Author Topic: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?  (Read 36950 times)

Offline RunsWithScissorz

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2015, 06:13:00 am »
4Bears, it's obvious you're exploiting Praxis and the questions s/he asked for your own agenda. This is as dishonest as it is 'mighty white'. You also seem to believe this way you will prompt Praxis into leading this discussion for you to save you some effort and conveniently take you out of the line of fire while putting Praxis into it. This also happens to be a traditional white strategy, BTW.

With all due respect, Ingeborg, the above is NOT true -- not one single word of it.  It is NOT what I am doing or had/have any intent to do, and your assumptions here are just outrageous to say the least and apparently placed in order to provoke a conflict.  In addition, I resent your name-calling (i.e., "mighty white").

In fact, if you will please look back, I commented in my initial post on this subject that perhaps the subject deserved its own thread as I didn't intend to intrude on Praxis' discussion as such.  His questions prompted questions of my own, that is all.  Apparently someone agreed with me and now it has been moved to its own thread.


There have been enough posts stating that some things simply are not ours to take, or rather rip off. Period. So let's not act like the typical, run-of-the-mill honkie who starts whining „gimme, gimme, gimme“ and then throw multiple fits in turn with some unsubstantiated claims thrown in for good measure.

Where did I do this?  I never said that there are not things that are not ours (assuming you mean "white people") to take/rip off.  I understand, probably better than you do, that this is the case in particular with NDN people.

There is no – in ciphers: none, zero, eff-all – evidence justifying to the assumption Ayahuasca may be helpful in any way curing cancer. Nor AIDS, Parkinson's, kidney or liver diseases, diabetes, leukemia, and if you mean to overcome impotence, I'd also rather recommend different medications. These claims are simply sales pitches thought up by wily plastics, snake-oil vendors, and pushers seeking to fleece desperate persons suffering from severe illness and grasping for straws. As is often the case with altmed 'remedies', they aren't a cure-all to be employed to cure all diseases, but rather cure all the financial problems of the vendor. Promoting such false and dangerous claims is nothing but wrong and doing the job of unscrupulous altmed snake-oil vendors and plastics who are not interested in curing people but screwing them.

Where did I assume that Ayahuasca has properties for curing cancer, etc.?  I didn't say that it did.  What I said was "suppose it did"?  That means "use your imagination" to envision that possibility and if that were the case, how would it then be viewed by the tribes that currently hold its usage for ceremony and traditional purposes only?  As the question is posed as a "for instance", possibly the answer can't be addressed, but I felt it a worthy question to ask because I -- at least -- would like to define as clearly as possible what the present issues are and what the future issues may be. 

I am not familiar with Ayahuasca prior to its mention in Praxis' post, I've done a quick Google on it and learned a little but most of the sites seem to be Nu-Age and I don't care about their views on it -- what I *do* know is that medical and other scientific researchers around the world are exploring the forests of Central/South America with hope of finding medicinal plants and other beings that can provide new and better treatments for illnesses.  (Perhaps I should add that these treatments would also be available to NDN people ....)  I am anticipating that any tribes in those regions might at any time be facing the question I raised using Ayahuasca as an example "what if".  Maybe already have and I don't know about it or am not remembering it. 

  And please also refrain from trying and making any points on behalf of Praxis who is very well capable of discussing their issues without any white assistance or self-appointed white spokesperson. This is not the place to act out one's 'great white father' fantasies.

Oh Ingeborg, why -- you just did that yourself!  If Praxis has any problem with anyone making a comment in support of any point of his, he can speak for himself and doesn't need you or anyone else to be his mouthpiece.  I don't believe it is I who is in any way attempting to be a "self-appointed white spokesperson" or acting out a "great white father" fantasy here.  I thought he raised some good questions and there were some things I agreed with and simply indicated so. 

Offline earthw7

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2015, 02:53:34 pm »
This is what happens when NON_NATIVES get involved with things they don't understand.
In Spirit

Offline Thyme4Mind

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2015, 03:15:24 pm »
Ingeborg, I appreciate your concern but if I felt like I was being exploited then I would say something. I had no problem answering 4Bears questions. This isn't a forum for white people to prove who is the best ally, or who is a better white person. It is also a traditionally "white thing to do" for white people to take up space and time by being openly hostile towards one another in an attempt to show off how politically correct they are. This isn't a competition and such hostilities detract from an otherwise peaceful exchange. If you felt like 4Bears behaved in a way that you found problematic, send them a PM and explain why. Don't do it in the middle of our conversation and please don't speak for me. It's aggressive and incredibly disruptive.

