A list of the 2019 National Sacred Places Prayers Days across the country

Observances and ceremonies will be held across the land on the Summer Solstice, which is June 21 this year -- The Morningstar Institute

Washington, DC (6/20/19) Observances and ceremonies will be held across the land on the Summer Solstice, which is June 21 this year. The Solstice and the days before and after it mark the 2018 National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places. 

The observance in Washington, D.C. will be held on the Solstice at 8:30 a.m., on the U.S. Capitol Grounds, Union Square, diagonally across the street from the National Museum of the American Indian on Third Street, SW/NW. (See details under Washington, D.C. in the listing by state on the following pages.)

Descriptions of certain sacred places and threats they face, as well as times and places for public commemorations,  are listed in these pages. Some of the gatherings highlighted in this release are educational forums, not ceremonial, and are open to the general public. Those that are both educational and ceremonial usually are open to the public. Most ceremonies are conducted in private. (See listings on next pages or contact those listed for specific guidance.) In addition to those listed on these pages, there are myriad observances and prayers being offered at sacred places that are both under threat and not endangered at this time, but where privacy is needed.

“Native and non-Native Peoples gather at the Solstice and other times for ceremonies and events to honor sacred places. Everyone can participate in the National Prayer Days as a reminder to honor these precious lands and waters all the time by simply respecting them and not allowing them to be harmed,” said Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee. She is President of The Morning Star Institute, which has organized the Sacred Places Prayer Days since 2003.

“Observances are necessary,” she said, “in order to call attention to Native Peoples’ struggles with developers and others that are desecrating and harming Native sacred places.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1988 that the First Amendment and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act do not provide a right of action for Native Peoples to protect sacred places in court, and said that Congress would have to enact a statute for that purpose.

“Developers and many federal agencies have taken the Supreme Court ruling to mean that the steal sign is on and they can run roughshod over Native Peoples’ collective and individual rights and responsibilities to protect sacred places and site-specific ceremonies,” said Dr. Harjo. “Native Peoples have had to cobble together laws and regulations to protect sacred places on a piecemeal basis. While courts often find these solutions to be insufficient, some courts have prevented the development or held desecrators accountable under these and other laws.

“Today, shamefully, development seems to trump Native sacred places, and health, well being and safety are being treated as expendable. Some of the strongest protections are being withdrawn or overrun unlawfully; consultation and other legal requirements are being ignored and undermined; and other available administrative and legislative strategies are being opposed and blocked.”

The Morning Star Institute – together with the Native American Rights Fund, the premiere Native legal organization, and the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest national Indian and intertribal organization -- have called for a statutory cause of action, as well as a strengthened Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites and consultative process. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has called on the U.S. to consult with and return sacred places to Native Peoples.

The NCAI membership and other Native Nations have called on federal agencies to review the manner in which they acquired jurisdiction regarding Native sacred places and whether such jurisdiction was taken with or without Native Peoples’ free, prior and informed consent. “This is the standard set by the world community of nations, when the United Nations approved the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Dr. Harjo. “An orderly process for protecting sacred places -- by returning them, jointly stewarding them or using agreed-upon methods to prevent desecration and repair damage -- would go a long way toward instilling confidence that the justice system can treat Native sacred places as well as it treats non-Native churches, which are fully accommodated by federal agencies, even on the public lands.

“Our coalitions and tribal advocates have provided details to federal agencies on how they can maintain mission consistency and use existing laws and policies to protect Native sacred places. We appreciate the efforts of those who are attempting to do so. We also appreciate the mighty efforts on Capitol Hill to use existing laws and find new approaches to defend Bears Ears, Chaco Canyon and other sacred landscapes during this new mining rush that is threatening to desecrate and injure Native Peoples, lands and waters.”

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Arizona: 

Mount Graham, Dzil Nchaa Si An

Mount Graham is sacred to the Western Apache people and is known to the San Carlos Apache as Dzil Nchaa Si An. It is a holy landscape where Gaan or Mountain Spirits reside and ancestral Apache rest. It is a place of ceremonies and medicine plants, and home to the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel.

The Pinaleño Mountains or Mount Graham is a unique ecological treasure. It is the tallest mountain in southern Arizona and encompasses six different life zones from the valley floor to its peak at 10,720 ft. Called a "Sky Island" ecosystem, the old growth forests on Mount Graham's summit are the Arizona equivalent of rainforests. The abundant springs and high altitude meadows have offered sustenance and a source of healing to Apache people who live in the desert. The cool moist characteristics of the Mountain have nurtured 18 different plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

In the 1980s, the University of Arizona and its partners at the time, including the Vatican and the Smithsonian Institution, chose Mount Graham as the site to construct an observatory with seven large telescopes known as the Columbus Project. Beginning in 1988, the Arizona congressional delegation succeeded in gaining exemptions for the project from endangered species, environmental, historical preservation and other laws.

In 1989, the University of Arizona was granted a 20-year special use permit by the Coronado National Forest and the U.S. Forest Service, and appropriation riders kept the project flush with public benefits without having to abide by federal laws or regulations, including federal Indian laws intended to protect religious freedom, burial grounds and cultural properties. Vatican spokesmen stated that Mount Graham was not a religious or sacred place. University employees and lobbyists attempted to undermine the reputations of Apache religious leaders and practitioners and retained at least one San Carlos tribal official to testify that the Mountain was not sacred or significant to the Apache Peoples.

For decades, Apache Peoples, scientists, conservationists and university students have resisted the University of Arizona's decision to build the telescopes on the Mountain's summit. Even though frequent cloud cover makes telescope viewing marginal and Mount Graham was given a low ranking of 38th in a study of astronomical sites in the U.S., the Arizona congressional delegation and the University have persisted with the project. Today, the construction of telescopes and resulting federal closure of the Mountain’s top are desecrating the Mountain and its irreplaceable relationship with Apache Peoples.

The struggle continues to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Mount Graham from the precedent-setting destruction still being caused by the University in building its observatory on Mount Graham. The efforts of cultural protection and environmental organizations and affected Tribes to protect the sacredness of Mount Graham continue unabated. The University of Arizona’s 20-year federal permit expired on April 19, 2009, and was renewed in January 2015, without the legally-required environmental review. The new permit will expire in 2039.

The Mount Graham Coalition filed extensive comments and next heard that preparation of an EIS was under consideration. Indeed, the preparation of an EIS was more than warranted. The conditions of Mount Graham have changed substantially since the permit was granted and the observatory is even less compatible with the religious and ecological importance of Mount Graham. Since the permit was granted, the “shape” of Mount Graham has been deemed eligible for placement on the national list of historic places. In addition, the Forest Service now acknowledges that Mount Graham is a Traditional Cultural Property to Western Apache people and has taken steps toward consultation (although it has a long way to go) with traditional Apache people about the sacred nature of the Mountain and how to protect it.

After 30 years of construction, the large telescope project still is not complete and very serious questions remain about its importance, utility and function from an astronomical perspective. What is NOT in question is the continued offense to the Western Apache Peoples. Equally clear is the perilous status of the Mount Graham red squirrel.

Further, several fires devastated the top of Mount Graham in past years. They were fought to protect the telescopes more than the ecosystem and, as a result, much damage was done to the Mountain that could have been avoided. The Forest Service has decided to thin the forest and otherwise manipulate the ecosystem to try to protect what remains and to restore what has been damaged.

