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Native American Spiritual Truths in the New Age

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This is a re-blog from the blog called “As the Teaching Drum Turns” at
http://astheteachingdrumturns.blogspot.com/2007/04/in-their-own-words-indigenous-activists.html

This is a topic I have often tried to explain and share in various groups, with various amounts of success. I was very impressed with the the clarity and ease of reading of this post. The author has done an amazingly better job than I have ever managed!

If you are interested in Native American Spirituality, please read the entire post below. It will help you to weed out the charlatans and creeps and find your own real path of the heart.

Everyone on Earth is a descendant of indigenous people-even if you are 100% European! Colonization is a plague that started a lot longer ago than 500 years, and it has done exactly the same thing to every group of people it happens to-it is brought in with violence, maintained with mind programming and purposeful impoverishment(financial, spiritual and emotional) and this pattern has remained precisely the same from Mesopotamia to the Black Hills, to the current enactments in South America and the Pacific.

So if you look back a bit you might find your own ancestors had some beliefs very much like various Native groups here, no matter where your ancestors lived-but those beliefs might even have some details that feel closer to your own heart, because they are literally in your bones.

In Their Own Words: Indigenous Activists Challenge New Age Frauds
Monday, April 09, 2007

These are a few highlights from websites with in depth information on the issues surrounding the cultural theft that is white New Agers’ appropriation of Indigenous spiritual traditions. Check ’em out! Most of these writer-activists are Native American and speak from years of experience with Anglo American racism. These articles make an excellent primer before going on to read about the fraud that is Tamarack Song.

