Author Topic: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?  (Read 27846 times)

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« on: September 12, 2007, 08:43:18 pm »
I've been thinking about the decisions which were made in 2003 , which were intended to protect Lakota Ceremonies from further abuse and exploitation, and I've been trying to get my head around why people keep saying this is "controversial ".
 
The most commonly heard complaint, seems to be that people don't agree with excluding non native people .

However , when I carefully read through the statement on the protection of ceremonies , non native people are only excluded from central roles in some Ceremonies , and from taking over and running Ceremonies . It seems   the guidelines set out , leave a lot of room , for continued non native participation , if Ceremonial leaders want to allow this .

These guidelines are explained in the links below ;

http://www.dlncoalition.org/dln_issues/protection_of_ceremonies.htm

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1057586779

Why is that controversial?

Every other tribe seems to put limits on non tribal members participation in ceremonies , and every other tribe seems to see these limits as necessary to maintain the health of their culture .  When other tribes decided to limit non native participation , this decision seems to be respected as their right . In other tribes these decisions don't seem to get pumped up into this big controversy .

For example ;

http://www.nau.edu/~hcpo-p/current/hopi_ipr.htm
"Well-meaning people, who would never think of going up to the altar during a wedding to ask questions, have nonetheless interrupted, distracted, or simply gotten in the way of Hopi  ceremonies. Unless you are invited, the simplest rule is to stay out of kivas (ceremonial rooms) and stay on the periphery of dances or processions."

"Although the Hopi believe the ceremonies are intended for the benefit of all people, they also believe benefits only result when ceremonies are properly performed and protected."

http://www.uta.fi/FAST/US2/PAPS/ek-hopi.html

"The Hopi people strongly believe that their religion is a private issue, which does not concern non-Hopis. According to their values non-Hopis should under no circumstances be converted to the Hopi religion. In part this is due to the fact that the Hopi religion is so complex that it is impossible for one person to know or understand it thoroughly. However, the Hopi also feel that their religion is tied to their ancestry and past; therefore it is impossible for people outside the tribe to be a part of the religion (Hopi Tribe, Cultural).

The Hopi desire for privacy has been greatly promoted over the years by several non-Hopi individuals who have gained financially by proclaiming themselves experts on Hopi spirituality or even by claiming they have the knowledge and the permission of the Hopi tribe to perform Hopi ceremonies (Hopi Tribe, Cultural)."


The Navajo ;

http://discovernavajo.com/articles/a_season_of_new_beginning_20070328_1.html

"The Blessing Way Ceremony or the Beauty Way Ceremony is one of many traditional Navajo
ceremonies still conducted today."

"These ceremonies are usually private and visitors can only attend if invited. "


The Lummi ;
http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096415561

"Most potlatches include traditional religious practices and are not open to the public. "

The Anishnabi;

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:tvtN7wALNRYJ:www.law.uvic.ca/demcon/papers/Turner-Background
Paper.doc+Anishnabi+Midewewin&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca

"For the Anishnabi, we have the Midewewin Lodge (Midé), which is a society of medicine people who are responsible for preserving Anishnabi philosophy and ceremonies. To become a full member of the Lodge requires one to be of high moral character (as judged by other medicine people) and years of difficult training and study. All of this learning is done in the Anishnabi language, and all Anishnabi people, while many are not privileged to sit in the Midé, learn from these wisdom keepers."

The Seminole ;

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GER/is_n94/ai_21260287/pg_17
"We talked for a while about the ceremony: Bobby had just decided on the date for that year's Green Corn Dance. It was only a few weeks away and though I would have liked to have attended, I knew that even asking if I could come would be a mistake because of the Traditional Seminoles' strong feeling that it is a private ceremony. "

----------------
The Pueblo: Farmers of the Southwest
 By Mary Englar
In many villages today, the Pueblo keep some religious ceremonies private. Visitors are not allowed to watch these ceremonies.

The Cree ;

http://www.creetourism.ca/cree-events.asp?u=

"As Cree we represent a culture that respects the importance of ceremony, ritual and beliefs in our everyday lives. Some of our ceremonies are private and others public; "

The Cherokee ;
Powwow
 By Luke E. Lassiter, Gary H. Dunham, Clyde Ellis
"The Eastern Cherokee's now arrange Stomp Dance evenings as intimate affairs for themselves and invited visitors only ."


The Mohawk ;

http://www.capitalrep.org/pdfs/IroquoisSGP1.pdf.

"Most Haudenosaunee ceremonies, held on the reservations in special buildings called the Longhouse, are not open to the public. Followers of the traditional religious rituals wish to remain private, conducting their special ceremonies only with others sharing their beliefs and language."

Many of the tribes mentioned above, do not allow non tribal members to even observe some of these ceremonies. The idea that non tribal members should have an "equal opprotunity" to run tribal ceremonies - or tribal members should be able to charge non tribal members money to attend - would be completely unthinkable .  In yet this comes up over and over when it comes to Lakota Ceremonies . So I have been wondering .... Why ?

Laurel

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 09:23:54 pm »
A two-year-old says "Gimme!"  A grown person who has not progressed past the mindset of a two year old "finds things controversial."  It still means Gimme!

Also, most US Caucasians were brought up in a predominantly Christian society.  That mindset says "Give me [religion] away to everyone at the top of your lungs, and force me on people who don't want me!"  That, plus the misunderstood notion of religious freedom, accounts for some of this mess.

