Why Sacred Places Matter

“Davianna McGregor is one of a band of Native Hawaiians who created the Protect Kaho`olawe Ohana in the 1970s and successfully won a sacred island back from the U.S. Navy, which had used Kaho`olawe as a bomb testing range for 50 years. McGregor says, “Christianity severed the relationship of our soul to the land. Kaho`olawe gave us a connection to our ancestors and spiritual beliefs, and we were able to call back our gods.”

Davianna Mcgregor

Davianna Pomaika’i McGregor is a Professor and founding member of the  Ethnic Studies Department at UH-Manoa. She is a historian of Hawai’i and the  Pacific. Davianna grew up in the ahupua’a of Kaiwi’ula in the Kapalama district of  O’ahu and spent her summers with grandparents in Waiakea, Hilo, Hawai’i.  She currently resides on O’ahu and Moloka’i. As a member of the Protect  Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana she helps to steward the lands of Kaho’olawe – Kohemalamalama O Kanaloa. Her ongoing research endeavors have focused on documenting the persistence of traditional Hawaiian cultural customs, beliefs, and practices in rural Hawaiian communities, including the island of Moloka’i; the districts of Puna and Ka’u on Hawai’i; Ke’anae-Wailuanui on Maui and Waiahole-Waikane on O’ahu. This work is featured in her UH Press book, 2007, Na Kua’aina: Living Hawaiian Culture.– See more at: http://www.socialsciences.hawaii.edu/profile/index.cfm?email=davianna@hawaii.edu

“In the last month, Native Hawaiians blockaded construction machinery headed for the top of sacred Mauna Kea, where a 30-meter telescope is to be built…

Ceremony, prayer and ritual still connect families and communities to land in a bond of love, affection and spiritual obligation. It’s what many in urban industrial civilization now crave. Sacred places should be at the heart of every region’s sustainability plan for the future, with indigenous people leading the way to create a new economic model and a new land ethic that can help heal our alienation from nature…

Sacred lands are more than esoteric, spiritual sanctuaries. These places protect biodiversity. The World Bank reports* that indigenous people make up 4% of the world’s population and control 22% of the earth’s surface—and on that land is 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. People whose connection to land goes back centuries and who have maintained cultural value systems rooted in sacred places have a superior land ethic. Period.”

Christopher Mcleod, director

Christopher (Toby) McLeod has been Project Director of Earth Island Institute’s Sacred Land Film Project since 1984. In 2013, he completed the four-part series Standing on Sacred Ground, which premiered on public television in April 2015… His first film was the nine-minute short, The Cracking of Glen Canyon Damn—with Edward Abbey and Earth First! McLeod has a master’s degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. in American History from Yale. He is a journalist who works in film, video, print and still photography. In 1985, McLeod received a Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking, and his U.C. Berkeley masters thesis film Four Corners won a Student Academy Award in 1983. Toby has been working with indigenous communities as a filmmaker, journalist and photographer for more than 35 years. – See more at: http://www.sacredland.org/home/general/staff-bios/#sthash.GwUOVXzl.dpuf

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