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Spiritual Walk Or Liberating Path ....

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Grayeagle

Posts: 103

Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:06 pm

Post Sun Sep 21, 2003 5:30 pm

Spiritual Walk Or Liberating Path ....

Greetings, the New Age people have sparked a new interest to the people in American Indian traditional spirituality. These people claim to be spiritual leaders and teachers.

American Indian spirituality, with its respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all things, is often presented as the remedy for all diseases, evils and difficulties for all individual and global problems. Not surprisingly, many people see this opportunity to make a great profit from this new cure all .... These people sell sweat lodges and sacred pipe ceremonies, which promise to bring individual and global healing. Or these people sell books and records that supposedly describe American Indian traditional practices, so that people can be a Native American too.

On the surface, it may appear that this new craze or cure all way is based on respect for the American Indian Spirituality. In fact, the New Age peoples movement, is part of an old story of racism and genocide against the American Indian people. The spiritual ways that the, New Age people are practicing have little grounding on reality, if any at all.

American Indian spiritual leaders do not make a profit from the teachings, whether it's through selling books, workshops, sweat lodges or otherwise. American Indian spiritual leaders, teach the people because it is their responsibility to pass what they have learned from the ancestors and elders teachings to the people and the younger generations. We do not charge for their services.
Think about this .... The idea that an American Indian spiritual teacher or leader would instruct New Age people to preach the sacred path of American Indian spirituality, thats more reminiscent of evangelical christianity, than traditional American Indian spirituality.

American Indian spirituality is community based, not to convert people from one belief, doctrine, cause or faith to another. For this reason, there is not just one American Indian faith, as the New Age people would have you believe.

American Indian spiritual beliefs, reflect the needs of a particular community. American Indians do not believe that their way is the way. So why would they have any desire to tell outsiders about their beliefs. Also, considering how many American Indians that there are that don't know the traditions themself, why would a spiritual teacher or leader spend so much time teaching a New Age person? A spiritual leader or teacher would advise these people to look into their own culture and find what is liberating in it for them.

However, some people seem determined not to look into their own cultures for sources of strength. This is puzzling to me, since pre european cultures are also earth based and contain many of the same elements that these people are representing or appearing to be looking for in the American Indian culture.

This phenomenon leads me to suspect that there is more working or spreading harmfully in a crafty or sly manner or motive for latching onto American Indian spirituality.

When these people see how their people have historically oppressed others and how they are coming very close to destroying our Earth Mother, they often want to disassociate themselves from their people. They do this by making the choice or decision to become Indian. In this way, they can escape responsibility and accountability for their on peoples racism.

I have found these people want to become only partly Indian. They do not want to be part of the struggles for survival, fight for treaty rights or help stop the substance abuse or sterilization abuse. They do not want to do anything that would tarnish their romanticized notions of what it means to be an American Indian.

These people want to become American Indians, without holding themselves accountable to the many American Indian communities. If they did, they would have to listen to the spiritual leaders, teachers and the people telling them to stop carrying around sacred pipes, stop doing their own sweat lodges and stop taking possession of or making use for themselves, without permission of our spiritual practices.

These New Agers see the American Indian people as romanticized recognized leaders and teachers in the spiritual field, who exist only to meet their consumerist needs. Consequently, they do not understand the struggles for survival, so they can have no genuine understanding of American Indian spiritual practices.

While these people may think that they are escaping their peoples racism by becoming Indians, they are in fact continuing the same practices of their forebears.

The one thing that has maintained the survival of American Indian people through countless years of colonialism, has been the spiritual bonds and faiths that keep the people together. When the colonizers saw the strength of the Amercian Indian Spirituality, they tried to destroy our peoples spirit and faith, by making them illegal.

They forced the children into missionary schools and cut their tongues if they spoke their languages. Sundances were made illegal and Indian participation in the Ghost Dance, was cause for the action at Wounded Knee.

