Thanksgiving Gift to Tribes by U.S. Skiers
November 27, 2004 -- Sacramento's Salute to California's First
Caretakers at their Ski and Snowboard Show last weekend, launched
the state's inclusion into the national welcoming of the tribes
back to over 1/4 million acres of their beloved ancestral mountains
at 100 U.S. ski areas this season.
spelled a historic evolutionary landmark in consciousness for
both cultures to celebrate this Thanksgiving, led by the "kindred
with Nature" skiers. A catalyst for the breakthrough at the
Sacramento show was the first contact between the skiers and the
"awesome" Maidu Dancers and Traditionals of the region,
who conjured up a paradisal California of 30,000 years ago."
come as a representative of Mammoth Mountain, sharing a desire
to help in the vision of the healing of the Nations using skiing
as a platform. I come as a human being thanking the Native Americans
for taking care of these lands, stemming from their values of
taking only what they need and leaving the rest for all our children.
I come as a white man asking forgiveness for my ancestors....,"
said a near tearful, glowing Penny McCoy, Olympic skier, author,
and a Mammoth owner, leading the Salute.
by the show, on Thanksgiving eve, Penny shared, "My dream
is to have a Native American Ski and Snowboard Team to compete
in the Jr. Olympics." Responded Paiute leader and long time
skier Paul Chavez, "We thank Mammoth for including our youth
in a school program, and are now pleased and honored that Penny
may be further recognizing our local Native People with this powerful
and exciting prevention opportunity for our youth." Chavez
is executive director of Owens Valley Career Development Center
in Bishop, a national model of education services.
the dances and blessings at the Sacramento Show, McCoy's Olympic
teammate and host, Suzy Chaffee, honored Midou dancer Lucy Parker,hailing
from the Mewuk-Paiute Tribes, for also being California's top
Native ski racer. Now a Mammoth instructor and mother to five
champion skiers and boarders, Lucy shared that, "skiing,
as well as basket-weaving with her Mewuk Yosemite Tribe, opened
the world to me and my family. I was chosen to give my baskets
to Queen Elizabeth and the King of Norway." A descendent
of the Indigenous Sami (Laplander inventors of skiing), the King,
in appreciation, gave Lucy three pair of Head Skis in the 60's,
which helped her family become nearly unbeatable.
the Salute was Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist Nancy Green of Canada.
When her husband, Olympic coach Al Raine, shared how they sent
buses to the First Nations' reservation near Whistler 15 years
ago, to give them a chance to ski, in hopes of developing an employee
base for the ski resort, Chaffee patted them on the back for helping
Whistler become the runaway "Most Popular Ski Area in North
America." "The key to everything is the kids,"
said Green, a national hero. With "American Indians being
the No. 1 draw at the Salt Lake Olympics," according to organizers,
this may open up other ski areas to follow in Whistler and Telluride's
heartfelt Salute was by William F. Cody (Blackfeet), great, great
cousin of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Shows, who did perhaps
more than any other in preserving the Native culture. While Chaffee
was remarking that the descendents of the legends, Buffalo Bill
and Billy Kidd (actually Abenaki tribal descendent of pirate Captain
Kidd), have come back to help the tribes, Cody yelled, "Who
is that masked man?" It turned out to be Stew Young, in his
speed skiing helmet and red vinyl suit, one of the fastest skiers
on earth, of the Tulalip Tribe.
was later in line getting a signed copy of Penny's eye-opening
book, "Winning Is Everything, But...," which Chaffee
said, "could save you decades in becoming a champion of skiing
and life, especially in this faith-based era."
end, Chaffee presented Penny, on behalf of her dad, Dave McCoy,
a ceramic bear with Sequoias painted on it. "The bear, which
represents the 'great nurturer' to the tribes, is for Dave and
his family for giving me my French coaching break to make the
US Olympic Team, before women were fully discovered to be humans.
It did wonders for my life, including the power to do important
programs like this to help ensure that all our children have our
same opportunities to ski. And Mammoth, (where she got to ski
for the first time yesterday since a hip replacement), must be
doing something right, they got the best snow in the America!"
Valley is the Tahoe leader, sharing skiing with the Washoe Tribe
and the first ski resort to honor a tribe with an Interpretive
Salute was possible thanks to Native American Olympic Team Foundation, in partnership
with the Washoe and Paiute Tribes with special thanks to ski director
Sharon White Fawn, as well as Mammoth's Carl and Missy McCoy.
It is also sponsored by NUTIVA (Hemp nutrition & sustainable
ag), SweetLeaf Stevia (discovered by Brazilian Tribes that keeps
much of the world lean and diabetes free.)
more information: www.nativevoices.org,