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Know the West

Film sheds light on sacred spaces

  Many Americans look for divinity inside a church, temple or synagogue. But for American Indians, places of worship exist beyond the confines of walls, in the landscape itself. Now, a film by Christopher McLeod exposes the obstacles American Indians face when they try to protect their sacred places. In the Light of Reverence features the struggles of three Western tribes as they stand up for religious rights that the Constitution is supposed to guarantee all Americans.

In California, the Wintu Tribe is fighting not only a new ski area at Mount Shasta, but also new agers who mob the Wintus’ sacred spring for their own rituals. Hopis in northern Arizona are watching as their hallowed mountaintop, Woodruff Butte, is erased by gravel mining, and the Lakota in Wyoming are competing with rock climbers for worship time at Devils Tower (HCN, 7/7/03: Invasion of the rock jocks). With these three stories, McLeod invites Western thinkers to look beyond the walls of their religious traditions, and to see that which should be sacred to all of us.

In the Light of Reverence: Protecting America’s Sacred Lands, produced and directed by Christopher McLeod, can be rented or purchased from Bullfrog Films at 1-800-543-3764 or www.bullfrogfilms.com.