full version Native American Struggles Essay

Native American Struggles

Category: Miscellaneous

Autor: jack_X 17 March 2010

Words: 441 | Pages: 2

The article, "Sacred Landscapes", is about the south west Native American tribes struggle to keep their land, especially their sacred lands, from being destroyed by big corporation's and the United States Government for their mineral recourses. The Native Americans don't like the fact that The U.S. Government is taking their main source of living, water. "Our ancestors taught us that if we lose respect for the gods, our clan relationships, and the sacred, we may face starvation, drought, disease, and other catastrophes, just as it happened to the people before us." (Alfred W. Yazzi).
Why is the preservation of these lands so important to the Native Americans? There are several reasons why their land and water is so important. According to Yazzi, a Native American man, the dominant society's greed is leading to a world out of balance. "We", the United States government, have been taking away their land where they go to pray, gather medicine plants, and make offerings to the gods, all in the name of "our" progress.
Hopi elders, who live not far from Yazzi in Fort Defiance AZ, are concerned about their water being used up. The Peabody Energy's massive coalmine uses 1.3 billion gallons of water each year from the Hopi and Navajo land aquifers. The water they take is used to fuel a power plant in Nevada. The energy created from this power plant is used to fuel bright lights of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

Also, some other tribal leaders are concerned that their sacred sites are being taken away. Dr. Henrietta Mann said, "We've lost 98% of our land base so what's wrong with keeping our sacred sites from development?" Dr. Mann further explains, "When you are talking about Earth-based spirituality, the whole erosion of our land base threw us into cultural chaos."
Other similar situations have occurred in other areas as well. Basically in a nutshell, more and more Native American land and water are being taken away from them and used to "our" benefit. "Indian people still have to define the sacred when we talk about our religious freedom. No other religious leaders or practitioners are pressured to define the sacred in their religions."
I agree with the concerns of the Native Americans. We all need land and water. However, the Native Americans rely on these things for their spirituality, long held beliefs, and tradition. As Dr. Mann said, by us taking those things away from them we have throw their entire world into chaos.

Work Cited
Tallman, Valerie. "Sacred Landscapes." Sierra November/December 2002: 36-43, 46-47, 73.