Author Topic: James Arthur Ray - Angel Valley Resort DeathSweat in Sedona: 3 dead, 20 injured  (Read 190474 times)

Offline Sparks

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Re: Angel Valley Resort Sweat Lodge in Sedona: 2 dead, 19 injured
« Reply #285 on: April 30, 2020, 03:09:08 am »
We've been discussing this one for a while, but it looks like the mainstream media is now paying more attention to Ray's role in the suicide of Colleen Conaway. This makes four people dead that we know of.

Sweat lodge guru now linked to San Diego death (http://www.cbs8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11652343)
Quote
[Image not copied here — see original post.]
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8 ) - A self-help guru who is linked to three sweat lodge deaths in Arizona has now been linked to a bizarre suicide at Horton Plaza. A woman on one of his retreats committed suicide at the mall, and another participant actually witnessed it.

That witness didn't realize what he was seeing until hours later, or that the woman was a part of the group. There was confusion because the woman was dressed as though she was homeless.

Colleen Conaway's family is still in shock the Minnesota native took her own life while on a three-day seminar last July here in San Diego hosted by self-help guru James Ray.
... ... ...
Colleen Conaway had paid $12,000 dollars on the San Diego retreat and two future James Ray events. Her family says at the very least they're entitled to a refund. Conaway's family says they have received no money back from the James Ray group.
Read full article... (http://www.cbs8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11652343)

The link gives me (because I am in Europe?) an "Access Denied" response. The Colleen Conaway story has since then not been mentioned any more in the NAFPS forum, but I found this:

The Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SEEKSafely/ — Wide coverage of James Arthur Ray.

SEEK Safely 21 hrs · Public
Welcome to everyone who is checking out SEEK Safely after seeing the James Arthur Ray episode of "Deadly Cults" on the Oxygen Network!
As a reminder, Kirby Brown, Liz Neuman, and James Shore weren't the first people to die at events run by James Arthur Ray.
Let's not forget the death of Colleen Conaway, whose death was effortfully covered up by James Arthur Ray:

Link to a long and interesting read, and I include three links from the article and two from a comment:

Site Info:
Colleen Conaway: James Ray’s First Victim
James Ray Trial Background
James Ray Trial Part 1
James Ray Trial Part 2
James Ray Trial Part 3

http://saltydroid.info/long-trips-to-the-mall/   —   http://saltydroid.info/143/
http://my-gratitude-project.blogspot.com/2011/07/sticks-and-stones-and-words-all-hurt.html

(Also see links from one of the comments: http://saltydroid.info/dont-bet-on-enlightenment/
https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/18/11434916/enlighten-us-disgraced-guru-james-arthur-ray)

Offline Defend the Sacred

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The "SEEK Safely" site was first referred to by Epiphany (Piff) five years ago, commented on twice by Defend the Sacred (also in 2015), and the background explained in a quote by educatedindian in 2016:

I messaged some with members of Kirby Brown's family when they were setting this up. But, as I noted in my comments then, they really seemed taken aback when I said this spiritual harm, fraud, injuries and even deaths would continue as long as white people felt entitled to appropriate and abuse Indigenous ways.

I told them I would only continue to help them if they added a bullet point to the pledge about how cultural appropriation is wrong and must be stopped. Those signing the "Seek Safely" pledge should agree to stop participating in, or offering, any pretendian ceremonies.

It seemed to me that they wanted the experience, labor, and platform our team could bring them, but only if it was on their terms. It didn't seem to have even occurred to them that racism and capitalist, newage, white entitlement was at the heart of this deadly problem, and that they were going to have to listen to Indigenous concerns if they wanted our help with this.

Once I made it clear that I, and the people I work with, were not on board to enable white people to keep appropriating, just in a "safer" way, all communication ceased.

At that point, I had serious concerns that this "pledge" was going to just be a way for white frauds to continue marketing their harmful scams, but just promising to do their best not to kill people. That's setting the bar WAY too low.

That said, it's good they're keeping after Ray. Kudos to them for that. At least that's something. I wish they understood the bigger problem, but if they can keep him from scamming any more people, at least they're doing that part of the work.

Offline Sparks

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The Wikipedia article about him has not been linked to in this thread, I'll quote part of it:

Native American perspective
Native American experts on sweat lodges have criticized the reported construction of the structure, as well as Ray's conduct of the event as not meeting traditional ways (the words "bastardized", "mocked" and "desecrated" have been used). As Indian Country Today reported, "Ray drew the ire of Indian country from the start as the ceremony he was selling bore little if any resemblance to an actual sweat lodge ceremony."[46] Native American leaders expressed concerns and uttered prayers for the dead and injured. The leaders say the ceremony is their way of life and not a religion. It is Native American intellectual property, protected by US laws and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The ceremony should only be in the hands of sanctioned lodge carriers from legitimate nations.[47] Objections included a lack of training (permission to lead lodges are usually only granted to those raised in the ceremonial ways of that particular Native American community, and after many years of apprenticeship), unusual construction from non-breathable materials, charging for the ceremony (seen as extremely inappropriate), too many participants, and excessive length of the ceremony.[48]

