Author Topic: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?  (Read 37875 times)

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #45 on: April 08, 2008, 03:06:19 pm »
I did start out using some of what Chaska was doing as an example , but underneath this is some more general questions about what kind of teachings can be effectively shared in books and what can't be.

I am still trying to sort my own thoughts out on this...

AH, I think you are right in your idea that there is some core principles which can be shared , but perhaps the underlying assumption that there is riches that can be mined from other cultures is tinged with some colonialism.

One thing it seems people tend to overlook , is that in the outward sense , most indigenous peoples opportunities for new experiences were extremely limited. So if people look at indigenous peoples and feel they have wisdom, it is probably important to remember they didn't get this wisdom from an individual pursuit of knowledge from other cultures or adopting a blend of Spiritual practices from around the world. It seems to me what is closer to the core of the wisdom of indigenous peoples is a deep and persistant respect for being where they are. 

So while I think that respect and thankfulness are a "Spiritual technology" that could be transfered to another culture or situation ,and that appropriate knowledge does develop when people make a practice of doing this , the secrets of purifying yourself before hunting or talking to the Spirits of the Buffalo probably isn't going to be a lot of help to someone living in New York city.

Another example of how something appropriate to one culture is inappropriate to another might be the practice of animal sacrifice. In a culture that has a close relationship with domesticated animals which it also butchers and eats, a ceremony of animal sacrifice might be a good way of making this right , but for someone living in New York , it would be a bit goulish.

Many of the inside secrets of a culture can't be learned in a real way without a lifetime or even a family background of actually living in that culture.

From what I see , most of the people wanting to learn this sort of cultural inside information are approaching this as consumers and colonists looking to lay claim to one more area to mine for treasures. Not all are greedy , some are just desperately poor , but it is the same colonial mentality that brought non native people to these shores in the first place.

Almost always these people seem to be looking to escape from where they really are, because they aren't feeling Respectful or Thankful for where the Creator put them, or they are not rising to the challenge of finding a good way to be where the Creator put them.

I don't have any indepth knowledge and I only understand very basic things, but it seems to me this desire to leave where you are is the opposite of the core Spiritual values of most indigenous people. 

On the other hand, learning about other cultures, which have different values,  social structures and beliefs can be beneficial. When cultures have similarities , often seeing these in a different context, that we haven't grown up taking for granted, can help us identify important fundamental values. Some of these values we may want to strengthen, and sometimes there is underlying beliefs that could be rethought. Learning about different cultures can be like visiting different peoples homes and seeing new and innovative ways to improve your own. This borrowing seems to work as far as technological innovations like how to make a better mouse trap , or even social improvements - for instance learning from cultures that don't use physical punishment, that sparing the rod does not spoil the child.

Information about some plant medicines is another thing that might be transferable, but it is important that indigenous people's right to maintain, protect and benefit from their own knowledge is respected , and sharing this knowledge is truly mutually beneficial.

So I guess it all depends on what sort of exchange of knowledge and technologies is being attempted, and if this is something that can be conveyed in a book without losing so much context it becomes distorted.

I hope this makes sense - as I say I am just in the process of sorting out my own thoughts on this ... I only understand very basic stuff so if anyone with more knowledge feels any of this is wrong I hope they will say so. 

I'm a bit ashamed of myself to have written so many long posts in this thread. I probably could have been more concise if I had known what I was trying to say sooner...

There is a thread on books here called "NAFPS highly recommends" - so I guess there is a general recognition that books can be an educational resource.

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=79.0
« Last Edit: April 08, 2008, 03:13:38 pm by Moma_porcupine »

Offline earthw7

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2008, 03:41:39 pm »
Moma i really respect your wisdom.

It has been hard to find a balance within our culture.
I have seen where people have recorded some of our
plant knowledge for different sickness.
The problems from that:
People have came to our lands and dug up the plants
destroying the land, causing the plants not to grow
again. Which means we can no longer use them for
healing.

It is like the American Church and it's medicine, today it is
getting harder to find for the people who follow that way.

If you don't have a balance then it become destructive to
the culture one is taken from.

I feel for the people who can't find a balance in their own
belief that they must look into others. As we feel bad they
destroy our center
No Balance.

I don't have the answer to all of these things but I do
see the pain and hurt it causes my people and culture.
In Spirit

Offline A.H.

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2008, 04:33:34 pm »
You both (Moma and Earth) make much sense to me.

I am looking from a maybe too "global" point of view - since I live that way and am not too rooted in my culture. I have probably more in common with experimental music lovers in let's say Norway than with most people in my surroundings.
I also have no religion - so what is left? Global vault of knowledge - mostly "western" but why ignore "native"?

Never meant to say we should dig the riches in a colonial way... just thought why ignore them and not learn and you not write them?

