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From the Archives

Book Excerpts




Among the topics important to me are preservation and conservation of Indigenous American sacred places, intellectual property, and cultural heritage.


 Sacred Rituals

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the breath of mother earth

from stories on the wind - an interview with lummi 
elder and spiritual leader cha-das-ska-dum whichtalum

The breath of Mother Earth is called sah-laugh-woun. It’s the most beautiful word in our language. When I go up to the mountain and the gentle breeze kisses the trees, it’s sah-laugh-woun. When I visit a waterfall and feel the cool mist, it’s the breath of the waterfall. I’ve always loved that, because everything has its breath. The breath of life of Mother Nature. The breath of life of water. The breath of life of our first born.

Copyright © 1990 Lorran Meares

Sacred Springs

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the sacred hoop is broken

from stories on the wind

There was a place and time when the Sacred Hoop was intact and strong. Now, the Sacred Hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center, and the sacred tree is dead.

Copyright © 1990 Lorran Meares


The ancient sacred landscape thrust toward the sky here, sunk to watery depths there, heaving and folding unto itself again and again long before breath brought purposefulness into being. Place existed for unimaginable eons before humans claimed dominion over it in their belated but historic march through time.


Time was and remains the matrix of human experience. Dawn, dusk—cycles of the sun, moon, stars—birth, death. Passages solidify through ritual and place. Preserving the Sacred Hoop ensures continuity and knowledge. Everything is intertwined.

Sacred Shrines

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indigenous americans'

sacred places in danger

from stories on the wind

Heavy with backpacks, we emerge from the dripping rain forest into the welcome mid-day brightness of the driftwood-clogged strand on the Olympic Peninsula. Placid doe and their still-spotted fawns wander serenely, incurious. Sea lettuce and jungles of stringy kelp the color of tarnished copper litter the narrowing strip to the petroglyph site called “Wedding Rock.”

Indigenous peoples use an expression appropriate not only for the petroglyphs and pictographs but also for all the “bones of the earth.” “The rocks speak,” they say. All things are connected. Not by oversight are the forty-some petroglyphs of this rock art gallery vulnerable to the sea. But the vulnerability of these Ozette writings to technology could not have been foretold.

Copyright © 2005 Lorran Meares