Author Topic: Johnny Moses  (Read 22034 times)

Offline 180IQ

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Johnny Moses
« on: January 05, 2005, 05:50:02 am »
What about this guy. I met him in the Seattle area and on the Swinomish rez at LaConner and have listened to him in his "Red Cedar Circles" which were attended by people of all colors.

From what I've seen about him on the net he is supposedly respected by his own people, however he is doing a lot of selling.

Have a look at these:

http://www.johnnymoses.com/

http://www.redcedarcircle.org/

http://www.sisiwiss.org/



« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 12:00:00 am by admin »

Offline JosephSWM

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2005, 02:06:37 pm »
I have read blurbs about him in News From Indian Country. Usually in  reference to storytelling events that include Jospeh Bruchac, etc.

His website has changed since last I looked, especially the workshops, which seemed geared toward making money from non-Indians and teaching "medicine ways".

But I must come clean. I too am a professional storyteller. You can all take a look at my website and see if I am doing anything "wrong". I do programs in schools K-8 mainly and do not share any of my people's sacred stories. My workshops are historical in nature. If I do or if I did, or if I didn't know any medicine ways, I certainly would not sell these in workshops.

Its hard to make a living as a storyteller and so I can understand if Moses may have gotten sucked into someone's good pitch about being part of these red cedar circles and making money. Somehow though, seeing his site it does not look like it is geared to school programs where there would be a cultural/educational experience for children to learn from.

Joseph

Offline 180IQ

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2005, 04:48:58 pm »
I remember the red cedar meetings I attended in someone's home in Ballard. Johnny was so entertaining, soft-spoken and sweet. I recall thinking at the time, "here's a guy who probably won't be able to avoid fame". He "did the voices" of the characters in the stories, and the stories were traditional, tho not necessarily sacred they did all have a serious lesson to teach. Everyone seemed to love Johnny and the whole event, they gave him a few bucks but I sure don't think he was getting rich off of them. The SiSiWiss (sp?) Medicine Society events took place on the rez and as I recall there was no money involved.

Where is your website, Joseph? You could add the link to your profile....

Offline JakeAl

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2005, 04:52:32 pm »
I guess if you want to have your culture and  spiritual ways overrun by wannabe's and culture vultures... one ought to do as these others do. Sell your relatives most personal ideas and creative spiritual expressions to those with money...generally, the people with money are not the skins. Or is my statement narrow minded and selfish?

Should we acknowledge and appreciate those with certain cultural and spiritual gifts with money?

The generally accepted statement is that spiritual ways are for everyone... even fools crow decided before his death that everyone had a right to know the lakota spirituality... some lakota believe this others don't.

It is a puzzle of sorts I think.. Some Indian people do not embrace their own cultures or spirituality.. and they make fun of those who do...others don't embrace it because they are clueless due to acculturation/assimilation. They usually embrace the beliefs of the oppresors or the bottle.

Do you suppose that in an effort to be important big men, that those Indians who know the culture and spirituality .. sell out or give away the culture to those who do want it and value it? I'm not talking about frauds here but about real Indian people. Are our ways the answer to the problems that threaten our very existance

Avol Looking Horse said that lakota ceremonies are to be protected and not for non Indians. Some of the leaders respect this decree.. while other leaders  ignore it.

Personally, I generally keep the little that I know to myself and dissuade nons from encroaching.. But sometimes I feel like a bigot in doing so. These are a few things that I think about... a sort of devils advocate viewpoint to some I spose.

Offline JosephSWM

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2005, 05:31:44 pm »
I think  it all  depends on what a person is selling. Some stories are sacred and some are not. The ones I mostly tell are animal stories that are entertaining but also teach values lessons.

Sacred stories are that, sacred. They can only be told by certain people to ceratin people at certain times of the year, at least in Cherokee tradition. These are not for sale. They are not just stories, they are my people's history. And there is much in the way of history (history in the sense of how non-Indians see it) that I have been taught that has never been written down, not by James Mooney or anyone, and hopefully never will.

If you condemn a storyteller like Moses or myuself, then the next step should be to stop public powwows or put an end to all the Native American dance troupes around the country that charge to put on a show.

I think most people, Indian and non-Indian can tell the difference.

When I am at a school and am asked to talk about my spirituality I politely move on to the next story.

Anyway, thats all I guess. Oh yeah, I'll put my website listing on my profile, sorry I forgot.