This is what happens when NON_NATIVES get involved with things they don't understand.

What is? As far as I can see nothing has happened here other than the exchange of words.

If possible I'd like to request that this thread be locked. It's becoming hostile and I don't think it's helpful or necessary, and as far as I can tell nobody has anything valuable to add.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 03:48:02 pm by Praxis »

Offline earthw7

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2015, 03:29:00 pm »
well thank you for your judgement ;D
In Spirit

Offline Thyme4Mind

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2015, 03:41:13 pm »
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic.

If you are, I wasn't trying to be snarky. If something was done I'd love to rectify it, but otherwise all I see here is a few questions being asked and then answered by the community. I got my answer and I understand it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe anyone was harmed in the process.

I didn't intent to pass judgement and I meant no disrespect, this thread is just clearly no longer relevant and that's all I meant by my above comment. Apologies.

If you're not, please just disregard me--it's still early AM for me  :P

EDIT: I'd also just like to apologize to Ingeborg for my defensive post. I understand why it is that you said what you did, and I shouldn't have reacted in the the way that I did.

This said, I still feel that this thread should be locked in light of the fact that the original questions I posed have all been answered and this is a sensitive topic that doesn't really need to keep getting brought up.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 11:02:09 pm by Praxis »

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2015, 09:35:32 pm »
We don't generally lock threads for becoming contentious; we just ask people to behave respectfully. :)

I also found 4Bears continuing to ask basic questions rather than doing his own heavy lifting kind of annoying, especially as some of the questions seemed to me to be geared at trying to learn more about how to exploit Ayahuasca. He had been asked to read the threads we already have here on spiritual tourism and Ayahuasca, and it doesn't seem he did so. It also tends to cause problems when non-Natives choose screen names, like "4Bears" that could lead new users to mistakenly believe they are speaking to someone who is Native. No one culture owns bears. Or the number 4. But on an Native-owned forum for discussing issues that impact Natives I think it's kind of misleading. While I won't speak for Ingeborg, I assumed that's one of the reasons she brought up his being white.

I think the issue of consumption of Ayahuasca by those outside of the traditional, Indigenous communities was settled as soon as the people from those Indigenous communities said they're not OK with it.  It's their call, their cultural property, not any of ours. Of course there are non-traditional people who have sold out and exploited their culture, but this forum is concerned with preserving and protecting traditional ways and respecting the wishes of those who preserve those ways for their people. As we have been asked specifically, by distraught people from those communities, to help stop use of Ayahuasca by outsiders, the issue is clear-cut for our established members and when people ignore that boundary it can get kind of emotional.

Offline RunsWithScissorz

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2015, 05:12:44 am »
Quote
We don't generally lock threads for becoming contentious; we just ask people to behave respectfully. :)

I also found 4Bears continuing to ask basic questions rather than doing his own heavy lifting kind of annoying, especially as some of the questions seemed to me to be geared at trying to learn more about how to exploit Ayahuasca. He had been asked to read the threads we already have here on spiritual tourism and Ayahuasca, and it doesn't seem he did so.

"...trying to learn more about how to exploit Ayahuasca"???  How in the heck did you possibly pick up that idea?  My questions were geared toward clarifying whether or not tribes such as those who use Ayahuasca traditionally, would share a sacred medicine like that if there were a true medical need for it in the world.  I think this is a good question, and a potential problem for some tribes down the road, and it doesn't pertain only or specifically to Ayahuasca.

Also, I didn't perceive that I was being asked to go and read the threads about spiritual tourism and Ayahuasca, I thought that suggestion was directed toward Praxis.  I will go and find these threads and do the reading, although I've already done some on Nu-Age sites ... sheesh, just run a Google search and there is a lot out there. 

Quote
... It also tends to cause problems when non-Natives choose screen names, like "4Bears" that could lead new users to mistakenly believe they are speaking to someone who is Native. No one culture owns bears. Or the number 4. But on an Native-owned forum for discussing issues that impact Natives I think it's kind of misleading. While I won't speak for Ingeborg, I assumed that's one of the reasons she brought up his being white.