In June of 2017, the Fry Fire burned thousands of acres on Mount Graham. After the fire was put out, scientists could only identify 35 Mount Graham red squirrels on the Mountain, the only place they exist in the wild. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expressing concern that they may go extinct. This would be tragic; it is even more tragic that the Service did not do everything it could do earlier to protect this unique species and the Mountain.

In 2019, the Center fro Biological Diversity sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to force a new biological opinion to take into account new and more dangerous conditions on Mount Graham for imperiled species.

Prayers and diligence are needed now more than ever for Mount Graham. The ecosystem is under serious threat from climate change and other patterns of destruction; the sacredness of Mount Graham continues to be challenged and, while the Mountain is able to protect itself, supporters can help to protect it and the living beings and spirits who cherish it.

“We ask for prayers for all our sacred and holy places where the Creator blessed these places to hold the birth of our religious ways,” said Wendsler Nosie, Sr. (San Carlos Apache), Elder, Apache Stronghold. and Former Chairman, Vice Chairman and Council Member, San Carlos Apache Tribe. Prayers are needed for Mount Graham, where telescopes have been the center of desecrating and doing great harm to our religious practice,” said Nosie, who also has served as the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Chairman, Vice Chairman and Council Member. “We need prayers that the telescopes must come down, so that once again our full connection is restored.”

For more information, contact the Mount Graham Coalition: Roger Featherstone, President, at greenfire@featherstone.ws or Dinah Bear, Secretary, at bear6@verizon.net or Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Board Member, at apaches4ss@yahoo.com

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Arizona: 

Oak Flat, Chich’il Bildagoteel

Oak Flat (Chi'Chil Bildagoteel) is a sacred landscape that is threatened with massive mining by foreign companies. Under the current Land Exchange law, the U.S. would turn over the Native sacred lands upon completion of legally required federal environmental studies and actions. The sacred lands and waters lie within public lands, the Tonto National Forest, and are known as Oak Flat, the ancestral homelands of the Apache, Yavapai, Pima, Hohokam and other Tribes in the region.

In calling for repeal of the Land Exchange, the National Congress of American Indians stated in 2015: “Oak Flat is a place filled with power – a place where Native people go today for prayer, to conduct ceremonies such as Holy Ground and the Apache Puberty Rite Ceremony that some refer to as the Sunrise Dance…. Oak Flat has played an essential role in Apache religion, traditions, and culture for centuries and is a holy site and traditional cultural property with deep tribal religious, cultural, archaeological, historical and environmental significance; and…the Land Exchange circumvents federal laws that mandate protection of Native religion and culture and circumvents federal laws that mandate protection of the environment.”

Because of the religious importance of these areas to Native Americans, the local ecosystem has long been nurtured, as the spiritual wellbeing of Western Apache Tribes is dependent upon fully functioning ecosystems, which are threatened by this mining development. Oak Flat, 60 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona, is bounded on the east and south by Ga’an Canyon (known on most maps as Devil’s Canyon). Ga’an Canyon empties into the Gila River and creates a natural travel corridor for wildlife coming from the south and traveling north. To the west is the Apache Leap escarpment, which is the historical site where Apache warriors leapt to their deaths to avoid capture by the U.S. military. To the north, Oak Flat is bounded by Queen Creek Canyon. Oak Flat is also the headwater for Queen Creek, which empties into the Gila River in Phoenix.

Oak Flat has been held sacred forever by Native Peoples. In recent times, part of the area has become a respite for local residents and a recreational haven for campers and climbers, most notably at the Oak Flat Campground and along some 2,500 documented rock-climbing routes. There is broad consensus that protecting Oak Flat and the ecological and sacred nature of the watershed bolsters and maintains a sustainable local economy, which the mining development would destroy.

Fifteen years ago, two huge international mining companies, Rio Tinto and BHP-Billiton formed a subsidiary called Resolution Copper and began pushing a plan to build a huge, destructive underground mine under Oak Flat. The proposed mine would cause the collapse of almost 2 square miles of the surface at least 1,000 feet deep. The disruption of the water table, beginning long before the eventual collapse of the surface, would be profound. The toxic tailings dump location proposed by Rio Tinto is west of Oak Flat in the Queen Creek watershed.

Since 2005, 12 versions of Rio Tinto’s Land Exchange legislation were introduced. Citizen opposition stopped all 12 attempts from becoming law. However, in December of 2014, the U.S. Congress passed the Oak Flat Land Exchange after Arizona’s U.S. Senators attached the Land Exchange as a rider to a must-pass defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.

The Land Exchange Law:

• Is the first United States law that gives a Native American sacred site on public land to foreign mining companies (although the U.S. has enabled mining to desecrate and damage specific Native sacred places in violation of treaties and other laws). The Land Exchange follows the model of NAFTA, which does not protect Native sacred places or recognize Native Nations as having standing in decision-making processes.)

• Is the largest loss of public land recreational climbing opportunities in U.S. history.

• Benefits only two huge foreign mining companies at the expense of Native religious freedom and both tribal and state clean water, environment and economy.

In 2015, 2017 and again in 2019, bills were introduced in the U.S. Congress that would repeal the section of the defense bill (Section 3003) that would give Oak Flat to Rio Tinto and BHP. In January 2019, Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the Save Oak Flat Act (H.R. 665) to repeal the Land Exchange, and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the companion bill (S. 173) in the Senate. If the Save Oak Flat Act becomes law, it would halt the public permitting process and Oak Flat would remain as public land and be off limits to mining.

Rio Tinto filed a Mining Plan of Operations (MPO) for a full mine design in mid-November, 2013. Rio Tinto’s MPO contemplates the development of:

• A massive block cave mine at Oak Flat, to mine copper and molybdenum (the ore body of which for this mine is a mile underground) that would result in a 2-mile-wide, 1,000-foot-deep sink hole.

• A mine processing plant west of Superior outside the town boundary.

• A toxic tailing dump on public land between Superior and Queen Valley in the Queen Creek watershed. The mining companies plan to dump 1.6 billion tons of toxic waste on the ground without a liner. If the tailings dam at this dump were to fail, the town of Queen Creek would be inundated within 18 minutes.

• A loading facility west of Florence Junction that would load the partially process copper onto rail cars to be transported to seaports for export overseas for final processing.

• 30 water wells in the MARCO railroad corridor close to the town of Magma that would suck the water table dry in the middle of a planned community for over one million people.

One saving grace in the new Land Exchange law is that it requires Oak Flat to remain public land until 60 days after the publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement. The Forest Service began the federal permitting process in March 2016. The first part of the process was a public comment (scoping) period, which drew 133,000 comments for the record, at least 120,000 of which opposed the mine.

The Forest Service is writing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that would study all the impacts of the mining plan and recommend changes in the design. While analyzing alternatives to Rio Tinto’s mine design, the Forest Service has found that the place the mining companies wish to place their toxic tailings is much wetter and more fractured than the companies had anticipated. The Forest Service is looking at five alternative locations for the toxic waste dump that would need additional study.

Although the Forest Service should spend another several years studying alternatives to Rio Tinto’s original plan, it seems poised to release an incomplete DEIS. The release of the DEIS will lead to a public comment period. The Forest Service will then analyze these comments and write a Final Environmental Impact Statement. This Final report could be released in 2020.

