Yaghnob

When Soviet forces forcibly relocated the Yaghnobi from their mountain valley in what is now Tajikistan, the Russians were unable to crush the spirit of the people. Their cultural lifeblood remained in their homeland and they returned to create the Yaghnob National Natural Park to protect their ancient cultural landscape.

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Bdote in Mni Sota

Minnesota, known as Mni Sota Makoce to the Dakota, is “the land where the waters reflect the skies.” The Dakota word Bdote means “where two waters come together,” representing the spiritual and physical place of creation for the Dakota people.

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Panhe

For more than 10,000 years, Acjachemen people thrived on the coast of what is now Orange County in southern California. They lived in several villages, but Panhe or “place at the water,” at the mouth of San Mateo Canyon, was the most significant.

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Cholula

In Cholula, Mexico stands the largest pyramid ever built in human history. This ancient temple could easily be mistaken for a church-on-a-hill scene, as its body is now buried in greenery, and a Catholic church sits on its top.

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Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Known for its towering stone statues, the island of Rapa Nui holds immense cultural value to its native clans. With more than 100,000 visitors annually, tourism threatens the traditional rights of native people to own land and protect their sacred sites, including more than 900 moai statues, burial sites and ceremonial grounds.

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U’wa Territory

The indigenous U’wa who live in the foothills and forests of northeast Colombia’s Andes perpetuate all life by protecting it. The U’wa believe that their homeland is where the world began, and that everything—land, trees, river and sky—is alive and therefore sacred.

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Lascaux Cave

The Lascaux Cave is one of 25 caves from the Palaeolithic period located in the Vézère Valley—part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France. Inside the cave, Upper Palaeolithic occupation (dated between 28,000 BC and 10,000 BC) is evidenced by the presence of 6,000 painted figures—of which animals are the main focus—as well as hundreds of stone tools, and small holes along the cave interior that archaeologists suspect may have reinforced tree-limb scaffolding used by painters to reach the upper surfaces.

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Ramu River

On the Ramu River in Papua New Guinea, the Songnor have thrived for 6,000 years. Indigenous people living along the Ramu River fear that runoff from the ongoing construction of the massive Chinese government-owned Ramu NiCo mine will poison their water, fish and gardens, and destroy their environment. Those along the coast worry about about the mine waste being dumped at sea and its effect on their health and fisheries.

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Bears Ears

The greater Bears Ears area encompasses more than 1.9 million acres and is saturated with geological, cultural, spiritual, ecological, and archaeological diversity. Located in the southeastern corner of the land commonly known as the state of Utah, the region is defined by two 8,000-foot mountain buttes that rise above the landscape, twin plateaus resembling the ears of a large bear peeking over the northern horizon. The Hopi Tribe calls this land Hoon’Naqvut; for the Navajo, it is known as Shash Jaa’. For the Ute Tribe it is Kwiyagatu Nukavachiand for the Pueblo of Zuni, Ansh An Lashokdiwe. In each language it is “Bears Ears.”

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Chaco Canyon – United States

The Greater Chaco Canyon area is a significant historical, archaeological and sacred site in northwest New Mexico. From the 9th to the 11th century, it was the center of the Pueblo civilization, and was comprised of dense apartment-like structures (pueblos), roads and plazas. The site is considered sacred to multiple Native American tribes and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

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