Wikipedia – Plastic Shamans
> Though the term “plastic shaman” originated among Native American and First Nations activists, and is most often applied to people posing as Native American medicine men & women, the term has also been applied to those posing as other types of traditional and alternative healers. People who have been referred to as “plastic shamans” include fraudulent spiritual advisors, seers, psychics, or other practitioners of non-traditional modalities of spirituality and healing who are operating on a fraudulent basis.
>
> Critics of those who have been called plastic shamans believe one danger is that students who come to learn from plastic shamans may be exposing themselves to physical, as well as psychological and emotional risk. This is because the methods used by a fraudulent teacher may have been invented, “adapted” or stolen from other cultures and taught without reference to a real tradition, or to the precautions such a tradition would normally have in place in regard to sacred ceremonies and guidelines for ethical behaviour.
Wikipedia – NAFPS (New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans)
> Begun in 2001, NAFPS has provided a forum for those concerned about fraud, deceit, money hunger, sexual abuse, racism, control, hunger for power and ego, and cult-like tendencies of the New Age movement and pseudo “shamans.” They investigate and seek to warn the public about impostors and exploiters posing as Native medicine people or elders. They believe there are more than two hundred imposters currently posing as Cherokee medicine people alone. Taking account of all five hundred Native nations in the US, this indicates the massive scope of the problem. There have been eight unsuccessful attempts to shut them down, threats of lawsuits, stalkers, identity thieves, libel campaigns, and even death threats.
Our Red Earth
> THE DISSEMINATION OF DEATH: TEACHINGS
> A typical “new age” collective does not usually openly declare that anything whatsoever is being “taught.” This is to ensure a surface appearance of benevolence. If nothing is being “taught,” nothing is being “exploited,” is the reasoning one often finds within these communities. Additionally, this professed lack of teaching decreases the likelihood of someone quizzing and potentially exposing the community leader as a charlatan.
>
> Instead, “new age” community leaders instruct/mislead their followers by calling the dissemination of their inaccuracies “sharing.” They typically disguise the purpose of their community by describing it as a place to “share and discuss” (the leader’s interpretations of) American Indian spirituality.
>
> – Edit –
>
> THE PLAYERS
> A “new age” community typically includes a Leader and three divisions, these being Co-Leaders, Participants, and Readers. All of these divisions are guided by the Leader, so with him we shall begin.
Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances:
New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality
> Lisa Aldred
>
> Consuming Native American Spirituality
>
> Commercial exploitation of Native American spiritual traditions has permeated the New Age movement since its emergence in the 1980s. Euro-Americans professing to be medicine people have profited from publications and workshops. Mass quantities of products promoted as “Native American sacred objects” have been successfully sold by white entrepreneurs to a largely non-Indian market. This essay begins with an overview of these acts of commercialization as well as Native Americans’ objections to such practices. Its real focus, however, is the motivation behind the New Agers’ obsession and consumption of Native American spirituality. Why do New Agers persist in consuming commercialized Native American spirituality? What kinds of self-articulated defenses do New Agers offer for these commercial practices? To answer these questions, analysis from a larger social and economic perspective is needed to further understand the motivations behind New Age consumption.
>
> In the so-called postmodern culture of late consumer capitalism, a significant number of white affluent suburban and urban middle-aged baby-boomers complain of feeling uprooted from cultural traditions, community belonging, and spiritual meaning. The New Age movement is one such response to these feelings. New Agers romanticize an “authentic” and “traditional” Native American culture whose spirituality can save them from their own sense of malaise. However, as products of the very consumer culture they seek to escape, these New Agers pursue spiritual meaning and cultural identification through acts of purchase. Although New Agers identify as a countercultural group, their commercial actions mesh quite well with mainstream capitalism. Ultimately, their search for spiritual and cultural meaning through material acquisition leaves them feeling unsatisfied. The community they seek is only imagined, a world conjured up by the promises of advertised products, but with no history, social relations, or contextualized culture that would make for a sense of real [End Page 329] belonging. Meanwhile, their fetishization of Native American spirituality not only masks the social oppression of real Indian peoples but also perpetuates it.
White Americans play ‘Indian,’ professor says
> By JODI RAVE
> Lincoln Journal Star
>
> – Edit –
>
> Organizations from fraternal orders, to the Boy Scouts, to athletic teams and their fans have succumbed to acting out imagined Indian roles.
>
> Indian people have been both empowered and villainized as a result, said [Philip] Deloria. This paradox powers Deloria’s book.
>
> “There is this simultaneous embracing of Indians, which allows Americans to make claims of American identity. But at the same time, in order to make a real physical nation, they have to dispossess those Indians,” he said.
>
> One of the best examples in “Playing Indian” examines the 1830s federal policy of removing native people from their Eastern U.S. homelands and sending them to Indian territory in Oklahoma.
>
> Indian role-playing soon broke out in those areas from which the Indians were removed, Deloria said. “The dynamic at work is to get rid of Indians; then you become Indian.” The desire to know Indians peaked in the 1950s when non-Indians sought knowledge of Indian culture directly from Indians. Those days are gone, he said.
>
> “Today it’s all about reading books (on Indians) and then working it out with a buddy. Books are personal and individual. They can be interpreted any way you want.”
Spiritual Commodification and Misappropriation
> What Native People Want You To Understand
> Compiled by Mariah Jones
>
> There is a disinformation campaign in progress in Sonoma County to undermine Native peoples’ nationwide efforts to protect their ceremonial processes from abuse. The promulgators would have you believe that only a few “militant” Indians are concerned about this exploitation by those who have no real knowledge of the deep inner meaning inherent in these ceremonies. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of Native people DO object to this phenomenon.
>
> If you stand with Indian people, then you respect their moral right to decide under which circumstances their ceremonies will be “shared” with non-Indians. Please read the following statements by Native people. They are spiritual leaders, authors, attorneys, anthropologists, scholars, activists, educators and tribal leaders. Though they represent just a small percentage of those who have spoken out on this issue, the concepts presented will give you some idea of the perspective you are being asked to consider.
>
> “What’s at issue here is the same old question that Europeans have always posed with regard to American Indians, whether what’s ours isn’t somehow theirs. And, of course, they’ve always answered in the affirmative. Now, being spiritually bankrupt themselves, they want our spirituality as well. So, they make up rationalizations to explain why they’re entitled to it.”
What Genocide Has Done For Me
> by Eugene Johnson
>
> Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people or culture in order to benefit the destructor.
>
> I, being Indian of Alsea, Klickitat, and Lower Umpqua ancestry, would like to tell you about the things that affect me in present-day life.
>
> Sports Teams
>
> Native Americans are used in advertising and as sports team names. We are mocked and made fun of so a few non-Indians can amass great amounts of wealth. These stereotypes and caricatures have a dehumanizing effect. By “dehumanizing” I mean: to make other than human of that which is human. What dehumanizing does is make it easier for humans to do inhuman things to their fellow human beings. If you don’t consider Indians to be a people, it makes it easier to attempt to separate us from our remaining lands – which is genocide. When Indians protest these names and advertising, people don’t care because we have been dehumanized in the eyes of most people through the use of advertising and sports team names. Advertising and sports team names are a tool of genocide.
Would the REAL don Juan Please Step Forward:
Plastic Medicine Men and White America’s
Desperate Search for Native Spirituality.
> “They’re trying to find their own memory,” says John Trudell. “If you get right down to the reality of it, what are white people? White people are the descendants of tribes also. The civilizing process is to erase the tribal or ancestral memory. It’s just that the erasing of their tribal memory started 3,000 years ago. For us it started 500 years ago. If you look at most Caucasian people, they don’t even remember their Great Grandparents. They don’t know what their spiritual perceptions of reality were, their practices, or how they lived with the earth.”
>
> The other side of the coin is a tangle of self-deception for white colonizers, now trying to appropriate the spirituality of the very same people they’ve colonized. Western culture was built upon shame and guilt of the natural world. Whites descended from tribes and barbaric societies, which Christianity smashed down to create a controlled atmosphere devoid of darkness and the unknown.
>
> “The so-called “Barbarians”-the non-Christianized Indigenous believing peoples of Europe-had to be conquered, subordinated, indoctrinated and transformed into the opposite of themselves first, before you had the critical mass-the core entity that allows for this exportation of the same dynamic to the rest of the planet,” says Ward Churchill.

