Author Topic: George Price & Quaker Sweatlodge  (Read 24759 times)

Offline educatedindian

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4740
George Price & Quaker Sweatlodge
« on: September 25, 2006, 07:38:19 pm »
Mostly seems naive and shocked that people object. He wants comments, here's a chance to convince the guy. Please post anything you send to him and any answers from him.

http://www.quakersweat.org

A Quaker Sweat Lodge was conducted at the annual Gathering of Friends General Conference for over ten years, until 2003. It was approved for 2004, then abruptly canceled, due to charges of "racism" and "cultural appropriation." Controversy over the charges and the decision have continued ever since. This site assembles documents from this discussion and resources on the issues.  The site is an unofficial and personal project of Chuck Fager, who has actively participated in this  discussion.

http://www.quakersweat.org/racism.html

In spite of numerous requests, none of those who have charged that the Quaker Sweat Lodge is "racist" and "cultural appropriation" have as yet responded to the following two queries:

1. What exactly is "racism" and "cultural appropriation" as they apply to something like the sweat lodge?

2. Specifically how does the Quaker Sweat Lodge fit these definitions of "racism" and "cultural appropriation"?

This page is reserved for these responses, if and when they are sent in.
   
Please send them to me at: Email: chuckfager@aol.com

Offline JosephSWM

  • Posts: 174
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 07:49:28 pm »
Here's what I wrote to them. You might be able to tell that there is no love lost in my feelings towards quakers.


Hello,

I do not want to sound mean nor nasty nor hateful but I do want to get to the point. The posing of the question of what is racism and cultural appropriation is to me similar to a political debate that will go nowhere. The question has been posed by the Quakers and now the ball is in the Indian court and they better be able to explain themselves or else. Why?

The Quakers have had a long history of acting like they are helping Indian people but still making sure we knew they were white and better. How about defend yourself on that one. How about all the government money your people got "running" reservations. And while you are explaining things, how about Richard Nixon?

I don't think anyone here at this forum nor any Indian should play ball  with you and your turn the table around tactics.

You lack of respect for our opinion, our feelings, our culture, our whole being is very evident. You ask us to explain cultural appropriation. You know what it is. Are you that naive.

I would say to any others at NAFPS not to respond to this question.


Joseph

Offline Moma_porcupine

  • Posts: 682
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 02:33:00 am »
I want to point out that in this situation ,the Quaker community has done the right thing and has had enough respect for the wishes of Native peoples to put a stop to "the Quaker Sweat Lodge".

Part of the letter at the link below bitterly complains about this saying ;

 http://www.quakersweat.org/qsl-02.html

Quote
"the minutes of the LRCP from 4th Month 2004, record the Committee for Ministry on Racism as declaring, When someone is so strongly offended by our behavior we must take heed, no matter what our intentions."

I don't think it is the Quakers in general that are having a hard time understanding what is cultural appropriation , but it is actually just a few individuals who are a part of the Quaker community , who don't seem to get it .

Especially the individual who wrote this long letter complaining about what , in my opinion , should be easily recognizable as basic Native rights to govern and protect their own culture and Spiritual ceremonies , as they see fit . Who knows why this individual feels so threatened by this ... ???

I appreciate that the Quaker leadership recognized and respected the concerns expressed by the Mashpee Wampanoag and in response they discontinued using the Sweat Lodge ceremony. Whether people agree with every thing Quakers have done in the past ,  if other people all showed the same respect and senstivity , as the Quaker leadership has in this case , we would not have nearly so many problems to discuss in this forum . I don't think the Quakers deserve any critism for their response to this . Especially not from us too !

Sounds like they are already getting plenty of critism for discontinuing these Quaker sweat lodges, from some of their own members  .