Joseph

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2005, 05:43:26 pm »
The traditional people around here hold Johnny in high regard for his storytelling. He is a gifted storyteller who speaks many languages. They do not hold him in high regard for his "Red Cedar Circle" stuff and are flat out angry that he is teaching newagers the Indian Shaker religion, which he has no right to do. I generally tell people to go and here his stories but don't get caught up with the other bs. I think he started teaching the Indian Shaker because he knows that if he taught the newagers Smokehouse, or Ceowin, he'd be in big trouble. Smokehouse people would come after him. Shakers won't. However, no non-Indian  ever is allowed to join either religion. And Johnny knows about the West Coast beliefs concerning songs as property and teaches his followers songs belonging to others.

Offline JosephSWM

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2005, 05:50:07 pm »
Thanks for the extra info. I know the only song I was given permission to sing in public is the Stomp Dance song, which is a social dance song.

The few times I have talked privately with non-Indians about my spiritual beliefs and always am told that I have it wrong, that so and so taught them this or that and that so and so knows more than me so I don't even go there.

I ahve even been asked in private religious schools NOT to talk about my beliefs. LOL

Joseph

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2005, 06:32:12 pm »
I think one of the problems with songs is that there are so many tapes of pow wow songs and people think that all songs are public. At some of the potlatches and winter dancing (religious), they have escorted people out when they found a tape recorder. One guy was banned when they found him with a sketchbook. He had been told no pictures and they meant it.  I have a few songs I have permission to sing if I credit the songs "owner", which I do. I always make sure and tell people they may not sing that song unless THEY seek permission from the songs owner. I have been disrespected in this one time. By someone who is a fraud. What a surprise.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2005, 11:31:36 pm »
Jake, if I remember right, Fools Crow started off saying outsiders had a right to Lakota beliefs, but then changed his mind after he saw the damage done. After all he signed several of the declarations of elders vs exploiters that were written at AIM sponsored gatherings.

I could be wrong. Did he change his mind yet again before he died?

And my two cents on this whole thing about storytelling: I'm glad if outsiders learn Native non-sacred teaching stories. I'm glad if they learn Native values, ethics, culture. The hard part is how to get them to quit twisting these (and the sacred parts) into a commodity to be exploited. For example, I'm writing an encyclopedia entry on Thomas Banyaca's life, and it's pretty appalling to see how many frauds are twisting his words out there. "We are the ones we've been waiting for" has become a catchphrase for wannabes who take it to mean "Exploit away, we don't mind!"

Jim Tree

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2005, 10:39:16 pm »
Hi All,
I just got back on this board and thought I would share my experiance with Jonney.
We met at some of the local red ceder mettingss. I was invited because of soome speaking I had done at the college here. What I found was a very drunk man who was totaly manipulsated by a group of wicca ladies. I talked with him when he was sober and he cryed and said it was all out of control, my feeling is that he started the red ceder thing in good faith and it has been taken over by the wiccas. This is just what it is like her in NW Montana, he is in really bad shape.
Just FYI.
Tree

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2005, 11:41:08 pm »
Jim,

I have heard much of the same thing. The times I have met him, he seemed good hearted. He did not seem like he was trying to do wrong. Then last year I heard that he was in a bad way. The person that told me is both Smokehouse and Shaker and her belief, and that of many others, is that he abused the medicine and is paying the price. Sad really as he is a gifted storyteller. :(

Offline 180IQ

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2005, 01:58:42 am »
That is real sad news. It was 1987-88 when I was around him and I saw no trace of alcohol at that time.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2005, 08:20:26 am »
I spoke with a Swedish anthropologist over here, Carl Johan Curt, whose written quite a bit on the Nuu-Chuu-Thalt? (I probably spelled that wrong). When he was in Seattle he came across a "Nootka shaman" calling himself Johnny Moses doing seminars that sounded like Hindu ideas dressed up as Native. Carl checked with the tribal council. They never heard of him, and they don't call themselves Nootka, that's the colonial term they hate. Anyone else have anything on him?

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2005, 02:10:00 pm »
Johnny Moses is a respected storyteller. I believe he is Skagit, Swinomish, Nu Chal Nulth and someting else. Unfortunately, he has been teaching non-Indians in his "red cedar circle" some pretty strange things. :(

jim tree

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Re: Johnny Moses
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2005, 03:28:12 pm »
I met Johnny a couple of years ago and he WAS a respected story teller. Unfortunatly his group the "Red cedar circle" has been taken over by a lot of wicca folks. I attended one of the circles and it was pretty scary. Johnny was so drunk he could hardly walk, but everyone still showed him great honor and defferance.
I talked with him when he was sober and basically what has happened is he has become an alcoholic...self admitted..and the wicca's are running his groups still using him as  an icon and to give it some authenticity. It is really pretty sad, I really liked him, he is caught in a real mess. They keep control of him through enableing him to drink and still be the "shaman".
The group used to be a mix of NDN and Shaker beliefs. All  this happened two years ago so maybe he has been able to get strait since then, I hope so, I think he was a good man before.