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The Attack on Bears Ears National Monument – December 7, 2017

In the face of Trump's gleeful dismantling of our public lands, let the resistance continue to build

To stand with a Native American friend of 40 years at the site of a desecrated ancestral grave can be a transcendent and disorienting experience. Quiet grief. No words. Very different for me than for him.

For many of us, ten months of day-in-and-day-out whiplash, the feeling of reeling with every newscast, has been deeply depressing. But Monday was different. It was a punch in the gut. President Trump’s slash and burn dismantling of Bears Ears National Monument — from 1.35 million to 200,000 acres — and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — from 1.9 to 1 million acres — was a gleeful attack on nature, five tribes, Obama, and the environmental… more

by: Christopher McLeod

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The Indigenous Protectors of the World’s Most Sacred Places – April 22, 2016

Around the world, Indigenous groups are working to safeguard and restore besieged sacred sites

Back in the 1990s, there was an intense debate among my Native American friends about whether public education about sacred places would be a good idea. One activist argued forcefully that: “Sacred places don’t need a PR campaign. They need ceremony and prayer.” But many places, from the San Francisco Peaks and Black Mesa in the Southwest to Bear Butte and Devils Tower in the Black Hills, were being desecrated. Ski resorts. Coal stripmines. New Agers. Rock climbers. Dams. While some battles revealed outright racism, other sacred sites were being destroyed out of ignorance. Though tradition long mandated that “sacred” meant “secret,” more people began to agree that limited information about… more

by: Christopher McLeod

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Backroom Dealings to Pass CA Drought Bills Violate Democratic Process – December 15, 2015

But bickering among lawmakers might save the day for McCloud River and the Winnemem Wintu

Secret negotiations are fascinating to behold, especially when the fate of a Native American tribe hangs in the balance, not to mention the fate of California’s environment. The 2015 window is closing for Senator Dianne Feinstein to pass emergency drought legislation, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act, that would, among other things, prime the pump with $600 million for new federal water storage projects in California. If the legislation is passed, two new major dam projects — the Sites Dam in northern California and the Temperance Flats Dam in central California — would gain momentum, as would an irrational plan to make the Shasta Dam 18.5 feet higher.

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by: Christopher McLeod

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What Good is an Apology? – June 12, 2015

An apology from the US government for theft of land and other injustices would be an important first step toward healing

This story originally appeared in Common Dreams

I’m a white man who has worked with Native Americans as a journalist and documentary filmmaker since 1977. Mostly, I have worked on exposing problems — environmental injustice, destruction of sacred places, hidden history. Finding long-term solutions has seemed overwhelming and elusive. But four decades of experience have clarified my understanding of our nation’s biggest obstacle to moving beyond the historical injustices confronting the cultures that share this land. There is a shadow in the American closet that will forever prevent healing and reconciliation — unless and until that shadow is recognized and acknowledged. The theft of country, the massacres, the inhumanity of… more

by: Christopher McLeod

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Why Sacred Places Matter – May 22, 2015

Film series tells the stories of eight embattled indigenous communities around the world

This story originally appeared in Triple Pundit

In the last month, Native Hawaiians blockaded construction machinery headed for the top of sacred Mauna Kea, where a 30-meter telescope is to be built. Thirty-one people were arrested. In Arizona, members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe walked 45 miles to Oak Flats and occupied a ceremonial initiation site that the US Congress has handed over to a London-based mining company for a copper mine. In California, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe continues their fierce opposition to government plans to raise the height of Shasta Dam, which would flood Winnemem sacred sites.

photo of Chief Caleen SiskPhoto by… more

by: Christopher McLeod

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