Offline Moma_porcupine

  • Posts: 682
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 02:51:37 pm »
http://www.quakersweat.org/qsl-02.html

I can pick out a few of the things this person has said himself , in his letter of complaint , found in the link above , that might help the young people who became involved in this "Quaker sweat lodge" understand what people are getting at when they say " cultural appropriation". I do feel concerned for these young people who became innocently involved in this .

Quoting from the long letter of complaint
Quote
"There are also native teachers who have worked quietly with devoted non-natives to find ways to share what is good in their traditions, because they think the underlying spirituality could be of benefit, even to us whites, if used respectfully."

Quote
"George Price’s article in the February 2002 Friends Journal, which explains how his native
teachers led the early sweats at the Gathering, and then instructed him to continue them

By his own account, George has spent many years studying and working with such "authentic"
native teachers."

Quote
"Clyde Bellacourt of the American Indian Movement, who also encouraged Price to continue the sweats, when Bellacourt visited the Gathering in 1989."

So here this guy has repeatedly pointed out that these traditions were learned from Native teachers .

But then , speaking about a write up done explaining the Quaker Sweat Lodge , he goes on to say ;

Quoting the long letter of complaint
Quote
"note that it does not mention Native American spirituality or ceremonies. The organizers say this is not an accident; they assert that the experience has become distinctively Quaker, it is not "stolen" or imitation anything. "

He then tries to suggest the concerns Native people have expressed with regards to the out of context use of their Sacred traditions , are the opinions of " self appointed outsiders "

Quoting the long letter of copmplaint  
Quote
"Are we now to submit our seventy-plus workshops to a new round of reviews by self-appointed outsiders, persons and groups with no involvement in FGC, no presence at the Gathering, because they might take exception to some of what is on our program?"

Well there you have it . This person who is objecting bitterly that Native people feel the Quaker sweat lodge is cultural appropriation explains that some of his friends learned these traditions from Native teachers , he then goes on to explain the traditions are now Quaker and Native people are now "self appointed outsiders" .

In yet he cannot understand the concept of "cultural appropriation , or how failure to recognize Native American authority and ownership is a form of racism which has, and continues to , result in genocide .

It is hard to understand why he can't see this , but I guess we all have blind spots ....

These quotes have been taken from a very long letter , and are not in context. The individual who wrote this offers many rationalizations that he believes are justifications for behavior many Native people experience as desecration and cultural approproiation  . Addressing all his many justifications point by
point , would be very very long , so I am just trying to stay with the bare bones , and point out what is going on here that might be percieved to be " cultural appropriation ".

I also wanted to say I feel some sympathy for the people who say they were taught the sweat lodge ceremony and encouraged to share it with their friends by people they believed were qualified Native teachers .

One thing that is often misunderstood is the concept of collective ownership . Native tradtions and culture are collectively owned , sort of like the National Parks .  What this means is that the descisions are not made in consideration of individual desires  , but are made in consideration of the well being of the whole . Sometimes , with the best of intentions, mistakes get made , and when it is realized what was done was not in the best intrest of the whole , the mistake gets corrected. Individual "owners" do not have a right to "share" something in a way that is not in the best intrests of the whole .

I don't think that people who become involved in leading Native ceremonies believing they are welcome to do so , are "guilty " of anything - at least not until they find out that many Native people feel offended by this , and the choice is  made to ignore this.

Offline debbieredbear

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1494
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 04:24:24 pm »
Quote
It is hard to understand why he can't see this , but I guess we all have blind spots ....

I think he CAN See it. He just doesn't want to, that's why he dismissed the Wampanog letter and will most likely dismiss any others. He already has. He called them "self appointed outsiders."

Offline Diana

  • Posts: 414
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2006, 08:48:01 am »
Here is a comment I found on a web site about the Quaker Sweatlodge from a Quaker. This person actually participated in building and worshipping in a native sweatlodge. Please go to http://rftlight.blogspot.com/2006/04/quaker-sweat-lodge.html for the a very eye-opening story. I don't think Mr. Fager is telling the whole truth on his web site or to this forum.


