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Mairwen
July 12th, 2001, 09:08 AM
Received this from a list this morning. Thought people may find it useful.
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Hi everyone,

I read quite some time ago that the Lakota people have declared war on anyone "borrowing" (stealing!) their spiritual traditions, but this morning I received an actual copy of the statement. I know lots of Pagan folks who do seem to borrow bits and pieces of Native American spirituality (the mention of "totem animals" seems to be the most common). What do you all think of this? I have quite a bit of Native American blood on both my mother's and father's side (enough that you can see it in my face) but for some reason I've never felt a calling to their spiritual practices. Anyway, see the statement below -

Morghanna
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Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality

WHEREAS we are the conveners of an ongoing series of
comprehensive forums on the abuse and exploitation of Lakota
spirituality; and WHEREAS we represent the recognized traditional
spiritual leaders, traditional elders, and grassroots advocates of the Lakota people; and

WHEREAS for too long we have suffered the unspeakable
indignity of having our most precious Lakota ceremonies and spiritual practices desecrated, mocked and abused by non-Indian "wannabes," hucksters, cultists, commercial profiteers and self-styled "New Age shamans" and their followers; and

WHEREAS with horror and outrage we see this disgraceful expropriation of our sacred Lakota traditions has reached epidemic proportions in urban areas throughout the country; and

WHEREAS our precious Sacred Pipe is being desecrated
through the sale of pipestone pipes at flea markets, powwows, and "New Age" retail stores; and

WHEREAS pseudo-religious corporations have been formed
to charge people money for admission into phony "sweatlodges" and "vision quest" programs; and

WHEREAS sacrilegious "sundances" for non-Indians are
being conducted by charlatans and cult leaders who promote abominable and obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites; and

WHEREAS non-Indians have organized themselves into
imitation "tribes," assigning themselves make-believe "Indian names" to facilitate their wholesale expropriation and commercialization of our Lakota traditions; and

WHEREAS academic disciplines have sprung up at colleges and
universities institutionalizing the sacrilegious imitation of our
spiritual practices by students and instructors under the guise of
educational programs in "shaminism;" and

WHEREAS non-Indian charlatans and "wannabes" are selling books that promote the systematic colonization of our Lakota spirituality; and

WHEREAS the television and film industry continues to
saturate the entertainment media with vulgar, sensationalist and
grossly distorted representations of Lakota spirituality and culture
which reinforce the public's negative stereotyping of Indian people and which gravely impair the self-esteem of our children; and

WHEREAS individuals and groups involved in "the New
Age Movement," in "the men's movement," in "neo-paganism" cults and in "shamanism" workshops all have exploited the spiritual traditions of our Lakota people by imitating our ceremonial ways and by mixing such imitation rituals with non-Indian occult practices in an offensive and harmful pseudo-religious hodgepodge; and

WHEREAS the absurd public posturing of this scandalous assortment of psuedo-Indian charlatans, "wannabes," commercial profiteers, cultists and "New Age shamans" comprises a momentous obstacle in the struggle of traditional Lakota people for an adequate public appraisal of the legitimate political, legal and spiritual needs of real Lakota people; and

WHEREAS this exponential exploitation of our Lakota spiritual
traditions requires that we take immediate action to defend our
most precious Lakota spirituality from further contamination,
desecration and abuse;

THEREFORE WE RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:
1. We hereby and henceforth declare war against all persons who persist in exploiting, abusing and misrepresenting the sacred
traditions and spiritual practices of our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

2. We call upon all our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota brothers and
sisters from reservations, reserves, and traditional communities in
the United States and Canada to actively and vocally oppose this
alarming take-over and systematic destruction of our sacred
traditions.

3. We urge our people to coordinate with their tribal members living in urban areas to identify instances in which our sacred traditions are being abused, and then to resist this abuse, utilizing whatever specific tactics are necessary and sufficient --for example demonstrations, boycotts, press conferences, and acts of direct intervention.

4. We especially urge all our Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people to take action to prevent our own people from contributing to and
enabling the abuse of our sacred ceremonies and spiritual practices by outsiders; for, as we all know, there are certain ones among our own people who are prostituting our spiritual ways for their own selfish gain, with no regard for the spiritual well-being of the people as a whole.

5. We assert a posture of zero-tolerance for any "white man's shaman" who rises from within our own communities to "authorize" the expropriation of our ceremonial ways by non-Indians; all such "plastic medicine men" are enemies of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

6. We urge traditional people, tribal leaders, and
governing councils of all other Indian nations, to join us in calling
for an immediate end to this rampant exploitation of our respective American Indian sacred traditions by issuing statements denouncing such abuse; for it is not the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people alone whose spiritual practices are being systematically violated by non-Indians.

7. We urge all our Indian brothers and sisters to act
decisively and boldly in our present campaign to end the destruction of our sacred traditions, keeping in mind our highest duty as Indian people: to preserve the purity of our precious traditions for our future generations, so that our children and our children's children will survive and prosper in the sacred manner intended for each of our respective peoples by our Creator.

Wilmer Stampede Mesteth; (Oglala Lakota); Traditional
Spiritual Leader & Lakota Culture Instructor; Oglala Lakota College, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Darrell Standing Elk; (Sicangu Lakota); President, Center for the SPIRIT, San Fancisco, California, & Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Phyllis Swift Hawk; (Kul Wicasa Lakota); Tiospaye Wounspe Waokiye; Wanblee, South Dakota

ladyrowan
July 15th, 2001, 06:24 PM
I don't know if i'm the right person to be answering this because i only know 2 Native Americans, and they are both very happy to share and teach their traditions. I'll have to ask them what they think of this statement.
I must admit to being slightly puzzled by it, but then i'd be pleased if anyone, from whatever country, race, culture, belief system thought so much of my belief system to want to follow it also.
Surely everyone thinks their belief is right, or they wouldn't believe in it. And i've always thought that it really isn't worth arguing about who is right or wrong, because there can only be one truth, and we'll all find out what it is one day.
Do the Lakota think their creator created only them and not the rest of the world? If that was the case, there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of creators.
And aren't we allowed to believe in and worship the same things and celebrate our spirituality as they do just because that's the way they do it?
They do not want anyone to copy their traditions, but what if people genuinly think those traditions are the best way of doing something, are they not allowed to follow that belief because they are not Lakota (in this lifetime anyway). Which brings up another point - who started those traditions, and where are those souls now? Some of them could be the 'wannabees' the Lakota are complaining about.
It seems very strange that they appear to be saying ' you can't believe the same things as us' when most of the rest of the world are saying ' you should believe as we do because we're right and you're wrong'!
It now appears that people decalare war if you don't believe as they do AND if you do! Crazy!
I hope i haven't offended anyone by anything i've said here. If i have, please accept my sincere apologies, it was certainly not intentional because, as i said previously, i don't know an awful lot about Native American sprituality. It's just my opinion from reading thrugh the statement once. I could very well change my mind if it could be properly explained to me.

BrightStar
July 16th, 2001, 04:16 AM
Hi all!
Many groups etc are on the net that for a small fee will help you learn from a "traditional medicine man" the true spirituality of this or that tribe.It really angers many Native Americans when they see these blatant rip offs selling their culture.
As far as people wanting to follow their practices because they see them as a better way.Some Native Americans would say,"So what,follow your own ancient religion but leave ours alone.We really don't want the white man screwing us over again.Do your own thing,just leave us out of it."Or words to that effect.
Some Native Americans don't mind teaching a bit to a true seeker and will oblige.But they don't want people misusing or misrepresenting those beliefs,and certainly not selling them.Many Native Americans are offended when someone advertises a "Real Indian sweat lodge" to get people to come to a Pagan festival.
I'm 1/4 Cheyenne and I can see their point.But I'm 3/4 other and see that point too.Most Native American beliefs are held closely,amongst the tribe or clan.For many of these,it is seen as an abomination of sorts to teach someone outside the tribe these beliefs.
I think we should be true to our own beliefs,and very careful about taking those of Native Americans.Always doing so with the greatest reverence and respect.
This is a people who were the victims of a genocide perpetrated by members of the Europeans.We can't ever forget that.Native Americans can't easily trust those of European ancestry who suddenly say they want to believe as the tribes did.
Peace and Love
BrightStar

Xois
July 16th, 2001, 09:29 AM
i read the statement, but it appears to me not to be against seekers who privatly coopt portions that speak to them, but rather those who would sell artifacts and fake artifacts for money, or misrepresent themselves as Lakota and practice as preists...

did i miss it?

Happydog
July 21st, 2001, 08:41 PM
First of all, I have problems with any group that calls itself a spiritual group declaring "war" on anybody. Sounds too much like the Taliban and jihads.