Contemporary US society is empty and broken.  It often produces empty, broken people who will clutch at any straw they can to feel better about themselves because they literally have no idea of what community and religion really mean.  They want "the Lakota stuff" because they saw Dances With Wolves or A Man Called Horse, or because they read Hanta Yo!  They know something's wrong with them, but they fear the introspective work that leads to change, so they chase a drum, or a Tibetan Buddhist mandala, or a Christian Fundamentalist leader, or a cult, or...

Add in the fact that a lot of the "Native American spirituality" books folks can readily get their hands on pertain (or pretend to pertain) to things Lakota, and there you have it.

My two cents,
Laurel

Offline LittleOldMan

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007, 09:41:11 pm »
Mama PO  Some items for your consideration.  Lakota traditions belong to the Lakota period.  They have the right to say who, what, when, why and how on their traditions and ceremony.  History:  Wild west shows ie Buffalo Bill, the "Dime Novel", Custer, "Little Big Man", "Dances With Wolves"  Cowboys and Indians The Wild West movies etc all of these contribute to the desire of some to obtain that which is prohibited.  Europeans have ingrained in their culture "Might is Right"  they can't stand as a rule for someone to say you have no right to something.  Also among some people there is a spiritual void and they search for a way to fill it anywhere and in anyway they can.  Read into this something called "White Guilt"  Controversal?  IMO this goes to "Might is Right" mindset.  I would like to hear Earth7's opinion on this she should have some upclose and personal observations to relate.  These are only my observations and I may be entirely off base.  Yours to consider  "LittleOldMan"
Blind unfocused anger is unproductive and can get you hurt.  Controlled and focused anger directed tactically wins wars. Remember the sheath is not the sword.

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2007, 10:21:54 pm »
I guess partly the problem is, that everything that isn't firmly nailed down to a tribal community or protected by a organized and centralized system of tribal authority is vulnerable to getting ripped off , or sold by some unscrupulous individual , and pretty much everything that is vulnerable to getting ripped off, has been .

And media exposure and books and movies have probably been large contributing factors .

But another problem I see over and over , comes up when Lakota leaders say it is OK for Native people who are not Lakota to participate , but it isn't OK for non native people to participate .

Arvol Looking Horse
Quote
"In the early 70’s, Chief Fools Crow and my father Stanley Looking Horse decided to allow other Native Nations to participate in these Rites."

In urban areas where Native people practice these traditions, removed from the context of a tribal community this idea of racial segregation , as a practical solution to protecting ceremonies usually gets ignored . 

I'd like to explain what I see happening .

Once the rights to these traditions get passed to a Native person outside of a Lakota community and become practiced in an urban community , these Lakota ways often become a common ground between people from different tribal backgrounds .

As we all know, about 1/2 of all Native people now live outside of a tribal community in urban environments . Many of these people have never lived on a reservation . These urban ndns come from a mixture of many tribal backgrounds and traditions , and they are often a mixture of native and non native .  Different tribes have different enrollment criteria , and in urban areas there is constantly situations where someone who has never lived in a Native community is enrolled because they are 1/64 Cherokee , but someone else who grew up
in a Native community , isn't enrolled because they are only 3/16 and their community requires 1/4.

In urban areas it often seems really unfair defining who is and who isn't Indian , based on enrollment. Because this often seems so unfair , many Native people in urban areas don't use enrollment to define this . On top of this , in urban areas more than 1/2 of the Native population is married to non native people , which means they often have non native relatives , step children and close friends .

So , from what I've seen , when people don't live with their tribe, it can be really difficult to define and agree on what exactly is a "Native person" . Because of this difficulty , in urban areas , the idea that only Native people should participate in the sensitive areas of Lakota ceremonies, usually gets ignored . Once people with no clear tribal affiliation have participated in these ceremonies for several years or even decades , they and their friends become a really strong lobby group .

Another thing I see over and over is many of these Native Nations who are having these traditions "shared" with their individual members , have not lost their own cultures , and often no group of tribal Elders got together and consented to this "sharing".

For example ;

http://www.ammsa.com/buffalospirit/index.htm
 "Although the Elders I spoke to were from various parts of the country, they all seemed to have the same concerns, concerns about the blending of spiritual and ceremonial components from various tribes to form new ceremonies."

"The Elders I spoke to are not trying to stop young people from learning about culture. As a matter of fact, they believe that culture and spirituality is how people heal themselves either from the abuses of the residential schools or whatever obstacles have been placed in their path. The concern is that people should try to learn their own spiritual ways without borrowing from other tribes. "


http://www.naho.ca/publications/codeofBehaviour.pdf.

"Community members and Elders expressed a concern that their young families, and in particular their youth, seem to be more attracted to the spiritual practices of other nations. Haudenosaunee communities expressed great concerns over families practicing other nation’s teachings and seemingly forsaking their own traditions. Of central concern was what they referred to as new age healers, both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal, who use spiritual teachings. More specifically, members and Elders were worried that new age healers were bringing non-Haudenosaunee ceremonies, such as the use of peyote sage, sweet grass, ceremonial pipes, sweat lodges and tee-pees, into their communities. Another concern was that the spirit names that are often given in other ceremonies seem to be far more attractive than Mohawk names "

One thing I noticed , is in the protection of ceremonies decree, this sharing is always spoken of as a sharing with another Native Nation .

If this was truly how these traditions were shared - with another Native Nation , maybe this sharing could work , without blurring so many protective boundaries . If the Native persons these Lakota ways were shared with , were required to show not only an enrollment card , but also that they had the support of their own tribal Nation, and it was known that a few of their own tribal Elders agreed to make sure they had ongoing day to day support , maybe that would help to keep the Lakota traditions that are shared outside of the Lakota Nation , in balance ?

