Produced by: Steep Motion
Written by: Emma Brice
In 2020, the Muckleshoot Tribe established a full-time tribal classroom at Crystal Mountain, fostering strength, resilience, and a deeper relationship with the land. This is the first permanent classroom placed on federal land in the country.
“It’s really important to help create that relationship between the natural world and our youth. This year, we successfully got all the eighth graders and fifth graders up on the mountain with a fully classroom-integrated curriculum that’s culturally centered to the Muckleshoot Indian tribe, said Devin Whiteaker, Substance Use Prevention/Intervention Specialist of the Muckleshoot Tribal School.
As part of their classes and programming here at Crystal, the Muckleshoot youth are learning to ski, ride, and more importantly, how to fall and stand back up again.
“I think it promotes resiliency, I think it promotes courage, and I think it promotes a lot of things that people tend to forget to foster in this world today,” said Louis Unargo, Muckleshoot Tribal Councilman.
“With Tribal school youth, they’re reconnecting with the land they’ve been displaced from for hundreds of years now, and that’s what it’s about: connecting to this land, connecting with their ancestors, connecting with the snow, connecting with the mountains, and giving them the wherewithal to stand up for that and create that identity of being keepers of the land once again,” Unargo says.
Crystal Mountain’s partnership with Share Winter Foundation and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has helped empower the next generation of youth on the slopes; building strength, resilience, and connection with the mountains. We are excited to continue growing together from here.