Prayers and diligence are needed more than ever to protect Oak Flat. The public is urged to submit comments during the comment period later this summer on the DEIS. People should also ask their congressional representatives to cosponsor and enact the Save Oak Flat Act.

“Oak Flat is a holy place to be murdered by Resolution Copper, which wants it forever to be gone,” said Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Elder, Apache Stronghold. “We ask for a miracle to save our sacred place from what is evil that has come from across the ocean. As we come together in prayer, the One God will hear our cries beside our Mother Earth. Creator, hear our prayers.” Nosie also has served as Chairman, Vice Chairman and Council Member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

For more information, contact Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Elder, Apache Stronghold, apaches4ss@yahoo.com or Roger Featherstone, Director, Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, roger@azminingreform.org

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California: 

Needles Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

Prayer Day at the Topock Maze

Meet at the AhaMakav Cultural Society Office

10225 S. Harbor Avenue, Suite #7,

Mohave Valley, Arizona

At 5:30 a.m.; carpool from there to the Maze site

The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe remains in urgent need of prayer to protect the Maze and surrounding sacred areas along the Lower Basin of the Colorado River. The AhaMakav “People of the River” are the keepers of the River. The Colorado River is the origin of our peoples. The River is sacred, water is life. The River is spiritual.

There is a timeless flow of oral traditions and cultural connections to the River. The River must be viewed holistically, there needs to be a balance between our traditional lifeways, reliance on the River and the economic uses of the River. There are many threats to the River: climate change, resource depletion, over-allocation and contamination. As a result, those that depend on the River -- animals, plants, fish, tribes, farmers and communities – are suffering. Tribal traditional values must be taken into equal account, along with western science in relationship to the management of the River.

This trajectory of increasing anguish must be changed. The Maze area -- in connection with the Colorado River, landscape area and all things above and below ground -- is both a physical manifestation and a spiritual pathway for the afterlife. It has always been and will always be, an integral and significant part of the Mojave way of life, beliefs, traditions, culture and religion now and into the future.

The Mojave people will observe the Prayer Day at the Topock Maze site. We will meet at the AhaMakav Cultural Society Office, 10225 S. Harbor Avenue, Suite #7, Mohave Valley, AZ 86440 at 5:30 a.m., and carpool from there to the Maze site.

Pacific Gas & Electric, by its ownership and operation of the Topock Natural Gas Compressor Station near Needles, California, over the last 50 years, has polluted the groundwater under and around the Maze with hexavalent chromium, a toxic chemical that can cause numerous human and ecological health problems. The station was placed in this sensitive location long before tribes had input into the management of their sacred areas.

The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe has been fighting for 15 years on several fronts.

First, to see that the Interim Measures to protect the River, the Groundwater and Soil Remedy design and other actions at the sacred area are done through consultation with affected tribes and in as culturally appropriate a manner as possible. The Tribe has had to file two lawsuits (2005 and 2011), now both settled, to enforce its rights and protect the area during the remediation. Through the settlements, the Tribe has been able to return part of the sacred area to tribal ownership, receive independent technical support, and build tribal project staffing capacity, among other provisions.

Second, the Tribe has fought to see that the lead agencies accord the area the respect and recognition it so richly deserves. In 2007, portions of the project site were designated as a Riparian and Cultural Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and the Topock-Needles Special Cultural Resource Management area (SCRMA) was designated, under the BLM Resource Management Plan 2007.

In 2011, the Department of Toxic Substance Control made a finding that the Topock Cultural Area is an historic resource under state law and the BLM determined that a Traditional Cultural Property or property of traditional religious and cultural significance within a 1,600-acre Area of Potential Effect is eligible for listing on the National Register under Criterion A, as part of what tribes have identified as a larger area of tribal traditional and cultural importance.

Over the past five years, the Tribes have gone through a series of design reviews for the Groundwater Final Remedy -- 30%, 60% and Final 100 % design -- and a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report was needed to address the increasing impacts that were identified during the design process. The Final SEIR was approved on April 23, 2018. With this approval, this will allow the Regulatory Agencies -- California State Department of Toxics Substance Control and the U.S. Interior Department -- to direct PG&E to move forward with the mobilization and start of construction of the final remedy to clean up the toxic plume at Topock.

This construction will be done in three phases and will take approximately five years to complete. The 1st phase was scheduled to mobilize in June 2018, with construction to begin in October 2018, altering the landscape and sacred area forever.

Past, current and proposed remedial actions, taken together, create continuing cumulative adverse impacts to the Mojave people, sacred landscape and tribal religious beliefs, which cannot be fully mitigated. In addition, development of a Soil Remedy design was completed in August 2015 and a third addendum is being developed along with a risk assessment, which will be completed in August 2018. This third addendum will determine what other remedial actions will take place to the sacred lands at Topock, in addition to the Groundwater Final Remedy construction.

Continued prayer is needed for:

1) Tribal Spiritual Vigilance -- participating Tribal Governments: Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Chemehuevi Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes and Cocopah Tribe.

2) Forgiveness for any continuing desecration that will occur during construction activities and until the offending facilities, including the interim measures treatment plant finally is removed and until other required restoration of the landscape occurs.

3) DOI and DTSC to exercise their continued independent judgment and inclusion of the interested Tribes in the construction, operations, maintenance and restoration phases of the Topock project and continued funding for tribal participation. (Cleanup to take an estimated 30 years or longer during the groundwater and soils remediation.)

4) BLM to improve its management of the area and secure funding to complete necessary land management plans, such as the ACEC Management Plan, completion of the TCP designation, and to uphold its trust responsibilities to the participating tribal governments in protection of their trust assets, protection of cultural resources and ongoing meaningful inclusion during 106 Consultation for the duration of the cleanup.

5) Additional sacred lands in this area to be repatriated to the Tribe and/or co-managed.

This issue is national in scope: the Maze has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978 and is formally recognized as nationally significant. Moreover, the failure of state and federal agencies to fully consider direct, indirect and cumulative impacts to Native Sacred Places during pollution remediation activities remains a national problem requiring oversight by Congress.

Pray that attention and action occur at the highest levels.

PRAY FOR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, RECOGNITION AND PROTECTION OF OUR IRREPLACEABLE SACRED PLACES EVERYWHERE AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND ITS PROVISION CALLING FOR PRIOR, FREE AND INFORMED CONSENT FOR ALL TRIBAL NATIONS.

For more information, contact: Nora McDowell, Fort Mojave Topock Project Manager at (928) 768-4475 or by Email: noramcdowell@fortmojave.com

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Colorado: 

Boulder Native American Rights Fund

1506 Broadway, Front Lawn

Sunrise Ceremony

Friday, June 21, 2019 at 7:00 a.m.

National Day of Prayer for the Protection of Native American Sacred Places

Please show your support for the protection of sacred places: Join us for a sunrise ceremony to be held Friday, June 21 at 7:00 a.m. on the front lawn of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado.

We will honor the many sacred places that are being threatened, desecrated and damaged today.

Speakers will include Native elders, spiritual leaders, and NARF attorneys involved in sacred places work. The program will last about one hour and will be followed by a breakfast potluck. Please bring healthy food and/or beverages to share at the completion of the program. Sharing of nourishment together is part of the ceremony.

