Author Topic: Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality  (Read 8957 times)

Offline flyaway

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Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality
« on: January 06, 2011, 12:41:10 am »
Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality

.by James Magaska Swan on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 5:26pm.WHEREAS we are the conveners of an ongoing series of comprehensive forums on the abuse and exploitation of Lakota spirituality; and

WHEREAS we represent the recognized traditional spiritual leaders, traditional elders, and grassroots advocates of the Lakota people; and


WHEREAS for too long we have suffered the unspeakable indignity of having our most precious Lakota ceremonies and spiritual practices desecrated, mocked and abused by non-Indian "wannabes," hucksters, cultists, commercial profiteers and self-styled "New Age shamans" and their followers; and


WHEREAS with horror and outrage we see this disgraceful expropriation of our sacred Lakota traditions has reached epidemic proportions in urban areas throughout the country; and


WHEREAS our precious Sacred Pipe is being desecrated through the sale of pipestone pipes at flea markets, powwows, and "New Age" retail stores; and


WHEREAS pseudo-religious corporations have been formed to charge people money for admission into phony "sweatlodges" and "vision quest" programs; and


WHEREAS sacrilegious "sundances" for non-Indians are being conducted by charlatans and cult leaders who promote abominable and obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites; and


WHEREAS non-Indians have organized themselves into imitation "tribes," assigning themselves make-believe "Indian names" to facilitate their wholesale expropriation and commercialization of our Lakota traditions; and


WHEREAS academic disciplines have sprung up at colleges and universities institutionalizing the sacrilegious imitation of our spiritual practices by students and instructors under the guise of educational programs in "shaminism;" and


WHEREAS non-Indian charlatans and "wannabes" are selling books that promote the systematic colonization of our Lakota spirituality; and


WHEREAS the television and film industry continues to saturate the entertainment media with vulgar, sensationalist and grossly distorted representations of Lakota spirituality and culture which reinforce the public's negative stereotyping of Indian people and which gravely impair the self-esteem of our children; and


WHEREAS individuals and groups involved in "the New Age Movement," in "the men's movement," in "neo-paganism" cults and in "shamanism" workshops all have exploited the spiritual traditions of our Lakota people by imitating our ceremonial ways and by mixing such imitation rituals with non-Indian occult practices in an offensive and harmful pseudo-religious hodgepodge; and


WHEREAS the absurd public posturing of this scandalous assortment of psuedo-Indian charlatans, "wannabes," commercial profiteers, cultists and "New Age shamans" comprises a momentous obstacle in the struggle of traditional Lakota people for an adequate public appraisal of the legitimate political, legal and spiritual needs of real Lakota people; and


WHEREAS this exponential exploitation of our Lakota spiritual traditions requires that we take immediate action to defend our most precious Lakota spirituality from further contamination, desecration and abuse;




1. We hereby and henceforth declare war against all persons who persist in exploiting, abusing and misrepresenting the sacred traditions and spiritual practices of our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

2. We call upon all our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota brothers and sisters from reservations, reserves, and traditional communities in the United States and Canada to actively and vocally oppose this alarming take-over and systematic destruction of our sacred traditions.


3. We urge our people to coordinate with their tribal members living in urban areas to identify instances in which our sacred traditions are being abused, and then to resist this abuse, utilizing whatever specific tactics are necessary and sufficient --for example demonstrations, boycotts, press conferences, and acts of direct intervention.


4. We especially urge all our Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people to take action to prevent our own people from contributing to and enabling the abuse of our sacred ceremonies and spiritual practices by outsiders; for, as we all know, there are certain ones among our own people who are prostituting our spiritual ways for their own selfish gain, with no regard for the spiritual well-being of the people as a whole.


5. We assert a posture of zero-tolerance for any "white man's shaman" who rises from within our own communities to "authorize" the expropriation of our ceremonial ways by non-Indians; all such "plastic medicine men" are enemies of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.


6. We urge traditional people, tribal leaders, and governing councils of all other Indian nations, to join us in calling for an immediate end to this rampant exploitation of our respective American Indian sacred traditions by issuing statements denouncing such abuse; for it is not the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people alone whose spiritual practices are being systematically violated by non-Indians.


7. We urge all our Indian brothers and sisters to act decisively and boldly in our present campaign to end the destruction of our sacred traditions, keeping in mind our highest duty as Indian people: to preserve the purity of our precious traditions for our future generations, so that our children and our children's children will survive and prosper in the sacred manner intended for each of our respective peoples by our Creator.


Walk with the Sun; Dance with the Moon; Sing with the Stars; But always...Run with the Wind. -
Snow Owl, Nevada. December 8, 2001


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Re: Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011, 10:40:43 pm »
This is good to see.  While visiting friends at Allegany rez in Salamanca, NY this past summer, we contacted James Magaska Swan to let him know of some sundances, sweats, etc that were going on being advertised as "Lakota" and "Authorized by..." pick a name.  The fees were listed on the flyers that we picked up in PA and NY, and the locations and contact information was there for all to see and make arrangements.   It'll be interesting to see how all this shakes out over the coming year.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 11:32:11 pm »
This wasn't written by James Magaska Swan; he just reposted it to Facebook. Here's one of the places where it's posted on the web:

And here's the intro that was left off:

"At the Lakota Summit V, an international gathering of US and Canadian Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations, about 500 representatives from 40 different tribes and bands of the Lakota unanimously passed a "Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality." The following declaration was unanimously passed on June 10, 1993."

and the signatories:

"Wilmer Stampede Mesteth; (Oglala Lakota);
Traditional Spiritual Leader & Lakota Culture Instructor;
Oglala Lakota College, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Darrell Standing Elk; (Sicangu Lakota);
President, Center for the SPIRIT, San Fancisco, California,
& Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Phyllis Swift Hawk; (Kul Wicasa Lakota);
Tiospaye Wounspe Waokiye; Wanblee, South Dakota "

And an article on it:
« Last Edit: September 01, 2019, 07:31:02 pm by Defend the Sacred »

Offline Sparks

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Re: Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2019, 03:34:32 pm »
Elsewhere, I just cited a Facebook statement by one of the authors of that 1993 Declaration:

Interesting comment there:

Phyllis Swift Hawk I am the last author of the Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality that was passed by the Summit back in June of 1993. The other two authors departed to the Spirit World. I'm in the process of reviving the declaration and working with Mrs. Darrell Standing Elk. There are non-natives performing ceremonies in public places and a native medicine man is allowing them to do them in California. We need to work together as their wrongdoings are making our oyate suffer and nature disasters are occurring.

There are two threads in here with identical titles corresponding to my bolded words above: