Mark Trahant: Sacred sites must be saved

"Sacred places are where our stories are planted. Sometimes they are religious stories, but they could also be stories that tell about the human spirit or carry the memory of tragedy.

Or, like the [U.S.] Capitol grounds, a little of both. This ground has witnessed civil rights marches, inaugurations, festivals, family vacations and the everyday business of self-government. Yet it stands as something more.

Thursday was that something more. When you think about "protection" of such a public space, it usually includes police officers, security equipment or some other intervention. The idea itself rarely needs protection.

But that's not true for all sacred sites.

More than a dozen Native Americans stood on the nation's front lawn in a talking circle, each taking a moment to tell about a sacred place, a story that connected them to the land. Similar commemorations were conducted across the country from the San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, Ariz., to Snoqualmie Falls.

The common message was a plea to preserve our sacred places.

"Native and non-Native people nationwide are gathering to honor sacred places, with a special emphasis on those that are endangered by actions that can be avoided," said Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee, and president of The Morning Star Institute, which organized the National Prayer Day."

Get the Story:
Sacred sites, and their stories, must be saved (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 6/24)

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