Labels: Indigenous Voices

posted by Nemeses at 7:12 PM

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Author: ohnwentsya

Be the change you wish to see, let's co-create the win-win future we know is possible together!

94 thoughts on “Native American Spiritual Truths in the New Age

  1. This is a very sobering and thought provoking treatise. Not everyone is seeking to exploit or degrade. It has been predicted that there is a time when Native American spirit and values will be embraced by others because people come to finally realize they are not living in harmony and respecting mother earth. The destructive road society has been on is well upon us. The question is what can people do to come together as a positive force for good? I think the time is right for Native Americans to be appreciated and honored.

    • Thank you for the comment! I completely agree. I think we are coming together for good all over the Earth right now and that is one reason why I was so excited to find this article. So many of us have an interest in the ideas and spirituality that are associated with Native American and other indigenous cultures, but there are so many false and misleading things around to confuse people.

      So many greedy people set themselves up as teachers of “Native Spirituality”, making lots of money telling tall tales and misleading people at best, and killing people at worst; as the one man did by holding a sweat lodge with no understanding of what he was doing. While at the same time, so many REAL Native communities suffer unbearable poverty, and so many are lost to drugs, alchoholism and depression without the connection to their ancestral spirituality that was for so long legally suppressed.

      I hope that by sharing the info, more people will be able to spot the charlatans, the greedy and the disrespectful while still learning the truth. Most Native spirituality is only learned person to person, within the community and not sold or advertised.

      The values and understanding of the world in the general sense of having a relationship with the land and all living things are something that is common to indigenous peoples across the world, the details varying with landscape and culture so no one needs to pay money to learn it or be part of it-it’s in all of our bones, and in the Earth. It just takes being quiet and listening, watching Nature and learning, our own direct connection to Creator/Universe is always there to guide us in expanding our understanding thru such direct interaction and learning.

      Plastic shamans are selling something that feels good in the moment and looks cool, with the showy trinkets and all. But, I’ve personally found that being involved in real world issues and meeting and working with real people; as in fighting the tar sands and the keystone xl pipeline that are utterly destroying First Nations communities in Canada, or fighting James Bay another energy boondoggle devastating Native communities, (or any of a thousand other similar fights, there is no shortage of destruction to be opposed) brings more in the way of long term learning, growth and understanding.

      I was taught while growing up that spirituality is not something separate, a conference or a book, feathers or smudge or what have you. Spirit is in everything, IS everything so when we just live authentically, when we support our people, our communities and the Earth; when we work together in laughter, love, tears and rage, taking action to make life in the real present world better, this is how we come into a fuller connection and understanding of spirit.

