American Indians and non-Native supporters have been gathering at places around the country since June 17 in support of the 2011 National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places. Observances have been scheduled in Alaska, Oklahoma, Michigan, California and New York to name a few. But one of the strongest places of observance will be June 21, at 7:30 a.m. on the west Front Grassy Area at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
This observance is on the playground of the politicians who vote on the legislation for off shore drilling in Anchorage, artificial snow on the San Francisco Peaks, or digging up of burial mounds in California for the placement of a dam for municipal water.
The observance is an open invitation for anyone who wants to join and discuss their feelings on places of importance to the American Indian culture, or to others. This will follow the form of a talking circle.
“Native and non-Native people nationwide gather at this time for Solstice ceremonies and to honor sacred places,” said Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), president of The Morning Star Institute, which organizes the National Sacred Places Prayer Days. “Ceremonies are being conducted as Native American peoples engage in legal struggles with federal agencies that side with developers that endanger or destroy Native sacred places. Once again, we call on Congress to build a door to the courts for Native nations to protect our traditional churches. Many sacred places are being damaged because Native nations do not have equal access under the First Amendment to defend them.”