Why I Protect Sacred Sites – Generation Justice

whyIprotectsacredsites

Recently, the movement against the construction of the keystone pipeline celebrated a victory. The news that Obama ended the deal with TransCanada brought me happiness and hope.

As an Aunt and Godmother, I often worry about my nephews, nieces and godson. It just makes me sick to think that they will suffer from the destruction of our earth because of someone else’s greed.

Movements like Idle No More, #ProtectOakFlat, #ProtectMaunaKea, #SaveChocoCanyon and #ProtectSacredSites are fights of resistance. Diverse voices across the Earth are screaming to protect our sacred sites and ways of life from desecration.

I believe all humans are intelligent and conscious of their environments. I know we can build tools without harming the earth and its people. It takes extra effort to build effective solutions without destroying lives, but it is necessary.

As Keepers of the Earth, many Indigenous leaders have sacrificed for these movements to grow and make impacts that ensure our human survival. These leaders have paved the way to protect our sacred sites. My very own community of Jemez Pueblo also took a part in this movement through the protection of our sacred Redondo Peak. The tribal leaders made a case against the U.S. government with an original land-title claim, with the hope that we’ll have rights to practice our ceremonies on our own land again.

When I think of leaders who want this change, my Apache sister Lynnette Haozous comes to mind. As one of the leaders of the #SaveOakflat and the #ApacheStronghold movement, she has joined her family to present their Save Oak Flat Act within the Senate. This Act would repeal the transfer of Oak Flat, a sacred area of Apaches and other Native Americans in the Tonto National Forest, to a private foreign-owned mining company resulting in the destruction of this sacred area. Lynnette is a great example of leadership on this fight. I am very grateful to know many inspiring leaders like her, who stand against the injustices of the earth and it’s people.  

As communities who live on trust lands, we must be aware of the issues that affect us, because they will continue to impact us all in the years to come.

We have always depended on these sacred lands for our spiritual survival so I think that we can’t sit and do nothing. If we do nothing for the land that takes care of us, then our spirits will slowly die.

All around the world our communities are being threatened with land grabs, genocide and displacement. Voices across the Earth are screaming for a better future, a better environment and positive mentality. We MUST continue to protect our sacred sites with our brothers and sisters of the earth before it is too late. I know I will.

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