Jim Kent: Native people still fight to protect their sacred places
"The whole country was outraged when New York, Pennsylvania and the nation's capital were attacked on 9/11. How would you feel if they'd just kept going, hitting every city and pasture along the way until they made it to the high plains?

Bam! There goes Chicago. Woosh! Iowa's corn fields have been torched by missile strikes. Mt. Rushmore? Now a quarry to provide stones for the new mainstream culture's architecture.

Fight for your land, family and heritage? You bet you would.

And that's what the Lakota bands and their allies did when the 7th Cavalry appeared along the horizon on a warm June afternoon in 1876. The rest is history.

What brings balance to this first week of summer is what also keeps the history of that fateful June day alive for Native Americans. It's the National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places - held across the country each year since 2003 to raise awareness of the battle the nation's First People continue to wage calling for the same rights each of us is afforded under the First Amendment.

From June 18 through June 23 - just 2 days before the Little Bighorn anniversary - gatherings are held at sacred sites from coast to coast to remind people that the sacredness of a location is not determined by the size or shape of a building, the price of the statues or ornaments inside, or the words on the sign outside that give it a particular name: church, synagogue or mosque."

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JIM KENT: Battle for sacred sites continues (The Rapid City Journal 6/25)