Author: Ardell Hoveskeland, Sacred Ground Reflections

This course described Sacred Ground as the path I took through life – including those things and episodes that are not pleasant to think about.  The sessions covered lots of areas of White Privilege with much discussion about discrimination against Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.

Growing up in North Dakota, there were few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians in the state, so my path did not encounter any of these until I joined the military.

However, the course identified one conflict area that bothered me.  There were major issues with a group of Americans and immigrants which left their impact on North Dakota.  In the 1500s there were approximately 70 million Native Americans when the first Spanish immigrants arrived.  The Spanish Immigrants came with the understanding that their Church permitted them to take the land and possessions of the native people since they were not Christian.  It also encouraged them to destroy their culture since it was not a Christian culture.  This belief on the part of the immigrants continued as other Europeans arrived.  Always, if the white people wanted a particular land, the Indians had to move.  Even when the Indians adopted Christianity and white man ways, the persecution did not stop – just look at the Cherokee Nation which was forced into the “Trail of Tears” by the US Government.

Before we conclude that all the discrimination against the Native Americans was done by our ancestors, I reflected on discrimination against Indians continuing during our lifetime.  Indian women being sterilized and the US Government taking children from their tribe and sending them to an Indian boarding school (the practice continued through 1969), There, the children endured rampant physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, were forbidden to continue with their Indian culture and had to adapt the white man’s way.

Is it any wonder, that while Indians represent about 10% of the US population, you seldom encounter a native American in any professional discipline.

So, before we say we have finally stopped this discrimination, consider a current problem:

We are conscientious of the environment and will tend to get electric cars.  The issue with electric cars is the need for batteries – specifically, lithium Ion batteries.  Lithium ore is fairly rare in the world – however a gigantic deposit has been found in the Nevada – and it is on land that Sacred to the American Indian.  How soon before we determine that our need for electric cars outweighs the Indians need for Sacred Ground?

Let me finish with a Bible Quote from the Prophet Amos who warned Israel that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed.

From Amos, Chapter 2, verse 6:

Judgement on Israel

Thus says the Lord:

For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,

For they sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals.

If God were to speak through the Prophet Amos today, it could be: For three transgressions of the United States, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,

For they take the land of the Indian, take away a woman’s ability to have a child, and take away the ability of the children to prosper.