Nations Unite

June 27, 2008

Author: Robin Buda

Source: Indian Country Today

Observances and ceremonies took place across the country June 20 and 21, marking the 2008 National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.

The first national prayer day took place June 20, 2003, to emphasize the need for Congress to enact a cause of action to protect Native sacred places.

''Native and non-Native people nationwide gather at this time for solstice ceremonies. We honor sacred places, with a special emphasis on the need for Congress to build a door to the courts for Native nations to protect our churches,'' said Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, in a release. Harjo is the president of The Morning Star Institute, which organized the prayer days.

''Native and non-Native people are gathering, again, to call on anyone who will listen to help protect these national treasures and to do something about this national disgrace that threatens them.''

Some gatherings were educational, and were open to the general public. Others were religious or ceremonial, and conducted in private. Such gatherings took place in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, D.C., Washington state and Wisconsin.