      I think/feel that in this way as we all come together more and more to support one another thru the tough times, to fight back against the destruction of our communities, of our Earth, the enslavement of all people by corporations; we will grow in friendship and laughter to more deeply appreciate one another from ALL peoples;we will honor and respect one another and the Earth; and our spirits will heal along with our communities and ecosystems.

  2. Yes Ohnwentsya, we are not human beings living (from time to time!) a ‘spiritual’ experience, but multi-dimensional, Spiritual Beings living a human experience. The tree, the sky, the water, the air, the buffalo, the deer, the trout…are ourSelf !
    AmO…;o)ohn

  3. These new agers have a distorted conception of us. They think the hundreds of nations, tribes and bands have one common “Native American Spirituality” or religion. They stereotype us as well.

    When an NDN calls them on their BS, just wait for the nastiness to commence.

    • That is one of the main reasons I created my blog-being on the receiving end of that nastiness in spiritual discussion groups. Being told I was the bad person for even asserting that Native people do not have to simply accept cultural appropriation as another inevitable step in the ongoing process of genocide.
      I hoped that I could convey the deeper value spiritually of treating all with respect rather than feeling entitled to purchase falsified nonsense because it “feels good”.
      I don’t know how successful I have been but I feel better having this information available. If even a few people turn from pointless appropriation to genuine respect, interaction and solidarity it will at least be a start!:-)

      • The ‘seekers’ seem to be interested, or should I say entertained by only the pretty sparkly aspects of what has been deemed as “Native American Spirituality”, while the nuage movers and shakers defend these falsehoods or stand by their product like business people. It’s like they don’t want the truth shooing away potential customers. Greed plays a big part in this ongoing attempt at cultural genocide.

      • Absolutely! The vicious reactions I received in some quarters when I first tried to explain why cultural co-optation is part of genocide was amazing to me.
        But I think there is something deeper driving the susceptibility of many people to the hucksters. I think there is an inherent drive in all human beings toward decolonization.
        No matter how long a people have been colonized I feel like there is some part of us all that rebels against it. Something in our bones, maybe in our DNA, knows what it means to be fully human, fully alive-and that the colonized world is but a muted, crippled mockery of it.

        For at least 60 years the 1%/oligarchs have pushed an across the board dumbing down and oversimplification of everything in America. So most people shy away from things like deconstruction and other academic analyses of culture so they don’t have a logical direction for that internal need.

        The marketing promotes the co-opted nonsense as a return to something deep, ancient and real when in reality it’s just the religious equivalent of vaudeville:-/ only more damaging and dangerous.

        There are people of European descent who are promoting a self realized process of decolonization in modern America but because they are also usually telling a lot of scary painful truths about the destructiveness of modern culture they are not widely accepted-certainly not by any group seeking “feel good” ideas and solutions!

        I’m an optimist so I believe the good in people will win in the end over greed, fear and manipulation as long as we keep speaking out against the rot.

    • Right Mr. NDN! Your Nastiness is what follows!

      • I’m not sure what you mean? Genocide and co-optation are nastiness. Discussion of them and how to effectively respond to that nastiness is actually self defense not nastiness.
        No one benefits except the 1%/colonizers in charge when the rest of us fall for their divide and conquer tactics.

  4. Good way of describing, and good post to obtain data regarding my presentation topic, which i am going
    to present in college.

    • Thank you! You might also check a blog linked to mine called Decolonization also on WordPress. They are University based and publish a print publication as well as the online resource. I wished I had several of their articles when I was still in school!

  5. Missikech Kechqua Has been trolling the internet, being very nasty in assorted New Age and Spiritual Forums. Being mean to other people who he does not know, is not protesting what happened many years ago to the Native Americans. Such trolling only degrades Native causes and efforts to cope with history.

