Opinion: Respect tribal concerns over wind energy bid
"I commend the Wampanoag for their efforts to block the construction of 130 wind turbines on historic and picturesque Nantucket Sound. We should not lightly dismiss these American Indians' claims that the project would impede their ability to properly practice certain religious rituals that require them to have an unobstructed view of the sunrise.

Furthermore, we should be more sensitive to their concerns that erecting the wind turbines would disrupt sacred burial grounds. In general, I am supportive of wind turbines. Anything that promotes clean energy and makes us less dependent on fossil fuel and therefore on other countries is certainly a positive concept. However, in this case, the religious rights of the People of the First Light who have called this area home for more than 12,000 years should take priority.

Although I know that no malice is intended toward the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes by the proponents of the Nantucket Sound wind turbines, one can't help but think that this episode is just the latest manifestation in long history of incidents in America of gross disrespect and utter disregard for the spiritual rituals and religious sites of the indigenous.

It's a shameful history that spans centuries from the "Pilgrim fathers" desecrating the graves of the natives when the former arrived in the "New World" to modern day non-Indian charlatans trying to get rich by counterfeiting sacred Native American sweat lodge ceremonies."

Get the Story:
Gerard R. Bourassa: Respect Wampanoag opposition to Cape Wind (The Cape Cod Times 12/1)

Related Stories:
Wampanoag tribes challenge wind energy project (11/13)
Editorial: Wampanoags blow smoke on wind plan (11/10)
Letter backs Massachusetts tribes on sacred site (11/6)
Interior promises action on wind turbine project (11/3)
Editorial: Reject tribal claim on wind turbine site (11/2)
Massachusetts tribes fight wind farm project (10/5)
Obama declined Aquinnah Wampanoag meeting (08/31)
Letter: Tribal opposition to wind energy project (07/16)
Massachusetts tribes oppose wind turbine site (7/15)
NYT Blog: Salazar on Indian Country rights-of-way (03/25)