What was that about “defiling sacred ground?” An indigenous take on the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy…

Oh hell yes…powerful piece from Simon Moya-Smith at Indian Country Today about the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy and the way in which Christians have never minded defiling indigenous sites of importance. Check it out. And I’ll have an essay coming out tomorrow that touches on some of these same themes, but especially about New York…Here are the first few graphs, and then go read the full piece…

“So the controversy – for the moment – is over the mosque slated to be built near the site of the World Trade Center bombings in New York City. Don’t you worry, we’ll get back to that ugly immigration debate momentarily.

I feel compelled to share some not-widely-known wisdom with my mosque-naysayers, for if there’s one thing citizens in this country get instantly aroused by it’s some good old American Indian wisdom.

So here you go, folks.

Since time immemorial, the Black Hills in South Dakota have been a holy place for the Lakota Sioux – my people. And to the Lakota, the Black Hills is where life began. Although the story of creation significantly differs between Sioux and Christians – our messenger from the Creator came in the form of a woman – Paha Sapa is not unlike Christianity’s Eden in its significance.

But here is where today’s debate over the mosque and my peoples’ sacred site come together: It didn’t matter to the Christians, those innumerable settlers who came West seeking gold, land, riches and religious freedom (ironically) that the Black Hills was our holy site, our sacred location, our Jerusalem. No. What mattered was that their monument – Mount Rushmore – be chiseled into it.”

Read the entire essay here

7 Responses to “What was that about “defiling sacred ground?” An indigenous take on the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy…”

  1. Thank you for touching, in at least a round about way, indigenous issues!


  2. I challenged the tolerance of the building of this mosque appealing to the perspectives of Sam Harris on a previous post of yours. Well, I think this article has put it in perspective for me. I still think Sam is correct to place a great amount of accountability on religious moderates to speak up and out against extremists. But the controversy surrounding the building of this mosque certainly isn’t the stage. I said before I do my best to monitor my own prejudices, and with that I appreciate your persistence on these issues Tim.


  3. If I’m not mistaken, Broadway, just a block east of Ground Zero, was once a sacred burial ground…


  4. Thank you for leaving some precious space to acknowledge the Indigenous perspective – something that rarely happens. I am Canadian and wonder why the Native Americans are so invisible down there. Have just started reading Ronald Wright’s work and highly recommend all north american’s take a history lesson.


  5. DAMN, son.

    And of course the World Trade Center ISN’T sacred ground. It’s the site of a horrible catastrophe.


  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiSt68WBCGw

    When are we as Americans going to realize the truth and act accordingly?
    I bet all of the cultural center haters in NYC wouldn’t even care to protest about Wall Street’s greed and the sizeable unemployment rate in the city.

    As for Mt. Rushmore, a monument built on another’s holy land is unethical; no wonder why DIA has the music playing. I’ve even heard cases of where Wal-Marts have been built on Native American burial sites. That’s disrespectful.

    Thanks again Mr. Wise for your much-needed activism, and thanks to the man who wrote the essay.


  7. Hey Tim, I would love to hear your thoughts on Glenn Beck being caught lying in a future essay. Clearly a case of a privileged white college dropout thinking he can get away cheating on a test and got caught red-handed. His excuse was ‘it was easier in the speech.’ Of course it was. It’s always easier to cheat than to invest yourself with integrity and honesty. Honesty means working hard to back up what you say. Glenn finds what he does to be incredibly easy because there’s no hard work required in making things up. For example, ‘the president is a racist who hates white people.’


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