    • The problem is that it’s not really about what happened a long time ago. The genocide of indigenous peoples is current and ongoing.
      Many indigenous people are understandably upset and frustrated by the seemingly pointless participation in this by people who CLAIM to admire and respect Natives.
      I personally try to use NVC (nonviolent communication) whenever possible but I do understand the anger that others are speaking from.
      Despite the irritation you may feel when confronted by an indigenous person’ s anger and frustration in online verbal exchanges, if you think about how you would feel if everyone in your extended family and nation had problems day to day that are directly traceable to colonization and an ongoing process of planned extermination that the Nazi’s actually envied and tried to emulate-perhaps it would be easier for you to understand and relate to our anger even if someone expresses it in ways that irritate you.
      Maybe not:-/ but it’s an idea;-)
      Blessings,
      ohnwentsya

      • Missikech Kechqua. Don’t let this name fool you. This guy is part white, mixed with east coast nations. This guy is an good example of assimulation of native/part native peoples into modern American Culture. I think this is what your refer to as “Genocide”. This happened long before this guy was born.

        I feel only sadness when Missikech Kechqua rants and gets paranoid. Not irritation. I think we can do better as an People.

      • Assimilation is part of genocide and it is a depressing thing to deal with. I personally believe that everyone even those who like the French and English were originally colonized in Roman times, needs to decolonize our minds and lives. The genocide of indigenous peoples in the Americas includes still ongoing assimilation and destruction of our languages, cultures and history. But it also includes violence and appropriation of both cultural things and physical thing like our land base being destroyed by tar sands mining, uranium mining, pipelines, or other pollution and encroachment.
        I don’t know Missikech Kechqua personally but I also don’t believe that blood quantum has much to do with anything except the active and current genocide by defining us on paper by the colonized standard. Many nations in the east especially have quite a bit of European ancestry now simply because of long term proximity. People don’t fall in love because they look alike or usually produce children to consciously create more of a certain “race”. A person may be sincerely angry about appropriation of culture even if they are not Native at all. I accept the possibility that sone commenters may be speaking for other reasons, whether valid or spurious, I cannot know. I treat everyone with the same respect I hope to receive. I have personal friends who post very similarly angry comments on other forums in regard to appropriation and the new age in general-and I know they are activists 100% of the time. I get a lot of mocking for my faith that the new age has more sincere people who want to make the world better than self absorbed privileged people who simply want to escape reality. Not only from Native friends and family but also from environmentalist and other activist friends. I can’t know for sure why anyone does something but I prefer to see the best in others as that may encourage it-and it just feels better than being cynical;-)

      • Ps. I agree that reasonable and polite discourse is more effective and preferable to ranting and anger. I just accept that some people are too angry to get there yet. I can’t judge them just like I try not to judge those who mis-appropriate Native cultures. I feel that everyone is probably doing the best they can in each moment. As they learn and grow they will surely do better.

      • Being a Bully on the internet does not have much to do with the Topic in question. It mostly has to do with anger and Control. Thus it is more of a personal psychological issue than a cultural one.

        There will always be salesmen, whether they are at a Flagstaff used car lot or on a New Age web site. I can chose not to buy from them. They have nothing to do with what we as a people have to face in a modern world, or the degradation of our culture and our Spiritual practice.

      • I have not observed anyone being a bully-only someone speaking out against cultural appropriation with a good bit of frustration, anger and disgust. That certainly can be unpleasant but I’m not sure I would call it bullying.
        Cultural appropriation is a form of racist bullying in itself. The plastic shamans and their clueless customers are all part if a much larger long term problem. It’s not us who have to worry about falling for the salesman who have stolen our reputation and culture in order to make money lying about us.
        Why would anyone who knows the reality pay for idiocy?
        It is the debasement and demeaning of our nations, of us as human beings that is the problem.
        Much like trying to explain “white privilege” to people who believe themselves to be white, calling the bullshit of fake religious beliefs based on theft and lies may be called bullying because the fakes are upset about being told the truth bluntly but simply pointing out uncomfortable truths is not in itself bullying.

        Much like pointing out a rapist in public is not bullying the rapist-just giving others important information even though the rapist will surely be upset by such comments.

