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Honoring Indigenous Sacred Places and Spirit in Environmental Health

Quanah Yellow Cloud, Nicole Redvers

2023 Canada

Indigenous Peoples and their deep knowledges offer a fundamentally important way of seeing the world and the environment. Through relationships to distinct ancestral homelands, Indigenous Peoples have developed unique ways of surviving, adapting, connecting, and relating to their respective environments. Indigenous Sacred Places themselves are connections to ancestors, to all beings on the planet, and to different planes of existence. Sacred Places serve an important environmental role in many Indigenous Nations around the globe. Yet, Indigenous Sacred Places, and in particular understandings of spirit that connect Sacred Places, have been historically and contemporarily marginalized and excluded from environmental health academic discourse and spaces. This despite concrete calls for the amplification of Indigenous traditional knowledges—that of which does not separate spirit from knowledge, or spirit from action—they are intertwined. With this, we sought to amplify in this Perspective, understandings and connectivity between Sacred Places, spirit, and environmental health through the stories from Indigenous Elders, processes of ceremony, and personal synthesis.

Indigenous knowledges, spirituality, environmental health, planetary health, spirit, traditional knowledge, Indigenous Peoples