Native American Sacred Places with Dr. Andrew Gulliford
History Live Durango

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Pine River Library will be hosting Dr. Gulliford for a talk about topics covered in his book on sacred Native American sites: Sacred Objects, Sacred Places. Dr. Guilliford is a writer, historian, and recent recipient of the 2019 Colorado Book Award with deep ties to the American West who also teaches at Fort Lewis College.

In researching the book, Gulliford traveled thousands of miles over a ten-year period to meet and interview tribal elders, visit sacred places, and discuss the power of sacred objects in order to present the essential debates surrounding tribal historic preservation. Without revealing the exact locations of sacred places (unless tribes have gone public with their cultural concerns), Gulliford discusses the cultural significance of tribal sacred sites and the ways in which they are being preserved. Some of the case studies included are the Wyoming Medicine Wheel, Devil’s Tower National Monument, Mount Shasta in California, Mount Graham in Arizona, and the Sweet Grass Hills in Montana. Federal laws are reviewed in the context of tribal preservation programs, and tribal elders discuss specific cases of repatriation.

Though the book describes numerous tribal tragedies and offers examples of cultural theft, Sacred Objects and Sacred Places affirms living traditions. It reveals how the resolution of these controversies in favor of native people will ensure their cultural continuity in a changing and increasingly complex world. The issues of returning human remains, curating sacred objects, and preserving tribal traditions are addressed to provide the reader with a full picture of Native Americans’ struggles to keep their heritage alive.

Dr. Gulliford will conclude his presentation with an update on the cultural and legal issues surrounding Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, which is the first national monument in the history of the 1906 Antiquities Act that was supported and sponsored by five tribes. At the end of his talk Gulliford welcomes comments and questions from the audience to be collected and shared by Darcy Poletti Harp, PR and Programming Librarian at the Pine River Library.


This will be an online event. For details on how to participate please contact:

Darcy Poletti Harp


970-884-2222 ext. 522

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