It seems when the right to lead Lakota Ceremonies is shared with Native people who live in primarily non native communities , the way this usually works out is , these Ceremonies are being shared with a lot of non native people . And all the problems that come up when this happens, do come up . From what I have seen , this
is one of the reasons so many non native people and non native values, have come to have an influence in how Lakota traditions are maintained and protected. Or not maintained and protected.

Maybe obtaining support from a persons tribal Elders before these people are given the right to lead any Ceremonies isn't practical , and maybe it would be just as difficult to reach a consensus on this , as it has been to reach any agreement on excluding non native people. But I think that would help lessen the chaos .

I hope sharing my perspective, as an outsider , isn't just rude  . This isn't my business , but , people practicing Lakota traditions have become so widespread , the decisions made in the Lakota Nation affect people in many other communities .

I would also be interested in hearing what Earthw7 or other L/D/N people have to say .
 
If there is something I am not understanding hopefully someone will correct me .

(edited to say what I am trying to say more clearly . The situation is so complicated my brain gets tangled )
« Last Edit: September 13, 2007, 09:29:33 pm by Moma_porcupine »

Offline earthw7

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2007, 12:59:39 am »
I don't have the answers for all your questions but I can explain the best way I can.
The American Indian Movement was a movement of Urban Indians. They asked for help
relearning their cultures and asked Lakotas elders to help. They had Indian peopl from all
over with the movement and they were taught the Lakota way. What happen i these people
moved back to their cities and took the ways with them. Most did not know all the ways.
The abuse of our culture happened when they used our culture to teach others around them
In Spirit

Offline earthw7

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2007, 01:21:20 am »
We did not know that so many people would abuse our way of life
and offer NO help to our people.
We believe in helping everyone but we must help our own people first.
We are now aking for tribal enrollment cards at our ceremonies and
if you are from another tribe you must provide us with your
enrollment cards or have an enroll member speak for you. We ask who
you are related too and names of people from the to speak for you.
We don't go for the my great great great great grandma was indian.
We know that many have offered our people money to each these things,
when you come from apoor people like we do people will take the money.
It is ashamed.
Sites like this help to get the word out and it also teaches our people what
is happening out there.
I feel bad because here are good people in this world that honor our way of
life but we must turn our back on them so we can live.
We must live and in order to do that we must have our ceremonies
I do get mad when it is our people who went to jail just to pray now
People think that they have rights to our ways and they do not.
 
In Spirit

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2007, 02:50:08 am »
Thanks for all the information Earth . It helps . 

I have seen a lot of bad stuff , and it makes me crabby . Especially when I see no end in sight .
Earthw7

Quote
I feel bad because here are good people in this world that honor our way of life but we must turn our back on them so we can live.

I don't think you should feel badly about the good people who can no longer attend some ceremonies .

If people really are good , they will put the long term health of the culture ahead of them personally needing to be in the middle of everything . If they have a real connection with the culture and your community , they will benifit much more from things continuing to be done in a good way, and the strength of the people and the Elders , than they would from being in the middle of places they don't really belong . If the culture becomes just an empty shell , what good is going to come from "everybody" being able to "share' it ? A small amount of something good , is a lot better than a whole bunch of nothing - or worse a whole bunch of garbage  ....

I have been noticing a lot of the people who want to 'share' these ways with everyone , come from the Pine Ridge area , so your explanation about the urban Indians involved with AIM being the begining of the Lakota culture ending up outside of the balance provided by a Native community , makes a lot of sense .

Earthw7
Quote
We know that many have offered our people money to each these things, when you come from apoor people like we do people will take the money.

Of course that would happen . People are human and naturally move towards what they need . When people don't have everything they need ,  of course they would appreciate money and gifts . The problem is often people slowly start to change how they do things and who they teach , to get those gifts . It is just sad . 

This only affects other communities , when people are given the right to lead ceremonies outside the Lakota community .
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 03:15:40 am by Moma_porcupine »

frederica

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2007, 03:41:49 am »
I wouldn't feel bad, I agree with Moma, this is just another example. A few years ago the Hopi had to do the same. Someone stole a Ceremonial Mask from a Kiva' Long story, but to make it short they had to go to court to get it back. After that they closed the mesas to all non-Indians and non-enrolled Ndns. I've seen where some invited themselves to a Stomp, were told they could not tape it. But they did anyway on the sly. You have to do what you have to do to protect the Culture. You will never stop all of them as they are making money from this. But you can tighten the Circle and educate people to the hypocrisy of it all. To many of them it is not even a belief, it's just an experience.

Offline earthw7

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2007, 02:00:30 pm »
I want to finish what I was saying last night my granddaughter wascalling me to read stories so i cut it short.
The southern bands of the Oglala and Brules seem to be the ones who everyone goes too because of AIM.
AIM was not welcomed on my reservation.
When the Freedom Of Religion act was enacted in 1978 many people started to open up about what we kept
secret. Around here we did not have the large AIM influence or the non Indian.
s westarted visiting other areas ceremonies we were shocked at the white people wo came to particpate in
ceremonies.
I had really good friends who lived here on the reservation. We made them a part of our family they taught me respect. They would attend our cremonies but only to help with cooking or getting wood. They said that
our ceremonies belong to us and they need to respect our ceremonies. They never infered or demand to be apart.
We thought that all people would rspect our ways like these people. When the man died we buried him with honor and with our traditions. His wife we still care for her today. They were good people.
Then I ran into people who dmand our ways and this was a shocked to us.
We made rules right away to protect ourselves from them.
I attend Avrol's meeting here on my reservation he did not make these rules by himself it was many elder from Indian country.
In Spirit

frederica

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2007, 04:05:37 pm »
Not arguing this, you know your facts, but have to say something about AIM. I've known some good people with AIM have also met some less than good. They have had their problems with splits, people who claim they are AIM and are not, people that start unrecognized chapters, some with names just close to the orginal to give the impression. I think most  Nations run their own, and do not need outside interference. Overall, I think they still have a place.

