Recently in our Native American Studies class with Dr. Cajete, we watched a film entitled, "In the Light of Reverence." I recalled when I first watched this film; it was shortly after I presented our Institute's mission with the All Indian Pueblo Council Governors and Tribal leadership. A presentation before me was a discussion on strategies for protecting Traditional Cultural Properties within Federal, State, public and private lands that New Mexico Tribes, Pueblos and Nations considered sacred. Potential mineral resource developments around the Montezuma Canyon (southeastern Utah, San Juan Basin) were threatening archeological sites, petroglyphs, and ancient Pueblo and Navajo sites and artifacts. A sacred mountain containing multiple shrines and archeological dwellings for the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Pueblo of Zuni were being threatened by copper mining companies using block mining within the Oak Flat Canyon (Superior, Arizona). How ironic I thought, just the day before I had viewed the "In the Light of Reverence" film; a film exploring the non-Natives' relationship to nature and how they failed to respect the sacred sites and properties that Indigenous Nations continue to utilize as part of their daily existence. I recall the number of testimonials, strategic planning meetings, deliberations, and documents we had to create in order to have the State of New Mexico consider placing Mount Taylor on the Traditional Cultural Properties listing, and I recall the public and legal fights in which I had to participate to sustain our collective efforts. Now, after viewing the film a second time, I still have to ask, how do we change the view of non-Natives to protect what little is left of our ancestral, cultural, and sacred sites, properties, or artifacts, and if we could, how do we do it?.
The destruction of Indigenous Cultural and Sacred sites and properties has been occurring since the "Day of Discovery.