Ancient cliff dwellings in Canyon de Chelly, where the Navajo, Hopi and ancient Pueblo lived for thousands of years, were strategically positioned to take advantage of the sun's rays. The protection of this and a number of other sacred sites is important.

9 Sacred Sites Quotes to Remember


Sacred site protection has become an important cause in Native American communities. “Since moving onto reservations most Native American communities have lost direct control over many of the sacred places within their community history and teachings. Holy or special places are vulnerable to non-Indian forces, which do not know about the meaning and purpose of the places and often destroy the sites for economic purposes,” says Duane Champagne in an article called “Protecting Native American Sacred Sites.”

Here are nine quotes from contemporary and historic Native figures about the importance and protection of sacred sites.

“To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence. Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you. You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.”

―N. Scott Momaday

“If we can't protect the Earth, can’t protect the sky; if we can’t protect our sacred sites, then we’ve failed the world.”

—Jewell Praying Wolf James, Lummi

“There is a price to pay, a payment that has to happen to protect sacred places.”

—Tim Mentz, Standing Rock Sioux

“Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear and sacred to us? I know you will cry with me, ‘Never! Never!’”

—Chief Tecumseh

“There is but one secret to success: Never give up.”

―Ben Nighthorse Campbell

“Our churches are being attacked and our people can’t go to them to pray. It’s a fight against white men with gold in their eyes.”

—Suzan Shown Harjo

“Our sacred sites are more precious than gold.”

—Phil Emerson, Quechan

“This mountain has my heart. This land is our church.”

—Caleen Sisk, spiritual leader and tribal chief of Winnemen Wintu Tribe

“The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the blood of our ancestors.”

—Plenty Coups, Crow

RELATED: National Sacred Places Prayer Day Coming Up

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