmentally-friendly living. Marianne has worked for many media outlets and publications. Her interviews with well-known individuals appear at Feminist.com as well as in publications such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, In Style, The Huffington Post, the Women's Media Center, and many others.

Marianne's new book based on her interviews, Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice came out in November 2010. Through her writings, interviews, and websites, Marianne strives to raise awareness and inspire activism around important issues and causes. For more information, visit www.marianneschnall.com and www.daringtobeourselves.com.

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