Secondly, the Lakota did not invent the spiritual traditions that this particular group is attempting to defend. A lot of those spiritual traditions are common to many Native American tribes, not just the Lakota.

Third: the Native American community is very widely divided on issues like this. This is one group; not all groups may agree with them.

Fourth: Some of the fake shamans and ripoff artists that they are inveighing against come from their own ranks. There are quite a few Native American "medicine men" who would be more than happy to take your money in exchange for a load of psychobabble. Some of them even feel justified in doing it, because of the treatment that Native Americans have been given by the whites. To be quite blunt, they need to start policing themselves before they start declaring jihad on white folks (or any of the folks of other races who are interested in Native American spiritual practices).

I realize that there is a lot of truth to Native American spirituality. However, statements like the one by the group above sound more like an edict from a pope, and indicate an underlying fundie-mentality that is every bit as limiting - and as wrong - as Christian fundamentalism or Islamic fundamentalism.

That's my two cents worth. I hope I didn't say anything offensive but I was speaking my mind, and disagreeing opinions will be welcomed and considered, because I can always change my mind.

ladyrowan
July 21st, 2001, 08:52 PM
I've thought a bit more about this now, but still can't see why they decare war on people who respect and admire their way of life.

And I see no difference to the people on this site who are interested in and following Welsh traditions - are the Welsh complaining? I think not.

BB

Socharis
July 22nd, 2001, 05:33 AM
Originally posted by Xois
i read the statement, but it appears to me not to be against seekers who privatly coopt portions that speak to them, but rather those who would sell artifacts and fake artifacts for money, or misrepresent themselves as Lakota and practice as preists...


I agree.

ladyrowan
July 22nd, 2001, 06:47 AM
Originally posted by Xois
i read the statement, but it appears to me not to be against seekers who privatly coopt portions that speak to them, but rather those who would sell artifacts and fake artifacts for money, or misrepresent themselves as Lakota and practice as preists...
did i miss it?

I can't agree with this statement. Having read through it again, i see that only a quarter of the statement is directed at 'profteers'.
The rest is denigrating followers of their traditions, ceremonies, shamanism and their way of life in general.
It would appear that they are saying to the rest of the world
"we will not allow you to believe the same as us, stick to your own traditions"
There are many people who have converted to other beliefs and cultures, we are all free to live and believe as we choose, even if those beliefs are the same as the Lakota.
I am not against any Native American, exactley the opposite, but i am against the prejudice they are displaying in issueing this statement.

BB

Swanspirit
July 24th, 2001, 11:57 PM
Merry Merry,
I belonged to a yahoo club on "shamanism" for a long time ,, and one of the proponents of
this "war on culture stealers" posted there for a long time as well so many of these ideas are not new, but there were some responses that I havent seen in this thread so let me just contribute this....... "sweats" werent exclusively used by Native Americans, they were used by norwegians and japanese and chinese as well. The word shaman is actuall of european origin as well.A "Sacred Sweat" can be done in many traditions, and can be approached from a multicultural approach. I have been taught and empowered to build and faclitate a sweat, and it is a powerful tool, not to be toyed with, for health and safety issues as well as spiritual.
I despise a charlatan as well as anyone, but the natives here at the local powwows and trading posts are deeply sincere and sharing of their culture, and one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed was a womans healing song circle.... it was as beautiful and evoking as ANY church choir I have ever heard.
It is true there are only some who feel this way and this issue is divided among many "First People".
Love and Light
Swannie

marevard
July 25th, 2001, 01:17 AM
First, let me say, I do not wish to offend anyone, so if I do, sorry.

Now for the topic. In my limited readings of this, I can see some of both sides. The Lakota, like most if not all American Indians, have had religious supression. When Christianity came along, their religious/spirituality had to go underground. This has lasted for generations. Since religion/spirituality is completly in most cases, in grained in their culture of daily life practices when they spiritual side had to be oppressed, they lost part of who they are(were). Now, when they no longer feel that oppression and are regaining their culture/spirituality back, here comes a 'guru' and this person 'takes' away part of their culture/spirituality yet again. Not only does the 'guru' twists the meaning of a very spiritual act, treading on the Lakota's ancestors (who are spirit guilds themselves), but defiles it with profit. The Lakota, to me, are not 'eclectic'. They (some of them) hold their culture (by this, I include spirituality) very close to them. I believe, that they are upset about stereotypes and misrepresention.
"The New Age genre often presents only a small portion of the truth and can thus misrepresent the culture and ceremony it is intended to explain." Walking in the Sacred Manner by Mark St. Pierre and Tilda Long Soldier. Tilda Long Soldier is a Lakota woman and Mark St. Pierre is her husband. It is a good book.