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2007, 04:54:53 pm »
What Earthw7 is saying about this controversy being generated by a small group of people has come up before;

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=663.msg3280#msg3280

In reply #1 educatedindian mentioned

Quote
"The way Wallis talks about conflict gives a false impression, as though Lakota and other NDNs are split down the middle  "so don't worry about Native critics, dear Nuagers and pagans." What he fails to mention was the margin the tribal vote barring ceremonies to outsiders won by, more than 95% in favor."

Could anyone give more information on this vote ? If the details of this information was on line , it would probably help to put this "controversy" in perspective .

The information Earth is providing is really helpful . I never understood all the different areas and factions .I guess it is obvious to people living in the Lakota community , but to outsiders it can be completely mind boggling .

I don't want anyone to explain things which could lead to them being harrassed , but there is some stuff I have wondered .

One of the things is , in many traditions , people in AIM wouldn't have been taught anything about leading
Spiritual ceremonies because Warriors and Spiritual leaders have very different roles and the two can't be mixed . I knew someone who had been involved in AIM in the 1970's , who lived in a tribe with a strong culture , and their Elder's were really upset because they had been being taught some of the Spiritual traditions and their involvement in AIM and violence , meant they couldn't be taught anything . Is this different for the Lakota people ?

Interesting that Leonard Crow Dog was the Spiritual leader for AIM . I see his decision to share with outsiders , has progressed to selling DVDs about himself and a website to attract Japenese tourists who are interested in experiencing Lakota Spirituality .

http://www.swnkacangi.com/contents/eng/monetary.html

I also know a couple non Lakota people given the right to lead ceremonies to , who Leonard Crow Dog taught. From what I saw it wasn't working out very well . 

It's interesting to see the area where AIM came into the picture , and that people in these areas got in the habit of sharing with outsiders , and this is Oglala territory .

One of the  main people who has written and published objections to the 2003 decision to exclude non natives is Tom Kanatakeniate Cook . He is Mohawk , but he married into an Oglala family .

http://www.geocities.com/wahohwahpe/ban8.html

In the article in the link above , Tom frequently quotes Chief American Horse (Sept. 14, 1896) who said , "Anyone may dance the sun dance if he will do as the Oglalas do," as a protocal to include non natives , but according to JR American Horse , this statement in 1896 was made to other Lakota , when there was no white people around.

When I read Tom's objections , he makes it sound like his major concern is that excluding people on the basis of race isn't fair , though I notice he sidesteps the issue of charging for ceremonies . In another article he suggested gifts have always been a part of Ceremonies , and he interprets this as a monetary exchange . He also seems to be concerned that any abuses need to be taken care of by the extended family , and not by any central authority , which he points out is not traditional to the Lakota people .

While this argument sounds like he is concerned with the love of all mankind and the integrity of the culture , I notice this decentralized political structure leaves decisions about what's exploitation,  very vulnerable to anyone with a soft spot toward their own family members .

Seeing what Tom Cook is now supporting, it seems likely his "concerns" are primarily economic .

http://www.newhouse.com/sweat-lodge-steam,-song-and-meditation-6.html

"
Quote
Kakwiranoron Cook, an Oglala Lakota, sits in the American Indian sweat lodge of the Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y. Cook's Mohawk Indian father, Thomas Cook, built the sweat lodge, and Kakwiranoron will oversee interpretation of the sweat lodge experience. (Photo by Heather Bragman)
"

His son will be charging $300 for the experience  . More information can be found in the thread below .

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=961.0

The Turning Stone Resort was set up by Ray Halbritter . You can read about who this man is and his relationship with his community in the link below .

---------------------------
(edited to update dead link )
http://web.archive.org/web/20070614194703/http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/866

---------------

Yikesola is all I can say ... Do these people really care about their culture and the wellbeing of Indian people? Sounds like the main interest here is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Maybe some people honestly feel the economic development Spiritual tourism brings , is worth it . If a lot of other people don't agree , and it is their culture too , I can see where this could be very controversial . 

Even John Martin , AKA Tallsoldier77 who seems to try to undermine anyone involved with the protection of ceremonies , fits into this general pattern , as I see he says he is Oglala .

The dots are begining to connect, into an AHA moment!

So , it looks like this controversy developed when Ceremonies were opened up to urban Indians who were
involved in AIM and through this , Lakota ceremonies became introduced to a lot of Native and non native people in urban areas . Those people then began coming to Lakota communities wanting to learn more and and they often brought gifts which were both appreciated and needed .

I can see that if over time this slowly developed into cultural tourism , the community would become more and more divided as this slowly crept in , with some people becoming more dependent on tourism , the money and and gifts , and other Lakota people becoming more opposed and disgusted .

What goes on in the Lakota communities is an internal matter , and I know I have no business commenting on this , but as someone who has been repeatedly affected by persons given the right, to lead Lakota ceremonies outside the Lakota community , I have something I want to say . I'm sorry if this is rude, but I have to live with these pysdo medicine people in my community and though I try and avoid them they are in my face whether I want them to be or not ... Even if I avoid them they are friends of friends , at community functions, ect .

First of all , though I don't see the point in nonnative people leading Lakota ceremonies for nonnative people , my main concern isn't so much what someones race is, or what color they are, but what their character is and what kind of community support they will have .

When Earthw7 says " They do not know all our ways ", this is probably true for any Elder or medicine person .

