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The National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest national Indian organization, has called for Congress to enact a statute that would provide a cause of action, for the President to update and strengthen the existing Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites and for the Forest Service to utilize existing laws and policies to protect Native American sacred places. At the same time, the Forest Service has touted as an accomplishment for sacred places its draft report, which was roundly denounced in Indian country, and a revised report it is keeping secret, counter to the Administration's position on tribal consultation.
“The President has been asked directly to call on Congress to create a right of action so we can defend our holy places, to improve the Executive Order for Indian Sacred Sites and to stop the Forest Service and other agencies from continuing their decades-long assault against Native sacred places,”
said Ms. Harjo.
“I'm still optimistic that the President can and will do these things, even if Congress is unable to make progress in this or any area. Once again, we pray that this will be the last year we are denied justice by the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches.”
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has recommended that the United States consider withdrawing the federal permit that is allowing a private ski resort to use recycled sewage water to make snow on top of the San Francisco Peaks, which are sacred to many Native Nations in the Southwest. The Special Rapporteur also has called on the United States to consult with and return sacred places to Native Peoples.
Other Days of Prayers are being held in other places in various places in the United States this week.
posted June 19, 2012 7:30 am edt