        I don’t like knowing that the most stolen from and parodied people the Lakota, also have one of tge highest youth suicide rates of any nation anywhere on Earth. How much harder is it to feel self respect in poverty, with alcoholic family members, with unemployment, with a hundred other daily difficulties and also having to face your ancestral culture and traditional beliefs being parodied by uncaring privileged rich white people who don’t even acknowledge your humanity? Much like the controversy over sports teams names, ndns can and do disagree on the impact and importance of cultural appropriation but the Lakota went to the trouble of actually declaring war on the plastic shamans and their supporters. So that made me feel that it is worth speaking out about.
        No one NEEDS to steal from and disrespect anyone else’s traditional beliefs in order to experience spiritual growth.
        I would argue that it is in fact impossible to do so. If you grew up around ndn women and you aren’t used to a good chewing out every now and then I’m dying to meet your people; -)
        It is surely preferable to ‘ve the change we wish to see but sometimes people don’t wake up to their own stupid or cruelty until someone does get all drill sergeant on them.
        I know from the insanity I’ve faced while being ridiculously polite that it’s near impossible to convey simple information about racist behavior to the people engaged in it without huge scenes and whining about how you are being so mean to them. It is hard to really blame the folks who just can’t tolerate that.
        As the hackers say tho YMMV (your mileage may vary). My brother is a big FL Seminoles fan-people do have different perspectives and that’s ok.
        I just have always tried to change things like this so I personally have more sympathy for the pissed off ndns than the people who don’t do their due diligence when buying into something-and of course if someone is giving hell to the actual creeps who are selling the nonsense I don’t just have sympathy for them, I want a front row seat to cheer them on because those people are screwing everyone over.;-)

      • Common Internet Bullying is non topic related, and is a personal Psychological issue. A Bully Name calls and accuses his selected prey. He makes it a Personal issue by belittling his prey. Bullying has nothing to do with ANY Topic what so ever. It has every thing to do with the state of mind of the one doing the bullying. It is all about manipulation, anger, paranoia, and control.

        I have to laugh at the fear of those New Age people. Those Plastic “Shamans” are just sales people, nothing more nothing less. Hollywood is at fault for that “Misappropriation” you speak of. The New Age picked up on that concept of Native Americans. No one can steal a Spiritual Way from any one. They say they stole our Sweat Lodge. I look out my window, and my Lodge is still there, and so is the horse and the sheep LOL.

      • Appropriation isn’t a problem of taking something away but of distortion and dilution, of wearing away the truth by creating a thousand alternative lies. It is harmful as an aspect of tge overall process of breaking down a culture and destroying a people’s language, culture and history by imposing outside interpretation, outside language, culture etc thus weakening the targeted people.
        The sweat lodge co-optation has arguably caused more harm to the uninformed new agers who pay for the chance to die of heart attacks, heat stroke etc with clueless jerks looking to make a fast buck om their desire to buy the stairway to heaven.
        I know in the great scheme of things cultural co-optation is well below things like the tar sands, James Bay, that mile long pile of uranium tailings on the Navajo reservation and many other direct physical threats but it is a factor in the strategy of colonization and it is harmful.
        I don’t like bullying, but at the same time I know a lot of Native people who are just sick of having to politely educate endless supply of clueless white folks who argue endlessly about their entitlement. I get the frustration and i understand the sharp tone I often see. I have no idea of Missikech Kechqua’s personality or goals-i only saw the two comments here which were not bullying at all, but pretty ordinary.
        I knew white guys in college-hackers who would go.online and create personae just to start crap and aggravate people for fun. They would pick any “side” of any issue and just stir up trouble for fun. That is pointless and infantile. But I’m not motivated to accuse anyone of anything unless I see some evidence of it.
        I feel that providing information respectfully will do.more to.undermine the plastic shamans and colonizers in general so that’s what I aim for.
        If I had a troll or bully commenting here I would delete those comments but so far everyone who comments seems capable of sharing their perspective and moving on without a lot of drama for which I am grateful.
        Most new angers are just completely unaware of colonization, co-optation, Native cultures and history in general. It is a movement heavily influenced by a desire for feeling good over substance but it also has a lot of good people who are simply seeking a better way, greater awareness and a “world that works for everyone”.
        I doubt any who follow any of the plastic shamans and other nonsense purveyors are in any danger from internet bullies whether ndn or not simply because the culture of the mainstream new age is terribly self absorbed and reinforcing of it’s own do what feels good meme. Ie they quite easily denigrate and shut out any contrary voices-often with quite plentiful nastiness and vitriol of their own which utterly belies the sweetness and light image that is being attempted:-)
        I pray for everyone and endeavor not to judge too much though you can see from my wording that I’m not always successful!

