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Lakota Spirituality and Exploitation Issue

Discussion in 'Native American DIR' started by SkinnyCheruscian, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. SkinnyCheruscian

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    Hi there,

    where to begin: A (white) friend of mine has lived on a Lakota rez for two years in teh 1970s and visited the rez throughout the 80s, and has had a sweat in Europe for about 25 years, to which I have been going.

    I mentioned this recently in another forum, where this was not well received at all (New age frauds and plastic shamans), quite to the contrary. I was perceived as just another plastic shaman, and told their forum was not a place to present my views, I were wrong and my words would be very offending to all Natives. They seemed to hold the view that only Natives should lead and participate in Lakota ceremonies.

    I was wondering whether the assertion was true that a majoity of Lakota and Native Americans in general shares such views, or whether the above site rather represents one view among others. In this context, I am aware of the "war declaration against exploiters of Lakota spirituality" of 1993, as well as a statement of Chief Arvol Looking Horse in a similar vein (but more explicit on ethnicity) from 2003.

    I do not quite agree with those statements; I used to believe it is theoretically possible for whites to get involved into this path, obviously with the long term aim to find our own ways. Pending, I think having a working framework as a guidance, such as the traditional Lakota ways, can be useful. But there would be not much point in this if there was a broad opposition against it. My friend and other people I know have been to SD in the 1980s and from their reports ethnicity was not such a big issue at that time. However, they had Lakota friends and were introduced, and thus did not come as intruders.

    I don't want to continue doing something that offends or is highly controversial. I disagree with the statements quoted above, but maybe a certain type of Nationalism is what the Lakota Nation needs at the moment to not lose their heritage. It is difficult to understand race politics in the US from a European perspective, and at the end of the day I admit that I probably just know far to little to agree or disagree on the issue.

    Another thing complicating the issue are the many "frauds and plastic shamans", i.e. imposters who have little if any authentic qualification or background, and who charge money for sweats, mix the ritual with random elements from the New Age catalogue, etc. Thus I see that Natives have a point in thinking it was wrong to open their ways to outsiders (e.g. see tragic events in Arizona).

    comments appreciated
    cheers
     
  2. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    I know that I have talked with a few native shamans, Lenape, Cherokee, Sioux, Nez Perce, Cree, and Mingo (at least I think she was). And all of them shared the view above. Sadly, I cannot speak for the Native tribes being that I'm not one of them. But I do know that alot of them have negative feelings about non-natives conducting native practices.

    Hopefully an actual native can give you better information.
     
  3. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    I only know from the few eastern elders I've spoken with. They seem to feel so long as you approach with a good heart, and don't claim anything that does not belong to you as your own, you are fine.

    I know this doesn't hold for all nations or elders. I also know that a lot of people like to stake a claim on something the can not own.

    wa:do
     
  4. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    If I recall correctly, one of the defining attributes that they expressed distaste about was the "white" person collecting payment for the ceremony.
     
  5. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    Paying to pray is a cardinal sin in Native Faith. You can not own faith. Frankly selling access to faith turns the whole procedure into a whore.

    wa:do
     
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  6. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Precisely
     
  7. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    A more-or-less New Age practitioner told me that it not only is acceptable to charge, but desireable, as money is energy and an exchange needs to take place. Sort of like the tithing thing: God gives/we return to God a portion. Does the same not hold true for NA faith?

    It has nothing to do with ownership;it has everything to do with reciprocity.
     
  8. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    No it does not. Money is an anathema to Native American spirituality. It is a corrupting force and nothing more.

    Under no circumstances does money ever change hands in Native Spirituality. You can not sell what is sacred. (No matter how you try to twist around it) You can not buy your way to holiness it is not something that can be hunted or owned or even given away.

    Western culture is obsessed with ownership and the buying and selling of things. Spirituality for the First Nations is not something that can be given or taken... it is simply something you live.

    Native American Spirituality is fundamentally socialist.... New Age is fundamentally capitalist. The exchange of money for access to Creator is not reciprocity, it is like charging someone to breath the air... it is IMHO evil.

    wa:do
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Thanks for the clarification. I really respect that attitude. Wish Western spirituality were the same.
     
  10. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    You're welcome, and thank you.
    I think there is potential for Western spirituality... look at the story of Jesus and the Money lenders in the temple.

    wa:do
     
  11. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Are there any good books or web sites that delve into NA spirituality? I'd like to learn more, but want to stay away from the New Age and the sappy.
     
  12. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    I would start by checking the official website of the Nation you want to learn more about. :D

    wa:do
     
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