There is a LOT to be said about these false “prophets”… not doubt. Those who sell sacred rituals, who are less than 1/16th NDN in the morning and by nightfall are full-blooded, as long as there is the possibility of an income or glamour behind it…
But what of those who are honest?
A friend of mine suggested I read this and here is my response…
There is a huge amount of resentment towards non-indians who take up walking the Good Red Road. Many indigenous Peoples are feeling insecure in themselves and this leads them to believe that spirituality can be stolen, that the “theft” of their modes of worship is genocide and that these elements of worship are not only linked to your culture (which it is) but to your race. That to walk the Red Road you must be of red skin. There is the paranoia that the white man is out to steal the last bit of Indian-ness left to us. Althought there is an understanding of the need to return to an earth-based spirituality, anglos are “encouraged” to look to their old world background to find it. That if those who are not of red skin looked hard enough, they would find an earth based religion in their own ancestry. There is also the belief that one’s DNA and Spirit will automatically resonate with that religion, because it is, after all, their own.
I cannot be the only one to think this is garbage.
A rattle, some beads, a drum and a wheel doesn’t an Indian make. If the only thing that makes you an Indian are THINGS, that speaks volumes of what your values are and where you head is at. It screams of the ignorance you have allowed into your mind and heart. It weeps at the loss of your identity because WHO you are is what you do, not the props you do them with.
In response to the DNA thing, I have my resesrvations there, too. There is mitichondrial DNA which is passed via the mother and goes back to the dawn of time where we were all a bunch of amoebas rolling around in sludge, yadda, yadda, yadda. I am not big on the science but as far as I have it understood, there is such a thing as cellular memory and this is what is supposed to make anglos swoon at the knowledge that their ancestors followed an earth-based religion. They are supposed to rapturously click with it, immediately. Well, what of those Native cultures that believe in reincarnation? If I am a reincarnation and my Spirit is to return over and over…there is no guarantee of returning to the same race, let alone the same tribe or people. Spirit is having a human experience, it can and will resonate with what path it will; Xtian, Wiccan, Celtic or Indian.
Another thing that burns me is the hypocrisy. What of Mitakuye Oyasin? Of All My Relations? Am I not related to the Flying People and the Burrowing People, the Tall People and the Rock People? I am also related to the White People, the Black People and the Yellow People. How can I pray Mitakuye Oyasin and then deny my brothers worship of the Creator? How can I pray All My Relations and then tell my black/white/yellow brother “You are not good enough for my God.”?
Who has a cornerstone on God?
The idea of looking to your own kind for religion really rubs against my grain. It stinks of segregation, like “marry within your own race” and it’s garbage! I am not in agreement with ignorance, abuse or the sale of spirituality, that is wrong, but to tell a white person they can’t worship the Indian way is downright selfish. If you worship with me, in honesty and respect, are you stealing God from me or are we sharing joy? Who is to say that the Great Mystery cannot work within a white, yellow or black spirit as well as within a red one? Did the Great Spirit not create us all?
The whole idea of keeping tabs on other people’s relationship with the Creator is against tradition, as well. The Great Spirit spoke to the person directly. If someone said the Creator told them to become Pipe Carrier, they insisted on receiving the Pipe, even if it meant going against Council. This is accepted even today. Then why is it so hard to accept that the Creator would tell a non-red person to make a lodge and sweat? Or take up the Pipe and do ceremony?
The comment made by Gordon W.A. Oles about going up to St. Patrick’s cathedral in mocassins and breechclout is disparaging the whole lot of us! Has he never met an Indian priest? They are out there! They are honest in their intention, respected by the community they serve, ordained by their respective churches and religious organizations to perform their priestly duties and they do so reverently. I can’t speak with regards to Jewish traditions but as far as I know, you can convert. The point of his comment is moot because what makes you convert to any religion is your heart, your spirit, not your clothes or your race.
John LaVelle, the director of SPIRIT, said “First whites took the land and all that was physical. Now they’re going after what is intangible.” Doesn’t this remark seem full of fear? How can anyone take something intangible? How can anyone steal your love for the Creator or the Creator’s love for you? I know there was genocide- my people were the first of those affected. We were decimated, our way of life distroyed, we paid with our lives for our language and religion, our destruction started in 1492 and continues to this day and it’s real. It had and has everything to do with murder, control, money, racism and greed. THAT’s about genocide, this is about Spirit. There is a difference between gymnasium and magnesium.
There are old prophecies that tell of a union of the wheel (the races), the Rainbow brotherhood, The Warriors of the Rainbow, who will save all of earth and mankind. They are to teach the people the ancient practices of Unity, Love and Understanding, how to pray to the Great Spirit and lead them to become one with All, one with the Creator. Mitakuye Oyasin.
How selfish can you be to deny that to the world?
Today there is a hunger of the spirit and ALL races feel this need. We are inextricably connected to the planet. We have an invisible umbilical cord binding us to our Mother, Earth, and throught this we feel Her pain and anger. We also feel the desperation that comes from the incredible changes we have brought. Changes that have damaged our Mother and killed off many of our brother races. There is, in some level of our being, the knowledge of the damage we are doing. And some of our brothers are seeking now to come back to Mother, to help Her heal; to give back to Her in the Inipi and to pray with the Pipe to the Creator for the guidance to fix the damage we have done.
Yes, there are charlatans. Yes, the Trickster is out there. But yes, the real thing is out there, too. I agree with making people work for the knowledge- nothing of value is gained easily. I agree that people should be weighed and measured and expectations set upon them, dues to be paid, but denied? No! Maybe if you sense the Trickster within them, but even then, the Trickster is a child of God and has it’s purpose and place in the Wheel; it culls the herd and teaches people. If the Trickster appears, there is someone pending a lesson.
To say the white influence is diluting the culture is ignorance at best, racism at worst. The culture will change, it has to change, life requires it. It has nothing to do with white people or black people or the going rate on crow beads. Anything static will die. To insist on keeping things the same is suicide, instead, grow.