As part of its mission, NARF has long advocated for sacred site protection, religious freedom, and cultural survival. This includes our efforts in cases like the Keystone XL Pipeline and Bears Ears National Monument, where we protect places that are sacred to Native Americans and Alaska Natives, such as NARF’s current effort to protect Rosebud Sioux and Fort Belknap Indian Community’s lands and cultural resources from the destruction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

See separate listings: Montana, Fort Belknap Indian Community – Keystone XL Pipeline; South Dakota: Rosebud Sioux Tribe – Keystone XL Pipeline; and Utah: Bears Ears.

Morning Star Institute President Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), a national leader in the protection of sacred places, explains, “Native and non-Native people gather at the Solstice time for ceremonies and events to honor sacred places, and to show support for protecting them. Observances are necessary because Native Peoples are engaged in myriad struggles with developers that endanger or destroy Native sacred places.”

If you have any questions about the event please contact Katrina Mora at (303) 447-8760 ext.125.

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Montana: 

Harlem Fort Belknap Indian Community

STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

The Fort Belknap Indian Community is represented in its litigation to halt the Keystone XL Pipeline by the Native American Rights Fund. As part of its mission, NARF has long advocated for sacred site protection, religious freedom and cultural rights. NARF is currently fighting to protect a number of sacred places, including but not limited to those threatened by the Keystone XL Pipeline.

As attorneys for the Fort Belknap Indian Community and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, NARF is fighting the illegal permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which threatens to destroy sacred lands, interrupt the life patterns of the animals in the area (with whom tribal people have a spiritual connection) and other cultural resources. To say that the Aaniiih, Lakota and Nakoda and the land, the air and the water are relatives to one another is more than metaphor. Tribal histories and stories that have been handed down since time immemorial confirm this. It is fact. NARF will stand with the Fort Belknap Indian Community and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to fight this illegal intrusion.

In a case against the KXL Pipeline, brought by a coalition of environmental organizations, the District Court decided that the federal government did not follow the law when it issued its 2017 permit for the pipeline. The District Court blocked pipeline construction until the government and TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) met those legal requirements. All construction was stopped.

After the District Court’s decision, President Trump took the extraordinary step of revoking the original KXL permit issued by the State Department and issued a new permit himself. If the President’s goal was to avoid complying with the District Court’s decision in that case, it worked. With the original permit revoked, the Ninth Circuit decided to dismiss as moot the case, which was based on that original permit. The injunction blocking KXL construction was lifted.

However, for the Tribes, the KXL fight is just beginning. The Fort Belknap Indian Community and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, represented by NARF, have sued TC Energy – a foreign corporation - and President Trump in a separate case, Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Trump (https://www.narf.org/cases/keystone/).

Regardless of the new permit and political maneuvering, the President is required to honor Treaties and the Constitution. And TC Energy still must abide by federal and tribal law.

The KXL fight is now up to the Tribes, and they will not allow a foreign company to break American law and destroy sacred homelands and ancestral resting places.

The Keystone XL Pipeline threatens the Fort Belknap Indian Community and Reservation. The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is homeland to the Assiniboine (Nakoda) and Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) Tribes, which have a combined enrollment of 7,000 people. The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is located forty miles south of the Canadian border and twenty miles north of the Missouri River, which is the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is the fourth largest Indian reservation in Montana. The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation was created by an Act of Congress on May 1, 1888 and the Fort Belknap Agency was established at its present location, four miles southeast of the present township of Harlem, Montana.

The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation encompasses an area consisting of 675,147 acres, which extends approximately 28 miles east and west and 35 miles north and south. The land is mostly rolling plains. The main industry is agriculture, consisting of small cattle ranches, raising alfalfa hay for feed and larger dry land farms. The Little Rocky Mountains, located at the southern end of the reservation, has two small communities. Hays, located at the southwest portion of the reservation, has both a public school (7-12), and a Catholic School, Saint Paul's Mission, grades K-6. Lodge Pole, located at the southeast portion of the reservation, has a public school, grades K-6.

For more information, contact the Fort Belknap Indian Community, 656 Agency Main, Harlem, MT 59526; (406) 353-2205 or Fax: (406) 353-4541, or the Native American Rights Fund, (303) 447-8760

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Montana: 

Tsistsistas Solstice-Equinox Seasonal Celebrations

Noavose (Holy Mountain, Giving Medicine Mountain)

Rosebud Creek Battlefield, June 17

Northern Cheyenne White River Celebration, June 24

Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument Memorial, June 25

The Summer Solstice marks the start of a ceremonial season for the Tsistsistas (Cheyenne) and other Native Peoples. It is the time when the Tsistsistas begin sacred pilgrimages to Noavose (Holy Mountain, Giving Medicine Mountain). Naovose has been recognized for centuries as hallowed ground to many Native Nations, and all are instructed in their own histories and traditions to leave any weapons or ill-will at the bottom of the Sacred Mountain and enter in peace.

Known today as Bear Butte (Mato Paha, in Lakota), it is in Oceti Sakowin Treaty Territory, under the 1851 Horse Creek Treaty -- also known by the U.S. as Fort Laramie, a military post near the Horse Creek that was too small for the thousands who gathered to make Treaties with each other and then with the U.S. The Native Nations were Arapaho, Arikara, Assiniboine, Cheyenne, Crow, Hidatsa, Mandan, Sioux and Shoshone (the latter made Treaties with other Native Nations, but not with the U.S.). The 1851 Treaty also is called the Great Smoke, because there were so many prayer offerings in the Treaty Camps that the smoke from burning cedar, sage and other medicines could be seen from a great distance.

Bear Butte is designated as a South Dakota State Park, and is inadequately protected. Desecration, interference with ceremonies and damage to the sacred place, including its lake, springs and medicines, have led to several Native Nations adopting a strategy of buying parcels of Bear Butte land as they become available.

Today, deeds to some acres of Bear Butte are held by the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana and the Lower Brule, Rosebud and other Sioux Tribes in South Dakota.

Morning Star appreciates Dr. Leo Killsback (Northern Cheyenne), who has written the following about activities at Noavose and other sacred places from the perspective of ongoing Northern Cheyenne traditions: The summer solstice is a time of celebration. It signifies the start of the ceremonial cycle, which lasts until the autumnal Equinox. Traditionally, this season was celebrated with the communal buffalo hunts and buffalo dance ceremonies. Here, at Noavose, the Cheyennes conduct rituals and fasting ceremonies. Today and locally on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, the Cheyennes host annual events, ceremonies and dances at the White River Cheyenne Indian Days celebration located in Busby, Montana. This celebration commemorates the Cheyenne, Lakota and Arapaho victories at the Battle of the Rosebud Creek of June 17, 1876, and at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.

