Global Encyclopedia of Territorial Rights

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael Kocsis

Right to Sacred Places and the Meaning of Religious Freedom

Living reference work entry



Indigenous knowledge does not generally dichotomize sacred and secular as is done in Western cultures. Land and the environment are considered sacred. While there are specific places that hold particular significance for Indigenous people and communities, land, and everything contained within it, is believed to be animate and contain spirit, and therefore is sacred.


Discussions involving Indigenous land rights are both ubiquitous and oft-avoided in mainstream society. Indigenous access to sacred lands has been a prevalent issue around the world since the beginning of colonization of Indigenous populations. When discussions do occur, they usually center around legalities of land ownership and technicalities in various governmental jurisdictions. While the topic of religious freedom is usually introduced into these discussions, frequently it is subordinated by Western societies and...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Valdosta State UniversityValdostaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lavonna L. Lovern
    • 1
  1. 1.Valdosta State UniversityValdostaUSA