*Cultural appropriation is still the "biggie" for me. It was emphasized that this was a quaker and not an indian sweat, and that many and varied ethnic traditions have used "sweats" (the finiish sauna, an extinct celtic practice, etc) - and yet, we spoke prayers in native languages, not in finnish, we build a physical structure based on an indian structure, not finnish.... This is one area where I see great potential for change that could seriously change the basis for this concern.


Lim lemtsh


Diana

walking-soft

  • Guest
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2006, 12:04:33 am »
 :)  http://www.quakersweat.org/

Thought this to be interesting read also.
                                                              walking-soft :)

Offline JosephSWM

  • Posts: 174
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2006, 07:21:52 pm »
I wish I had more than the 45 minutes the library gives you to use the computer so I could read some more of this quaker fodder. I wrote a letter to chuck fager, the one I put in the post somewhere above, and he never replied. I wish he would have. I guess maybe he is still trying to think of some explanation to explain the good quaker richard nixon.

Some of you have defended quakers here, saying they have done some good. All my personal dealings, meaning in person and not a computer, with quakers have proved to me through thier actions that they lie and talk out of both sides of thier mouths. And when that spirit moves them they certainly can betray a trust.

So let them have their sweat, maybe they will melt and that will be the end of them.

Joseph

weheli

  • Guest
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2006, 07:39:56 pm »
 Joesph,
I totaly agree with you. I am sure that if they dressed up like priests and performed duties of a Priest, Monk, Ect. the issue would be addressed and more than likely more forceful. Why than is it ok to always TAKE our ceremonies and it is acceptable by some/most people? ???
                                                               Weheli :-\














frederica

  • Guest
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2006, 01:09:28 am »
I had a bout not long ago with someone about the Quakers. They have the same sense of entitlement as all the rest. They are just sneakier about it I guess that makes it "peaceful". frederica

Offline Diana

  • Posts: 414
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2006, 03:19:49 am »
Here is part of a comment about Chuck Fager and George Price made by a Quaker who attended the 2005 Gathering in Blacksburg, VA.

"Oh-- also last year, at the 2005 Gathering in Blacksburg, VA, Chuck Fager and George Price (George being the Friend who was blessed by an Native American elder to share the sweatlodge among Friends)-- Chuck and George convened their own session about the sweatlodge, which I attended a part of.

Some of what I heard there was another "take" on the history of what led up to FGC's decision to cancel the sweatlodge workshop... I remain VERY concerned for the "antagonistic" approach that was being modeled, rather than encouragement for listening together for the Truth in what each "camp" was presenting."

I don't think Mr. Fager is as naive and shocked as he would have people think he is. It has been several years since the sweat lodge was discontinued and this man still has the audacity to wage his whiny war on what he perceives as an entitlement. Mr. Fager ignores what is obvious to virtually all Indians, culture appropriation, and even asks us to to explain it to the poor dear.

And one more thing, who are these so called tribal elders that all these white people seem to know? They would have you think that there is one every corner. I noticed that they never give a name or tribal affiliation.

In all fairness, some of the blogs that were written by Quakers in response to Reaching for the Light-Quaker Sweatlodge were very kind and insightful. Please go to http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17411202&postID=114547990013004091 to read some of the comments.




Lim lemtsh

Diana
   

Offline JosephSWM

  • Posts: 174
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2006, 02:34:46 pm »
You know thats the thing about quakers, they seem so kind so peaceful, especially in writing but they are two faced. Why didn't Fager respond to the letter.

You know they think they have some special understanding of peace but they don't. The way they act they give us all the impression that they are above us, superior to us. They were able to get CO status during ww II but Hopis were sent to prison because the government did not recognze their religion and so were not able to get CO status. And there were many other tribes too where the men were sent to prison.

I have performed at quaker schools before. They always want a synopsis of my stories (so they can approve them or not) and they do not want any dancing as part of my program. I will never perform at another Friends school no matter how much they pay.

