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Environment | National
National prayer days for sacred sites on June 20-21


The sixth annual National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places will be observed across the country on June 20 and June 21.

The day highlights the dangers posed to sacred places like Mount Taylor in New Mexico. Tribes are seeking to protect the mountain from uranium development amid controversy.

"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, the president of The Morning Star Institute, which organizes the event.

Harjo said tribes face unique challenges in seeking to protect their right to practice their religions. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1988 said it is up to Congress to ensure tribes have a cause of action in the federal courts.

"Twenty years have passed without Congress creating that door to the courthouse for Native Americans,” said Harjo, “and some of these places cannot withstand many more years of legal and physical onslaughts."

In Washington, D.C., the day will be observed on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on the West Front Grassy Area at 8am on June 20. The public is invited.

Other observances take place in Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota. For more information see http://www.indianz.com/board/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=32527

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