I have read books that have taken bits and pieces from anywhere they could get. To me, it does not make sense, those ritals and practices. They do not come together in a fluid flow. For those of you interest, there is however a book on 'core shamanism' called Shamanism: as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life-by Tom Cowan. Even he warns, "Only with extreme care and sensitivity to the spiritual integrity of native peoples do we dare to adapt their spiritual traditions. I would argue that doing so requires training and permission from the elders of those traditions. This is especially true in the case of spiritual customs that are not widespread among other cultures (i.e., are not among the core shamanic practices) and that are so intimately interwoven into a particular people's way of life that any attempt to lift those customs out of the cultural and theological matrix that makes them sacred would be an act of desecration."

Sorry, I kindof got long winded

Mairwen
July 25th, 2001, 05:34 AM
Originally posted by Xois
i read the statement, but it appears to me not to be against seekers who privatly coopt portions that speak to them, but rather those who would sell artifacts and fake artifacts for money, or misrepresent themselves as Lakota and practice as preists...

did i miss it?

Xois ~ You've seen what so many have missed.

Tigerwallah
July 31st, 2001, 12:14 AM
I am 1/4 native American. I couldn't read all of the whereases. I can only say "Lighten up." When people adapt part or all of another's spiritual path it is because they are accepting it. Not a bad thing if you ask me.

I don't take exception to kichen witches and green faced uglies crashing their brooms into trees in October. Well, at least I don't take much exception. I never miss an opportunity to tell folks that that is not what a witch is, but I would never want to take away a 6 year old's scary Halloween fun.

Illuminatus
August 1st, 2001, 01:12 PM
(distrought by the 'declaration of war', I adjourned for a week to go off into the woods, to meditate in my sweat lodge. After a few days, the heat evicted my spirit from my body, and my spirit animal guided me on a vision quest, where the great spirit imparted me with the wisdom to speak the following words)

Hey you stupid Lakotas,

You can't tell us what we're not allowed to believe! In this country we have freedom of religion. Hell, that was the whole idea when we set foot on your shores and started killing all you indians!! Remember the thing with the Pilgrims and all that?

Anyway, if these Lakotas are serious about defending their religion from charlitans, they should go the route of Scientology, and sue everyone and their brother that says anything bad about them. Write down and copyright all your religions documents as "trade secrets" and sue the pants off anyone selling it.

mysticwicks
August 1st, 2001, 06:22 PM
Moderator Mode

It has come to my attention that a post(s) made in the "Lakota Nation" thread may have caused some concern.

I realize personal opinion is important to our community, and everyone has a right to voice their opinion.

You are not being singled out, nor are you being reprimanded. As a moderator I must address concerns which arrise in my forum. I am not asking you to change your opinion, but to simply consider all community members when you post, as we hope they consider you.

This is a large community, and I know problems will come up. If you feel offended by something someone has said, please feel free to contact me or other moderators, but please do so before you post off-topic. I only ask this out of respect for you as well as the community.

Thank you for your future consideration.
Tigerwallah, Moderator History Forum

BrightStar
August 3rd, 2001, 12:25 AM
Hi all!
I've been talking to some Lakota friends.They've seen this declaration and agree with it.They feel that the free for all "borrowing" of their spiritual ways is nothing more than spiritual genocide,an added insult by whites.They feel that since the attempted genocide of their people by whites failed,these same people are trying a cultural and spiritual genocide.they also feel that some of their own people are responsible for this(as stated in #4 above)and these 'traitors" should be stopped also,and be dealt with more severely than whites.
One should check out Pine Ridge Reservation and others,see what these people have been through,try to "walk a mile in their mocassins"so to speak, before judging them too harshly for their strong pride in their culture.
I see no reason to insult the Sioux people.
Peace and Love
BrightStar

Tigerwallah
August 3rd, 2001, 07:45 AM
Thanks for this information Bright Star. Excellent post.

Illuminatus
August 10th, 2001, 04:38 PM
Originally posted by BrightStar
Hi all!
I've been talking to some Lakota friends.They've seen this declaration and agree with it.They feel that the free for all "borrowing" of their spiritual ways is nothing more than spiritual genocide,an added insult by whites.They feel that since the attempted genocide of their people by whites failed,these same people are trying a cultural and spiritual genocide.


