Alberta Nells

A youth leader of the Navajo Nation, Alberta Nells worked with Youth of the Peaks to mobilize young people to successfully oppose the development of the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort on the San Francisco Peaks, held sacred by more than 13 Native American Nations. The proposed development would have required the use of treated wastewater to create snow, desecrating this sacred site.

Nells organized demonstrations and marches to protect this and other sacred sites from development, while making public her concern for the survival of traditional culture. She 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, she connected members of her own generation with their elders through painting murals, planting and habitat restoration, alcohol and drug prevention projects, tribal summits, and more.

When only 16, she was president of the Navajo Language Club and a class representative in the Native American Club at Northern Arizona University.

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