Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research17:165-71 (Fall 2007). Copyright ©2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Recognition of the human right for indigenous peoples to freely express their spiritual beliefs is essential to expanding tolerance for the earth-based spirituality of many indigenous peoples. Awareness of such beliefs must be extended to support the spiritual significance of what indigenous peoples believe are their sacred lands. Physical landmarks such as mountains or rivers hold essential spiritual meaning for many tribes. Linkages to indigenous peoples' knowledge systems can yield a greater understanding of their social values and cultural differences in public debates over human rights and their struggles to protect their sacred lands. This paper reviews the impact of the Garrison Dam on the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. A discussion on the Draft United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Human Rights demonstrates the ongoing global struggle of indigenous peoples to protect their sacred lands and cultures.