Indigenous Perspectives on Sacred Natural Sites: Culture, Governance and Conservation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Indigenous Perspectives on Sacred Natural Sites

Culture, Governance and Conservation, 1st Edition

Edited by Jonathan Liljeblad, Bas Verschuuren


234 pages | 48 B/W Illus.

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Much previous literature on sacred natural sites has been written from a non-indigenous perspective. In contrast, this book facilitates a greater self-expression of indigenous perspectives regarding treatment of the sacred and its protection and governance in the face of threats from various forms of natural resource exploitation and development.

It provides indigenous custodians the opportunity to explain how they view and treat the sacred through a written account that is available to a global audience. It thus illuminates similarities and differences of both definitions, interpretations and governance approaches regarding sacred natural phenomena and their conservation. The volume presents an international range of case studies, from the recent controversy of pipeline construction at Standing Rock, a sacred site for the Sioux people spanning North and South Dakota, to others located in Australia, Canada, East Timor, Hawaii, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Each chapter includes an analytical introduction and conclusion written by the editors to identify common themes, unique insights and key messages. The book is therefore a valuable teaching resource for students of indigenous studies, anthropology, religion, heritage, human rights and law, nature conservation and environmental protection. It will also be of great interest to professionals and NGOs concerned with nature and heritage conservation.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Indigenous Voice and Indigenous Sacred Sites, Promoting Diverse Perspectives in a Global Discourse

Jonathan Liljeblad

Part I Identity and embodying the sacred

2. Giving Voice to the Sacred Black Female Body in Takayna Country

Jennifer Evans

3. Defending the Sacred through Plant Knowledge

Susan Leopold

4. Imagine Kanaloa Kahoʻolawe

Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor

Part II Resistance, advocacy and perseverance

5. Kondhs' Resistance Movement to Save Sacred Niyamgiri, Odisha

Annapurna Devi Pandey

6. Human Rights Law and the Protection of Sacred Sites and Territories: A Case Study of the Bethany Griqua Community in South Africa

Lesle Jansen and Ademola Oluborode Jegede

7. Taos Pueblo Blue Lake: A Legacy of Cultural Perseverance

Vernon G. Lujan

Part III The sacred in intangible heritage and education

8. The Crocodiles of Fesawa: Sacred Sites and Rituals in a Changing Context in Southern East Timor

Brunna Crespi, Anacleto Amaral and Clementino Amaral

9. Maghee: A Case Study of Indigenous Tharu Cultural Heritage for Democratic Practice and STEM Education

Bhaskar Upadhyay, Mahesh Tharu Chaudhary, Dinesh Gautam and Baliram Tharu

Part IV Recognition and preservation of the sacred in place

10. Wirikuta: Sacred Heart of Mexico – Pueblo Wixárika (Huichol)

Anaid Paola Velasco Ramírez, Úrsula Garzón Aragón, Andrea Ulisse Davide Cerami and Santos De La Cruz Carillo

11. Hongan di Pa'ge: The Sacredness and Realism of Terraced Landscape in Ifugao Culture, Philippines

Marlon Martin, Stephen Acabado and Raymond Aquino Macapagal

12. Perpetuation is the Key to Preservation: Encouraging Local Development and Valuing Indigenous Culture as the Sole Bastion against Bagan's Museification

Bérengère Boüan and Kathy Khine

13. Protecting Our Sacred Water: Cenote Conservation in the Maya area of Yucatan, Mexico

Yolanda Lopez-Maldonado

Part V Conclusions

14. Indigenous Perspectives in a Global Discourse on the Conservation of Sacred Heritage

Bas Verschuuren

About the Editors

Jonathan Liljeblad is Senior Lecturer, Law School, Swinburne University, Australia, and a Steering Committee Member of the IUCN Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas. He received his PhD and JD from the University of Southern California. Born under the name Nanda Zaw Win, he is a member of the Pa’oh people of Shan State, Myanmar.

Bas Verschuuren is Associate Researcher at the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, Co-Chair of the IUCN Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, and Programme Coordinator for the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Indigenous Studies