Category Archives: Sacred Sky Sacred Earth

Night, Peter Terezakis, Heart Beats Light, Yuha Desert 2007

Pictures at an Exhibition

“Pictures at an Exhibition,” as in I have one included in a group exhibition.
Night, a 2007 image from an installation of Heart Beats Light is included in New York University’s Photo and Emerging Media 2014-2015 Faculty and Staff Exhibition.  The exhibition opened on September 2, 2014 and closes on October 9, 2014.  The show is in two locations: the Gulf + Western Gallery (1st Floor, rear lobby) and the 8th Floor Gallery, 721 Broadway New York, NY 10003.

My piece is at the 721 Broadway location.  Admission is free and open to the public.

NYU’s Photo and Emerging Media faculty and staff of 2014-2015 include Ulrich Baer, Matthew Baum, Michael Berlin, Wafaa Bilal, Terry Boddie, Isolde Brielmaier, Kalia Brooks, Mark Bussell, Edgar Castillo, Iliana Cepero Amador, Charlotte Cotton, Yolanda Cuomo, Erika deVries, Thomas Drysdale, Brandy Dyess, Cate Fallon, Adrian Fernandez, Kara Fiedorek, Nichole Frocheur, Mark Jenkinson, Whitney Johnson, Elizabeth Kilroy, Elaine Mayes, Editha Mesina, Charles Nesbit, Lorie Novak, Paul Owen, Karl Peterson, Christopher Phillips, Shelley Rice, Fred Ritchin, Joseph Rodriguez, Bayeté Ross Smith, Abi Roucka, Peter Terezakis, Cheryl Yun-Edwards, and Deborah Willis.
Night, Peter  Terezakis,  Heart Beats Light, Yuha Desert 2007
Peter Terezakis, MPS
New York University Artist in Residence

Native American Sacred Sites Threatened

Please take a moment to read the letter prepared by Alfredo Figueroa and support the effort to preserve Native American sacred sites by signing our petition and linking to this post.

Alfredo Acosta Figueroa, Elder and Historian,  Chemehuevi Tribe
Alfredo Acosta Figueroa , Elder and Historian,
Chemehuevi Tribe
“Attached you will find our opposition letter sent to Frank McMinemen, the BLM project manager of the proposed Blythe Solar Power Project. As we all know, the California Energy Commission has already approved the project and is on the verge of approving the McCoy project which is just north of the Blythe solar. They are both in the sacred McCoy Valley which is where the Kokopilli/Cicimitll/ El Tosco and over 50 other sacred sites are located.There is no way that any of these sites can be mitigated and that is why it is important for all the people that are concerned in maintaining a harmonious equilibrium that Mother Earth has provided for us since time immemorial be aware of the situation.Please distribute this widely to your contacts, especially to your Senators, Congressmen, and President Obama.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.”

Alfredo Acosta Figueroa (
Chemehuevi Tribe Sacred Sites Monitor
La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle

[emailpetition id=”1″]
[signaturelist id=”1″]

Directions of consciousness

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.   Specialization is for insects.” — Robert A. Heinlein

“Think bigger.” – Yasser Ansarivitruvian-man


Garth Lenz:
The true cost of oil

This is one of the most powerful presentations I have experienced in a long time.  It is also a living example of the cancer which defines the fossil fuel industry.

Foreign corporations (and nations) have been investing in petroleum in the United States and Canada for many years.  China invested 33 billion dollars in Canadian petrochemical interests from 2005 – 2012.  Canadian oil interests would like to see more investment.  China owns at least 40% of the tar sands production at Athabasca Oil Corporation (formerly Athabasca Oil Sands Corporation); a company which sold China all of its holdings of the McKay River tar sands development3.
McKay River In 2013 China purchased 100% of Canada’s tar sands operator Nexen for $15.1 billion1.
Canadian interests favor these purchases – otherwise they would not have been approved2.

Not to be left out of courting Chinese dollars, President Obama is selling the United States as a better place to invest4.   Considering how heavily invested China already is in fracking operations within the United States, the President’s position makes little sense6.

They came, they drilled, they left:
There is the question of just who will be left to clean up the mess left behind – if this is even possible.  Once China develops fracking within its own boundaries5, why would it pay for more expensive energy elsewhere?