That's bull. So a lot of white people are immitating your mode of worship. Big deal! This diminishes your religion somehow? They are not "true" worshippers, they're fakers, so there's no reason why their imitation would interfere with them spiritually or otherwise. They're free to persue their religious beliefs in this country. JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!

Kaylara
August 10th, 2001, 04:47 PM
Well, I didn't kill off their ancestors, and seeing as how my ancestors didn't come to this country until the 1900's, I can hardly be held responsible for their geocide... Believe me, I respect native americans, and their practices. I don't agree with what white people did to them at all, but that doesn't mean that I am to blame. I think that that's a pretty lame excuse.

Kaylara

Tigerwallah
August 10th, 2001, 10:22 PM
I don't get it either. I feel it only validates the beliefs of the Lakotas and honors them that others follow their path. This is not the same as the cigar store indian, in my honest opinion.

Happydog
August 11th, 2001, 01:47 AM
Keep in mind that Native American groups are as divided among themselves as us Pagans are. There are some NA teachers who have absolutely no problem with white people learning NA religious beliefs. They believe that it's a way to bring the white folks back to their senses, basically.

There are other NA religious groups that are separatist and always have been. The people that wrote the declaration of war don't speak for _all_ NA tribes, or _all_ NA people. Just like Andrea Dworkin doesn't speak for all feminists, or Starhawk doesn't speak for all Pagans.

This Declaration is sort of like if some group of witches got up and said, "That's it! We're not teaching witchcraft anymore to anybody! Only witchy people can be witches! Nobody else can practice the Craft!"

Of course everyone in the Pagan/Wiccan community would either bust out laughing or get mad at these people, because they didn't speak for everybody, no matter how much they tried to seem like they did.

Same thing here.

Tigerwallah
August 11th, 2001, 08:12 AM
Great points, Happydog!!!

Danustouch
August 11th, 2001, 12:10 PM
in my personal opinion, and through my personal experiences, it seems to me, that most of the Lakota and other Native American paths, mainly dislike the "wholesale borrowing" of their traditions for these simple reasons.

1)Selling of Native artifacts, and ritual items/traditions, belittles a beautiful tradition, and spiritual practice, making it more of a "fad" or "decorative" thing. Example? My brothers' girlfriend is a Harley Davidson Fanatic biker chick. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but...the woman is TOTALLY out of touch with spirituality. She hangs out in all the biker bars, getting drunk, and has friends who are the typical biker brawl types. She hunts animals for sport, not for food, with my brother (ugh)...and even participates in some illegal hunting techniques (jack-lighting) etc. Yet..walk into her house, and there you see a huge mandela, a dream catcher, a peace pipe, a medicine sheild...etc, etc. She hangs these things because she likes.."south western decore". Yet she has little or no idea of the meaning behind these items. What they represent..etc. She also has little idea of the history of the native peoples, and is , as a matter of fact, a racist.

2)Practicing rituals of their peoples, without having a solid base in the precepts of their religions, or taking elements of their practices, and adapting it to paths which might even be contrary to their beliefs. Well..who wouldn't??? I mean...Doesn't it bother the average, every day Wiccan, when we see movies such as "the Craft"...and we see certain of our religious precepts being twisted into something which is simply media sensationalism?

It belittles and degrades the beauty, history, and faith they have in their beliefs..IMO.

However, there are those who HONESTLY seek the wisdom, which is evident in their practices. Who HONESTLY seek to know the mysteries of these strong, and proud peoples. We seek to utilize some of that wisdom to bring greater beauty and understanding to our world. To those people, I think a certain level of acceptance, and understanding, should be given.

I know several native american people. One Lakota, one Mohawk, and one Shawnee, Two Mic-Macs..and a few others. Most of them are of the opinion, that it is the spritual intent of people that matters. When they see us who adapt certain of their beliefs and practices to our own lives, they feel it is a good thing. First of all, it serves to educate the general population of white society, to the beauty of a people who so often has been misrepresented in media (ie..the old western movies, etc). And it is also, serving to bring back "lost" members of their tribe. People whom through marriages, not only lost trace of their bloodlines, but also lost touch with their roots. The reawakening of interest in Native practices, gets them interested in their own roots, once again, and may help to strengthen the bloodlines of the tribes once more.

