Hopi elder Dalton Taylor makes a pilgrimage every year to plant prayer feathers at a series of shrines that ring the Hopi homeland in Arizona. Taylor takes us to Woodruff Butte, where seven of these shrines have been destroyed by a gravel mining operation, and ancestral rock writing has been defaced by gunfire.
In Black Mesa, the Peabody Coal Company strip-mine pumps three million gallons per day of drinking-quality underground water for a coal slurry line, threatening precious desert springs. For Peabody, slurrying coal is less expensive than trucking it to Nevada, where it feeds the Mohave power plant. For the Hopi, their covenant with God to protect the land of their forefathers, ceremony and water are the central elements of their sense of the sacred. From the Hopi point-of-view, their culture and livelihood are being sacrificed for Peabody's coal.
Across the USA, Native Americans are struggling to protect their sacred places. Religious freedom, so valued in America, is not guaranteed to those who practice land-based religion. Every year, more sacred sites - the land-based equivalent of the world's great cathedrals - are being destroyed. Strip Mining and development cause much of the destruction. But rock climbers, tourists, and New Age religious practitioners are part of the problem, too. The biggest problem is ignorance.
HOPI LAND, part of the IN THE LIGHT OF REVERENCE Classroom Series, tells the story of the Hopi, an indigenous community of the Four Corners area, and the land they struggle to protect.
The other programs in the series are:
Mount Shasta - The Wintu aim to keep their sacred well on Mount Shasta from harm.
Devils Tower - The Lakota struggle to protect their sacred site from climbers and other encroachers.
Grade Level: Grades 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-898-7
"This beautifully-crafted film shows how the places most sacred to Native Americans are being both disrespected and destroyed, and how Indians are fighting back to save their own religious heritage. This film is a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the environment and human rights and deserves every opportunity to reach a broad and diverse audience."
"For those who know nothing about the denial of Native American religious freedom, this film will change minds and open hearts. For those of us already involved in the struggle to save sacred land, this film will energize and inspire."
Walter Echo-Hawk, Native American Rights Fund
"The film clearly articulates some of the issues indigenous peoples all over the world face as they struggle to prevent their spiritual beliefs from being marginalized by people who believe spiritual places are structures built by men, not the Creator."
Wilma Mankiller, author and former Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation
"This respectful, brave, and understated film, which urges the redress of profound historical errors, is itself an act of reparation. In the Light of Reverence reaches beyond cultural disputes to reveal and document the arena of human wisdom."
"The Middle East may get the headlines, but there are battles involving sacred ground in the United States, too, as nicely documented by In the Light of Reverence, on PBS."
The New York Times
"In the Light of Reverence shines a beam on the fundamental differences between two world views, one based on individual rights - including the right to exploit the land for profit - the other, on responsibility to a community that includes people, ancestral spirits and the spirits of the forest and mountains themselves."
Sara Jean Green, Seattle Times