The name 4Bears or something similar has been in my online usage for 20 years, relates to personal things and I didn't think anything about using it here.  It's clear from my profile that I am not NDN.  However, I will change the name if I can do that -- I'll check after I complete this post.  This subject really ought to be in a Sticky at the top of the New Members page, if it isn't already, and maybe the forum can be set up so that new people signing up can be "vetted" first to make sure they are not NDN and attempting to use some name that might suggest to someone that they are NDN.  Good luck with that ... verifications can be the pits, been there and done that. 

Oh, and also I'm a "she" not a "he". 

Quote
... I think the issue of consumption of Ayahuasca by those outside of the traditional, Indigenous communities was settled as soon as the people from those Indigenous communities said they're not OK with it.  It's their call, their cultural property, not any of ours. Of course there are non-traditional people who have sold out and exploited their culture, but this forum is concerned with preserving and protecting traditional ways and respecting the wishes of those who preserve those ways for their people. As we have been asked specifically, by distraught people from those communities, to help stop use of Ayahuasca by outsiders, the issue is clear-cut for our established members and when people ignore that boundary it can get kind of emotional.

I am actually behind this 100%.  It was not and is not my intention to try to get Ayahuasca (or any other sacred medicine) away from a tribe.  At this point in time, it seems that with regard to Ayahuasca, that's going to be locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to try to curb the spread. 

Historically, the fact is that not every NDN medicine or food plant was stolen by Euros.  Often, due to friendships and alliances, these things were shared by NDNs with Euros and this type of cross-cultural sharing/borrowing has probably gone on when different groups meet, all the way back in time.  I think it is a lot tougher trying to nail down this or that plant or other substance or being, from becoming shared, than it is to keep a ceremony solely within a tribal group. 

« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 11:17:20 pm by NAFPS Housekeeping »

Offline RunsWithScissorz

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2015, 05:20:08 am »
Changed my name from 4Bears to RunsWithIndians :)   It's true, and hope that works here. 

Offline earthw7

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2015, 02:17:18 pm »
cute! The Four Bear family Thanks you, we have Four Bears from Three Affiliated Tribes and from Cheyenne River,
so "what Indians do you run with"?
As Native people we shared many things but that means they don't come with obligations for uses, we think everyone is respectful
and has good hearts but is not the way of the world. We find today so many are on this instance fix, like a drug addict, fix me now,
We want everything and want to claim everything and thing we have rights to everything but that is not true.
We have old laws on how thing are to do be done and all of these old laws, still exist today
In Spirit

Offline Ingeborg

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2015, 03:30:49 pm »
First of all: thanks for your words, Praxis.

Quote
While I won't speak for Ingeborg, I assumed that's one of the reasons she brought up his being white.

That was indeed one of the reasons. The nick „4Bears“ may be mistaken for an indigenous person posting. This also leaves much room for further – errrm: interested posters jumping in with the argument: „See? Even the Natives themselves...“.

Not that, as an aside, the nick of „RunningWithIndians“ doesn't equally leave room for interpretation... Just what about this nick gives me the idea it might have been chosen to spite us? (As in: 'If you take exception at me posing as „4Bears“, I'll show you I can come up with more nicks you probably like even less...')


As far as RunningWith4IndianBears is concerned – congrats. This is the first time someone is whining 'reverse racism' in my direction in this forum. Party-time, folks – all drinks are on me!

I also still haven't quite figured out why a person would take exception at the term 'mighty white' while a word like 'honkies' passes by unnoticed. So it is no surprise that you, RW4IB, also don't see a difference between 'speaking up' and 'speaking for'. Calling people on some BS they present is not 'speaking for'.

To clarify matters: as far as I am concerned, Praxis is very well able to speak for himself, and I don't plan to speak for him or any other non-white person. Still, your posts aimed at letting Praxis know that the ndn people objecting the use of medicine plants perhaps don't quite know what they're on about and certainly do not see the 'whole picture', and to hide behind his back when the flak would be going. Such a strategy is dishonest and dishonourable.

But I agree it may be come in quite convenient to try and discredit white persons pointing to rather – errm: entitled and privileged attitudes as being racist. In fact what I meant to express was that the tactics employed were so easy to see through that even white persons can detect this without even using a white stick, despite us having grown up with lots of privilege and entitledness to blur our view.

When you first joined the boards in March 2011 with some 6 posts written in that month (a seventh in 2013 with nothing in between), you finished the intro with:

Quote
Am 100% in support of all this site stands for.

