Author Topic: Eliot Cowan & The Blue Deer Center in upstate New York  (Read 14505 times)

Offline AndyDavis

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Eliot Cowan & The Blue Deer Center in upstate New York
« on: December 24, 2013, 12:39:53 am »
I'm suspicious about this fellow, who runs a place called Blue Deer Center in upstate New York. He claims to be a "fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition."  He is on tour, offering "healing treatments" at $175 per session, with three sessions on consecutive days recommended. The sheer amount of money he charges raises suspicion. Does anyone know anything about this fellow?

Autumn

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 01:50:43 am »
I'm suspicious about this fellow, who runs a place called Blue Deer Center in upstate New York. He claims to be a "fully initiated Tsaurirrikame (shaman) in the Huichol Indian tradition."  He is on tour, offering "healing treatments" at $175 per session, with three sessions on consecutive days recommended. The sheer amount of money he charges raises suspicion. Does anyone know anything about this fellow?

I thought this was a really odd comment in the .pdf file you attached.

Quote
Three sessions are recommended, but one or two sessions may be possible if all treatment
slots are not filled by 12/20.

So they definitely need to make as much money as possible to fill in all the slots.

Also, I wondered about the discrepancy in the name of his teacher:

Quote
An auspicious meeting with the Huichol Indian shaman, Don Jose Rios of Mexico, made a profound impression on him, convincing him that shamanic training would empower him to discover the properties of the herbs in his area.  Anthropologist Michael Harner became Eliot’s first mentor in shamanism, giving Eliot a tool for contacting the plant spirits. 
(Bolding Mine)
http://plantspiritmedicine.org/about/our-founder/

Quote
Eliot subsequently apprenticed with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, a Huichol Indian Shaman. On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition.
(Bolding Mine)
http://www.bluedeer.org/teachers/eliot-cowan

Quote
After 1976, Guadalupe González was more dedicated to practicing his healing skills than to creating yarn paintings and produced few equivalent masterpieces. Some westerners availed themselves of his capabilities, and for several years in the 1990s he traveled to various parts of the United States as a healer. But he soon stopped this work because he did not feel comfortable in that capacity. He continued to lead a small group of outsiders on pilgrimages until he was no longer physically able to do so

http://wixarika.mediapark.net/en/assets/pdf/GuadalupeGonzalezBio.pdf

Some dates do not add up also:

Quote
On the occasion of Don Guadalupe’s retirement in 2000, he ritually recognized Eliot as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition.

Quote
Guadalupe González died on May 18, 2003 in a hospital in Tepic after a prolonged illness.

Quote
In addition, Eliot completed a 12-year Huichol apprenticeship in 2004 and is currently a Tsauirrikame, an elder shaman in the Huichol tradition.




« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 03:01:51 am by Autumn »

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 02:41:03 am »
There are a bunch of frauds in New England who cite Cowan as one of their teachers.

Autumn

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 03:05:22 am »
There are a bunch of frauds in New England who cite Cowan as one of their teachers.

Ah! Would that be any of these people?  (Erick Gonzalez is also on this list):

http://www.bluedeer.org/teachers/malidoma-patrice-some

And it looks like they are trying to cover all the bases here:

Quote
You might be wondering what all these “white folks” are doing teaching at a Center that promotes the honoring and preservation of indigenous traditions. We understand the serious problem of cultural appropriation of indigenous practices, the theft of traditions that are not our own, for personal possession or to place feathers in our caps.

As you will see from the stories of our elders and teachers, our work within a culture that lives mostly outside indigenous traditions follows a respectful approach to indigenous wisdom. It is not ours to take. We can request the sharing of that wisdom, but we must be prepared to hear and accept, “No” if an elder does not wish to share. We can ask to receive teachings, but we must be prepared to fulfill conditions of acceptance in exchange for those teachings.

Many indigenous elders envision a reconnection with our non-traditional culture as a crucial step toward the survival of humanity in the world. They find themselves between two different worlds, with one foot in their indigenous homelands and the other in our western consumer culture. From this place, they have the advantage of being able to impart traditional wisdom to our non-traditional culture, and perhaps change our present course. Malidoma Somé, for example, was declared by his ancestors before birth to serve as just such a “bridge”. Others amongst our teachers, like Eliot Cowan (read a recent interview in Indian Country Today and a letter to the Huichol people in Sacred Fire Magazine) and Colin Campbell, were “called” into their work by the traditions they now practice.

The creation of programs at the Blue Deer Center follows strict criteria in determining both the authenticity of the work to be offered, as well as the ongoing relationships the teachers maintain with their traditions. Only in this way, in complete respect and humility to the ancestral lineages of wisdom keepers, can we grow together in this work.

http://www.bluedeer.org/authentic-wisdom-traditions
« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 03:11:36 am by Autumn »

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2013, 06:22:35 pm »
Isn't Cowan that wrote the book "Celtic SHamanism"?

Autumn

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2013, 09:02:21 pm »
Isn't Cowan that wrote the book "Celtic SHamanism"?

Is this what you are referring to, Debbie?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062501747/thesacredfire

It is by a Cowan, but it is by Tom Cowan.

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2013, 02:39:51 am »
oh, ok. Thanks for checking on that for me. I was on my way out when I posted that.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2013, 08:50:40 pm »
I would like to see a picture of both Cowans, to be sure.

Autumn, Somé has come up in other threads here. He has some rather familiar claims, basically, that we're supposed to believe that after a brief time with a tribe he wasn't raised in, where no one knew him, he was given all the secrets, made an Elder in his twenties, then sent out to sell ceremonies to white people. He sells ceremonies to Black people, too, but the fact anyone believes he can make Americans who've never been to Africa the Elders of a tribe they've never met... it boggles the mind that anyone is buying that.

