This is a letter to the editor about Sacred Space by a Native American
Sacred Space means many things to many people. For Christians? It typically means the church in which they gather, or where they may pray at home or other places. Sacred space to Jews are typically their Temples, and places in Jerusalem. For Muslims? It too is their mosques, and other spaces.
For many Native Americans returning to the Old Paths of Native Ways? Sacred space is typically the outdoors. Places where other Native Americans once roamed, where they lived and worked, where they hunted and feasted, and where they died.
Native American spirituality is, in many cases, totally different than the Abrahamic or many other paths of spirituality. Mother Earth is our church, Father Sky covers us during prayers and rituals, the Four Winds or Directions leads us. Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun gives us wisdom and teachings of the lessons of life.
Our songs during prayer and ritual are the songs of nature, birds singing, chipmunks and squirrels chattering, wolves howling, etc. The sounds of the winds moving through the trees is also music, as well as the rushing water. This music of Nature is as sacred to us Native Americans as your hymns you sing in your churches on Sunday morning. Our songs are the beatings of the drums, the playing of the flutes, etc, the dancing in the circles. These are our paths of recognizing the one great truth, WE as a human race as well as the race of nature? Are all connected. We depend and need each other to survive.
But? What if you came into your churches on Sunday morning and found the floors to be littered with cigarette butts, plastic bottles, dog feces and urine? What if in the middle of your rituals in your churches? People busted into them and started yelling, screaming, making all kinds of ruckus? What if people came in disrespecting and denigrating your churches and your beliefs? Saying to you? We do not care. We will trample and trash your churches all we wish to because what you believe in does not matter to us? How would you feel if this was done to your beautiful churches, or your Temples or your Mosques? Or any other place you call your Sacred Space where you go to fulfill your spiritual and other needs?
There is a place in Berlin that is in fact? Sacred to the local and other Native Americans. Many of us go there for our spiritual needs, to fulfill our paths as Native Americans. It is a very historical and spiritual place for Native Americans. It is a place where our ancestors used to live, worship, and die. It is full of Native American spiritual ways for us.
But it is not like it once was because people who do not care have turned our church into a desolate place. No longer do the birds sing there like they once did, nor do the wildlife visit like it once did. It has been trashed, denigrated, and wrecked by people who simply do not care, nor respect other peoples Sacred Spaces or spiritual paths. The archeological sites are being wrecked by these people and they do not care. There are also? Many rare and protected species of wildflowers, like purple trillium, lady slippers and many others that will not appear this year due to the carelessness of these people and their dogs ripping the place up. The dogs leaving their urine and feces scents behind along with their constant barking have driven off the wildlife. Each day those of us who truly love and care for the area that go out there have to pick up cig butts, plastic water and soda bottles and even piles of dog crap left behind.
So again, I ask, how would you like it if this was done to your Church or Sacred Space, cause we Native Americans of the area that use that trail as our church sure do not like it.
Respect Sacred Space, where ever it is. Especially that of Native Americans.