The colonizers recognized that it was the American Indian spirituality that maintained the peoples spirit of resistance and sense of community. Even today, American Indians do not have religious freedom. The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that American Indians do not have the right to sue under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. They also determined that if the American Indian religious freedom conflicts with any compelling U. S. interest, the government always super-sizes Indian peoples' freedom of religion.

Many New Agers continue this practice of destroying American Indian spirituality. They trivialize American Indian practices so that these practices lose their spiritual strength and they have their privilege and power to make themselves heard at the expense of the Americans Indian people. The peoples voices are silenced and the younger people who are trying to find their way back to the Old Ways are becoming hopelessly lost in this area of low lying, soggy not so sacred ground of attachment to materialistic values or possessions of the New Age Spirituality.

Our people are told that they are greedy if they do not choose to share their spirituality. Apparently, it is our burden to service their needs, rather than to spend time organizing within our own communities.

The trivialization of these New Age people, is compounded by the fact that now days anyone can be Indian, if they want to. All that is required for a person to be Indian in a former life or take part in a sweat lodge or be monitored by a medicine woman or have read a how-to book.

According to this theory, anyone can now be Indian, then the term Indian no longer refers specifically to the people who have survived the many years of colonization and genocide. This furthers the goals of the supremacists to abrogate treaty rights and to take away what little our people have left.

When everyone becomes Indian, then it is easy to lose sight of the specificity of oppression faced by those who are the real people in this life. It is no wonder our people have such a difficult time finding non-Indians to help support our struggles when the New Age movement has completely disguised the American Indian oppression.

If these people are going to act in solidarity with our people, they need to make a stand against our spiritual abuse. These New Age book and record stores should stop selling these New Age products and feminist periodicals should stop advertising these New Age products ....

Many people have claimed that our people are not respecting freedom of speech, when New Age people need to stop promoting and selling these books that exploit our people' spirituality. Promotion of this material is destroying freedom of speech for the American Indians by ensuring that their voices will never be heard. These people have already made their choices about what they will promote.

Respecting the integrity of our people and our spirituality does not mean that there can never be cross-cultural sharing. Such a sharing should take place in a way that is respectful to all people.
The way to be respectful is for non-Indian people to become involved with our the people's political struggles and to develop an on going relation with our communities, based on trust and mutual respect. When this happens, the people may invite a non-Indian to take part in ceremony.

And I hesitate to say this much about cross-cultural sharing, because many people will take this to mean that they can join in with the people's struggles, solely for the purpose of being invited to ceremonies. If this does not occur, they feel that our people have somehow unfairly withheld spiritual teachings from them.

Are we expected to pay the price in spiritual exploitation in order to gain allies in our struggles.

When the non-Indians say they will help our people, but only on their terms, that is not help, that is simple blackmail.

Our people are not obligated to teach anyone about spirituality. It is the people's choice if they want to share with other people who they think will be respectful.

It is also important for non-Indians to build relationships with our people's communities, rather than with specific individuals. Many non-Indians express their confusion about knowing who is and who is not a legitimate spiritual leader or teacher. The only way for non-Indians to know who the legitimate leaders and teachers are is to develop ongoing relationships with the people and communities. When these people know the community, they will learn who the community respects as its spiritual leaders and teachers, this takes time.

Unfortunately, many New Age people do not want to take this time in their quest for their instant spirituality. Profit-making often gets in the way of true spirituality, walk with peace.