With respect.

You have already been told this site stands for opposing the exploitation of medicine plants by Euros. So what part of „No“ is it you refuse to understand, RW4IB?

You also seem to have dropped the 'respect' some time ago..., at least you don't sign your posts with this any longer.

This lack of respect has also blurred your view for the difference between Euro research of medical plants (*medical*) to find remedies with will then be produced synthetically and the abuse of plants by Euro drug peddlers. But the way in which you present the argument in your „what if“ scenery reveals you don't give a flying one about which way a plant may be used by Euros – the main aspect is that it simply must be free for Euros to use as soon as they want it – period. Everything else, like indigenous nations' views, does not matter as long as Euros are allowed to grab whatever they fancy.


Quote
At this point in time, it seems that with regard to Ayahuasca, that's going to be locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to try to curb the spread. 

Historically, the fact is that not every NDN medicine or food plant was stolen by Euros.  Often, due to friendships and alliances, these things were shared by NDNs with Euros

We heard that 'too late' from many Nuagers before – 'too late' to stop Euros from imitating ndn ceremonies, 'we' already got them. Complete the picture with adding a three-year-old going „Duuuhhh“.

It is also mighty white not to be able to see a difference between having been invited to share a ceremony – and feeling entitled to continue its use from that point in time on. Unfortunately, individual Euros were trusted and invited to participate, only to have them return to Europe and pose as pipe keepers, sweatlodge pourers and whatnot, and of course claiming 'authorisation' by ndn medicine persons. If and when my Muslim neighbours are kind enough to invite me to their Id al-Fitr at the end of the Ramadan month, then I've only been invited to share a meal that evening, probably even as a particularly honoured guest. Nothing in the whole effin' world will justify me if I am brazen and entitled enough to pose as a mullah after this invitation.

And a final remark:

Quote
Also, I didn't perceive that I was being asked to go and read the threads about spiritual tourism and Ayahuasca, I thought that suggestion was directed toward Praxis.

Well, how could we ever think that threads and sites we recommend may be read even by :gasp: white posters? We're definitely getting uppity, folks...
How much more entitled can one get? 'Awww, they're only providing links for … and … - no need to go there and read' ?!?!?

« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 11:15:49 pm by NAFPS Housekeeping »

Offline RunsWithScissorz

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2015, 06:18:27 pm »
cute! The Four Bear family Thanks you, we have Four Bears from Three Affiliated Tribes and from Cheyenne River,
so "what Indians do you run with"?
As Native people we shared many things but that means they don't come with obligations for uses, we think everyone is respectful
and has good hearts but is not the way of the world. We find today so many are on this instance fix, like a drug addict, fix me now,
We want everything and want to claim everything and thing we have rights to everything but that is not true.
We have old laws on how thing are to do be done and all of these old laws, still exist today

".... what Indians do you run with?"  <-------   Apaches I grew up with.  We did a lot of running, in game-playing as well as flat out foot races.  Even all these many years later, my friends remember me for my love of running, so the name seemed appropriate. 

Offline AClockworkWhite

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2015, 06:35:58 pm »
Cool! Which Apaches, RWI? I've been around them myself for most of my life. We have relatives at several of their communities.
I came here for the popcorn and stayed for the slaying of pretenders.

Offline RunsWithScissorz

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2015, 08:48:22 pm »
First of all: thanks for your words, Praxis.

That was indeed one of the reasons. The nick „4Bears“ may be mistaken for an indigenous person posting. This also leaves much room for further – errrm: interested posters jumping in with the argument: „See? Even the Natives themselves...“.

Not that, as an aside, the nick of „RunningWithIndians“ doesn't equally leave room for interpretation... Just what about this nick gives me the idea it might have been chosen to spite us? (As in: 'If you take exception at me posing as „4Bears“, I'll show you I can come up with more nicks you probably like even less...')

I've suggested that there be a "sticky" at the top of the New Members area, and/or that there be a requirement on the sign-up that a person identify so that new members can be vetted to prove they are or are not NDN before they are allowed to sign up.  You have conveniently ignored that I made these suggestions which would probably eliminate non-NDNs from signing up with questionable user names.  The forum easily permits members to view a poster's profile, my profile clearly stated that I am not NDN so obviously there was no intent on my part to deceive anyone. 

