Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Pueblos struggle to protect petroglyphs
Developers press for highway
Posted: May 05, 2004 -- 12:51pm EST by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico State Senator Joe Carraro insulted American Indian religious beliefs, belittled their belief in the sacredness of the Earth and assured the public that a commuter highway would be built through the Pueblo's sacred petroglyphs, during a city council hearing at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
"We know we are going to get a road out there," Sen. Carraro, west side Albuquerque Republican said. Delivering comments before the Albuquerque City Council, Pueblo elders and leaders were resolute and called for respect and a halt to the proposed Paseo del Norte road extension through Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque.
Archaeologists said road construction would damage at least 50 petroglyphs. Pueblo leaders said the region is a sacred protection, which should not be violated. "It is like an umbilical cord for the tribes around here," said Arden Kucate of Zuni Pueblo. "It ties into our songs and our prayers."
Petuuche Gilbert of Acoma Pueblo, member of the Indigenous World Association with non-governmental status at the United Nations, said prayers at the petroglyphs are the reason that there is a spirit of peace in this region.
"It contains the handprints of our ancestors. It was made to protect the environment and so far it has worked," Gilbert said of the prayers that go back 1,000 years and forward 1,000 years. However, the wheels of misinformation and political power have been turning here for a decade to build the highway through the petroglyphs.
Sen. Carraro complained that the hearing should have been held on the west side. "We're tired of people telling us where to go." He said he and other Republican legislators had seen to it that $3.3 million was given for the highway construction and it would proceed.
"That's a done deal," Sen. Carraro told the city council.
Delivering insulting remarks about the Pueblo's reverence for the sacred petroglyphs, Sen. Carraro claimed that during earlier meetings with the All Indian Pueblo Council that "no one mentioned anything about a sacred area."
After Sen. Carraro sneered at the concept of Father Sky and the sacredness of the Earth, he said state, city and federal funds have been used to preserve Petroglyph National Monument.
Adding to the insult, he said, "People search deep in their pockets if they are sincere." Further adding to the drama, he said people were dying because they could not get to the hospital due to congested traffic.
The stereotypes here are Carraro's mocking of Native religions and his belief that the Pueblo Indians aren't sincere. It's similar to other incidents in which non-Indians have belittled the concept of a sacred site.
"Primitive" Indian religion
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