June 5, 2003

For Further Information Contact: Rose Cuny, (303) 447-8760

 

SACRED SITES PRAYER GATHERING IN COLORADO HOSTED BY THE NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FUND

BOULDER, CO – The National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places is being observed at the Native American Rights Fund on June 20, 2003. The public is welcome to a sunrise ceremony that will be held on NARF’s front lawn beginning at 6:00 a.m. The program is expected to last for one hour with a prayer ceremony, speakers, singers and a moment of silence to show concern for the sacred places that are being damaged and destroyed today.

The Boulder gathering is being held simultaneously with other national observances across the country including the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol with Suzan Shown Harjo from the Morning Star Institute located in Washington, D.C.

As part of our mission, the Native American Rights Fund advocates for sacred site protection, religious freedom efforts and cultural rights. NARF attorneys and staff participate in local and national gatherings and discussions about how to protect lands that are sacred and precious to Native Americans.

NARF utilizes its resources to protect First Amendment rights of Native American religious leaders, prisoners, and members of the Native American Church, and to assert tribal rights to cultural artifacts and remains in compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Why should holy places be protected? How well do existing laws and federal agency regulations protect Native American places of worship? These and other questions will be addressed by NARF attorneys, Steve Moore and Walter Echo-Hawk, who are active in the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark, The Devil’s Tower, the Kennewick Man case and the work of the Sacred Lands Protection Coalition, of which NARF is a member.

Denver resident, John Emhoolah, will begin the event with a prayer ceremony. Mr. Emhoolah is a well-respected Kiowa & Arapaho elder who inspires others through his traditional knowledge and leadership. He is a member of the Native American Church and is a cultural advisor to the Tesoro Foundation located in Morrison, Colorado.

Bring a chair or a blanket to listen to the speakers and hear songs performed by Walter Echo-Hawk and his singers. Beverages and light food will be provided by NARF at the completion of the program. NARF is located at 1506 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado, 80302.

The Native American Rights Fund is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist American Indians, individuals and organizations in the legal representation and interpretation of federal Indian law. NARF is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado with offices in Washington, D.C., and Anchorage, Alaska.