....As far as RunningWith4IndianBears is concerned – congrats. This is the first time someone is whining 'reverse racism' in my direction in this forum. Party-time, folks – all drinks are on me!

I guess you don't know that a lot of NDN people have difficulties with alcohol consumption.  One of my dearest friends since childhood nearly died when her drunk husband stabbed her, and recently she lost her son to the ravages of alcohol.  Not to mention, my own daughter is half Rappahannock and was born with FAS ... thankfully does not have the worst effects of it.  So ... how very thoughtful of you, Ingeborg.

....I also still haven't quite figured out why a person would take exception at the term 'mighty white' while a word like 'honkies' passes by unnoticed. So it is no surprise that you, RW4IB, also don't see a difference between 'speaking up' and 'speaking for'. Calling people on some BS they present is not 'speaking for'.

I also didn't address your term "great white father".  I think it was clear what I was objecting to and saw no need to pick up every term you used.  The rest of your remarks here don't make sense to me:  You had said that I should refrain from making any points on behalf of Praxis ... I simply pointed out that by saying that to me, you yourself were attempting to make a point on behalf of Praxis.  I further said that Praxis himself can say so if anything I said offended him, he doesn't need you to make assumptions on his part. 

....To clarify matters: as far as I am concerned, Praxis is very well able to speak for himself, and I don't plan to speak for him or any other non-white person. Still, your posts aimed at letting Praxis know that the ndn people objecting the use of medicine plants perhaps don't quite know what they're on about and certainly do not see the 'whole picture', and to hide behind his back when the flak would be going. Such a strategy is dishonest and dishonourable.

I HAD QUESTIONS.  What are you smoking, Ingeborg, that you don't understand what I have already clarified more than once???  Maybe it's those party drinks you are slugging down.  Excuse MEEEE for asking some questions in an attempt to better understand and clarify things ON THIS THREAD. 

....But I agree it may be come in quite convenient to try and discredit white persons pointing to rather – errm: entitled and privileged attitudes as being racist. In fact what I meant to express was that the tactics employed were so easy to see through that even white persons can detect this without even using a white stick, despite us having grown up with lots of privilege and entitledness to blur our view.


Again, I don't know what you are not understanding.  I've always taken this site to be a good place in which to learn what and who are causing problems for NDNs.  I would have thought that asking some questions in order to clarify the points about Ayahuasca usage was well within the borders of what this site is about.  Apparently you don't think so, so why are you here?  Accusing me of employing some "tactics" is just ridiculous -- then again, maybe the white people YOU know do things like that. 

....You have already been told this site stands for opposing the exploitation of medicine plants by Euros. So what part of „No“ is it you refuse to understand, RW4IB?

My questions had to do with details, Ingeborg.  Maybe the problem is this:  I spent nearly 20 years working in law (no, not as a lawyer).  When it comes to legalities, meanings need to be broken down and spelled out distinctly as much as possible.  That's how I approached this discussion, the intent of my questions has been to get the details clarified.  For example, I wondered whether Praxis' thought to possibly grow his own Ayahuasca plants would be an acceptable kind of use -- I understood that using this and other such plants as part of "spiritual tourism" is a No, I wasn't sure about the seeds/growth thing.  When that was explained, I understood in which way that would also be exploitation, and I didn't have any further question about that. 

But I also wanted to know about how the tribes viewed -- or would view -- use of sacred plants if they turn out to have medicinal properties that could benefit the world at large.  This was not -- as you seem to think, Ingeborg -- an attempt to "get around" the proscription against Euro use of sacred plants.  It was an attempt to clarify something further in that regard. 

I have since found this:  "The Yurayaco Declaration of the Union de Medicos Indigenas Yageceros de la Amazonia Colombiana (UMIYAC)".  I personally feel that a copy of it should be made available on NAFPS as a reference.  In this Declaration is the following statements:  "We consider yagé, our medicinal plants and our wisdom to be gifts from God and of great benefit for the health of humanity."

And  "We are also willing to travel in order to bring the benefits of our medicine to indigenous communities in Colombia and other parts of America upon request. Conscious of the fact that non-Indians also need our services as doctors, we propose the construction of Indigenous Medicine Clinics so they may have easier access and in conditions better suited to the way in which we work, always closely linked to nature."  Clearly, the intent of these tribes is to make their medicine available on beyond their own tribes, but they want to do this in a way that fits their traditions and beliefs.  This answers my questions.  It also refutes claims on this site that these tribes don't want their medicines to be used by anyone but their own people.

