Update: Alaska Pagan Community Center Destroyed by Sockeye Wildfire

WILLOW, Alaska – A Pagan community center in the Sockeye region of Alaska has completely burned down in a wildfire. The community center consisted of over nine acres of woods with four cabins, and is now considered a total loss. Center Director Anthony Bailey said clean up efforts are underway, and he is asking for financial assistance to help rebuild the center. The Alaska Pagan Community Center, more commonly known as The Land, is located near Willow.  It opened about five years ago as a non-profit nature sanctuary and Pagan retreat.

Pagan Community Notes: Sockeye Wildfire, Christopher Blackwell, Charleston and more

On Sunday, June 13, a wildfire exploded in Willow, Alaska, about 80 miles north of Anchorage. According to reports, the wildfire went from covering 2 acres to 6,500 acres within a matter of hours. Gov. Bill Walker has declared the region a “disaster area,” with an estimated 1700 people displaced from their now-destroyed homes. Along with residents, firefighters have had to rescue hundreds of sled dogs, as wells as goats, sheep, horses and many other local animals. Making its home in Willow and now nestled within that devastated region is the Alaska Pagan Community Center (PCC). Fondly called “The Land,” the PCC is a “non-profit Nature Sanctuary and Earth Retreat Center … where people can come out to … celebrate the changing of the seasons and create a relationship with others and the earth that sustains us.” It was purchased just over 5 years ago and has served the local Pagan community ever since.

Quick Notes: Asylum From Witch-Hunts, Vandalism in Alaska, and Sarah Palin

Just a few quick news notes for you to start your Monday. Asylum For Witch-Hunt Victims: A Nigerian woman in Britain is fighting deportation on the grounds that she will be hunted and killed as a witch in her country if sent back. Cynthia Owie came to the UK in 2008 with her infant daughter, shorty after the baby sadly contracted meningitis and died, now Owie says she is receiving death threats from fellow Nigerians accusing her of witchcraft in the child’s death and is seeking asylum. Ms Owie, 33, said: “I have been threatened that I will be killed if I go back. I have been told I am a witch and murdered our daughter.” Ms Owie also claims she was treated “like an animal” at the Yarl’s Wood detention centre, in Bedford, where failed asylum seekers are held before removal. Her cause has been taken up by West Ham MP Lyn Brown as well as members of the Ascension Parish Church in Custom House, east London, which has been providing Ms Owie with accommodation and support for two years. Rev Chris Hanson, the vicar of the church, took the case to the Home Office last week and said the community was praying that she would be allowed to stay. “Cynthia’s case is one in a thousand,” he said.

Update: Palin’s Anti-Pagan Coreligionists

Since I first posted about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin’s troubling co-religionists, the mainstream press and several major blogs have homed in on the blessing Palin received from the African Bishop Thomas Muthee. “Palin describes the visit of Pastor Thomas Muthee to the Wasilla Assembly of God in 2005. “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying ‘Lord make a way, Lord make a way,'” Palin remarked. “And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are,” she continued.

Christianity Exterminates Our Culture

Alaskan Tlingit Don Hoff Jr. (Aan Kadax Tseen) writes a searing editorial for the Ketchikan paper SitNews that blames Christianity for nearly “exterminating” Tlingit Culture.”Look today at the divisions caused by religion amongst Tlingits in your villages. It is not just Tlingits, I see divisions amongst Haidas and Tsimshians people, and I will not speak for them. We have 141 years of history that shows the demise of our Tlingit Culture, caused by Non-Natives brainwashing and assimilation by Non-Natives that God is the way. Non-Native religion has single handedly exterminated Tlingit Culture as we knew it.”Aan Kadax Tseen’s solution to this near-extermination? An abandonment of non-Native religions and churches.