On Defending Sacred Sites

by September 27, 2010

Cihuapilli Rose Amador talks with activist Wounded Knee De Ocampo and Native Voice TV, still photographer,Cipactzin David Romero about the desecration of sacred sites on Turtle Island and the importance of standing up to defend them.

There is an alarming number of sacred sites in danger of being desecrated or destroyed throughout the United States and Canada today. Among them:

  • The Glen Cove Shellmound site in Vallejo, California, known to the Ohlone Peoples as Sogorea Te;

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  • Black Mesa, sacred homelands of the Dine’ (Navajo) and Hopi Peoples;
  • The Mound temples and historic villages of the Muscogee in Mississippi;
  • The Traditional Ceremonial lands of the Karuk in northern California;
  • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, known to the Gwich’in as “the sacred place where life begins”;
  • Red Butte, a sacred place to the Havasupai, threatened by uranium mining;
  • Eagle Rock, a spiritual site threatened by a nickel and copper sulfide mine;
  • The Sacred Headwaters of northern British Colombia, threatened by coalbed methane gas developments
  • Teztan Biny, also in British Colombia, which may be soon turned into a mine waste dump site.
  • Tsankui Theda, a sacred site to the Denesoline of Lutsel K’e/Kache Dene First Nation, and many other tribes, threatened by a proposed Hydro Expansion project;
  • The San Francisco Peaks, held sacred by over 13 Indigenous Nations;
  • The sacred Cherokee site of Kituwah, threatened by a new electrical station;
  • The Shoshone Spiritual site of Mount Tenabo, threatened by an open pit gold mine;
  • Mount Graham and Apache Leap, sacred to the San Carlos Apache;
  • Several Sacred sites and burial grounds within the Porcupine Provincial Forest in Saskatchewan;
  • Several Haudenosuanee burial mounds in Toronto’s High Park, threatened by development and recreational activities;
  • The Sutter Buttes of Northern California, sacred to the Maidu and Wintun;
  • The McCloud River Watershed, sacred to the Winnemem Wintu;
  • Ancient Haudenosuanee Burial Mounds in Toronto’s High Park, threatened by development and recreational activities
  • The sacred sites of the O’odham, threatened by a new freeway project.
  • If you know of other endangered sacred sites, particularly in Canada, please list them in the comments below

As long as corporations and governments are allowed to violate our basic rights and do whatever they want on our lands without our consent, this list of sacred sites can only grow longer. And then it’s only a matter of time before they’re simply gone. One by one, they will be desecrated, plowed over, dumped on, blown out and converted into picnic areas and other useless things that nobody cares about.

We have to protect these sacred sites. And, as Wounded Knee says in this video, we have to come together to do it. Even if we believe in all these paper-thin jurisdictions; because, in the end, we are all Onkwehonwe, the Original Peoples of Turtle Island.

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