Odds and Ends > Etcetera

Reaching people just learning about their heritage

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"wondering how these "known American Indian people who were raised in their culture", feel about "guiding" distant relatives"

I think most are generally skeptical until they get to know the person better, and wonder about motives. Is this PODIA doing it because of all the wrong reasons? Does this PODIA think there's "free money given just for being Indian"?(Sorry, that's a racist myth.) Do they have fantasies of becoming an Indian/chief/princess/messiah/guru/savior? Do this PODIA have fantasies that they project onto Natives? While these aren't true of everyone, it happens often enough to make people wary.

In the broadest terms, is this hypothetical PODIA wanting to learn for themselves, or to see what they can do for their people, to be part of a community?

"Do some of these distant or disconnected relations sometimes create problems for Native communities , and if so how do they do this ?"

See all of the examples above. Many also form would be "tribes" or join the very frauds we try to warn people about.

"Is there a way for these people to reconnect that is actually beneficial to the Native communities involved?"

Sure. Do some research and see what needs the communities have. Speak up on Native issues. Try to be an advocate working with (as opposed to speaking for) Natives.

"If some people in a community are welcoming to distant relations , but others are not , is it right for people to try and be involved , if some people don't think they should be ?"

That's such a broad question the only possible answer is both yes and no. Depends on what issue.

For example, if an enrolled NDN is involved in spiritual exploitation, or if part of the community welcomes outside developers who want to put a waste dump on the rez, then becoming involved with the wrong side will make things worse.

Even by becoming involved with the right side of an issue, that could be used by their opponents to say, "See, it's just the wannabes who support that side."

I'd just say be prepared to listen to requests to step aside if it's for the good of the community.

A whole of these issues come down to being willing to think of the community before yourself.

Howdy Guest --

Good points.

I don't have any answer . . .

It's a whole lot easier to post questions than it is to answer them . . . :)


I have been very patient because a couple of posters at Saponitown forum have stayed in touch with me, so I have said nothing more. They do a lot of great historic research. But Linda in her apology never apologized "to me" nor has she allowed me to post on her forum, yet I have still defended her to others. Sometimes I wonder why. I've had mixed emotions.


The topic above is one that would have driven me crazy as I see no need to bring up a Navao ceremony on a Saponi board. She knows it would have driven me bonkers, too, if I were still allowed to post.

Interesting discussion on this topic at the above link. Please read it.

Interesting how easily people say they want to attend a sweat. A few months ago I felt I was the ONLY ONE on the Saponitown forum that was worried about talk of this nature.  When I spoke out, no one thre defended me or if they did it was in a minor way, not wanting to offend anyone.

Now that I am forbidden from posting at the site, I am very happy to see that there are others to divert the conversation (something noone but me ever did before). I still have very mixed emotions. At least they realize (I think) more than they did before, but I don't know if they are serious or were just afraid of NAFPS.


Here is the article Linda quoted (above link). Were I allowed to post I'd say something like this --

"I personally wonder if Mr. Laughter was misrepresented in the article. I really don't know. Maybe he wasn't. I can see someone taking a little here and a little there about what he said, using it out of context, and have it twisted around. He might be sayin, "Oh my God! I'm never gonna talk to another reporter!" as I write this. I can see someone there in Virginia start staring at crystals while in a sauna, thinking it has some power for them . . . Maybe he wasn't misquoted, but everyone needs to think about this topic cautiously, and I don't think it is a topic that should have ever been brought up on a forum researching Saponi History, as Navajo ceremonies have nothing to do with Saponi History."

Even mentioning such topics on THAT forum is dangerous, as it brings out all the curious people who say "Oh, I want to have a spiritual cleansing!" they are not bad peple, just uninformed. Fake Cherokee tribes went through that stage a decade ago and decided to fall for phoney balogna. Therefore many of them are already over the edge -- but this Saponi/Monacan/Occoneechee/Tutelo tribal research group is newer and they are NOT lost yet, as are those fake Cherokee groups. It is as tho they are on a cusp, should they go one way or the other? Some good people are there who want to go the right way . . .

I can't respond -- I'm banned from posting there . . .


Well I am gonna finally wipe my hands of the Saponitown website -- God, I hate havin' to do this. I just sent Linda, the owner and creator of the web site  the following email --


What on earth are you posting this for!! Confront the author of this topic and make sure he quoted Mr Laughter correctly! He places Navajo mater [note: I meant to say mater"ial"] beside Lakota -- ask why?