Your examples how things might not work are spot on... But that is what I also think about - forms of rituals and spiritual practices that cannot be transfered, but the ideas - like, what is the concept of purifying yourself before going to hunt (board meeting, lecture, exam, performing concert, etc.) or what is the meaning of animal sacrifice - how did your culture understand and use it, etc. can be shared as concepts of knowledge. What are the ideas and methods of communicating with ancestors, spirits - symbolic, literal, mystical or just ritual and ceremonial? Things like that. Maybe I am too far out with this - but sort of rethinking or uniting your authentic knowledge with contemporary analysis and philosophy... Maybe this worlds can't coexist, I don't know... But why leave that to superficial new-agers if you could write it down in a meaningful way - that was my premise somehow...

I don't know. It is specific I guess - this situation of yours... I know too little about it obviously. I can only speak from my own perspective...


I will check those links to good books.. thanx.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2008, 04:36:49 pm by A.H. »

Offline bls926

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2008, 06:38:31 pm »
Quote from: A.H.
But that is what I also think about - forms of rituals and spiritual practices that cannot be transfered, but the ideas - like, what is the concept of purifying yourself before going to hunt (board meeting, lecture, exam, performing concert, etc.) or what is the meaning of animal sacrifice - how did your culture understand and use it, etc. can be shared as concepts of knowledge. What are the ideas and methods of communicating with ancestors, spirits - symbolic, literal, mystical or just ritual and ceremonial? Things like that. Maybe I am too far out with this - but sort of rethinking or uniting your authentic knowledge with contemporary analysis and philosophy... Maybe this worlds can't coexist, I don't know... But why leave that to superficial new-agers if you could write it down in a meaningful way - that was my premise somehow...




I don't think you can separate the "idea" of spirituality from the "form". Even while saying you're only interested in the "idea", you talk about "methods of communicating with ancestors, spirits".

Spirituality cannot be understood as "concepts of knowledge".

Moma and Earth, thank you for your posts on this thread.

Offline A.H.

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2008, 09:53:55 am »


I don't think you can separate the "idea" of spirituality from the "form". Even while saying you're only interested in the "idea", you talk about "methods of communicating with ancestors, spirits".

Spirituality cannot be understood as "concepts of knowledge".



But spirituality is (in books at least) presented as concepts of knowledge.

You can write a "manual" like self-help section does or you can write an in depth research or presentation - possibly in a clear way (if it is intended for global use) that other cultures can understand it. I am not saying that your people must do it, but I don't think it is wrong or bad if it is done properly and that it actually might be good.

"Methods" were thrown in too easy - you can read from the context that I am not interested in knowing "how to call spirits", but what exactly does this action (if it does exist) represent as a specific spiritual practice and I only used it as a quick example of something that can be presented "sensational" or that could also be explained more authentically... and preferably also explain it through some analogy in other cultural systems.

What I meant is books like this (but on specific aspects of NA indigenous culture) - in depth - explained through philosophical language:

 http://www.routledge.com/books/Buddhist-Phenomenology-isbn9780700711864

and a review of this book that gives some idea of the way of presentation used in it, that I think might me good and applicable also for presenting NA indigenous spirituality in books:

http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=222281062535348

But it would be good to be written by your people not just "white" researchers or in cooperation. Just don't leave those topics to new-agers or some of your own people who might want to earn a quick buck with writing exciting pseudo biographical fairy-tales... that is my thinking about that. And my interest.


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

And to risk error and unjustly offend someone - but I checked that man's Chaska website... It looks new-agey as hell.
The texts don't enrich you, but just give quasi majestic spiritual propaganda... (as I read it) No information, just high flying statements...

I have been taught by this forum that when it looks like advertising and fraud IT IS advertising and fraud... I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about this particular site if it is spreading knowledge or superstition and superficial "spirituality".



« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 10:39:56 am by A.H. »

Offline A.H.

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #50 on: April 12, 2008, 06:25:53 pm »
What were we debating about??? There are already hundreds of books by native american authors... probably some very good ones... (on different topics and in several genres - some also on "spirituality")

I just browsed this:

http://www.ipl.org/div/natam/bin/browse.pl/books


Probably this topic should be separated into "research needed" about that particular book by Chaska and his activities that sparked M.Porcupines's question and the bigger question about the books & spiritual teachings and their potential educational or exploitational use - and giving some examples of good books that dealt with their topics seriously and respectfully and separate them from bad literature...

Some serious read that I might "exploit", :) :

http://www.ipl.org/div/natam/bin/browse.pl/A70






« Last Edit: April 12, 2008, 06:59:08 pm by A.H. »

Offline kunu4

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #51 on: April 24, 2008, 05:50:11 am »
take care of your children, respect each other. try not to worry to much about the lost new agers trying to find meaning in their life and those that exploit them and put your energy in healing the hate and hurt theat lives so deeply in our community.

healing can exist in all people all over the globe and everyone needs it from time to time.

being ndn is not suppose to mean being cruel, and don't let colonialism determine how we understand ourselves, otherwise we wont have a future

apukjij

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2008, 08:12:39 pm »
as it seems that this thread isnt being moved, so can i ask you Chaska what it means on your website that we can call you for a teaching series...........

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #53 on: July 27, 2010, 02:22:06 pm »
I got a message from one of Chaska Denny's supporters, his wife. Discussions about him are in several threads, including http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=2525.0

But the one thread that has the most about him is this one, so I will put the message of support and information here. Corrected misspellings and broken into paragraphs to make it more understandable. As sent, it was one long one.

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

Perhaps I can clear up a misunderstanding from those who do not know Chaska Denny personally. The Traditionsl of the Winnebago / HoChunk / Lakota / Dakota and many other tribal nations know him and his reputation in "helping the grassroots people."

Chaska is NOT a spiritual leader and has never claimed to be. He is a "Spiritual Warrior" from bloodlines of both parents. There's a difference and he knows the differences as do his people. Chaska has devoted his life to "helping the Indian people" and commending NDN and non-NDN for their efforts in doing the same, such as Elizabeth Sturino who, with her late husband, helped restore Sacred Land back to NDNs on the East Coast.

Chaska's father is Santee Dakota, his mother is Winnebago. On the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska, he was raised by his maternal grandfather whose "brother-friend" was Traditional Chief and Holy Man Frank Fools Crow who, along with other medicine men, mentored Chaska from the age of 3 when his spiritual gifts to "retore" that which had been lost back to the Indian people became evident.

This is the purpose for his seeing the "eyes" of "The One of Vision" who would find him and assist in this mission. He wrote about her in his manuscript 20 years before she found him, edited his work (for grammar) and self-published it for him so the words on the pages were his alone - not the words of a university professor putting his "slant" on Chaska's rez upbringing and mentality.

Chaska's jewelry and manuscrpt are promoted on MY website VisionoftheWorld.com because I am the artist who helped design some of the pieces he turns into jewelry as well as his editor who self-published his book for him. The promotional words under the title Waminega / Grizzly Bear Walks on Snow are mine and I stand by them. I first met Chaska Denny during the Vietnam War at Fort Sill, Oklahoma when he was putting tobacco on Geronimo's grave.

None of the words on MY website are those of Chaska. He does not write poetry. My website is full of it. The deep mysticism of the Hasidim and Kabalah are MINE which comes from my lifelong pursuit of Truth, having made two trips to Israel and studied with rabbis ("teachers"). ALL the writings on "visionoftheworld" website are MINE, not Chaska's.

Chaska does not live on the rez because, as my husband, we moved to Tampa to care for my elderly father. After his death in 2005, Chaska moved with me to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, ancestral home of my mother's Cherokee people.

Chaska has NEVER sold a ceremony for money or otherwise. He has NEVER instructed, taught or authorized ANY one for personal or monetary gain. As a Spiritual Warrior who "protects his people," he is adamant about this!

His manuscript does too cost us about $40 to print with so many color pages and spiral bound cover. He gives away as many copies as he is reimbursed for. Chaska was "told" to write his Life Story by certain medicine men who mentored him. In the past, after talking with a person, if he feels that person is truly seeking undertanding of Creator's ways - which were originally the same for all people - Respect for the Earth and all Her inhabitants - he has let them read how he has lived as an NDN with Traditional Ways of Belief in the modern world.

As in times past in NDN history when human nature becomes unpredictable, Chaska decided to give his book only to "enrolled" NDNs as he is. He has previously give you his tribal enrollment number and you have printed it in this Forum. I hope this clears up any misundertanding by those who do not know Chaska Denny.

Offline DualSpirits

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2011, 08:39:32 pm »
Hello Everyone, Let me introduce myself. My name is Christine Abercrombie, but before I start I will ask the elders If I can speak freely on this topic on Books and Spiritual Teachings. I know Calvin Chaska Denny And I help him sell his book to all people all over the United States to non Indians.  I sweat with him many times here in Florida. I have knowledge of all his doings while he lived here in Florida. Please let me know elders if I can continue this topic.

Offline DualSpirits

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2011, 08:55:49 pm »
This is a Post here from A.H
To risk error and unjustly offend someone - but I checked that man's Chaska website... It looks new-agey as hell.
The texts don't enrich you, but just give quasi majestic spiritual propaganda... (as I read it) No information, just high flying statements...

I have been taught by this forum that when it looks like advertising and fraud IT IS advertising and fraud... I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about this particular site if it is spreading knowledge or superstition and superficial "spirituality".

Offline Sparks

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2018, 01:00:08 am »
New topic about Chaska Denny just started:

More specifically I am searching for one of his books....Waminega "Walks on the Snow" (for my fiance she is Cherokee) any information would be much appreciated.  I have searched for him here and read all the past posts but all contact info I can find seems to be outdated.  Any help will be much appreciated!!

That outdated contact info is certainly here in this present thread.

Offline Sparks

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Re: Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?
« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2018, 02:33:29 am »
Most comments in this thread that started in 2008 seem to be about Chaska Denny and most especially about his book. He participated himself in that thread, as "Chaska":

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1636.0
[Books & Spiritual teachings - education or exploitation ?]

I quoted your request in that thread, hoping that among earlier participants who now get notified about this new post someone will come back and update the contact information.