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What should the role of white people be in discussions about appropriation?

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--- Quote ---On the other hand, who the heck am I to speak up on behalf of NDNs, I'm not one, so maybe I shouldn't say anything. Do NDNs even need me or want me to speak up when I see these things happening? Is it presumptuous of me to say anything? Is it any of my business?

Read more: http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3337.0#ixzz1OVR519P2
--- End quote ---

As a non NDN speaking to other non NDNs I make it clear that I am speaking only for myself, as a person concerned with justice and respect for all peoples. As I am speaking only for myself I of course get to express discomfort, opinions, preferences, and passions. I get to say to other white folks "Stop that", "Do you realize how oppressive that is?", "Do you know the origins of that group?", and things along those lines.

I do so knowing that I and others are speaking against a deep belief that Native peoples are available for consumption, a belief that the rest of us have an inherent right to grab anything we please. The prejudices, injustices, mistaken beliefs and all the rest are buried deep and also right up on the surface. Talking to someone who believes it is their right to culturally appropriate anything they damn please is sort of like talking to someone who is really drunk or drugged, or otherwise has their mind altered - there is some kind of trance this puts people in - they believe they have the inherent right to play NDN and that no one can take that from them.

You might try viewing the whole "But we are Swiss, we aren't doing anything wrong" as a diversionary tactic, in other words, you might end up having to avoid getting into that debate. You can stick to what you want to say and not get deterred by the other. When people are determined to rip off other cultures they can come up with a zillion excuses.

Also can be helpful to point out the financial and psychological fraud aspect of many rip off groups.

Whether we like it or not, we white folks are automatically granted power. We can do something positive about this and speak out against injustices. We can also encourage people to look into their own heritage. And we can keep pointing people to this forum.


I have been ruminating over this subject for the last couple of days.  What I have to offer to the discussion should be considered as an opinion.  Mine.  Fact, I have never been to Europe nor have I had occasion to speak to a European person on or about this question.  I am an older Southern White male Scott/Irish with a little NDN thrown into the mix for leavening.  It seems to me that there is a gulf between the European mind set and the Native American having to do with historical culture as well as religion (spirituality).  Catholic thinking has dominated the European mindset for a couple of a thousand years now.  It has always been about control from the top down and while they preach personal everyday spiritual walk and responsibility in practice it has and still is about top down authority. That is to keep control and the masses ignorant.  Native Spirituality on the other hand in most cases has and is about one’s own personal responsibility to the Creator.  As the European people become more enlightened they see the flaws in the top down approach.  They become more rebellious and start to seek Spiritual fulfillment from other sources. Some go back to their prehistory roots, that’s fine. I take the Christian view and try to live it from the Native American perspective of being responsible to only the Creator and no one in-between.  The problem is one that is endemic to those European cultures that have been ruled top down by both church and state for centuries in that it seems to foster a since of entitlement.  Look at Europe.  In a lot of cases they have let self-determination be replaced by a system of social welfare rather than independence.  Rather than look to other cultures they should stay true to their own DNA.  I have for many years now studied the Native American’s culture and Spirituality not from a desire to appropriate but so that I do not offend my friends.  Their cultural and Spiritual way is their way if at a ceremony, by their invitation, I can support them in it by lifting them up using my own prayer relationship with Creator.  I would not want to inhibit their communication with Creator by inserting a foreign element into the mix.  There is also the fact that when people not raised in a culture attempt to access the Spirituality of said culture without the proper protocols and training bad things can happen.   This is offered for your perusal with all due respect and honor.  I am “LittleOldMan”


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