Ain't nothing anyone can say to change my mind about quakers.

Joseph

Offline Diana

  • Posts: 414
  • I Love YaBB 2!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2006, 08:58:58 am »
I found this on Quaker Earthcare Witness (formerly friends committee on unity), I don't know if they are directly related to the Quakers. I will do a little research and let you know.
It seems like they were holding vision quests as recently as October. Here's the web address.
http://www.quakerearthcare.org/Publications/BeFriendingCreation/CurrentIssueofBFC/BFC1902/Newsletter06.htm   



BeFriending Creation       
    Volume 19, Number 2 • March-April 2006
       


Personal transformation

Narrow Ridge offers Vision Quest
opportunities in 2006

Vision Quest is a guided experience for persons seeking clarity about life directions, including three days and nights of solitary fasting in a mountain wilderness.

Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center in rural Grainger County, Tennessee, is offering two Vision Quest (VQ) opportunities during 2006. [The application deadline for the first VQ, June 3-June 11, has passed; those interested in the second VQ, tentatively set for October 7-October 15, should apply no later than June 15.]

Participants will experience several days of preparation and training, a time of fasting alone on Log Mountain near Narrow Ridge Center, and several days of processing, including a sweat lodge ceremony. Past participants have reported significant increases in clarity about life directions, decisions, and purpose, in addition to finding the experience profoundly restorative in terms of feelings of health and well-being. Vision Quests have been part of the rites of passage of many different cultures since time immemorial. Pictures of last year's VQ are available at the Narrow Ridge website, <www.narrowridge.org>.

Principle leader for the June VQ will be Bill Nickle, founder of Narrow Ridge who has led VQs annually for seven years. Bill will be assisted by a team who have experienced at least one VQ and who are active in programs sponsored by Narrow Ridge.

During and after the VQ, participants will stay at Strawbale Lodge on the grounds of Narrow Ridge, an eco-friendly facility constructed of sustainable building materials and utilizing solar power, composting toilets, and an on-demand water heater. Vegetarian and organic food is provided in a supportive group living and learning environment.

Individuals and couples are invited to apply. Cost is $400 per person or $720 per couple. Need-based scholarship assistance may be available. Previous camping experience is not required. Participants must submit a statement of personal intent explaining her/his interest in experiencing a VQ. Persons accepted must file a medical statement certifying they are in sufficiently good health and be willing to sign a liability waiver accepting the inherent safety risks of a VQ. Participants should prepare for the VQ over the weeks preceding the experience by following a suggested regime of reading, journaling, short-term fasting, spending time alone in reflection, and walking.

To begin application and registration, send name, address, phone and e-mail along with a $50 deposit to Narrow Ridge Center, 1936 Liberty Hill Road, Washburn TN 37888. For more information, contact Larry Osborne [of West Knoxville Friends Meeting] at 865/475-3195 or 865/ 414-5711 or by e-mail at <losborne@cn.edu>.

Narrow Ridge is a nonprofit educational organization committed to land conservation, sustainable living, building community, and fostering spiritual growth. Narrow Ridge is non-sectarian and welcomes seekers from diverse faith traditions.


Lim lemtsh


Diana



Offline 180IQ

  • The Caretaker
  • Posts: 315
  • I never sleep
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2006, 04:33:00 am »
OK $400 vision quests - maybe this thread should be moved over to the Frauds board....

Offline JosephSWM

  • Posts: 174
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Quaker Sweatlodge-Comments Wanted
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2006, 08:05:12 pm »
Thanks for moving this over to Frauds. You know what I find confusing is why they would have to pay for food. Unless of course they have created a new VQ (I guess that either means vision quest or virilant quaker). "Composting toilet" hmmm, does that mean out house?

Jeeez, these folks would pay money for an outhouse, food that should not be eaten, and solar power (which means no electricty). How dumb can they be?

Joseph