Offline Manicman

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2014, 08:18:12 pm »
Eliot Cowan is the real deal. I went to him for help when I was in a crisis, and he did work on me that he couldn't have done without being what he claims to be. Anyone who steps into his healing tent can see a man with deep respect for life and the work he does.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2014, 09:25:32 pm »
Eliot Cowan is the real deal. I went to him for help when I was in a crisis, and he did work on me that he couldn't have done without being what he claims to be. Anyone who steps into his healing tent can see a man with deep respect for life and the work he does.

Noah, I thought you had agreed to stop patronizing ceremony-sellers.

I think we established in previous discussions with you that, as a non-Native, you really do not have the background to make that kind of evaluation. What I suspect is that you liked how this exploiter made you feel. Just like you liked how other exploiters made you feel, until it went bad. This guy may not be as obviously abusive in that you don't currently feel mistreated, but what about the harm he does to the traditions he exploits?

In addition to the cultural harm he does, he has also spawned more frauds and exploiters than we can keep track of.  The frauds he sends out into the world to sell sweats and amateur healing are also harming people and contributing to cultural genocide.

He makes a lot of money exploiting Indigenous people, and you just helped him do that.

It may feel good to you as a non-Native who is obviously prioritizing his own feelings. How about growing some respect and thinking about how you just harmed the very cultures you sought help from.

Offline Manicman

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 01:38:22 pm »
He didn't sell me a ceremony, he gave me some healing work when I was pretty badly broken. And he did things other people couldn't have done. So fine, if he is not what he claims to be, he is something else involving a high degree of visionary/psychic awareness, and healing powers.
Go see him in person and you will see what I mean.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Eliot Cowan?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 04:59:17 pm »
He runs a center where they sell sweats, where white men sell the misappropriated ways of Indigenous African women, and where white people - who he taught and sponsors - blether about how they are "on the red road" and can take you down with them for a fee.

The logo used by one of Cowan's staff of white exploiters:



Sweat sellers: http://www.bluedeer.org/resident-healers

"Red Road" BS: http://www.bluedeer.org/articles/robert-vetter-on-the-red-road

Privileged South African white men claiming to be Sangomas: http://www.bluedeer.org/teachers/colin-campbell

Check out the links to hear the appropriators/exploiters try to justify what they do because they make other white people feel good, too.

Cowan has a Plains-style tipi on his land, with his logo on it:



He sells white people "totem" BS - (totem is a word stolen and twisted from a particular North American Native culture, not his to use, even if he did pay off some brown people in South America):
http://www.bluedeer.org/events/2014-04/sacred-partnership-with-the-world-living-with-totem

Fraud.

You should be ashamed of yourself. You came here and people tried to help you understand, then you went right back to participating in exploitation. Like a typical appropriator and enabler of appropriators, you only care about your feelings, not the harm you do to the cultures these ways are misappropriated from.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 07:34:49 pm by Yells At Pretendians »

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Eliot Cowan & The Blue Deer Center in upstate New York
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 05:23:12 pm »
And just because it never gets old: The people Blue Deer Center alum Somé initiated as Indigenous African Elders (see attached photo)

Remember, Somé is also one of the leading proponents that non-Indigenous people can become Indigenous if they pay him enough. He claims to make white people who've never been to Africa into Elders of the village he was not wanted in, where he only spent a brief period of time, where they named him, "friend of the enemy" and we're supposed to believe that they then sent this enemy out into the world to sell their seekrits and make strangers the "elders" of their village. Oh yeah, he doesn't speak the Dagara language, either.

But an astonishing number of people have bought into it. Just because a bunch of people are dumb about this stuff, doesn't make it right. Cowan has promoted all of this, given people a place to do this stuff, and made enough money via this exploitation to buy land and travel the world, exploiting Indigenous people and the desperate non-Natives who are willing to pay a fraud in hopes of feeling better.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 07:36:30 pm by Yells At Pretendians »

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: Eliot Cowan & The Blue Deer Center in upstate New York
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2014, 05:52:14 pm »
As far as I'm concerned, Cowan is just as much to blame for the harm these students and staff members of his do as the Angel Valley people were to blame for allowing James Arthur Ray to lead his fake sweats at their, very similar, nuage center. And we all know how that wound up.

Offline kahtboosted

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Re: Eliot Cowan & The Blue Deer Center in upstate New York
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2014, 03:42:08 pm »
Been waiting to see this figure pop up on here. First read up on him years ago, Cowan seems to represent an emerging formula of new age yuppy-hippy. Apparently a number of these figures were really welcomed into learning some of Huichol ways by traditionals, but I would certainly doubt the Huichol authorized any of them to go and start marketing it to other whites, mixing it up with a bunch of misrepresentation and stereotypes, and turning their ancient ways into a colonialistic, consumer-culture, profit-scheme.

The similar formula is practiced by a guy in Portland, OR. Apparently having spent some time with the Huichol, learning songs and about some traditions, decides to start selling himself as a 'shaman', etc, and also calling himself a 'Heyoka' and mixing it all up with various 'red road' stereotypes and other stuff, even getting money from the state to teach this stuff to at-risk youth, inmates, etc. These clowns start organizations and spread the new age all over the place, and never does it benefit the traditional community they rip off.

There are others who seem to be doing similar, and it seems to often begin with claiming to be practicing Huichol shamanism, and it often gets mixed up into appropriated Lakota and/or Plains style mishmash also. The more one studies and deconstructs new-age habits, it becomes clear there is emerging or established patterns. And to be honest, it feels very similar to deconstructing the brainwash histories and anthropological theories one must deal with in academia. It often seems the link is that, underlying these patterns, are very similar misguided and arrogant assumptions.