Rosebud Battlefield State Park is a National Historic Landmark and located 38 miles south of Busby, Montana. The battle is known to the Cheyennes as Where the Girl Saved Her Brother. It is remembered as the place where a young woman by the name of Buffalo Calf Road Woman rode into the heat of battle to save her brother Chief Who Comes in Sight. The battle ensued when a coalition of Cheyenne, Lakota and Arapaho warriors rode 38 miles south from the location of their camp in present-day Busby to intercept 1,000 soldiers and 200 Crow and Shoshone scouts under the command of General George Crook. Today, the Northern Cheyennes host a run from the campsite, Busby, to the Rosebud Battlefield in honor of the warriors who defeated General Crook and his soldiers and scouts. This year the run from Busby to the Rosebud Battlefield is sponsored by the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Historic Preservation Office: contact Goldstein Little Eagle at (406) 477-4832 or glittleeagle@ncthpo.com. The event hosts speeches, traditional ceremonies and a feast.

Little Bighorn National Monument Memorial is located 27 miles west of Busby. The battle is known to the Cheyennes as Where Long Hair was Wiped Out. First, horseback riders from the Oglala Lakota, Rosebud Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux nations make their way through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to participate in the events along the Little Bighorn River. They are joined by the Northern Cheyenne horseback riders.

The second group is the Northern Cheyenne Little Bighorn Runners, who begin their relay run from the sacred site, the Deer Medicine Rocks. The Deer Medicine Rocks is a National Historic Landmark and is remembered by the Cheyennes for a number of reasons. It is a series of sandstone rocks that were struck by lightning. It has numerous rock art images and petroglyphs dating as far back as 4000 years ago.

The Deer Medicine Rocks is also the location of a camp of the Cheyenne, Lakota, Arapaho alliance that took part in the Battles of the Rosebud and the Little Bighorn. At this camp, the Cheyenne, Lakota, and Arapaho people held a grand Sun Dance where Hunkpapa Chief Sitting Bull had a vision of their victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Each year a group runs from this sacred place, following the historic Warrior Trail to the Little Bighorn National Monument. Tribal elders and leaders conduct prayers and rituals throughout the trek, and conclude their event at Little Bighorn. The run was previously sponsored by Yellow Bird Programs; (406) 477-8781; spiritseeker@rangeweb.net.

The largest event of this season is the Northern Cheyenne White River Celebration, which is held at the powwow grounds in Busby, this year on June 24. The event includes horseraces, footraces, a horseshoe tournament, a basketball tournament, hand games, a fun-run and walk, and traditional dances including victory dances, scalp dances, war bonnet dances, war dances, gourd dances, buffalo dances and contest dances. The event also holds a community feast. Please contact Teanna Limpy at the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Historic Preservation Office at 406) 477-4839 or by email teanna.limpy@cheyennenation.com.

Busby, Montana is the location of several sacred places. Two sites in particular include the Two Moons Monument, which stands atop a hill overlooking the village of Busby. This same hill is the location of the burial site of repatriated remains of the Northern Cheyenne men, women, and children who were killed at Fort Robinson in 1879. Another site is the location of a monument dedicated to the Northern Cheyenne spiritual leader and medicine man named Ice. The Cheyennes remember Ice as a remarkable person with near supernatural powers. For this reason, the village of Busby is also known as Magic City.

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Nevada: 

Las Vegas Desert National Wildlife Refuge

National Day for Sacred Places

PUBLIC EVENT

Desert National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

16001 Corn Creek Road

Las Vegas, NV

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Morning Hike at 8:00 a.m.

Community Picnic, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

DESERT NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

NATIONAL DAY FOR SACRED PLACES PUBLIC EVENT

On Saturday, June 22nd, we will have a morning hike at 8 am and end with a community picnic 10 am till 11:30 am at The Desert National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center: 16001 Corn Creek Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89166. The public is invited and welcome to participate in the National Day of Prayer for Native Sacred Places--Desert National Wildlife Refuge, organized by Nuwu Art and Friends of Gold Butte.

While all our Nevada public lands deserve much recognition, Nuwu Art and Friends of Gold Butte will be hosting this year’s National Day for Sacred Places at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is an important place not only to the Southern Paiute, Nuwuvi, but is a vital habitat for endangered flora and fauna that can only be found in this sacred landscape. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states, exhibits a stunning diversity of plant and animal life and includes some of the highest value bighorn sheep habitat in the country. We as Nevadan's value our wildlife, our unique desert environment, and open access to our public lands.

The National Days of Prayer to Protect Native Sacred Places are observed this year from June 21 to June 25, 2019. The event has taken place since 2003 and began in Washington DC with The Morning Star Institute, headed by Suzan Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee).

Our people, the Nuwuvi, have lived in kinship with the lands since time immemorial and continue our cultural practices at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Petroglyphs, rock writings, from hundreds of years to thousands of years are part of this incredible landscape and are stories of our history. Nah-gah, Bighorn sheep, can be seen in these rock stories as well as a large population that lives at the Refuge.

Please join us in solidarity for this public, educational and fun event for the entire family. Learn how you can also become a steward and help us in the protection of sacred places.

What:

  • Education on the Indigenous People of Southern Nevada
  • Community Picnic
  • Celebration of Summer Solstice
  • Family fun
  • Walking trail
  • Open to the public

When:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

8:00 am- 9:00 am: Arrival and enjoyment of the Visitors Center.

9:00 am- 10:00 am: Prayers and Discussion about Sacred Places

10:00 am- 11:30 am: Picnic Fun

Where:

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center

16001 Corn Creek Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89166

Water and food are provided, but please feel free to contribute a potluck dish to add to the fun. Wear comfortable clothing and sneakers/hiking shoes. Don’t forget your sunblock!

Community partners for the event include Friends of Gold Butte, Las Vegas Paiute Health & Human Services, The Southern Paiute Language and Cultural Group, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Sierra Club and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. About the Organizer: Fawn Douglas is a member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and has taught American Indian Indigenous Studies at UNLV. She is a local Artist and Activist. Photos and Interviews available upon request

For more information, contact Numu Art, Friends of Gold Butte, (702) 613.5875; info@friendsofgoldbutte.org

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Nevada: 

Sparks Sunrise Ceremony

Wednesday, June 26 at 6:45 a.m.

National Congress of American Indians

2019 Mid-Year Conference

Nugget Casino & Resort

1100 Nugget Avenue

Sparks, Nevada

The National Congress of American Indians’ Sunrise Ceremony will be held as a part of the observances and ceremonies during the National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places. The public is invited to attend NCAI’s respectful observance to honor sacred places, sacred beings and sacred waters, and all those who care for them and protect them from harm.

The NCAI Sunrise Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 26, at 6:45 a.m., as part of its 2019 Mid-Year Conference at the Nugget Casino & Resort in Sparks, Nevada.

For more information, contact: NCAI, 1516 P Street, NW, Washington, DC. (202) 466-7767,

(202) 466-7797. Or, contact NCAI through the Nugget during the Mid-Year Conference dates, June 23-27, 2019

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New York: 

New York City Honoring for New York City, a Sacred Place

Thursday, June 20, at 11:00 a.m.

East Side of Washington Square

Near West 4th Street & University Place

Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective and Spiderwoman Theater invite the public to gather at 11:00 a.m. to honor the City of New York as a sacred place. The original name for this land is Manahata in the language of the Lenape Peoples, who held certain parts of the island as sacred.

Join us on the East side of Washington Square, near West 4th Street and University Place, on the Island of Manahata.

Safe Harbors and Spiderwoman are organizing this National Day of Prayer for the Protection of Native American Sacred Places in association with The Mornings Star Institute.

