The Power of Song in the Protection of Native Lands

The Power of Song in the Protection of Native
Melissa Nelson and Philip M. Klasky, Orion

The Storyscape Project, born out of protests against a proposed
nuclear waste dump on American Indian lands in California, aims to
educate the public about the need to preserve tribal lands based on
its importance in native stories and songs. From a Western
perspective, preservation is usually measured in numbers of species
and size of habitat, says Melissa Nelson and Philip M. Klasky in
Orion Afield. But from a native perspective, preserving the
spiritual relationship between people and land is the first
critical step in restoring the land. That’s the reason behind
Storyscapes’ most recent project, the Salt Songs. In an effort to
protect some 2,500 acres of land in Nevada, the project aims to
record the songs of the Southern Paiute people and purchase 2,500
acres of native lands chronicled in the songs.
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