      • Missikech Kechqua Has raided many YouTube videos attacking the maker and other who post on them, with personal belittling comments. He has been blocked from various spiritual forums for nastiness. Of course he blames them, saying they block real “NDN” from commenting in them. He has hurt many real Native people, including pipe carriers, with insulting personal comments. Just because their user name sounds “New Age”.

        As I said before those plastic shamans are just sales people and nothing more. Sales people sell many things, from used cars to religion. It is all about money.

        Actually, I would like to see more “Feel Good” around the internet. I do not understand all this opposition to this. I do not see feeling good as being self absorbed. I do approve of feeling good about oneself, however.

        Being on the Navajo Reservation I know all about Peabody Coal, Black Mesa, and the mines, and the pollution, and the damage they done. These mines are not run by the New Age Movement.

        “Appropriation isn’t a problem of taking something away but of distortion and dilution, of wearing away the truth by creating a thousand alternative lies. It is harmful as an aspect of tge overall process of breaking down a culture and destroying a people’s language, culture and history by imposing outside interpretation, outside language, culture etc thus weakening the targeted people.”

        It is not the above that is causing this. It is us that is doing this. By not teaching our children out language and way. Child neglect is making this happen..” overall process of breaking down a culture and destroying a people’s language, culture and history by imposing outside interpretation, outside language, culture etc thus weakening the targeted people.”….Children will learn outside interpretations, when not taught by their parents and elders. No one is be “Targeted”. We are doing this to our self’s.

      • I see your points. It is true that we should be doing more of those things, absolutely. But at the same time the intergenerational effects of genocide mean that too many Native people are starting from a place personally/situational often whole communities where those things have become luxuries. Just recovering from their own psychological and emotional problems including the resulting addictions can be all consuming. And that doesn’t even include the problems of poverty and racism that make basic survival dodgy. I know this same intergenerational trauma is obviously present in some late colonized “white” people like the Irish.
        Poor people no matter what ethnicity are predominantly overwhelmed by their day to day struggles. Preserving and teaching ancestral languages, cultures and community can be and has been done even by Native groups in extreme poverty. Even groups of urban ndns without the built in community of being on a reservation have done amazing things like the people in Michigan in the 70’s. It is possible and it is wonderful and positive when it happens but I don’t think it is reasonable or rational to expect everyone to be capable right now already to overcome every disadvantage to achieve that kind of thing.
        That’s what we are aiming for but I don’t see blaming the victim of a crime for the resulting problems as valid.
        I’ve rarely encountered people online in new age groups who were genuine indigenous members of an indigenous community and who were *really* pipe carriers or any other genuine traditional community based responsible position. I have encountered cubic boatloads of clueless white folks who believe someone can sell them such a position through weekend seminars and such.
        In my experience personally I have also never encountered a Native elder who gave one minutes concern to what any idiot online said to them whether that annoyance was black, white, Native or Chinese.
        The guys from AIM in Texas are nearly all elders and if someone tries bullying them its truly humorous to watch the result. That’s been true of every single Native person I know personally online.
        Maybe I’ve just been blessed with singularly outstanding friends:-).
        I don’t find anything wrong with feeling good unless it is at someone else’s expense.

        If the Lakota were willing to declare war on the plastic shamans and those who support them it seems to me it is a real problem.

        People who genuinely want to be involved in real spiritual growth are very interested to discover that the co-optation is a) not real ndn spiritual teachings and b) that many Native people find it offensive and problematic. New age ideals can be genuine and those are coming at it from that genuine perspective are nearly always interested in doing things in ways that help everyone instead of harm.

        If everyone who is into “Native American spirituality” online was genuinely interested in Native people and actually got involved directly in creating a better world for all, we would ALL benefit because the real spiritual values are beneficial for everyone no matter what ethnicity or “race”. Because the way I was raised spirituality cannot be separated from life-from supporting your community, helping others, caring for your environment and other living beings.

        Just wanting to “feel good” and not caring about others suffering is imho NOT spiritual no matter who you are or where your ancestors lived.

        Obviously being a generalized jerk online or in person is certainly not spiritual either. But when Missikech Kechqua communicated with me here she or he was not bothersome at all. Expressing his/her opinion on self absorbed blindly racist people is not inherently bullying them. It’s called “calling bullshit”.

