Opinion: A non-Indian perspective on Indians
"The Pawnee Nation recently got 257 acres of sacred land back. Sort of.

The white owners of the land technically still own the 257 acres, which include the sacred Pawnee ground known as Pahaku or Pahuk Hill, situated on a high bluff along the river south of Fremont, Neb. But the Nebraska Land Trust purchased development rights to the land, so the property can never be subdivided or buildings constructed on it, in effect protecting it forever.

While this is good news for the Pawnee tribe, unfortunately such actions still are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to sacred land. Growing up in Arizona, I read a lion's share of stories in the newspaper about the taking of sacred land for the sake of development, or of Indian remains being found during construction of a commercial building and unceremoniously dumped elsewhere. It's a sad commentary, really, and shows the utter lack of respect the American Indian population commands.

Not that I'm without guilt. Twenty years of living in Tucson and Phoenix, surrounded by reservations of the Tohono O'odham, Pasqua Yaqui, Ak Chin, Salt River, Gila River, Hohokam Pima and Fort McDowell Yavapai, to name a few, taught me little about the culture of the American Indian population. They were just there, part of the environment, like the military or the Mormons or the ranchers. Everyone kept to their own community, for the most part, with little integration with the general population."

Get the Story:
Charlene O'Brien: Fry Bread, Indian Gaming and Sweat Lodges: An Outsider's Perspective of American Indians (Diversity Inc 11/18)