Creator as Chief,
Grayeagle
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Falls

Posts: 322

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 9:28 am

Location: Deriot, MI

Post Wed Sep 24, 2003 1:26 pm

I had a nice long post then my "rubberband broke".
I am Irish, and Cheyenne. I hold deep devotion to my heritage, on both accounts. I am more defensive of my Native side, because I can go to Ireland and there is my history ala gaelic- but my Cheyenne history?
I am here, where is it? stamped out, trampled, homoginized.
The closing of spiritual doors to protect Native traditions.
Grayeagle left one sad fact out, most tribes in this country originally were very spiritually open, and yes a non-native, could become Ojibway, or Pawnee, Arapaho, you could be completely accepted to the tribe, wholly, this total charity of being was repaid with extermination, on even the intellectual level, not being allowed to THINK like a native. I am seething, sorry Grayeagle, I have read many of your posts, and realize my ranting is far from your style. I thought you migh like to know someone else has noticed, what are talking about, and is at the very least angry about it to.
Hottamitaneo,Himattanohis,
Wokshihittaneo,Mahohivas,Hotamimasaw,Himoiyoqis,Konianutqio.
You were feared above all others, and now only dust remains, but my blood does not forget.
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Grayeagle

Posts: 103

Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:06 pm

Post Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:39 pm

'Siyo Falls, A ya tah hay, wado, Wapankitupe
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Falls

Posts: 322

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 9:28 am

Location: Deriot, MI

Post Sat Sep 27, 2003 11:49 pm

You must forgive me Grayeagle for taking so long to respond.
I am embarrassed to say I dont recognize what you said, very embarrassed if it is Cheyenne, a little embarrassed if anything else.
My Native understanding is up until now been a primarily solitary endeavor, I live in MI, not Cheyenne country(three fires country), there are not that many left of us, even half breeds or quaters. I havnt learned Lakota or the other Lang. of the tribes I have tried to focus on my own first, Hard to find material. I have friends who are potowatomi, ojibway, and lots of Navajo friends from when i lived in AZ(reservation conditions are deplorable).
So, I would appreciate some pointing in a good direction if know any for Cheyenne information, I study the histories of all the tribes i can get, the various religions(because some *ssh*l*s decided that the Native peoples across the entire expanse of this continent had one religion, that seems to be very hollywood friendly) but again material of any repute is hard come across, I try not to attend powwows because I feel like a tourist, Like i am buying "dream catchers" from a Navajo, I know you get that. anyway, i day or so ago i had something i wanted to reply, but it has escaped me.
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Grayeagle

Posts: 103

Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:06 pm

Post Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:48 am

'Siyo Falls, A ya tah hay, wado, Wapankitupe

'Siyo means "hello" from my people, A ya tah hay means (It is a good day) your people, Wado means (Thank You) from my people, Wapankitupe is my shell name, it means (Tomorrow Turtle) this name is not used that much.

Their will be much spoken as the new times and wisdom arrives from our ancestors dust .... The Elders speak that their has already been much spoken with twisted words and mixed feeling about who is right or who is wrong. You will feel these messages and in the same way you feel about the pow wows (where did that feeling come to you from)? I have found that the truth will not effect the color of a person skin, but it will bring a change in their feeling.

My friend if embarrassment can bring truth, then may we all soon ware this paint, wado.

Creator as Chief,
Grayeagle
Wapankitupe
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Falls

Posts: 322

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 9:28 am

Location: Deriot, MI

Post Sun Sep 28, 2003 3:01 am

thank you for the translation,
Cheyenne(Tsitsistas) is my tribe, my blood on from my fathers side.
There is a word in Cheyenne(which is a testimony to the forever sense of humor of the Native) which i practice to help me with my pronounciation of the dialect(it is an Algonquin, lang.)
the word is naohkesaa'one'seomepehevetsehesto'anehe, i keep it written above my computer(i cant quit remeber to how to spell it yet lol) it is one word, it means "I cannot pronounce Cheyenne well", and once you can clearly speak this to someone, you can speak the entire group of phonetices in the Cheyenne language, brilliant.
My feelings about the powwows, I went to one as a child(with my friends boyscout troup) and i felt ashamed(at that time i was just really beginning to learn i was decended from native peoples of America) i had always read about "indians" i dislike that word, and the poud people who fought with an immense amout of dignity and cunning, who until the last tried to deal squarely and honestly with their enemy(how many can say that),
an enemy who was only an enemy because they refused to share the land like a spoiled child with a toy, I felt ashamed to walk around and see these people who knew where they came from, and were selling trinkets, and trying to teach fat white kids, about things that were scoffed at by the children and the McDonalds eating parents who brought them with what felt like to me a sideshow mentality, tell the children about native children killed underboots, about how the original people who live where there tack prefab home now stands were relocated to desolate land, where many TO THIS DAY still dont have electricity or running water. I felt like a tourist, like this was just some watered down entertainment for simple minds, and I worry that if i go back to one and feel again i might start telling people, I might become disruptive and mean, and i realize this is not supposed to be the spirit of the event, so i stay away. Perhaps when i am older and have learned more patience for the things that really upset me i will go. For right now I am a young, and angry.
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Grayeagle