There are politically radical groups within Native American Society, who are angry, and hurt, with good reason. Conditions on the Reservations today, are not too much better than they were 100 years ago. And the predjudice they face from government agencies, and from "police"..and from "white" citezens of the surrounding area, is still a very real situation for them. I understand why they would be angry, and upset. And so I cannot say that they are entirely wrong, in trying to preserve for themselves, that which is so often misunderstood by white society.

A good link, which you might choose to check out regarding this matter..is http://www.Russellmeans.com

He is another who is of the opinion, that the wholesale "Selling" of native beliefs is wrong.

One more little bit of info I would like to share here, is that in CT, the mashentucket pequot, and the schaticoke tribes, have been embroiled in battles for years, over the auctioning of their artifacts to museums and personal collectors. Archeological digs have turned up hundreds of beautifully woven baskets, and pieces of pottery. However, instead of being returned to the people of the tribes who created them....They are being auctioned to the highest bidder. Most of whom have little to NO native blood in them, or to museums, who wish to put them on display.

GRRRRR..this one makes me particularly irate.

I'll stop ranting now!

Sophie14
August 11th, 2001, 07:10 PM
I've been lurking on these boards for a while. And pardon me for being rude, but does anybody believe in doing a little research on a topic before you talk about it?

Like, the first thing I want to know when I encounter "Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality" is "Is this genuine or is this more Internet BS?" Two minutes at Google.com revealed that "War" was declared at the Lakota Summit V in June, 1993. This is not exactly fresh news. And like most declarations of war, it has specific historical roots. Another couple minutes looking up the Lakota Summit V would take you to this article (among others):

http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/users/shoemaker/na-articles/warlakot.html

There's been a lot of dialog on this subject in the last eight years. PanGaia did a whole issue on indigenous spirtual practices last year and the exploitation of spirituality was discussed in some detail. For a fresh article on the subject, you might want to read Kay Yount's piece on Beliefnet:

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/83/story_8363_1.html

I have extremely mixed feelings on the subject, and would be interested in some thoughtful conversation on what can be used and what can't.

Sophie

Mairwen
August 11th, 2001, 08:35 PM
Danu, thanks for your thoughtful post!! I feel the same. :D

Earth Walker
August 11th, 2001, 09:44 PM
I enjoy practicing First Nations Traditions, and I hope to
learn more from an Elder.
I deeply respect Native Traditions, and I strongly believe that
we need to return to that lifestyle, to living in total harmony
with Nature.
They are right when they say that most white people need to
come to their senses.


Patriarchy had a specific beginning in history.
It will also have an end. :smash:

Danustouch
August 11th, 2001, 11:19 PM
You're welcome Mairwen, and thank you :)

Illuminatus
August 13th, 2001, 03:05 PM
Originally posted by Danustouch


However, there are those who HONESTLY seek the wisdom, which is evident in their practices. Who HONESTLY seek to know the mysteries of these strong, and proud peoples.

The Lakota declared war on these individuals already. Because they are not true indians by blood. Now, who was the racist again? Yep, got it in one. The Lakota.

Illuminatus
August 13th, 2001, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by Happydog
Keep in mind that Native American groups are as divided among themselves as us Pagans are.

True enough. And the Indians have NEVER been unified in anything, which was the key to their downfall. If the Indians had done the smart thing and established a cohesive government, and become a true nation, they might have been able to stand against the white invaders back in the 16 and 1700's. Then again, the Incas were pretty well organized and they got spanked something awful by the Spanish......

marevard
August 13th, 2001, 03:42 PM
Look, all in all I have mixed feelings about this...
1) I agree that religion should be 'free' to all serious seekers
2) One should not destory a religions culture and structure, taking things out of context... ex.. by saying I am doing the Sun Dance of the Lakota, when I do not practice their beliefs... I feel as if I just stole something from them... why not call it somethingelse?? Where is the harm in that?
3) Knowledge is power, Lakota should educate people in their believes as with other NA tribes
Sorry if I offend
On the otherside, my family comes from an Indain background, our tribe has lost their practices due to circumstances of the past, inwhich I blame no one for. At our family reunion, we had to 'borrow' a shaman. (don't worry, we put him back), I would love to see 'us' get a base practice back, but I won't want to take the believes of others to accomplish it. Their believes are their history... doesn't anyone of you remember old history books? Mine painted the wrong picture of NA. So wrong, that I was outcasted at school... and I have red hair and pale skin.
Guess all in all.. if you take things from other places.. have alittle respect for it...
here's a great word that I used often....elcectic