The Snowbowl protest in Flagstaff, Arizona (Image courtesy Protect the Peaks)

Idle No More Snowbowl Protest Disrupted by Disorderly Woman


During what should have been a peaceful gathering to protest the use of recycled wastewater on the sacred San Francisco Peaks, the Protect the Peaks organization says two Navajo youth were attacked by an inebriated woman in Flagstaff, Arizona on February 9.

The incident occurred in the midst of an Idle No More flash mob round dance and Arizona Snowbowl protest that coincided with Dew Downtown, an urban ski and snowboard festival. Peaks advocate Rudy Preston had taken the stage in Heritage Square, where other Dew Downtown events were going on, to speak at 5 p.m. and invited the crowd to join the round dance.

After the dance was complete an impromptu march left the square and moved toward the main Dew Downtown ski run area where they were stopped by Flagstaff police, according to a Protect the Peaks press release. Protesters chanted at the Dew Downtown entrance and were closing the protest with the American Indian Movement song when a woman, who according to the release was a Snowbowl supporter, “rushed into the circle of protesters swinging her arms and tore through a large banner, pulling it from the people holding it and smashed it on the ground.”

The press release says the woman then assaulted two young Diné who were singing and drumming in the group. “After punching at them, she grabbed at the drums and tried to break them,” it states.

Lt. Lance Roberts, of the Flagstaff Police Department confirmed that the woman involved “was very, very intoxicated” but also said there were “several sides to this story.”

He said officers at the scene watched video taken by Protect the Peaks of the woman and the protesters but could not determine from that if an assault had happened, so she was charged with disorderly conduct and sent on her way.

“The officer looked at it [the video] and could not see where this gal assaulted the teenagers, so what they decided to do was issue a summons for disorderly conduct,” Roberts said, adding that no marks could be seen on the youth.

Protesters felt she should be charged with assault and arrested.

“I feel if the roles were reversed it would have been a different outcome,” said Leslyn Begay, the Diné mother of the 11 and 13 year olds who were assaulted. “If I attacked a Caucasian child I would have gone straight to jail. This white female attacked us and knocked their drums out of their hands and may get away with it. It’s racism. The cops refused my request to arrest her for assault. They gave her a disorderly conduct ticket but refused to charge her with assault or jail her for her actions against my kids.”

The press release also stated that many of the protesters were “visibly shaken” that the disorderly woman was allowed to walk away.

Roberts said that because the officers on the scene weren’t able to determine what happened and the woman did not appear to be a further threat to anyone, whether she would be charged with assault would be up to the city attorney.

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Majesta Roach's picture
Majesta Roach
Submitted by Majesta Roach on
how can this happen without anything done. this was a sign of rasicim because if it was two white teenagers than this would be all over the new.

S Diabo's picture
S Diabo
Submitted by S Diabo on
what about public intoxication? if she were native they would have found something to her with.charge

Chief Etsitty's picture
Chief Etsitty
Submitted by Chief Etsitty on
Charges need to be brought against theFlagstaff Police department for their bias actions.

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Sister, take the high road & move on. These young ones are fine. Yes, it was wrong what happened, but we have to face the facts that our people have been discriminated against since the Invaders set foot on our lands. It shows WE have self control & do not react to a drunken fool. Let all see that our people are the ones who are doing the right thing. Trust me, ignorant people just look for excuses to judge us, harm us & even worse at times. Pray to our Creator for safety each day & to protect us from harm & evil intentions of the ignorant ones. Press on with our goals, see through the distractions & stay strong brothers & sisters near & far as we tell the world OUR story & protest in a good way all the injustices so many of us face.

toni johnson's picture
toni johnson
Submitted by toni johnson on
im white enough to punch her in the mouth for injuring a child bet they wont do nuttin to me and i am dakota

Mary Summers's picture
Mary Summers
Submitted by Mary Summers on
If the two young Dine want to lay charges then why would the police officers object? Disturbing a spiritual drums isn't acceptable.

C Hairy Shirt's picture
C Hairy Shirt
Submitted by C Hairy Shirt on
This is very typical behavior, white injustice, again, they didnt see anything on the video!! If its a skin, they dont care if theres a video, you get hauled away. You're going to jail. Its okay for a drunk white woman to assault our native children n get away with it..where is the justice n that? I thought it was the officers who press they let the city attorney do it?? Whatever happened to serve and protect??..I guess that only is meant for "white folk"!!...go figure..

hatuey wama's picture
hatuey wama
Submitted by hatuey wama on
m it is racism, just look at the mapuche in chile, a mapuche is hurt or killed, no big deal , but if amestiso or a white gets hurt, now that is a big problem.

Lori McDonald's picture
Lori McDonald
Submitted by Lori McDonald on
Are you kidding me? somebody must have this on tape that clearly shows her assaulting the children? Most times several people are taping these events. There should be no way in hell she get's away with this.'s picture
Submitted by on
Buffalo Chips!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
apparently there were plenty witnesses to this womans assault on the children; so don't understand why the police couldn't arrest her?

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Public intoxication? Isnt that a threat to herself and others? I agree with the mother of the teens. If the situation had been reversed the outcome would have been much different.

Therron's picture
Submitted by Therron on
This is just sick! I hope this isn't the last we hear of this story...Share this story! people need to hear of this injustice.

editors's picture
Submitted by editors on
Thank you for your comment! "Dene" and "Dineh" are alternative spellings. We used "Diné" per the press release put out by Diné Snowbowl organizers.

in the spirit's picture
in the spirit
Submitted by in the spirit on
It's simple, put in a complaint against the police everytime they don't do their job. Settlers have to know their place and where they sit when they are guests on our land.