For more information, contact the organizers: Safe Harbors’ Managing Director Kevin Tarrant (HoChunk and Hopi) at scsktt@gmail.com and Artistic Director Muriel Borst-Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock) at mborst1@msn.com

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New York: 

Victor Ganondagan State Historic Site

Ganondagan At the Great White Pine Tree of Peace

Solstice, June 21, Friday, at Noon

Ganondagan State Historic Site is the site of a seventeenth century Seneca town, which was occupied between 1655 and 1687.

A campaign of the French with Native allies attacked the town and its residents in July of 1687, destroying thousands of bushels of corn.

Ganondagan has special significance because of its association with Jegohsahse:’ also known as the Mother of Nations.

A woman with the that title lived at Ganondagan during the 17th century and because of that, plus burials on site, the town itself is sacred to Seneca people.

Ganondagan has been a National Landmark since 1964, and it is listed on the Federal Register. It opened to the public in 1987, 300 years after its destruction.

This year, as in the past, we will gather at the Great White Pine that was planted on the day the site was dedicated, at 12:00 Noon, to offer words of Ganonyok a thanks giving to bring our minds together and give thanks for all life on Mother Earth.

For more information, contact: G.Peter.Jemison@parks.ny.gov

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Ohio: 

Lebanon 

World Peace and Prayer Day

Fort Ancient

Honoring the Sacred in Prayer

Friday, June 21, 2019

The 24th World Peace and Prayer Day will be held at Fort Ancient in Lebanon, Ohio. The June 21st Honoring the Sacred in Prayer will begin at Fort Ancient, where all will gather as one to lift prayers of justice, healing, and love. After this, fire runners will set off for Cincinnati, with the event culminating in fire and water ceremonies in Cincinnati.

The World Peace and Prayer Day is an annual multicultural honoring of sacred places. In 1996, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, began conducting annual World Peace and Prayer Day ceremonies to encourage people of all faiths and all nations to offer prayers for the planet on the summer Solstice. Across cultures, the Solstice is considered a powerful time to pray, especially at sacred landscapes. This year’s gathering honors sites sacred to the Indigenous Peoples of the Ohio region. The event is being hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition and the Miami Council of Native Americans.

The site of this year’s gathering, Fort Ancient in Lebanon, Ohio, is one of the most extensive earthworks sites in the country and has been nominated for potential submission by the United States to the UNESCO World Heritage List. For many centuries, Indigenous Peoples have gathered in this sacred place for spiritual ceremony. (For more on Fort Ancient Earthworks, see the following listing.)

Chief Looking Horse leads this annual commemoration to emphasize significant Indigenous sites in Ohio and to inspire youth. Educators, artists, faith-based and civic leaders, and all concerned with the health of our environment will have opportunities to learn during this event. “We all rely on the spirit of Mother Earth, of her waters and lands, along with all living beings, many who are in a place great urgency, because all things are connected,” writes Chief Arvol Looking Horse.

For more information, visit the World Peace and Prayer Day website and contact the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition and the Miami Council of Native Americans.

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Ohio:

Oregonia Fort Ancient Earthworks

Solstice Sunrise

Friday, June 21, at 5:45 a.m.

World Peace and Prayer Day Events

Tuesday, June 18 - Friday June 21

Ohio: Peebles Serpent Mound Park

A Solstice Dinner and Celebration

Saturday, June 22, 2019

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Ohio: 

Chillicothe Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Summer Solstice Yoga

Friday, June 21, at 6:00 a.m.

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Ohio: 

Newark/Heath Newark Earthworks

The world-famous Serpent Mound is one of two effigy mounds in Ohio, and the largest known serpentine mound anywhere in the world. Nearly a quarter of a mile long, the unwinding snake is made of earthen walls that are three feet tall and form the Serpent from its spiral tail to its mouth wide open and preparing to swallow a large egg, which some think represents an eclipse. Serpent Mound is aligned to the summer Solstice, when the sun sets directly in front of the earth snake’s head. A “crypto-explosion” crater cradles the valley where Serpent Mound lays on a sandstone bluff -- a visitor may walk down toward the Brush Creek and look back up at the point where Serpent Mound ends, and see a snake headed prow of stone jutting out over the water below. For more information, see: http://arcofappalachia.org/serpent-mound/ At Serpent Mound Park on June 22, there will be a Solstice Dinner and Celebration of Serpent Mound. For directions and registration details, contact: http://arcofappalachia.org/solstice/

Along with Serpent Mound, there are three major earthworks groupings in Ohio that represent Indigenous genius, accomplishment and outstanding universal value: Newark Earthworks in Newark, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe and Fort Ancient Earthworks in Oregonia. Native Peoples are actively participating in the efforts to attain global recognition of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks as preparations continue for the Earthworks to become the next U.S. World Heritage Site in a serial nomination consisting of the Fort Ancient, Hopewell and Newark Earthworks. These last remaining earthworks in Ohio are being considered for designation as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and a proposal is being prepared. A nomination for Serpent Mound will be supported separately. For more information, visit: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5243/ http://worldheritageohio.org/

Two thousand years ago, Indigenous People living in the Ohio Valley region built more than 600 spectacular complexes of earthworks consisting of several precise geometric shapes each with specific meaning and purpose. The people constructed enormous earth architecture, carefully designed and landscaped, situated near creeks and rivers on high ground and built to the scale of the physical world around them. Many of the earthworks had walls varying from 3- to 30-feet tall, so that once inside the earthworks, people experience a level horizon. Earthen walkways connected the earthworks in purposeful, meaningful ways. The earthworks were built in precise geometric shapes. Some earthworks circles were more than 1000 feet in diameter, with entryways facing the northeast. Other shapes include squares with rounded corners and polygon earthworks made up of circles and squares (http://www.earthworksconservancy.org/precision/). Many had long ceremonial walkways of earthen walls up to 300-feet long, originally connecting distinctive earthworks to each other. Two known earthworks sites are built in the shape of octagons, with entryways and barrier mounds standing at the entrances. These ceremonial earthworks are earthen architecture, and not burial mounds. These mounds varied in size; some were large conical mounds and others were huge flat-topped rectangles.

These stunning earthworks were clustered in the Ohio Valley, making it a sacred landscape, with several uses: as ceremonial centers, for stickball and other sacred games and as gathering places. Distances between Newark Earthworks can be measured in multiples of 1,054-feet, the diameter of several of the large circles. Earthworks were situated and designed in alignment with the seasonal cycles or the moon. The earthen enclosures described below, as well as the thousands of effigy mounds, earthen architecture and burial mounds that Indigenous Peoples built elsewhere, were intact and undisturbed for thousands of years, under the stewardship of Native Peoples. This is documented in surveys of many of these places in the mid-1800s, and findings were published in 1848 in the Smithsonian Institution’s first volume of Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Monuments_of_the_Mississippi_Valley) One of the implications of this documentation is that the Native Nations, which were in Ohio until their forced removal in 1840, were the last good stewards and protectors of the earthworks landscape.

By 1900, most of these sacred places had been destroyed by American settlement and excavations.

