Reflections on the Sacred and Recipes from the Sioux Chef

I have been reflecting on an article I read recently in the Washington Post headlined: Catholic nuns in Pa. build a chapel to block the path of a gas pipeline planned for their property.

It’s a story about Sister Linda Fisher, 74, and her fellow nuns who are trying to stop a natural gas pipeline from crossing their rural Pennsylvania property.

“This just goes totally against everything we believe in — we believe in sustenance of all creation,” she said.

Their solution? Dedicate an outdoor chapel on the pipeline right of way.

The article continues:

The sisters’ chapel is a rudimentary symbol, but a powerful one: eight long benches, a wooden arbor and a pulpit, all on a straw-coated patch of land carved out of the cornfield. More than 300 people came to the chapel’s consecration service July 9. Since then, neighbors of many faiths have been stopping by to pray, leaving ribbons to mark their solidarity.

The legal question now is whether federal law protects religious organizations from eminent domain.

The sisters acknowledge that the outdoor chapel simply reflects a truth that already is there: The land is holy ground.

It begs the question: If sisters with an outdoor chapel could succeed in blocking the pipeline on religious freedom grounds, how does that compare to Native Americans at Standing Rock and elsewhere who claim the sacredness of land — but without erecting any structures? (It didn’t seem to work at Standing Rock.)

This is not a criticism of the sisters. Just a question: When will  officialdom recognize Native voices talking about what is sacred to them?

The sisters are getting the pat response from Williams, the pipeline company:

Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for Williams, says that at that point the company was willing to negotiate on where it drew the path of its pipeline. …

Activists argue that the company presents only the illusion of choice, by agreeing to minor changes in the pipeline’s route but not letting landowners opt out altogether

Sioux Chef Cookbook and a Couple of Free Recipes

Local Chef Sean Sherman is publishing a cookbook soon. It got a plug in Indian Country Today: Exclusive First Look: Two Recipes From Sean Sherman’s Cookbook, ‘The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen’.

Click on the link to get recipes for Wild Rice-Crusted Walleye and Wojape, a “Lakota berry soup and Sherman’s favorite dish,” the article says.

Sherman runs the Tatanka Food Truck offering precolonial Native foods. He also caters local events. (I had the pleasure of eating his food at the Mni Ki Wakan Decade of Water Summit last week.)

The cookbook won’t be released Oct. 10, but you can pre-order your copy here.

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