Sacred Sites and The Sacred Bridge: Respecting and Protecting Native American Sacred Sites
By Anne Frost
The Placitas Library is excited to offer two programs this month as part of our series “Placitas Reads” on Anne Hillerman’s novel The Sacred Bridge. On October 15, Elder Kathy Wan Povi Sanchez of San Ildefonso Pueblo will speak on “Respecting and Protecting Native American Sacred Sites.” On October 22, the library will host the well-known New Mexican writer of seven tribal mystery novels with an “Afternoon with Anne Hillerman.” Both events start at 2 pm.
Kathy Sanchez, an elder and spirit-rooted social activist from San Ildefonso Pueblo says, “Throughout New Mexico, there are many areas under the “so-called” ownership of federal, state, and private entities that are sacred to Indigenous communities. These sacred sites provide the physical foundation for Indigenous culture, identity, creation stories, and a connection from each generation to their ancestors. Today, most, if not all, sacred sites face a myriad of threats, such as resource extraction, irresponsible recreation, and infrastructure development. The need to protect sacred sites is vital to maintaining and passing from generation to generation the distinct identities, traditions, and histories of Indigenous peoples.”
The Rainbow Bridge near Lake Powell in Utah is one such sacred site. It has been under threat since 1956 when construction began on Glen Canyon Dam and the flooding of the canyon. The creation of Lake Powell radically changed the entire area and submerged many sites sacred to native people. Now, the worsening drought and other factors have created new risks to this important area. This is the setting for Anne Hillerman’s most recent mystery, which is the featured title of PCL’s community read, 2022 Placitas Reads: the Sacred Bridge.
The culmination of the series will be an “Afternoon with Anne Hillerman” on October 22. Anne is a special friend of PCL and has even included the library in one of her novels, which continue the Navajo detective stories her father Tony Hillerman made popular. She will discuss the importance of research in writing fiction, including this latest gripping narrative featuring Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito.
The Placitas Library has signed copies of The Sacred Bridge for sale to benefit the library at the Help Desk. Please join us for these two exciting programs.