Today, Native Peoples who were wrenched from their homes, some on the Trail of Death, are returning to their ancestral lands and resuming stewardship of their ancestral homes and these ancient places. Most earthworks groups that have been plowed down can be recovered through new technology and the sites preserved for future generations, such as the Junction (Earthworks) Group: www.earthworksconservancy.org/what-is-the-junction-group/

The Newark Earthworks consists of four separate earthworks built over a four-square-mile area connected by wide walkways bordered with three-feet-high earthen walls. The two still standing are the only two original geometric earthworks in Ohio that have been preserved. Waterways border the site on three sides. The Octagon Earthworks is made up of a circle with an area encompassing 20 acres, and a flat, open-corner octagon with an area of 50 acres, shaped by smooth, straight or gracefully curving six-feet-tall walls with a 20-foot base, connected to each other by a straight ceremonial walkway.

The Octagon Earthworks is an astronomical calendar observing the Major Lunar Standstill, the 18-year and 219-day lunar cycle, marking the lunar standstill moonrises, observed at ancient places around the globe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_standstill The “octagon” actually has seven external entryways and one leading to the ceremonial walkway connecting the earth octagon and circle. Two miles away, the Great Circle is 1200 feet in diameter, and had a clay-lined 14-foot deep ditch, which may have held water. The Ellipse was a walled burial ground. An enormous square with rounded corners and entryways toward the other earthworks stood between the Great Circle and the Ellipse. The Ellipse burial ground was cleared for canals, railroads and heavy industry, and the Ancestors were deliberately excavated, although what happened to them remains undocumented.

The Newark Earthworks are acknowledged to be sacred places. The Great Circle is a state park, open to the public. The Octagon Earthwork is leased to a private country club and open to the public four days per year; visitors may walk the perimeter of the Octagon, and can walk onto the site only on days when golf can’t be played due to weather or greens maintenance. The Ellipse burial ground has been split into several parcels and privately owned and zoned for industrial use. A community grassroots effort led to an historical marker to inform the public; there continue to be advocates for preserving the creek side of the Ellipse as green space. Today, only two Newark Earthworks remain standing: the Octagon Earthworks and the Great Circle. Several large conical mounds have been preserved (https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator).

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park is made up of six sites in and around the city of Chillicothe, where once existed the largest concentration of earthworks complexes anywhere in the world. Enormous geometric earthen enclosures were placed twelve miles along the Scioto River. The six sites are: Hopewell Mound Group, Mound City Group, Hopeton Earthworks, Seip Earthworks, Spruce Hill Earthworks, and High Bank Earthworks. Some of the Hopewell mounds and earthen architecture have earthen walls up to 12-feet high and circles 1000-feet across. An astronomical alignment along three of these mounds, pointing towards a southwestern corner entryway of the central enclosure, is a dramatic view, casting the entire complex into vivid contrast. Mound City is the name for the central enclosure, a rounded-cornered square that was one of the burial grounds alongside the River. Almost entirely destroyed during World War I by the construction of training camps and industrial sites, it was rebuilt from the original foundations and above surviving parts of mounds during the 1930s and in another major effort during the 1960s and 1970s. Most of what is documented about the Hopewell Culture has been derived from the cultural items found during the excavations of rectangular burial mounds from the 1890 through the 1950s. https://www.nps.gov/hocu/index.htm. A Summer Solstice Yoga may be observed at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on the Solstice, Friday, June 21, at 6:00 a.m. (https://www.nps.gov/hocu/planyourvisit/yoga-in-the-park.htm)

Fort Ancient is a vast, irregular earthen hilltop enclosure where three miles of wall was built atop a pair of plateaus next to the Little Miami River Valley, located between Cincinnati and Dayton. It is named Fort Ancient, although it is believed the Indigenous Peoples of the Hopewell Culture built it 2,000 years ago (“Fort Ancient” is also an archaeological label used to describe a later cultural phase in Ohio.) Early European settlers erroneously named earthworks with hilltop walls “forts,” but combat and conflict were absent from this sacred place, as revealed in research. Reflecting pools of water were built into the site and creates a specific sense of place – world above, world below. Halfway through the enclosure, the site has a narrow passage flanked by two conical guide mounds, leading to a viewscape of the large valley and creek that provide access to Fort Ancient.

Four stone mounds constructed 512-feet apart formed a nearly perfect square in the northern section, and were built alongside a circle to observe these significant days: the first day of summer, the first day of winter and a lunar event every 9.6 years – the midpoint of the long lunar cycle that lasts for 18.6 years. Fires were likely built on top of the stone mounds 2,000 years ago. Recent research suggests that at least part of the site was utilized for cultivating crops. From one of those stone mounds, on mornings around the summer Solstice, a particular entryway to the northeast is aligned to the sun, sending a path of light across the leveled plaza, until it paints the surface of the mound. For more information, see https://www.fortancient.org/. A Solstice Sunrise may be observed at Fort Ancient on the Solstice, Friday, June 21, at 5:45 a.m. (https://www.fortancient.org/program-a-events/special-events). World Peace and Prayer – Ohio events will take place Tuesday, June 18 - Friday June 21 https://gcnativeamericancoalition.com/wppd2019

Morning Star appreciates Marti Chaatsmith (Comanche) for assembling this information. She can be reached at chaatsmith.1@osu.edu.

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Oklahoma: 

Lawton

Comanche Nation

A Prayer Circle

Woogie Watchetaker Hall

Solstice, Friday, June 21, Noon

The Comanche Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office is hosting A Prayer Circle in Observation of the National Day of Prayer for Protection of Sacred Places, on the Solstice, Friday, June 21, at Noon. Lunch will be provided.

The Comanche Nation “summer youth participants are preparing our medicine to give away,” reports Comanche Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Martina Callahan. “We will also have a sunrise cedaring at 6:20 AM on Friday with the IAMNDN, a youth initiative that uses culture to combat drugs and alcohol. We will have a teepee class on Thursday evening to teach anyone who wants to learn.”

The organizers have chosen to stay at the Comanche Nation Complex Ground “to be able to see Medicine Bluff, on Fort Sill Army Base, and the Wichita Mountains to the west,” said THPO Callahan. Medicine Bluff and the Wichita Mountains are held sacred by the Comanche and other Nations in Oklahoma. “We have had over 300 People join our prayer circle in the last two years and glad they all leave feeling blessed, having a full belly, medicines to take home and most of all knowing our sites outside of SW Oklahoma. I am thankful to bring our people together to pray and with thoughts of our future generations to come.”

For more information, contact: Comanche Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office at (580) 595-9618; martinac@comanchenation.com

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Oklahoma: 

Okmulgee

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Prayer and Honor Walk

Friday, June 21, at Noon

Mound Building Flag Pole

Tribal Complex

Okmulgee, Oklahoma

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation invites all to show their support for Muscogee sacred places and to join in a Prayer and Honor Walk at Noon on Friday, June 21, at the Mound Building Flag Pole of the Tribal Complex. Lunch will follow the Honor Walk outside the Mound Building.

Speakers:

Mekko George Thompson, Hickory Ground

Principal Chief James Floyd

National Council Representative Del Beaver

Historic and Cultural Preservation Staff

South Dakota: Rosebud

Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Home of the Sicangu Oyate

STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is represented in its litigation to halt the Keystone XL Pipeline by the Native American Rights Fund. As part of its mission, NARF has long advocated for sacred site protection, religious freedom and cultural rights. NARF is currently fighting to protect a number of sacred places, including but not limited to those threatened by the Keystone XL Pipeline.