Posts: 103

Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:06 pm

Post Sun Sep 28, 2003 7:03 pm

Here are some things about the people called Pilgrims (A religious devotee who journeys to a shrine or sacred place) and their interaction with our peoples populations .... I didn't learn these things from pop up history but from seeking out secondary and primary sources.

They were English dissenters from the State Church who fled to Holland where they could practice their own brand of Christianity in freedom. This wasn't good enough for these people, they were afraid their children would learn to speak Dutch and cease to be English Christians.

They went back to England and set sail to look for a place where they could not only freely practice their Christian religion, but also freely enforce their religion and language and culture on anyone that crossed their path.

They came on a big boat (Mayflower) and would have shortly died, if not for the ancestors two years of charity and gentle nursing along by the Wampanoag people (formerly of eastern Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, with present day descendants in this same area.

As more and more English Christians and Puritans (members of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England came, these Pilgrims desired more and more land.

In 1636, just 16 years after the boat people arrived, the Pilgrims formed an alliance with the Narragansetts people (formerly of Rhode Island west of Narragansett Bay, with present-day descendants in the same area.

The Narragansett were nearly exterminated during King Philip's War in 1675-1676) in order to take over the land of the Pequot people (formerly of eastern Connecticut, with present day descendants in the same area.

The Pequot and the Mohegan were the same people until the Mohegan broke away under Uncas in the early 17th century.

Surrounding the first Pequot town they came to, they promptly set it on fire and killed all who attempted escape.

William Bradford (governor of Plymouth Colony) described the slaughter in these words.

It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same and horrible was the stink and stench there of but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice and they gave praise there of to god.

By the way, the original meaning of the word Holocaust is (a sacrifice consumed by fire).

The Narragansetts were mortified at the slaughter and saw in it a vision of what would shortly happen to their own people and also to the Wampanoags. In fact, as a Wampanoag town was burning, about 40 years later, one Pilgrim soldier, sickened by the stench of burning flesh and horrified by the screams of the dying, asked his commander, "Is burning alive, men, women and children, consistent with the benevolent principles of the Holy Gospel?" Good question. Evidently Paul Jehle (Senior Pastor of the New Testament Church of Cedarville in Plymouth)
and Douglas W. Phillips (the Director of Family Vision, a discipleship and training ministry) consider it "a model example of the 'right way' to interact with the native population ....

I will walk no futher back on this path, I feel that it will bring nothing to the present ....

I bend as the willow tree, when the wind blows thru its limbs, I spend most of my time with this thought, as to where the wind is going or coming, when it blows, walk in peace.

Creator as Chief,
Grayeagle
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Falls

Posts: 322

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 9:28 am

Location: Deriot, MI

Post Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:24 pm

other than the quote, they taught the almost precise history of he pilgrims landing in grade school, it was taught as a massacre on people who had previously only tried to help.
You see Grayeagle, you must understand I am also Irish, their history is only slightly less tremendous then the Native American.
And I study that as well, I see the good natured of the world with a boot on their necks. I harbour most of my hostility on these points, perhaps I even nurse it. eh Thanks for talking. I appreciate your words, and thanks for your breath it wasnt waste.

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