You know nobody -- or very few people -- at Saponi Town are capable of handling this! Navajo ceremonies have NOTHING at all in common with Saponi history!

Now people will start sitting in sauna's and staring at crystals and think they are performing some Navajo ceremony! You or someone MUST respond and tell people they are NOT performing a Navajo (or Sioux as I saw them mentioned in the article -- the author mixed the 2 in his writing).

Maybe from the 2 responses you are seeing -- for the first time most likely -- what I have always harped on and will harp on until I die whether you ban me from your forum or not -- innoscent people will take this the wrong way. I told Lynella point blank that she was wrong about this but she STILL is in limbo -- why??? Because no other leadership at the forum stood with me -- now she still believes in soome of that nonsense as is proven by her response on that forum topic. You have opened up Pandora's box.

Can you close it?


ps -- Please tell the posters that the interviewer talked to a Navajo and a Lakota and that readers should not think one can mix the two as the author of that article has done. AT least do that!

Good grief, Linda . . .

part one]

Before she deletes it here are the posts --

Traditional healers treat veterans
My Aunt Betty asked me to post this for her.


Traditional healers treat veterans

Friday, December 2, 2005; Posted: 10:48 a.m. EST (15:48 GMT)

Navajo medicine man Albert Laughter discusses how he treats American Indian veterans.

PRESCOTT, Arizona (AP) -- When Albert Laughter unpacks his medical supplies, preparing to treat the military veterans who are his patients, he finds no stethoscope or thermometer.

His examination room doesn't have walls to speak of. It is made of canvas and wooden poles, a teepee with a small fire ring inside. His supplies -- pheasant and eagle feathers, cornmeal, sage and other herbs -- come wrapped in small leather pouches.

Laughter, a Navajo medicine man, cares for warriors as five generations of his forebears have: with traditional herbs, songs and ceremonies. But unlike his ancestors, he does it as a healer under contract with the federal government.

Laughter's services are part of a small assortment of programs run by the Department of Veterans Affairs to treat American Indian veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder and other maladies.

"Our culture, even though we live in the 21st century, we come back to the ceremonies, we come back to where the fire is, come back to where the herbs is, come back to where the songs is," said Laughter, who does his work in Navajo and in English at the VA medical center in Prescott and on northern Arizona reservations.

There are more than 181,000 American Indian veterans in the United States, less than 1 percent of the 24.8 million veterans nationwide, according to the VA. But officials at VA medical facilities near reservations say they have found Indian veterans have unique needs.

Deborah Thompson, director of the northern Arizona VA health care system, said providers don't have perfect understanding of how traditional practices help, but they have learned they are important for Indian veterans and can aid in treatment.

Most Indian veterans who participate in the traditional practices do so in combination with western medical treatment at VA facilities.

Standard western medical treatments, including psychotherapy, are less effective on their own for some Indians because of their unique traditions and cultural values, including a tendency to avoid drawing attention to themselves, VA officials say.

"In Native American culture -- in every culture -- one of the main things that goes against a spirit is taking a life," said Cari James, the minority veterans coordinator for the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix. The Hayden facility has an agreement with the Navajo Nation to reimburse costs for medicine man services provided to veterans on the reservation.

Navajo ceremonies can be performed to help Indian veterans recovering from combat and other trauma, said James, an Eastern woodland tribe Indian who is married to a man who is Navajo and Hopi.

Practices like hand trembling and crystal gazing -- which Laughter likens to a medical checkup -- can be used to determine what the veteran's spirit needs. Then ceremonies, some lasting days, are used to help cleanse or heal.

Laughter and other Indian practitioners provide a variety of veteran services, ranging from blessings to talking circles to elaborate ceremonies designed to bring a warrior back into the community.

Laughter and non-Indian VA officials say those who take part in the traditional ceremonies often report at least temporary relief from PTSD, a mental illness characterized by symptoms like flashbacks and nightmares that afflicts some who have experienced traumatic events.

Laughter, who served two tours in Vietnam, said he learned how beneficial traditional ceremonies could be in reducing PTSD symptoms when his own father, also a medicine man, performed ceremonies for him.

"When (veterans) go to the doctor or hospital, they give them medicine. Pretty soon, they have a bag of medicine after medicine," said Laughter, who wears a waist-length pony tail and turquoise bracelet along with two cell phones strapped to his belt. "We still come back to the ceremony."


[Linda posted this]


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