Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Save the Sacred Sites Alliance in Dire Financial Straits

Protection of Native American Graves Put at Risk for Lack of $1,800 and $100 per Month

Editor's Note:  A few days ago, I received this message from Dave Kitchen, cofounder and codirector with his wife Sharon, of Save the Sacred Sites Alliance. The core purpose and work of the Kitchens and Save the Sacred Sites Alliance is to protect Native American graves and gravesites from being disturbed or destroyed.   Following Dave's letter is my initial response.  I am including an image and both online and mailing addresses for anyone who may wish to keep this extremely important work going.

Dave Kitchen's Letter

Hi everyone,

Well we gave it our best shot. But since they have raised our taxes and the county has done something that cut Sharon's salary in half, and we tried everything to get the money, but failed, it looks like we may be off the internet and it looks like we are going to lose the farm and may have to return the animals to the local humane society.

I just wanted to say what a pleasure it has been being you guys online friend.

I realize that the Creator/ God that I serve is stronger than I can ever know. But I also know that sometimes the answer to our requests is NO.

So have a good Christmas and pray for us.



Our Response to Dave (edited to protect the privacy of certain individuals)

Dear Dave and Sharon,

This is a heartbreaking thing to hear. You have been doing such good and important work. How much do you need to stay on the Internet? If you tell me, I will publicize it and try to raise it, but I can’t promise that it will happen. I am facing a similar situation with the work I am doing to publish the Native Rights News and to help the Modoc people reestablish their own government after 136 years of exile and subjugation to the Klamath Tribe: everyone praises it, but they just won’t part with any money to support its continuation. My wife is similar to Sharon in that she works and gives a goodly portion to keeping our website and blog on the Internet. But this year, her employer ended all quarterly bonuses and didn’t give its annual cost of living raise of about 2 percent. So here we are, living in one of the most expensive areas of the country, with less money to pay bills and buy food than before.

Just over a year ago, I was extremely privileged to be one of the very few white men ever allowed to take part in the sacred Lakota Yuwipi Ceremony. Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, the current carrier of Chief Crazy Horse’s pipe, said to the small group of us gathered in the Inipi (sweat lodge) for purification prior to the Yuwipi Ceremony:

"We do this [the Inipi (sweat lodge) ceremony] because we must learn to endure difficulties in life. When we go through this ceremony, we are reborn, and we acquire wisdom from the Creator. Some of you may make this your way of life. You may decide to dedicate your life to the Creator and to these ceremonies, but if you do, you will be changed by this, and your path will become more difficult. So you must learn to endure the heat and not leave the lodge no matter how difficult it becomes." – Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, Lakota Holy Man

It is a tragic reality that the Creator’s work is done by only a few, and in almost every circumstance He requires us to struggle mightily. We pray and wonder why the Creator won’t help, but the fact is that if He made things easier for us, we would slack off in our work to manifest His Supreme Will in this world. The Creator knows His Creation, and He makes our path more difficult in order to keep us closer to Him and His Will. I prefer that to the view that God’s motives and actions are always inscrutable, as taught by the Jewish Rabbis, based on this verse in the Torah: “My thoughts are not your thoughts; My ways are not your ways.”

We must not forget that the Creator made everything – not only good, but evil and indifference as well. The Creator is in everything, and especially in each one of us. In some of us, the impulse to do good, to make the world a better place, to seek justice is the dominant force. And we walk the good red road of righteousness, light and life. Regrettably, it seems that in this country especially, more and more people are choosing to follow the black road of darkness and death. And so, every day, our country gets closer to the edge of the abyss.

As I said, please tell me how much you need to stay on the Internet and by what deadline, and I will publicize it and we’ll see what happens. Keep hope alive. Perhaps the Creator will lead us to someone who will listen to to the still, small Voice in his or her heart and do the right thing. After all, it’s not you or me that their donation will help – it’s the indigenous people who benefit from the work we give our lives to doing.

Your steadfast friend and spiritual brother,

Yahoshua Nesher ben Yakov Leib (Reb YaNYaL)
(Two Eagles, Perry Chesnut)

To learn more about the extremely important work that the Save Our Sacred Sites Alliance has been doing for more than thirty years, click here:  Save Our Sacred Sites Alliance

Email addresses include: savethesacredsites@gmail.com and savethesacredsites@myspace.com

If you wish to donate to Save the Sacred Sites Alliance, please mail your check or money order to:

Save The Sacred Sites Alliance
C/O Dave & Sharon Kitchen
P.O. Box 324
Townsend, Ga. 31331

Sources: Save the Sacred Sites Alliance and Modoc Land Recovery Project

Native Rights News is making this material available in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine codified at Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information. Distribution of this material is for research and educational purposes that will promote social and economic justice and benefit society.
Native Rights News (NRN) is published by the Alliance for Indigenous Rights, a nonprofit corporation owned and operated by Temple Beit Shem Tov as part of its Social Justice Ministry.

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