As attorneys for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Fort Belknap Indian Community, NARF is fighting the illegal permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which threatens to destroy sacred lands, interrupt the life patterns of the animals in the area (with whom tribal people have a spiritual connection) and other cultural resources. To say that the Aaniiih, Lakota and Nakoda and the land, the air and the water are relatives to one another is more than metaphor. Tribal histories and stories that have been handed down since time immemorial confirm this. It is fact. NARF will stand with the Fort Belknap Indian Community and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to fight this illegal intrusion.

In a case against the KXL Pipeline, brought by a coalition of environmental organizations, the District Court decided that the federal government did not follow the law when it issued its 2017 permit for the pipeline. The District Court blocked pipeline construction until the government and TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) met those legal requirements. All construction was stopped.

After the District Court’s decision, President Trump took the extraordinary step of revoking the original KXL permit issued by the State Department and issued a new permit himself. If the President’s goal was to avoid complying with the District Court’s decision in that case, it worked. With the original permit revoked, the Ninth Circuit decided to dismiss as moot the case, which was based on that original permit. The injunction blocking KXL construction was lifted.

However, for the Tribes, the KXL fight is just beginning. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Fort Belknap Indian Community, represented by NARF, have sued TC Energy – a foreign corporation - and President Trump in a separate case, Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Trump (https://www.narf.org/cases/keystone/).

Regardless of the new permit and political maneuvering, the President is required to honor Treaties and the Constitution. And TC Energy still must abide by federal and tribal law.

The KXL fight is now up to the Tribes, and they will not allow a foreign company to break American law and destroy sacred homelands and ancestral resting places.

The Keystone XL Pipeline threatens the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Reservation, and peoples and lands throughout Oceti Sakowin Treaty Territory. The Rosebud Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation in South Dakota, United States. It is the home of the federally recognized Sicangu Oyate (the Upper Brulé Sioux Nation) - also known as Sicangu Lakota, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST), a branch of the Lakota people. The Lakota name Sicangu Oyate translates into English as "Burnt Thigh Nation"; the French term "Brulé Sioux" is also used. As of 2010, the RST population numbered 9,050 people.

The Rosebud Indian Reservation encompasses a 1,970 mi² area. It was established in 1889 after the United States' partition of the Great Sioux Reservation. Created in 1868 by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, the Great Sioux Reservation originally covered all of West River, South Dakota (the area west of the Missouri River), as well as part of northern Nebraska and eastern Montana.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is welcoming all Oceti Sakowin Youth and Relatives to the Okislataya Wowhawala, Gathering at the Bare Spot for Peace, a four-day Youth Summit & Summer Solstice Ceremony at Pe Sla, June 18-22, 2019.

For more information, contact: Rosebud Sioux Tribe, (605) 747-2381; info@rst-nsn.gov

See earlier listing for Colorado, Boulder, for the Native American Rights Fund Sunrise Ceremony, (303) 447-8760.

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Utah:

Bears Ears

"Bears Ears is healing. Healing is about noticing our place as humans on this earth. It is about respecting and caring for our relatives - humans and non-humans-alike, including the elements, life, animals and other living beings," said Alastair Lee Bitsoi, Communications Director, Utah Diné Bikéyah, on the occasion of the 2018 Solstice gathering at Bears Ears.

As part of its mission, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has long advocated for sacred site protection, religious freedom efforts, and cultural rights. NARF is currently fighting to protect a number of sacred places including but not limited to those threatened by the proposed changes to the Bears Ears National Monument.

Bears Ears contains hundreds of thousands of objects of historic importance including many cultural objects and sacred places. Tribes in the region continue to travel to Bears Ears to collect plants, minerals, objects, and water for religious and cultural ceremonies and medicinal purposes. In fact, Bears Ears is so culturally and spiritually significant that some ceremonies use items that can only be harvested from Bears Ears. It is in every way a home – both physically and spiritually - to the region’s Native Peoples.

President Trump has declared his intention to remove the designations in place to protect this most important place. NARF fights for the Native Nations who have spent years working to protect their sacred, ancestral lands. We will not allow the rights of our Native nations and our local people to be willfully pushed to the side for the benefit of corporate interests.

For more information about Bears Ears, contact: Alastair Lee Bitsoi, MPH, Communications Director, Utah Diné Bikéyah, (917) 202-8308 (c) or alastair@utahdinebikeyah.org

Patrick Gonzales Rogers, Executive Director, Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition of the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, cpino@bearsearscoalition.org

Native American Rights Fund, (303) 447-8760.

Also, see prior listing for Colorado: Boulder, Native American Rights Fund

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Washington: 

Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Observes Protect Native American Sacred Places

Will Pray at Snoqualmie Falls

Friday, June 21, beginning at 6:00 a.m.

On June 14, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe issued the following statement:

Every year at Snoqualmie Falls, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe observes the National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places. This year the event will take place on Friday, June 21, 2019 beginning at 6 AM. At the ceremony, the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe will add its prayers, songs and energy to those of people around the globe gathering to pray for the protection of Native Sacred Places, many of which are in danger.

“Snoqualmie Falls is a place revered as sacred for thousands of years,” said Lois Sweet Dorman, Snoqualmie Elder. “Water is universally a Sacred Being, part of sacred ceremonies in faiths and religions across the world. For the Snoqualmie and other Indian Tribes of the Salish Sea region, this is the Creator/Transformer’s gift to the People; a place of healing and transformation.

“As Snoqualmie, we warmly greet and welcome people from all over the world. We humbly renew ourselves and uphold our sacred duty and responsibility as the Spiritual Stewards of Snoqualmie Falls.”

An estimated two million people come from all over the world to visit Snoqualmie Falls annually. This 268-foot waterfall, with its awe inspiring, breathtaking surroundings is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property.

“Snoqualmie Falls is a sacred landscape forever impacted by irresponsible development; yet the push for more continues relentlessly,” says Sweet Dorman, “We remain united in the Spirit of Snoqualmie Falls, praying for all Native Sacred Places and sacred places we hold dear, among them: Sacred Snoqualmie Falls, Mt Si, Swing Rock, Rattlesnake Ridge and the Lake Sammamish area and our creeks, rivers, lakes and salt waters.”

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe is a federally recognized tribe in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, celebrating 20 year of Re-Recognition. Known as the People of the Moon, Snoqualmie tribal members were signatories to the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855. Tribal enterprises provide over 1,700 jobs in the Snoqualmie Valley, and the Snoqualmie Tribe has donated more than $8 million to nonprofit organizations in Washington State since 2010.

For more information, visit www.snoqualmietribe.us or call or email Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Media Contact Michael Brunk at 425-888-6551 ext. 6300 and michael.brunk@snoqualmietribe.us

Washington, DC Capitol Hill
U.S. Capitol Grounds
Union Square (Area 15)
(Diagonally across the street from the National Museum of the American Indian At Third Street, SW/NW)

8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 21

The Morning Star Institute invites all to join in the observance of Sacred Places Prayer Day on the Solstice, June 21, Thursday, at 8:00 a.m.

For more information, contact The Morning Star Institute at (202) 547-5531, Mary Phillips (Laguna Pueblo & UmoNhoN) at 510-205-4507 or mphillipswau@gmail.com or Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee) at suzan_harjo@yahoo.com

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