The Hopi explained this very well when they said ;

"According to their values non-Hopis should under no circumstances be converted to the Hopi religion. In part this is due to the fact that the Hopi religion is so complex that it is impossible for one person to know or understand it thoroughly. "

No matter how well someone is taught , a lot of problems come up when these ways are practiced outside of the
knowledge base in the community where they originated.

People passing on these traditions without knowing someones relationships with their community , and without the support of these peoples tribal Elders , shouldn't deceive themselves about what they are doing . People who are influenced by gifts or even friendship to teach these ways so they can be practiced outside of the Lakota community need to realize what they are passing on, just by being removed from the community , is often a DAMAGED tradition which is likely to not work properly .

The other thing that seems to be a problem , is that in most traditions the right to lead ceremonies is only passed on to people of good character. Unless Elders live in a persons community , and know how they get along with
their enemies , there is no way anyone can really know what someones true character is . I hear of Native people who pass the right to a ceremony on because of a vision , and though I can't comment on that , I can ask if they really intended to pass the rights to these ceremonies on to people who are known to be untrustworthy in their own communities ? Because that is what I have seen happening .

I know of people who are Native who would not be given the right to lead ceremonies in their own community , who have gone to the Lakota and a few months later they come back  a" medicine men" . As they aren't particularly welcome in their own communities they often lead ceremonies for non natives who don't know any better . Over the years these people teach and pass the right to lead these ceremonies on to their "friends", and their friends are often not affiliated with any tribe. These people have no community to guide them and keep them on track.

If a Native person says they have no culture , but they want to learn , they aren't completely a native person anymore. Just like a second generation Japenese American is no longer completely Japenese.  Before people can regain their culture they need to regain their community because culture and community cannot be seperated
Community is where we actually live. Community cannot be rebuilt through annual visits or a couple months or a couple of years of brotherly love in a Lakota community . Thats just as much escapism and fanatasy , as when non indians do it .

Making sure a person has day to day contact with tribal Elders who live in their community and who will support them in leading ceremonies , would do a lot to help retain and build healthy communities . 

I know I probably sound really obnoxious and like I am telling people who know a lot more than I do what to do. I probably have no business doing this .

But the long list of abuses I have seen , tracks back directly to what I am describing , and just excluding non natives is not dealing with the real root of the problem .

I made a list of some of these abuses I've seen , in the thread "whats the harm".

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1110.0;all

I don't care how many pendlton blankets someone got gifted to share these rights to lead ceremonies . The results are often not good. It isn't "sharing" something good . It's irresponsible exploitation .

I apologize going on a rant with this perspective from someone living outside a Lakota community  . I am feeling crabby , and have *personal reasons* for this .  Again I apologize if this seems really disrespectful . I hope people will correct me if there is anything I am not understanding .
« Last Edit: October 15, 2007, 05:18:32 pm by Moma_porcupine »

Offline earthw7

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2007, 06:01:24 pm »
Not arguing this, you know your facts, but have to say something about AIM. I've known some good people with AIM have also met some less than good. They have had their problems with splits, people who claim they are AIM and are not, people that start unrecognized chapters, some with names just close to the orginal to give the impression. I think most  Nations run their own, and do not need outside interference. Overall, I think they still have a place.

I know good people in AIM too, what I was explaining is how the ceremonies got out. Living on the reservation
we have looked at AIM as a urban movement. AIM was not a reservation movement.
In Spirit

Offline earthw7

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2007, 06:43:02 pm »
What Earthw7 is saying about this controversy being generated by a small group of people has come up before;

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=663.msg3280#msg3280

In reply #1 educatedindian mentioned

Quote
"The way Wallis talks about conflict gives a false impression, as though Lakota and other NDNs are split down the middle  "so don't worry about Native critics, dear Nuagers and pagans." What he fails to mention was the margin the tribal vote barring ceremonies to outsiders won by, more than 95% in favor."

Could anyone give more information on this vote ? If the details of this information was on line , it would probably help to put this "controversy" in perspective .

The information Earth is providing is really helpful . I never understood all the different areas and factions .I guess it is obvious to people living in the Lakota community , but to outsiders it can be completely mind boggling .

I don't want anyone to explain things which could lead to them being harrassed , but there is some stuff I have wondered .

One of the things is , in many traditions , people in AIM wouldn't have been taught anything about leading
Spiritual ceremonies because Warriors and Spiritual leaders have very different roles and the two can't be mixed . I knew someone who had been involved in AIM in the 1970's , who lived in a tribe with a strong culture , and their Elder's were really upset because they had been being taught some of the Spiritual traditions and their involvement in AIM and violence , meant they couldn't be taught anything . Is this different for the Lakota people ?

Interesting that Leonard Crow Dog was the Spiritual leader for AIM . I see his decision to share with outsiders , has progressed to selling DVDs about himself and a website to attract Japenese tourists who are interested in experiencing Lakota Spirituality .

http://www.swnkacangi.com/contents/eng/monetary.html

I also know a couple non Lakota people given the right to lead ceremonies to , who Leonard Crow Dog taught. From what I saw it wasn't working out very well . 

It's interesting to see the area where AIM came into the picture , and that people in these areas got in the habit of sharing with outsiders , and this is Oglala territory .

One of the  main people who has written and published objections to the 2003 decision to exclude non natives is Tom Kanatakeniate Cook . He is Mohawk , but he married into an Oglala family .

http://www.geocities.com/wahohwahpe/ban8.html

In the article in the link above , Tom frequently quotes Chief American Horse (Sept. 14, 1896) who said , "Anyone may dance the sun dance if he will do as the Oglalas do," as a protocal to include non natives , but according to JR American Horse , this statement in 1896 was made to other Lakota , when there was no white people around.

