Where the life-giving Rio Grande enters the Gulf of Mexico south of Port Isabel, Texas, you might expect to find land sacred to Native Americans, and indeed, the Garcia Pasture has burials, discrete shell working areas, and contact period artifacts of the Esto’k Gna, the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. Garcia Pasture is considered one of the premier prehistoric archaeological sites in Cameron County by the National Park Service and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Carmichael Coal Mine is a proposed development of six massive open-cut pits, five underground mines, a coal handling and processing plant, and associated infrastructure, in central Queensland, Australia. If developed as proposed, the mine would be among the largest in the world. Not only would the emissions from burning coal from this mine contribute to global climate change, which is already harming the nearby World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, but the mine would also destroy the ancestral homelands and sacred sites of the Wangan and Jagalingou.
Juristac lies at the heart of the ancestral lands of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band near Gilroy, California. For thousands of years, the Mutsun’s ancestors lived and held sacred ceremonies at this location in the southern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, above the confluence of the Pajaro and San Benito rivers.
Mes Aynak is home to an ancient Buddhist city and the largest undeveloped copper deposit in the world. Of historical, cultural and spiritual importance to Afghans and Buddhists alike, the copper deposit beneath the 20 ruin sites is now under threat of mining.
Weatherman Draw in southcentral Montana is a valley that contains the largest collection of Native American rock art on the continent.
Woodruff Butte is a volcanic cinder cone that is known as Tsimontukwi to the Hopi. It is one of nine major pilgrimage shrines that encircle Hopi traditional territory, and was for many years the site of nine clan shrines, until eight were destroyed by mining.
While many threats to sacred places come from natural-resource extraction and development, a different sort of battle continues in Wyoming, at a place the Lakota call Mato Tipila (The Lodge of the Bear), better known as Devils Tower.
The Supreme Court case known as G-O Road set an extremely damaging precedent regarding legal protection of Native American sacred sites on federal land.
Pipestone National Monument, located in southwest Minnesota, is named for the red stone (catlinite) that has been quarried there for centuries by native people, including the Lakota, Dakota and Yankton Sioux, to make ceremonial pipes.
The upper Missouri River ran freely through Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota until six massive dam and reservoir projects were built during the second half of the twentieth century.