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Protection in Face of Trump Victory

Phyllis Bala

The following information is a copy of the Sacred Land Film Project newsletter. I wanted to share this important information with everyone. - Phyllis

Sacred Land News - November 2016

Success at IUCN World Conservation Congress Presages Need for Protection in Face of Trump Victory

Need a little good news?

At the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii this past September, indigenous activism led to passage of Motion 26. It declares sacred natural sites, protected areas and World Heritage sites to be "No Go areas" for mining and other destructive extractive industries. This IUCN resolution can now be used as a policy mechanism by governments, indigenous peoples and advocacy groups around the world.

With the incoming Trump administration, the need to draw protective lines around our irreplaceable sacred and natural areas is more critical than ever. Earth-based cultures and their traditional languages, endangered species in fragile biodiverse landscapes, and the values of respect and caretaking, all face an existential threat unlike at any time in history, and indigenous guardians will need even greater strength, more allies, added support.

 Prior to the IUCN Congress, the Sacred Land Film Project gathered 25 sacred site guardians from around the world on the sacred Hawaiian island of Kaho`olawe to share ceremony and build an alliance to protect their lands and cultures. In support of Motion 26 and calling on all governments to protect indigenous lands and rights, the guardians drafted and released a powerful "Statement of Indigenous Kahu'aina Guardians of Sacred Lands."

The guardians gathering on Kaho'olawe was a magical event you can read about in our new blog post, "Guardians Gather in Hawai'i." The leaders shared prayers and ceremonies and enjoyed long sessions of storytelling, strategic discussion and a deep dive into the meaning of aloha 'aina, love for the land.

Help Protect Sacred Ohlone Village and Burial Site

The site of the oldest and largest Ohlone village along the shores of San Francisco Bay is the proposed site of a five-story apartment and retail complex at 1900 4th St. This sacred place lies under the asphalt of Spenger's Fish Restaurant's two-acre parking lot in west Berkeley. 

Two ancient burials have already been disturbed by trenching across the street at another development. A growing chorus of Ohlone descendants and Berkeley residents are calling for a memorial park, a two-acre green space to honor Ohlone history and culture, both past and present.
We need your help now! 

A draft environmental impact report (EIR) was just released and comments are due by January 5. Please visit our new blog post for details on how you can help protect this sacred site.

Standing with Standing Rock

Our colleague, Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, is headed to Standing Rock to join water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that threatens sacred lands and rivers of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Caleen will drive from California with four tribe members the day after Thanksgiving.

She plans to do healing work on people who have been maced and pepper sprayed and are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. 

 Project Director Toby McLeod will meet Caleen at Standing Rock on December 1 for a series of film screenings. When we asked Caleen if screenings would be helpful, she said, "Yes, definitely. Even if the audience is mostly non-Indian allies and supporters, they can learn how best to help in the right way, which is by listening to indigenous people. It will give them all the strength to go on." 

 We would like to support Caleen by raising money for gas, car and travel expenses as well as food and lodging. 

 All donations to the Sacred Land Film Project over the next two weeks will support Caleen's trip and our film screenings at Standing Rock. Please take a moment to email your friends and ask them to contribute! Let's support the Standing Rock guardians of sacred water and ancestral burials. Thank you.

New Short Film Featuring Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons

The Sacred Land Film Project recently released a new video of Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons on "Rights and Responsibilities." Oren comments on the missed opportunity in American history when the founders based the new nation on individual rights rather than responsibilities. We thought this message to be most apropos for the perilous times we now face.

Please check it out!