front cover of Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground
Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground
An Ethnography of Climate Change in Shishmaref, Alaska
Elizabeth Marino
University of Alaska Press, 2015
With three roads and a population of just over 500 people, Shishmaref, Alaska seems like an unlikely center of the climate change debate. But the island, home to Iñupiaq Eskimos who still live off subsistence harvesting, is falling into the sea, and climate change is, at least in part, to blame. While countries sputter and stall over taking environmental action, Shishmaref is out of time.

Publications from the New York Times to Esquire have covered this disappearing village, yet few have taken the time to truly show the community and the two millennia of traditions at risk. In Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground, Elizabeth Marino brings Shishmaref into sharp focus as a place where people in a close-knit, determined community are confronting the realities of our changing planet every day. She shows how physical dangers challenge lives, while the stress and uncertainty challenge culture and identity. Marino also draws on Shishmaref’s experiences to show how disasters and the outcomes of climate change often fall heaviest on those already burdened with other social risks and often to communities who have contributed least to the problem. Stirring and sobering, Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground proves that the consequences of unchecked climate change are anything but theoretical.


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Sacred Ground
Edward Tabor Linenthal
University of Illinois Press, 1991
      Americans have persistently expressed fascination with the nation's most
        famous battlefields through patriotic rhetoric, monument building, physical
        preservation, and battle reenactment. But each site is also a place where
        different groups of Americans come to compete for ownership of cherished
        national stories and to argue about the meaning of war, the importance
        of martial sacrifice, and the significance of preserving the nation's
        patriotic landscape.
      From the anniversary speeches at Lexington and Concord that shaped the
        image of the minuteman to Alamo Day speeches invoking the Texas "freedom
        fighters" of 1836 in support of the contras in Nicaragua; from passionate
        arguments over the placement of Confederate monuments at Gettysburg to
        confrontations between militant American Indian Movement and "Custer
        loyalists" during the Little Bighorn centennial in 1976; from the
        treatment of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor to continuing attempts
        to maintain the purity of these places in the face of commercialization---Sacred
        Ground details the ongoing struggles to define, control, and subvert
        patriotic faith as expressed at these ceremonial sites.

front cover of Sacred Ground
Sacred Ground
The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black
Timuel D. Black Jr., as told to Susan Klonsky, edited by Bart Schultz
Northwestern University Press, 2019
Timuel Black is an acclaimed historian, activist, and storyteller. Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black chronicles the life and times of this Chicago legend.

Sacred Ground opens in 1919, during the summer of the Chicago race riot, when infant Black and his family arrive in Chicago from Birmingham, Alabama, as part of the first Great Migration. He recounts in vivid detail his childhood and education in the Black Metropolis of Bronzeville and South Side neighborhoods that make up his "sacred ground."

Revealing a priceless trove of experiences, memories, ideas, and opinions, Black describes how it felt to belong to this place, even when stationed in Europe during World War II. He relates how African American soldiers experienced challenges and conflicts during the war, illuminating how these struggles foreshadowed the civil rights movement. A labor organizer, educator, and activist, Black captures fascinating anecdotes and vignettes of meeting with famous figures of the times, such as Duke Ellington and Martin Luther King Jr., but also with unheralded people whose lives convey lessons about striving, uplift, and personal integrity.

Rounding out this memoir, Black reflects on the legacy of his friend and mentee, Barack Obama, as well as on his public works and enduring relationships with students, community workers, and some very influential figures in Chicago and the world.

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