When I read Tom's objections , he makes it sound like his major concern is that excluding people on the basis of race isn't fair , though I notice he sidesteps the issue of charging for ceremonies . In another article he suggested gifts have always been a part of Ceremonies , and he interprets this as a monetary exchange . He also seems to be concerned that any abuses need to be taken care of by the extended family , and not by any central authority , which he points out is not traditional to the Lakota people .

While this argument sounds like he is concerned with the love of all mankind and the integrity of the culture , I notice this decentralized political structure leaves decisions about what's exploitation,  very vulnerable to anyone with a soft spot toward their own family members .

Seeing what Tom Cook is now supporting, it seems likely his "concerns" are primarily economic .

http://www.newhouse.com/sweat-lodge-steam,-song-and-meditation-6.html

"
Quote
Kakwiranoron Cook, an Oglala Lakota, sits in the American Indian sweat lodge of the Skana Spa at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y. Cook's Mohawk Indian father, Thomas Cook, built the sweat lodge, and Kakwiranoron will oversee interpretation of the sweat lodge experience. (Photo by Heather Bragman)
"

His son will be charging $300 for the experience  . More information can be found in the thread below .

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=961.0

The Turning Stone Resort was set up by Ray Halbritter . You can read about who this man is and his relationship with his community in the link below .

http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/866

Yikesola is all I can say ... Do these people really care about their culture and the wellbeing of Indian people? Sounds like the main interest here is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Maybe some people honestly feel the economic development Spiritual tourism brings , is worth it . If a lot of other people don't agree , and it is their culture too , I can see where this could be very controversial . 

Even John Martin , AKA Tallsoldier77 who seems to try to undermine anyone involved with the protection of ceremonies , fits into this general pattern , as I see he says he is Oglala .

The dots are begining to connect, into an AHA moment!

So , it looks like this controversy developed when Ceremonies were opened up to urban Indians who were
involved in AIM and through this , Lakota ceremonies became introduced to a lot of Native and non native people in urban areas . Those people then began coming to Lakota communities wanting to learn more and and they often brought gifts which were both appreciated and needed .

I can see that if over time this slowly developed into cultural tourism , the community would become more and more divided as this slowly crept in , with some people becoming more dependent on tourism , the money and and gifts , and other Lakota people becoming more opposed and disgusted .

What goes on in the Lakota communities is an internal matter , and I know I have no business commenting on this , but as someone who has been repeatedly affected by persons given the right, to lead Lakota ceremonies outside the Lakota community , I have something I want to say . I'm sorry if this is rude, but I have to live with these pysdo medicine people in my community and though I try and avoid them they are in my face whether I want them to be or not ... Even if I avoid them they are friends of friends , at community functions, ect .

First of all , though I don't see the point in nonnative people leading Lakota ceremonies for nonnative people , my main concern isn't so much what someones race is, or what color they are, but what their character is and what kind of community support they will have .

When Earthw7 says " They do not know all our ways ", this is probably true for any Elder or medicine person .

The Hopi explained this very well when they said ;

"According to their values non-Hopis should under no circumstances be converted to the Hopi religion. In part this is due to the fact that the Hopi religion is so complex that it is impossible for one person to know or understand it thoroughly. "

No matter how well someone is taught , a lot of problems come up when these ways are practiced outside of the
knowledge base in the community where they originated.

People passing on these traditions without knowing someones relationships with their community , and without the support of these peoples tribal Elders , shouldn't deceive themselves about what they are doing . People who are influenced by gifts or even friendship to teach these ways so they can be practiced outside of the Lakota community need to realize what they are passing on, just by being removed from the community , is often a DAMAGED tradition which is likely to not work properly .

The other thing that seems to be a problem , is that in most traditions the right to lead ceremonies is only passed on to people of good character. Unless Elders live in a persons community , and know how they get along with
their enemies , there is no way anyone can really know what someones true character is . I hear of Native people who pass the right to a ceremony on because of a vision , and though I can't comment on that , I can ask if they really intended to pass the rights to these ceremonies on to people who are known to be untrustworthy in their own communities ? Because that is what I have seen happening .

I know of people who are Native who would not be given the right to lead ceremonies in their own community , who have gone to the Lakota and a few months later they come back  a" medicine men" . As they aren't particularly welcome in their own communities they often lead ceremonies for non natives who don't know any better . Over the years these people teach and pass the right to lead these ceremonies on to their "friends", and their friends are often not affiliated with any tribe. These people have no community to guide them and keep them on track.

If a Native person says they have no culture , but they want to learn , they aren't completely a native person anymore. Just like a second generation Japenese American is no longer completely Japenese.  Before people can regain their culture they need to regain their community because culture and community cannot be seperated
Community is where we actually live. Community cannot be rebuilt through annual visits or a couple months or a couple of years of brotherly love in a Lakota community . Thats just as much escapism and fanatasy , as when non indians do it .

Making sure a person has day to day contact with tribal Elders who live in their community and who will support them in leading ceremonies , would do a lot to help retain and build healthy communities . 

I know I probably sound really obnoxious and like I am telling people who know a lot more than I do what to do. I probably have no business doing this .

But the long list of abuses I have seen , tracks back directly to what I am describing , and just excluding non natives is not dealing with the real root of the problem .

I made a list of some of these abuses I've seen , in the thread "whats the harm".

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1110.0;all

I don't care how many pendlton blankets someone got gifted to share these rights to lead ceremonies . The results are often not good. It isn't "sharing" something good . It's irresponsible exploitation .

