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In the Light of Reverence - Hopi Land

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Hopi elder Dalton Taylor makes a pilgrimage every year to plant prayer feathers at a series of shrines that ring the Hopi homeland in Arizona. Taylor takes us to Woodruff Butte, where seven of these shrines have been destroyed by a gravel mining operation, and ancestral rock writing has been defaced by gunfire.

In Black Mesa, the Peabody Coal Company strip-mine pumps three million gallons per day of drinking-quality underground water for a coal slurry line, threatening precious desert springs. For Peabody, slurrying coal is less expensive than trucking it to Nevada, where it feeds the Mohave power plant. For the Hopi, their covenant with God to protect the land of their forefathers, ceremony and water are the central elements of their sense of the sacred. From the Hopi point-of-view, their culture and livelihood are being sacrificed for Peabody's coal.

Across the USA, Native Americans are struggling to protect their sacred places. Religious freedom, so valued in America, is not guaranteed to those who practice land-based religion. Every year, more sacred sites - the land-based equivalent of the world's great cathedrals - are being destroyed. Strip Mining and development cause much of the destruction. But rock climbers, tourists, and New Age religious practitioners are part of the problem, too. The biggest problem is ignorance.

HOPI LAND, part of the IN THE LIGHT OF REVERENCE Classroom Series, tells the story of the Hopi, an indigenous community of the Four Corners area, and the land they struggle to protect.

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