To The hogans represent four sacred mountains that

To the Navajo,
the earth and their sacred lands are a part of their identity. It is at the
very core of who they are. They believe the earth and all it offers to humans,
should be a give and take. They believe in keeping a balance and they do so
through many rituals, one being chantways, where over the course of
several days, ritualized singing and chanting takes place. Everything they do,
is centered around the universe, it’s creation and respecting that. Even their hogans
and tipis, are religious and sacred, having specific ways to build such
structures. The hogans represent four sacred mountains that surround the
Navajo’s homeland. The roof represents Father Sky and the floor is Mother
Earth. The building of a tipi is also sacred and must be built to specific
standards, as they see it as an image of the universe. All of these sacred
rituals were taught to the Navajo people by their ancestors, the Holy People.
These rituals help keep order and balance in the universe and are where the
Navajo religious practices stem from. Some other rituals they have, that
restore balance in the universe are rites of renewal and the Sun
Dance. The rites of renewal tend to be seasonal, so that they are designed
around periods of such things like planting and harvesting. The Sun Dance
is an annual ritual, centered around an axis mundi, which creates a
sacred space for the ritual. Native Americans from all over have taken part in
the Sun Dance, for many centuries and still do to this day.

Their history
has proven time and time again, that they cherish the universe and the earth,
and do all that they can to protect it and keep things balanced. When the
Native Americans at the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, commonly
referred to as DAPL, say they are “Protectors, not protestors”
history has proven that to be true. Of course, they want to protect the water
and their sacred lands from the pipeline. Oil pipelines leak all of the time
causing destruction to lands and waters, so it’s not a matter of if it will
leak, but when.  The Native Americans are
trying to protect Mother Earth and its most valuable resource. Not only are
they being protectors of the water, but also protectors of their religious
rights. In 1978, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act gave Native
Americans the right to practice their beliefs. With the pipeline being planned
to go right through their sacred lands, where many of their ancestors lay, the
US government is encroaching on those religious rights. We’ve taken enough from
the Native Americans. Let them be the protectors they are meant to be and let’s
learn from them. 

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