... You also seem to have dropped the 'respect' some time ago..., at least you don't sign your posts with this any longer.

I have not always signed my posts with it in the past, either.  Nor do most posters here, so what's your point?

... This lack of respect has also blurred your view for the difference between Euro research of medical plants (*medical*) to find remedies with will then be produced synthetically and the abuse of plants by Euro drug peddlers. But the way in which you present the argument in your „what if“ scenery reveals you don't give a flying one about which way a plant may be used by Euros – the main aspect is that it simply must be free for Euros to use as soon as they want it – period. Everything else, like indigenous nations' views, does not matter as long as Euros are allowed to grab whatever they fancy.

I'm sorry that's your take on it.  I'm glad I'm not the kind of person who is automatically suspicious of people who have questions. 

...It is also mighty white not to be able to see a difference between having been invited to share a ceremony – and feeling entitled to continue its use from that point in time on. Unfortunately, individual Euros were trusted and invited to participate, only to have them return to Europe and pose as pipe keepers, sweatlodge pourers and whatnot, and of course claiming 'authorisation' by ndn medicine persons. If and when my Muslim neighbours are kind enough to invite me to their Id al-Fitr at the end of the Ramadan month, then I've only been invited to share a meal that evening, probably even as a particularly honoured guest. Nothing in the whole effin' world will justify me if I am brazen and entitled enough to pose as a mullah after this invitation.

I agree with you on these points.  They don't define "me". 

... Well, how could we ever think that threads and sites we recommend may be read even by :gasp: white posters? We're definitely getting uppity, folks...
How much more entitled can one get? 'Awww, they're only providing links for … and … - no need to go there and read' ?!?!? 
 

I did go and read other threads.  Frankly, nothing in those discussions answered my actual questions.  But I did find a reference to the above-noted Declaration as I was reading further last night, and that was a gem.

Also, I sought another point of view on the whole matter and talked with a close Apache friend of mine about this.  He and his family are well-respected on the reservation, he's worked on behalf of his people his entire adult life and has several times been a spokesperson and resource for the tribe in various ways.  Of course, he knows me well, so he knows where I am truly "coming from" with questions.  It's a funny thing, he's always expressed appreciation of the fact that I DO ASK questions and don't just jump to conclusions, and that I DO WANT to know the fine details on the subjects he is allowed to discuss.  His first reaction when I explained the issue here and the obfuscation I was encountering, was to laugh and say this:  "Well, you know, we are Apaches.  Historically, if someone had horses and we wanted them, we just took them.  If they wanted to keep the horses, they had to fight for it, and I doubt our people were the only tribes who traditionally saw things that way."  :)

Offline RunsWithScissorz

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2015, 08:52:28 pm »
Cool! Which Apaches, RWI? I've been around them myself for most of my life. We have relatives at several of their communities.

White Mountain Apaches, ACW.  We might know some people in common -- feel free to PM me :)

Offline Thyme4Mind

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Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2015, 10:22:03 pm »
RunsWithIndians,

While I understand why it is that your actions were perceived a certain way, it seems to me like you've been unnecessarily put on the defensive simply for being inquisitive. As I'm sure you're aware, this is a topic that comes up frequently here and from what I have observed the community is constantly giving the same answers to the same questions; more often than not those asking the questions don't actually want to hear the answers. But if I can be totally honest a lot of the questions you are asking echo my own thoughts.

I think part of the reason this topic has become so exasperated is because when it comes down to it, it's common sense. If people who traditionally use yage say it's not something that others can take out of context, then that's that. The The Yurayaco Declaration of the Union de Medicos Indigenas Yageceros de la Amazonia Colombiana (UMIYAC) does state that authentic Taitas do believe that non indigenous peoples can benefit from Yage, but with their consent and under their direct supervision. I personally don't believe that entails anyone but them actually drinking the brew, for one. Traditionally the Taitas are the ones to ingest ayahuasca and the patient remains 'sober' while they are examined by the healer. In its traditional context you can think of ayahuasca as a sort of stethoscope or microscope in which a doctor/healer is using to examine a patient in a way they normally cannot. Sure, I could use the doctors tools on myself but I would much rather trust the doctor who has an intimate understanding of how the tool works and how to interpret what it is showing us. Most Westerners interested in Ayahuasca just hop online and order the plants or pay for a retreat in Peru/Columbia. This kind of activity is grossly out of context and is not what they mean when they say that Ayahuasca can heal the world. It is essential that they are involved in the process. Regardless of whether or not it might cure cancer (and theres no evidence for this), I don't think they approve of its use without their involvement. From your most recent post it seems like you were able to answer your own question but I thought I would share my own take as well.

