June 21st Set For National Prayer Day For Native Sacred Places
Washington, DC (6/18/07)—Observances and ceremonies will be held across the country on June 21 to mark the 2007 National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.
Some of the gatherings highlighted in this release are educational forums, not religious ceremonies, and are open to the general public. Others are ceremonial and may be conducted in private. In addition to those listed below, there will be commemorations and prayers offered at sacred places that are under threat at this time.
Among the endangered places listed in the pages of this statement are sacred places that are being desecrated and damaged now, such as Hickory Ground in Alabama; San Francisco Peaks in Arizona; and Wakarusa Wetlands in Kansas.
There are other holy places which are being threatened with injury or destruction: Bear Butte in South Dakota; Little Creek Mountain in Tennessee; the Medicine Lake Highlands in northern California; Ocmulgee Old Fields in Georgia; the Petroglyphs in New Mexico; Snoqualmie Falls in Washington.
“Native and non-Native people nationwide are gathering to honor sacred places, with a special emphasis on those that are endangered by actions that can be avoided,” said Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee). She is President of The Morning Star Institute, which organizes the National Prayer Days.
This will be the fifth National Day of Prayer for Sacred Places. The observance in Washington, D.C., will be held on the United States Capitol Grounds, on the West Front Grassy Area (see details under the Washington, D.C. listing below).
The first National Prayer Day was conducted on June 20, 2003, on the U.S. Capitol West Lawn and nationwide to emphasize the need for Congress to enact a cause of action to protect Native sacred places. That need still exists.
“Many Native American sacred places are being damaged because Native nations do not have equal access under the First Amendment to defend them,” said Ms. Harjo. “All other people in the United States have the First Amendment to protect their churches. Only traditional Native Americans cannot get into the courthouse through the Freedom of Religion Clauses. That simply must change as a matter of fairness and equity.”
In 1988, the Supreme Court told Congress it had to enact a statutory right of action, if it wanted to protect Native sacred places. “Nineteen years have passed without Congress creating that door to the courthouse for Native Americans,” said Ms. Harjo, “and some of these places cannot withstand many more years of legal and physical onslaughts.
“Native and non-Native people are gathering, again, to call on anyone who will listen to help protect these national treasures and to do something about this national disgrace that threatens them.”
Letter From Kentucky Farmer To Congress
Submitted by Monica Davis
June 19, 2007
Honorable Members of the Judiciary Committee:
I wish you greetings from Kentucky. I am a black farmer. My land has been illegally taken from me by the USDA and the Farm Service Administration, on the basis of a series of alleged loans, which I never received. I am 80 years old and my farm has been in my family for more than 100 years until it was sold in an illegal auction, by the Farm Services Administration.
My situation is NOT unique. I write this letter on behalf of thousands of black, white, Hispanic, Native American, Asian and women farmers who are in a similar situation. Due to problems/corruption within the Farm Services Administration, including forgery of loan documents (this problem has been documented through testimony of the Secretary of Agriculture), my farm and the farms of many middle class farmers have been stolen and sold on the basis of non-existent debts.
Many people who are unfamiliar with the situation, can not believe that this can happen in the United States of America. I am here as a living example that it does happen and has happened, not only to myself, but also to thousands of other farmers across the nation.
My claim in the Pigford Black Farm Settlement was denied because of this non-existent debt. To date, I have not been able to get the FSA to prove, via documents in their possession, which were signed by me, that this debt ever existed.
FSA has basically told me to go fly a kite when I have asked for signed documentation of this alleged debt. They have never provided me an accurate accounting of the debt, payments or signed checks. They also ignored statements from their very own office, statements going back as far as 1986. They have illegally sold land that they had no legal lien on; they never proved there was a legal debt on, or lien against. In short, they have violated numerous laws, including the Fair Credit Act, as well as various sections of US Code.
We are in support of H.R. 558, the "African American Farmers Relief Act" of 2007, and H.R. 899, "Pigford Claim Remedy Act" of 2007. In the course of testimony presented on Thursday, June 21st, please consider my case, and the cases of thousands of middle class farmers. Those of us who have been ground under by the mighty juggernaut of the Farm Service Administration want our day in open court, to prove our case, to prove that we are honest, hardworking American citizens, not the deadbeats that FSA wants to paint us as.
We humbly ask that you open an investigation into procedures, practices and policies of the Farm Services Administration. God is forever good.
Harry T.Young10554 HWY 231
Utica, KY 42376
Saskatchewan Celebrates Aboriginal History Month
Submitted by Ann VanWert
The Province of Saskatchewan has proclaimed June 2007 as Aboriginal History Month in recognition of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people's contributions to Canada.
"Aboriginal people have made, and continue to make, innumerable contributions to Saskatchewan and Canadian history, culture and society," First Nations and Métis Relations Minister Maynard Sonntag said.
"The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to pay tribute to First Nations, Métis and Inuit people and their achievements by designating June 2007 as Aboriginal History Month."
Aboriginal History Month is an initiative of the Regina Aboriginal Professionals Association (RAPA), a non-profit organization with a mission to develop a network of people committed to fostering opportunities for Aboriginal people in education, employment and economic development initiatives within Regina.
Aboriginal History Month is also being designated by the City of Regina."Raising the social conscience of our communities, bringing positive energy, positive thoughts and sharing our knowledge so that our youth can embrace their Aboriginal heritage to exude confidence are all major reasons for RAPA to lead this provincial and national campaign," RAPA President Joely BigEagle said.
"We will continue our campaign to have the month of June designated as Aboriginal History Month by the federal government, and invite all Saskatchewan First Nations, educational institutions and businesses to organize or partner with RAPA for June Aboriginal events."
"It's quite fitting that this initiative originates in Saskatchewan in light of the enormous contributions Saskatchewan Aboriginal people make to areas like politics, the arts and sports," Sonntag added. "The Province is proud to be among the first in Canada to support this exciting initiative."
For more information about RAPA's events and its efforts gain national support for Aboriginal History Month, visit http://www.rapanetwork.ca/.
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