Native American Traditions

In Los Angeles, a spiritual convoy urges unity to preserve Apache sacred site Oak Flat

October 18, 2021

To Apache Stronghold founder Wendsler Nosie, Sr., it’s going to take just about a miracle to win their case to preserve the Apache sacred site in Arizona known as Oak Flat, given how “deceitful” he said it was for Congress to authorize the transfer of the land to Resolution Copper, a company owned by the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.

“When I say that we’re going to need a miracle, it means that the judges are going to sit there and have to make a moral decision — what they really mean when it comes to the Constitution, when they say freedom of religion, freedom of...

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Legislators Unanimously Back Conservation of Split Rock Site Sacred To Ramapough Lenape Nation

October 18, 2021

Rockland County Legislators have unanimously adopted a new law to allow the preservation of cultural resources held sacred by the Ramapough Lenape Nation at a place called Split Rock. For some legislators, the new law is only the beginning of an effort to win more protections for  the Ramapough and other Indigenous Peoples.

“I’ve been fighting for the state recognition of the Ramapough Lenape for the last 15 years,” Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe said. “This has been a struggle that sadly has resulted in inaction by the New York State Legislature. I...

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Biden reinstates 2 national monuments sacred to Native Americans, reversing Trump-era decision

October 9, 2021

President Joe Biden on Friday restored two sprawling national monuments in Utah, reversing a decision by President Donald Trump that opened for mining and other development hundreds of thousands of acres of rugged lands sacred to Native Americans and home to ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.

The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in southern Utah encompass more than 3.2 million acres — an area nearly the size of Connecticut — and were created by Democratic administrations under a century-old law that allows presidents to protect sites considered historic...

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Navajo Leaders Seek Hearing On Oil and Gas Disputes

October 6, 2021

Top officials with the largest Native American tribe in the United States are renewing a request for congressional leaders to hold a field hearing before deciding on federal legislation aimed at limiting oil and gas development around Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The Navajo Nation has struggled for years with high poverty rates and joblessness, and the tribe’s legislative leaders say individual Navajo allottees stand to lose an important source of income if a 10-mile (16-kilometer) buffer is created around the park as proposed. They’re calling for a smaller area of...

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Catholic, Protestant groups support commission on US Indian boarding school policy

October 4, 2021

A number of Catholic groups and Protestant denominations are calling for the United States to establish a Truth and Healing Commission to reckon with the country’s history of boarding schools that separated thousands of Indigenous children from their families and cultures during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Their support comes as the Catholic Church and a number of Protestant denominations are ...

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Wisconsin activists: Proposed Back Forty Mine in Michigan UP a risk to waters, Menominee sites

September 28, 2021

A coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental activists are rallying against a proposed new project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula they believe could lead to activities that could pollute Wisconsin waterways.

The Coalition to Save the Menominee River formed in April 2017 to oppose the Back Forty Mine project, which is...

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These tribal activists want Biden to stop a planned lithium mine on their sacred land

September 3, 2021

Off a lonely highway in northern Nevada, a collection of brightly colored tents, a horse trailer and latrines suddenly comes into view. It’s a stark contrast to the pale, sagebrush covered mountains.

“I’ve been camped here for about a month and a half now,” says Gary McKinney, who’s ducked under the shade of his tent, its nylon fabric flapping in the near constant wind.

McKinney, a Shoshone-Paiute tribal member from the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada, wears black sunglasses and an American Indian Movement ski hat and tank top, exposing his tattooed, muscled arms...

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First Nations Version translates the New Testament for Native American readers

August 31, 2021

It’s a Bible verse familiar to many Christians — and even to many non-Christians who have seen John 3:16 on billboards and T-shirts or scrawled across eye black under football players’ helmets.

But Terry Wildman hopes the new translation published Tuesday (Aug. 31) by InterVarsity Press, “First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament,” will help Christians and Indigenous peoples read it again in a...

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Mount Graham: Apaches say a sacred place was first stolen, then defiled

August 20, 2021

Dził Nchaa Si An, or Big Seated Mountain in Apache, is shown on most maps as Mount Graham. At 10,720 feet above sea level, it dominates the otherwise flat landscape in southeastern Arizona’s Gila River Valley. 

As one of the Southwest's "Sky Islands," it holds biological riches. The climate ranges from desert at the lowest elevation to subalpine at the highest, where green woods offer cool relief from the searing deserts below and precious springs trickle down the slopes to feed rivers like the Gila. Native species like the Mount Graham red squirrel cling...

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San Francisco Peaks: A Sacred place is imperiled by snow made with recycled sewage

August 20, 2021

For people who live and travel around northern Arizona, the San Francisco Peaks dominate the landscape like no other landmark. The snow-capped tops are visible for hundreds of miles in the winter; their cool green slopes are a popular summer destination for hikers and overheated Phoenix residents.

For many tribes, the peaks are far more significant and occupy a sacred place in history and culture. Whether called Dook'o'oosłííd in Diné, Nuva'tukya'ovi in Hopi, Wik'hanbaja by the Hualapai or Nuvaxatuh by the Southern Paiute, the volcanic mountain range has for millennia drawn...

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