So, as someone who is absolutely unapologetic in my psychedelic exploration, this is something that has been weighing heavy on my mind for a long time and it finally feels like I'm starting to have some closure. In many ways I feel kind of liberated by knowing for sure how ndn people feel about this subject; it gave me a clear choice to make. Either I could be conscious and respectful or I could disregard the wishes of ndn people, and that was what it boiled down to. For me, this is only a sort of confirmation for me. I take psychedelics so that I might be a better person, but the work itself is not in the experience but what we choose to do with the experience. The most important lessons are learned after you come back down from earth. If psychedelics tell me that everything is connected and that I should do everything in power to reduce harm and restore relationships, than I cannot ignore when my use of these tools is creating harm. If I truly want to use these medicines for spiritual and interpersonal growth how can I possibly ignore that?

So anyways....I feel that I'm not alone here. I think there's a lot of well-intentioned seekers out there and while some of them (maybe most of them) are stubborn and stuck interacting with the world through the lens of their own privilege, there are people who will listen. Unfortunately, Ayahuasca and San Pedro, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum, and many other sacred indigenous medicines are a rising trend. They get more popular every day. Because of my position as both a psychonaut and as a political organizer/activist, I feel I have a sort of a responsibility to act as an outlet, conduit, or bridge between the two worlds. I believe psychedelics in the hands of people who are politically conscious are powerful tools for transformation....and I will firmly stand by this even though many (most) of you might adamantly disagree. These drugs in the hands of people who view the world through the lens of white-supremacy and privilege create more harm than good, and this is the dominant trend right now.

I've been working on a written piece about these issues and I would like feedback from this community. Im hoping it will essentially be something similar to "Unpacking The Invisible NapSack" about white privilege, or like some of the essays written by white allies that can be found in "Unsettling Ourselves", but this piece will be targeted specifically at the psychedelic/new age scene. There is a popular online psychedelic E-Zine which has a wide audience that I've written for in the past (about issues of race/gender in the culture) and I am also active in the forum with which it is associated with. If this is something that people here would encourage, I'd love to work with y'all. What would people here want me to say, what shouldn't I say? I want to be accountable to ndn people and be very clear that I'm not speaking for them; but as someone with a foot in both worlds I can't help but feel that I have a good opportunity to make sure the community knows where you stand and they hear it loud and clear. What they do with that information is their choice, but they cannot say that they didn't know. If I get the thumbs up here, once I have a first draft I'd be more than happy to share it here and get feedback.

Also, I know I'm kind of jumping all over here; but one of the things I want to talk about in this piece is the idea of Ayahuasca analogs (eg anahuasca). I could see this as a possible alternative to using sacred plants, but part of me feels that this is just skirting around the issue and can still be harmful. NDN people discovered how to make DMT orally active; I would not be aware of this knowledge if it were not for indigenous cultures that are now being exploited for that knowledge. Even if I source out local plants in my region with the required alkaloids, I am taking that technology/knowledge without asking. I am still using it out of context. It might not be the same plants but in my mind that is an issue of semantics....like a legal low blow. The combination of DMT and an MAOI is like intellectual property in it's own right. By ignoring that I feel my actions would be comparable to the scummy lawyer who looks for loopholes in the fine print to defend/persecute someone who they know is guilty/innocent (respectively). What do folks here think of this, if it's ok for me to ask? If I were to have plants growing in my backyard that could be used as an ayahuasca analog, would it be unethical for me to harvest these plants and use them? My gut tells me that yes, this is still wrong; I want to listen to my gut but I would also like to know I'm not acting out my own ideas of what ndn people think is right and wrong.

Perhaps it's not a good time to be asking more questions, but I hope you can understand why I'm asking. I'm not looking for an easy answer that will give me a free pass, but if I end up writing this article about the appropriation of Ayahuasca and other medicines and I offer alternatives, I would like to know that the alternatives I am offering are not just another form of appropriation.