I apologize going on a rant with this perspective from someone living outside a Lakota community  . I am feeling crabby , and have *personal reasons* for this .  Again I apologize if this seems really disrespectful . I hope people will correct me if there is anything I am not understanding .


Mama I had to go over this carefully to try and answer your questions. I will say right up front I can only give me point of view from my people-Hunkpapa/Blackfeet/Ihunktonwan/Sisseton and (a drop of Cuthead and Oglala).

Quote
"The way Wallis talks about conflict gives a false impression, as though Lakota and other NDNs are split down the middle  "so don't worry about Native critics, dear Nuagers and pagans." What he fails to mention was the margin the tribal vote barring ceremonies to outsiders won by, more than 95% in favor."

Could anyone give more information on this vote ? If the details of this information was on line , it would probably help to put this "controversy" in perspective .[/i]

I attended the meeting and no one voiced an objection, in fact we did not hear about people objecting until the non-indian came out with their demands.

One of the things is , in many traditions , people in AIM wouldn't have been taught anything about leading
Spiritual ceremonies because Warriors and Spiritual leaders have very different roles and the two can't be mixed . I knew someone who had been involved in AIM in the 1970's , who lived in a tribe with a strong culture , and their Elder's were really upset because they had been being taught some of the Spiritual traditions and their involvement in AIM and violence , meant they couldn't be taught anything . Is this different for the Lakota people ?


When the urban people came from the cities they knew very little about our culture, the elders were trying to help come back to who they were, with them they brought many different tribes with them. Many had non-native friends.
It was a time when we just got the right to pray and the need for the old people to teach the young. We do have rules but these urban people did not follow them.

Interesting that Leonard Crow Dog was the Spiritual leader for AIM . I see his decision to share with outsiders , has progressed to selling DVDs about himself and a website to attract Japenese tourists who are interested in experiencing Lakota Spirituality .

Leonard is a prime example of this he lived in Minneapolis. His father was a spiritual leader so he brought all of these people to Pine Ridge to learn.

I also know a couple non Lakota people given the right to lead ceremonies to , who Leonard Crow Dog taught. From what I saw it wasn't working out very well . 

It's interesting to see the area where AIM came into the picture , and that people in these areas got in the habit of sharing with outsiders , and this is Oglala territory .

One of the  main people who has written and published objections to the 2003 decision to exclude non natives is Tom Kanatakeniate Cook . He is Mohawk , but he married into an Oglala family .


I don't how many know this but Leonard was at these meeting with Avrol and agreed with him, then after the meeting he came out in the paper to say he was not there. We all laughed because maybe we only saw his ghost. Anyway at the meeting elders chewed him out for the things he was doing. Leonard had no rigfht to do the things he did and still doing. He is a new age god. I have been reading about the abuses of Tom Cook. In fact just sent a news article to Pine Ridge.


Yikesola is all I can say ... Do these people really care about their culture and the wellbeing of Indian people? Sounds like the main interest here is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Maybe some people honestly feel the economic development Spiritual tourism brings , is worth it . If a lot of other people don't agree , and it is their culture too , I can see where this could be very controversial . 

Even John Martin , AKA Tallsoldier77 who seems to try to undermine anyone involved with the protection of ceremonies , fits into this general pattern , as I see he says he is Oglala .

The dots are begining to connect, into an AHA moment!

So , it looks like this controversy developed when Ceremonies were opened up to urban Indians who were
involved in AIM and through this , Lakota ceremonies became introduced to a lot of Native and non native people in urban areas . Those people then began coming to Lakota communities wanting to learn more and and they often brought gifts which were both appreciated and needed .


All I can say about this guy called Tallsoldier is he is an urban indian who was not raised in his culture kind of like that Bad eagle guy.

I can see that if over time this slowly developed into cultural tourism , the community would become more and more divided as this slowly crept in , with some people becoming more dependent on tourism , the money and and gifts , and other Lakota people becoming more opposed and disgusted .

I would not call it cultural tourism. I will also say that remember Pine Ridge is just a small part of out nation. The name Oglala mean Scatter their Own. I look at it more as corruption of culture. A long time ago the community would care for a spiritual leader but giving them food or other things for their help. Today the white people bring money to give as help. This has cause corruption of the culture. Pine Ridge really has no tourism.


What goes on in the Lakota communities is an internal matter , and I know I have no business commenting on this , but as someone who has been repeatedly affected by persons given the right, to lead Lakota ceremonies outside the Lakota community , I have something I want to say . I'm sorry if this is rude, but I have to live with these pysdo medicine people in my community and though I try and avoid them they are in my face whether I want them to be or not ... Even if I avoid them they are friends of friends , at community functions, ect .

I know of NO ceremony that gives anyone rights to hold ceremonie outside the community. We know the fakes/abuser of our culture. We laugh at them and only white people listen to them. We have two men who are from here who do bad things, one's name Duran White Lightening. His brother wanted the tribe to kick him out when he found out what he was doing.


First of all , though I don't see the point in nonnative people leading Lakota ceremonies for nonnative people , my main concern isn't so much what someones race is, or what color they are, but what their character is and what kind of community support they will have .
When Earthw7 says " They do not know all our ways ", this is probably true for any Elder or medicine person .
The Hopi explained this very well when they said ;
"According to their values non-Hopis should under no circumstances be converted to the Hopi religion. In part this is due to the fact that the Hopi religion is so complex that it is impossible for one person to know or understand it thoroughly. "


This is very true, our ways are very complexe too. It takes a long time to have the right to do things.

No matter how well someone is taught , a lot of problems come up when these ways are practiced outside of the
knowledge base in the community where they originated.