The Native American community actively seeks to prevent abuses of their traditions.[49][50][51][52] The Angel Valley owners announced they have accepted Native American friends' help to "heal the land".[53] On November 12, 2009, news reported Oglala Lakotas filed a lawsuit, Oglala Lakota Delegation of the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council v. United States against the United States, Arizona, Ray and site owners, to have Ray and the site owners arrested and punished under the Sioux Treaty of 1868 between the United States and the Lakota Nation, which states that:

if bad men among the whites or other people subject to the authority of the United States shall commit any wrong upon the person or the property of the Indians, the United States will (...) proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained.

The Oglala Lakota delegation holds that James Arthur Ray and the Angel Valley Retreat Center have "violated the peace between the United States and the Lakota Nation" and have caused the “desecration of our Sacred Oinikiga (onikare, sweat lodge) by causing the death of Liz Neuman, Kirby Brown and James Shore".[49]

The Oglala Lakota Delegation also claim that James Arthur Ray and the Angel Valley Retreat Center fraudulently impersonated Indians and must be held responsible for causing the deaths and injuries, and for evidence destruction through dismantling of the sweat lodge. The lawsuit seeks to have the treaty enforced and does not seek monetary compensation.[49]

The lawsuit was eventually dismissed in October 2010, on the basis that the case was based on a good being offered, and the judge deciding that the sweat lodge was a service and not a good.[54]

I found another Wikipedia article with a similar section:

Sedona deaths and Lakota Nation lawsuit
In October 2009, during a New Age retreat organized by James Arthur Ray, three people died and 21 more became ill while attending an overcrowded and improperly set up sweat lodge containing some 60 people and located near Sedona, Arizona.[18] Ray was arrested by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office in connection with the deaths on February 3, 2010, and bond was set at $5 million.[19][20] In response to these deaths, Lakota spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse issued a statement reading in part:

Our First Nations People have to earn the right to pour the mini wic'oni (water of life) upon the inyan oyate (the stone people) in creating Inikag'a – by going on the vision quest for four years and four years Sundance. Then you are put through a ceremony to be painted – to recognize that you have now earned that right to take care of someone's life through purification. They should also be able to understand our sacred language, to be able to understand the messages from the Grandfathers, because they are ancient, they are our spirit ancestors. They walk and teach the values of our culture; in being humble, wise, caring and compassionate. What has happened in the news with the make shift sauna called the sweat lodge is not our ceremonial way of life![2]

On November 2, 2009, the Lakota Nation filed a lawsuit against the United States, Arizona State, James Arthur Ray, and Angel Valley Retreat Center site owners, to have Ray and the site owners arrested and punished under the Sioux Treaty of 1868 between the United States and the Lakota Nation.[21] That treaty states that “if bad men among the whites or other people subject to the authority of the United States shall commit any wrong upon the person or the property of the Indians, the United States will (...) proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained.”[21]

The Lakota Nation holds that James Arthur Ray and the Angel Valley Retreat Center have “violated the peace between the United States and the Lakota Nation” and have caused the “desecration of our Sacred Oinikiga (purification ceremony) by causing the death of Liz Neuman, Kirby Brown and James Shore”. As well, the Lakota claim that James Arthur Ray and the Angel Valley Retreat Center fraudulently impersonated Indians and must be held responsible for causing the deaths and injuries, and for evidence destruction through dismantling of the sweat lodge. The lawsuit seeks to have the treaty enforced and does not seek monetary compensation.[21]

Preceding the lawsuit, Native American experts on sweat lodges criticized the reported construction and conduct of the lodge as not meeting traditional ways ("bastardized", "mocked" and "desecrated"). Indian leaders expressed concerns and prayers for the dead and injured. The leaders said the ceremony is their way of life[2] and not a religion, as white men see it. It is Native American property protected by U.S. law and United Nations declaration. The ceremony should only be in sanctioned lodge carriers' hands from legitimate nations. Traditionally, a typical leader has 4 to 8 years of apprenticeship before being allowed to care for people in a lodge, and have been officially named as ceremonial leaders before the community. Participants are instructed to call out whenever they feel uncomfortable, and the ceremony is usually stopped to help them. The lodge was said to be unusually built from non-breathable materials. Charging for the ceremony was said to be inappropriate. The number of participants was criticized as too high and the ceremony length was said to be too long. Respect to elders' oversight was said to be important for avoiding unfortunate events. The tragedy was characterized as "plain carelessness", with a disregard for the participants' safety and outright negligence.[1] The Native American community actively seeks to prevent abuses of their traditions. Organizers have been discussing ways to formalize guidance and oversight to authentic or independent lodge leaders.[2][21][22][23][24][25][26]