Navajo Northern Arizona University photography professor Sam Minkler snapped this Winter Solstice shot of Doko’oosliid, or Abalone Shell Mountain, what are known in modern times as the San Francisco Peaks. As Mother Earth tilts back toward the light after the year’s longest night, an eagle can be seen in the cloud-shrouded mountain, the face starting on top, and the eyes just below.
The eagle prompted many medicine ceremonies around the embattled Peaks, which are sacred to no fewer than 13 tribes. It can be seen here why the Peaks, in danger of being covered in treated wastewater for the sake of a ski resort, must not be sullied.
Minkler helps students in Northern Arizona’s four-year-photography degree program become chroniclers of their world.