People passing on these traditions without knowing someones relationships with their community , and without the support of these peoples tribal Elders , shouldn't deceive themselves about what they are doing . People who are influenced by gifts or even friendship to teach these ways so they can be practiced outside of the Lakota community need to realize what they are passing on, just by being removed from the community , is often a DAMAGED tradition which is likely to not work properly .

The other thing that seems to be a problem , is that in most traditions the right to lead ceremonies is only passed on to people of good character. Unless Elders live in a persons community , and know how they get along with
their enemies , there is no way anyone can really know what someones true character is . I hear of Native people who pass the right to a ceremony on because of a vision , and though I can't comment on that , I can ask if they really intended to pass the rights to these ceremonies on to people who are known to be untrustworthy in their own communities ? Because that is what I have seen happening .


We have to laugh about all these vision people claim to have. You must know the lanuage, culture and your relatives because these are thing you will need. Our song have been sung wrong. The rpayer make no sense and people make a mess of things.


I know of people who are Native who would not be given the right to lead ceremonies in their own community , who have gone to the Lakota and a few months later they come back  a" medicine men" . As they aren't particularly welcome in their own communities they often lead ceremonies for non natives who don't know any better . Over the years these people teach and pass the right to lead these ceremonies on to their "friends", and their friends are often not affiliated with any tribe. These people have no community to guide them and keep them on track.

If a Native person says they have no culture , but they want to learn , they aren't completely a native person anymore. Just like a second generation Japenese American is no longer completely Japenese.  Before people can regain their culture they need to regain their community because culture and community cannot be seperated
Community is where we actually live. Community cannot be rebuilt through annual visits or a couple months or a couple of years of brotherly love in a Lakota community . Thats just as much escapism and fanatasy , as when non indians do it .


I agree with everything you said here.

Making sure a person has day to day contact with tribal Elders who live in their community and who will support them in leading ceremonies , would do a lot to help retain and build healthy communities . 
I know I probably sound really obnoxious and like I am telling people who know a lot more than I do what to do. I probably have no business doing this .

But the long list of abuses I have seen , tracks back directly to what I am describing , and just excluding non natives is not dealing with the real root of the problem .


I agree with you it is the reason why I joined this site. We have closed off our ceremonies 15 years ago. Since then life has been good. It is not that I dislike other culture it is just my way of trying to save my people and my world.
I love my ways even though they are hard and I will fight to defend them from corruption.

I made a list of some of these abuses I've seen , in the thread "whats the harm".

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1110.0;all

I don't care how many pendlton blankets someone got gifted to share these rights to lead ceremonies . The results are often not good. It isn't "sharing" something good . It's irresponsible exploitation .

I apologize going on a rant with this perspective from someone living outside a Lakota community  . I am feeling crabby , and have *personal reasons* for this .  Again I apologize if this seems really disrespectful . I hope people will correct me if there is anything I am not understanding .


That is Ok I want to be able to help with the understanding and the reason why we object to people and the abusive of our culture.
In Spirit

frederica

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2007, 07:21:03 pm »
You will never be able to control what I call the "loose cannons", but you can identify them and educated people to what they are doing. Good job.

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: Why is Protecting Lakota Ceremonies even "controversial"?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2007, 07:48:36 pm »
Thanks so much for the feedback  .

I had the impression the vote educuatedindian mentioned , which was 95% in favor of excluding non native people from sensitive ceremonies was something different than the meeting in 2003 . Maybe Al could say where he got that ?

Earthw7

Quote
I know of NO ceremony that gives anyone rights to hold ceremonie outside the community.

I'm not sure I am understanding what you are saying ?

I have known quite a few non Lakota people who claim they have the right to lead a Sweat Lodge Ceremony , outside the Lakota community , and this permission came for Lakota elders. These are mostly Native people in urban areas . Some are questionable, but others I always assumed were legitimate . A few of them live in Native communities where these traditions are accepted, or they live in an urban area but have strong support from their community . Are they all imagining they have a right to lead these ceremonies? I would be a little shocked if this was true ! Maybe you just mean no one has ever been given the right to lead a Sundance outside of the traditional territories where these were practiced ?

I did read something about this here ;

http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/News2002/0209/Serbin020922LetterToNavajoSundancers.htm

Sal White Horse, a registered member of the Sioux Nation
Quote
"Several years ago a few Navajo people that live at Big Mountain started to hold Sundances, the Navajo people also claim to have permission for this? I would like to challenge their claim, to have permission to hold
Sundances. I have personally asked Lakota Sundance Chiefs, they ALL said they never gave permission or never will give permission for a Sundance to be held off a Lakota Reservation! There are a few Lakota people claiming to be Medicine men/Shaman and Elders, that are going around giving permission for many Lakota ceremonies. These Lakota people have no right to do this, if the Navajo people at Big Mountain would have taken the time to contact a Lakota Reservation and spoken or written an Actual Chief, Elder, Medicine man they would have learned this."

I also read where Arvol Looking Horse said people need to earn the right to lead a Sweat Lodge Ceremony by participating in the Sundance for 4 years .

Does this mean anyone who Sundances 4 years has the right to lead a Sweat Lodge Ceremony outside the Lakota community  ?

I didn't realize how much I don't know about Lakota culture and community ! Quite an eye opener!

The people who get posted in NAFPS usually are obviously questionable or completely bogus . If someone seems credible and says they were given the right to lead a Lakota ceremony and names Elders ( who might not have great reputations  , but who are Lakota ) ,what should people ask or think about that ? If no non Lakota has ever been given legitimate permission to hold ceremonies outside the community, there might be a lot more loose cannons out there than I ever imagined ! ?  :o
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 09:03:03 pm by Moma_porcupine »