The only way out is to develop a new source of power; something other than petroleum that will not poison our biosphere.


Rings of Fire

The photo on this page was taken from the space station in July of 2013. The rings of fire are from the islands of La Reunion (population +800,000) and Mauritius (population 1,322,238). Above that is the constellation of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades). Other than past President George Bush Jr., Sarah Palin, and their ilk, who can look at this image and think that all the genies mankind has been freeing from so many lamps for so many years does not affect our precious and vulnerable living earth?

Communities of like-minded individuals can make a difference.

Astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted a photo of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades) overlooking Reunion and Mauritius islands in the Indian Ocean, taken aboard the International Space Station. Photo dated August 25, 2013. Credit: Karen L. Nyberg (via Twitter as @AstroKarenN)
Astronaut Karen Nyberg tweeted a photo of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades) overlooking Reunion and Mauritius islands in the Indian Ocean, taken aboard the International Space Station. Photo dated August 25, 2013.
Credit: Karen L. Nyberg (via Twitter as @AstroKarenN)
You can see more photos by Astronaut Karen Nyberg at



Support SB 833 : Protect Sacred Sites and Clean Drinking Water

Support SB 833 : Protect Sacred Sites and Clean Drinking Water

[emailpetition id=”4″]

RE: SB 833 (VARGAS) Water Quality and Sacred Site Protection in San Diego County – SUPPORT

Dear Governor Brown:

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to please sign SB 833, by Senator Juan Vargas. This bill would prohibit the operation of a waste disposal facility within 1,000 feet of a drinking water source and within 1,000 feet of a site that is listed with the Native American Heritage Commission as sacred to a federally recognized Indian tribe. This bill would put a stop to the proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill project, which would be built on the border of the Pala Indian Reservation and next to the San Luis Rey River.

The Gregory Canyon Landfill presents numerous environmental problems, not the least of which is the threat to water supplies. The San Luis Rey River flows past the mouth of the landfill site; two California Water Authority pipelines that supply drinking water to San Diego County are located within the landfill footprint; and a vital groundwater aquifer lies underneath the site. A landfill in Gregory Canyon would unacceptably threaten the safety of these water sources.

A landfill in Gregory Canyon would also desecrate Gregory Canyon and Medicine Rock, two sites that hold tremendous religious significance for Native Americans throughout southern California. SB 833 would help insure that these irreplaceable sacred sites are protected for future generations.

Protecting precious water and respecting the religion and culture of Native American tribes is of utmost importance, which is why I respectfully urge you to sign SB 833 and protect Gregory Canyon forever. I respectfully ask you to preserve the Earth and Sky which are Sacred to both Native and non-Native Americans who have made this great land our home.


Stop Gregory Canyon:  Save Sacred Sites and Clean Drinking Water
Stop Gregory Canyon: Save Sacred Sites and Clean Drinking Water

Environmental Impact Reports, Granite Construction, and Devils in Suits…

Granite Construction Corporation’s (Granite) recently presented Environmental Impact Report (EIR) referencing their proposed Liberty Quarry project has by definition been funded by an 89-year old member of a gross polluting industry.

Granite has been generating EIR for years. A good deal of their research has been funded by other polluting industries.

In this most recent study, through omission the authors claim that Americans do not put any value on things like having parks to walk in, breathing unpolluted air, drinking safe water, or avoiding getting sick. Of course, the paper doesn’t state it quite like that. What it says is academic-sounding, inside-baseball stuff. It claims that the Environmental Protection Agency got it all wrong in a recent analysis that found true value from less pollution. Why? Because, the authors say, you can’t put a dollar figure on the benefit of less pollution.

This assertion is not only wrong. It is Earth-is-flat fraudulent.

It ignores something what we all know: people value a lot of things that you can’t put a dollar figure on. Something that economics references as “well-being.” In doing this, the paper helps give academic-sounding cover to those who would remove hard-won safeguards which help keep Americans safe and healthy.

By challenging the way the American government calculates benefits to its citizens – i.e. the work of scientists and experts whose duty is to keep Americans’ health and environment safe – the paper is serves economic interests of factories, oil companies and others who don’t like to be held accountable for the pollution they release into our air.

