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Young Diné Activists March Toward Sacred Mountain

Rita Daniels
Makai Lewis is part of Nihígaal Bee Liná—the Journey For Existence walk across the Navajo Nation.";s:

SHIPROCK, N.M.—Navajo youth are walking hundreds of miles across their reservation for what they call a Journey for Existence. They will be summiting one of their sacred mountains near Cortez, Colorado, this weekend to offer prayers for the planet.

Makai Lewis is from Pinedale, just east of Gallup, and has been walking with the crew since January through the resource-rich corridor that stretches across Arizona and New Mexico.

“And when you’re walking out there, you really do see the crazy-beautiful out there—the crazy being the resource extraction, the uranium, the fracking, the coal extraction. But at the same time, you still got that beauty out there,” he said.

His grandfather worked in the uranium mills north of Church Rock in the 1970s and was exposed to high levels of radiation when a wastewater pond burst, which Lewis said led to his early death from cancer.

The group is calling on people to pay close attention to the health and environmental risks associated with resource extraction and power generation.

They plan on completing their walk around winter solstice at the end of the year.