Human Journey

How the BioBlitz Ties Us All to the Sacred Earth

Cecil Manuel, of the Cecil B. Manuel Inter-Tribal Dancers, shared his cultural and spiritual knowledge at the recent BioBlitz in Saguaro National Park. Among the dances he demonstrated was the Hoop Dance. “There are so many different stories that we tell about the dances. Different tribes have different versions of how they came about,” he told me in this video interview at the BioBlitz. Through his dance and knowledge, he demonstrated an ancient cultural affinity with the Saguaro region.

“Traditionally, Akimel O’odham, my people, are from here,” Manuel explained. “They respected and used everything that was in this environment. People would pray, and the Creator would show them how to use what was here. Everything here, rocks and everything, was here for a different reason, so they were used with respect.

“That’s the tie I have here, to the Earth … and everybody should be like that. That’s the purpose of the BioBlitz, to show people that this is important, it’s not just a piece of land, it affects us all as human beings.”

12418031_10153900711084116_8462971761216697621_nDavid Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.

He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 50,000 readers have participated in 10,000 conversations.

Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • […] Manuel of the Cecil B. Manuel Inter-Tribal Dancers shares his cultural and spiritual knowledge with National Geographic at the recent BioBlitz in Saguaro National Park. “There are so many different stories that we […]

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media