There are many other troubling issues in the paper. It ignores, for instance, the fact that the government’s calculations have been peer-reviewed; not based on ideological hyperbole. It also fails to account for the savings generated when people don’t have to be paid damages after getting sick from pollution. It also leaves out that its authors have long been paid by gross polluting industries.

But it’s the way the paper fits into the broader undermining of American values that’s most troubling.

It is, in fact, just one of many signs of the growing movement against government safeguards. That movement taps into the American spirit of the frontier and a yearning for independence. The movement discounts the fact that a free, functioning society is a society where laws – and yes, government – protect basic privileges which we take for granted. These includes everything from roads that are safe to drive on, lakes that are clean enough to swim in, air that is healthy to breathe, and rivers that do not catch on fire.

A paper like the one put out by National Economic Research Associates not only disregards the value of these government services. It also tries to give a veneer of credibility to those who would undermine so many things Americans cherish. It is time to pull back the curtain and reveal the polluter-funded pseudo-economists for what they really are: anti-regulatory advocates, not independent academics.

AB 742


[emailpetition id=”2″]

August 15, 2011
California State Assembly Members and Senators
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: SUPPORT for AB 742 (B. Lowenthal)

Dear Assembly Member and Senator:

I write today to ask you to support AB 742 (B. Lowenthal). AB 742 is an important measure which would provide greater protection for Native American sacred sites by adding aggregate operations to the list of mining activities prohibited near such sites; specifically the project which threatens the creation place of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. This legislation will also help to protect the Santa Margarita River, the 4,500 acre Santa Margarita Ecological Preserve of San Diego State University, and the Quality of Life for residents in the communities of Temecula, Murrieta, Fallbrook and Rainbow.

This specific article of legislation will not affect mining anywhere else in the state.

Granite Construction Company has applied to the County of Riverside for a Surface Mining Permit to produce 5 million tons aggregate (crushed rock) per year from the proposed Liberty Quarry. The proposed quarry would have a working surface area equivalent to 17 football fields and a depth twenty feet less than the Empire State Building is tall. This would be one of the largest open-pit hard rock mines in the United States and it would also be located at the Pechanga and Luiseño Place of Creation.

The referenced site, while critical to the Pechanga and the Luiseño, is important to the people of the Temecula Valley. Tourism is a critical element in the Temecula Valley, employing 6,600 people directly, providing services to 67,000 visitors per month with an estimated annual impact of 605 million dollars per year. A recent report by the Rose Institute of Claremont McKenna College estimated a negative impact of a minimal impact on tourism of 60.5 million dollars. When considering all costs, the Rose Institute estimated an annual cost to the community of over 80 million dollars. While the quarry might create 99 new jobs, it would destroy at least 660 existing jobs in the tourism industry alone.

It is because of these potential impacts as well as impacts on air quality, water quality and traffic, and the loss of the only remaining wildlife linkage between the Santa Ana mountains and inland mountain ranges, that over 30,000 valley residents have signed petitions seeking to prevent the quarry. In addition, over 520 Businesses and Non-Government Organizations have signed up opposing the quarry. These businesses are joined by 159 local physicians opposing the quarry.

Support AB 742: Save Sacred Sites • Save the Last River

The proposed “Liberty Quarry” project would mark the end of the LAST wild river of Southern California and with it the region’s LAST wildlife corridor between the coastal Santa Ana Mountains and inland Palomar Mountains. Granite Construction’s project would degrade this LAST section of living, vital land., which is filled with the living history of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. The area of living earth which Granite has targeted for destruction is part of a greater area which is replete with all the plant and animal life unique to our area. Destruction of the living earth for the sake of profit is easy, and also forever.

Stewardship of this unique gift of a vital, dynamic, living ecosystem for generations to come may be the more difficult route. It is also what the community wants, what the voters want, and what is right for future generations.

Should the quarry go forward its legacy will be the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources, degradation of the environment, and the birth of long-lasting animosity towards all who would have permitted the project. There are currently over thirty thousand signatories who have expressed their desire to NOT have this project in their community. Other sources for aggregate currently exist in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties.

I respectfully ask you to preserve the Earth and Sky which are Sacred to both Native Americans and to those of us who have made this great land our home. Do not let Granite Construction destroy this land, malign your electorate, and put the business plan of one corporation above the will of thousands who live in the community. Please support AB 742 and help to ensure the preservation of this sacred site for generations to come.