        People are free to shop for religious beliefs online and try to buy the stairway to heaven but they are not free to be jerks and not be called on it.

        The mines and the new age movement are not directly related. I never said they were. They are both obvious symptoms of the ongoing genocide that is attempting to erase our nations.
        As I’m sure you are aware living there the colonized and greedy are well represented among our peoples just as any others and they are often the keys to allowing such nightmare scenarios as the uranium mining, tar sands etc to proceed. Colonized tribal governments from all areas work with the corporations against the traditionalists blockading roads and protesting.

        Living where you do you also have direct experience of precisely why our cultures are in many ways superior to the colonized worldview and why the colonizers cannot allow us to simply live but insist on using every tool to destroy our ways of life.

        America has more prisoners per capita than any other nation on Earth-even more than China. Imagine if circle justice as a meme escaped into their society and became the dominant paradigm for addressing crime.

        Taking personal responsibility is great for everyone to do-i certainly don’t mean to imply that Natives don’t need to or aren’t capable of doing so. My point is that you can’t ignore the weapons your enemies deploy against you.

        No matter how responsible we may be, it doesn’t change the plain fact that colonization is a war, and for the last 500 years or so, it’s a war we’ve been losing.

        Activists who challenge white privilege and entitlement are on the forefront of Decolonization and imho of turning the tide in our favor.

        It simply is not ok to demean, diminish, co-opt, and dismiss people just because you were raised to believe everything that exists is for you, that you are entitled to take whatever you want, do whatever you want and screw everyone else.

        Salespeople are not entitled to steal, copy, co-opt and bastardize other people’s ideas, cultures, religions and worldview just to make a buck.

        If they tried masquerading as Catholic priests, Muslim Imams, or Jewish Rabbis they could be arrested and prosecuted.

        Getting a ration of crap from some random guy on the internet is hardly tragic. I’ve been harassed, insulted etc thousands of times online and I’m a huge softie who takes everyone far more seriously than I should ( because I’m autistic and it takes me a while to realize the person is not to be taken seriously). And I survived.
        I think it’s better to communicate reasonably and work to bring people together obviously. But I also respect those who are fed up and cranky primarily because I really can grok their point.

      • Once again, I remind you, Bullying is not topic related, but rather reflects the Psychology of the person doing the bullying. Bullying does hurt other people, especially children. Thus I strongly oppose bullying for any reason.

        Catholic priests, Muslim Imams, or Jewish Rabbis, are sales people in of them self’s. Sales people are sale people, regardless of what they are trying to sell. Religion is all about social order and control, and of course money. It has nothing to do with the Universe and all its powers. There is no Navajo word for “Religion”.

        It is easier to like and care for others if you like and care for yourself first. So I have no problem with being “Self Absorbed”. People who hate them self’s usually hate others. Murder and suicide go together perfectly, as seen in the Washington school shooting. I suspect that kid was Native. If that student liked him self first, he would of cared for his relations, rather than shooting them. He would have been able to walk in honor for his people.

        We need to declare war on child neglect and abuse first. Not those New Age salesmen. Child neglect and abuse is our real enemy. I think we are barking up the wrong tree if we war on those sales people. Best way to fight them, is just not to buy their product.

        As far as prisons and jails go, punishment never solved problems and never will.

        More and more people on this Reservation now access the internet and forums, because of spread and use of hand held devices that access it. Thus there are real pipe carriers that post on the internet. Some I see personally, and trade horses with.

        The coming of the white man 500ys ago changed or ways forever. What it really boils down to, is how we raise our children and how we care for them. The Old Ways are gone forever, however, the Truth of those ways are still with us today, and always will be.

      • I agree with you nearly 100%. I have never liked bullying and always intervened when I have seen it. I looked up Missikech Kechqua and could not find any bullying posts/comments but perhaps they have all been deleted.  

        I think standing up for what is right in the moment is key-that to me means if someone speaks out about something they feel is important,  it’s good to do. If they are unkind it minimizes their success in addressing the problem.

          If they are using a topic to be abusive to others then of course it is good that someone point that out to them. 

        I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive to believe it important to speak out against racism, co-optation and other intangible wrongs and at the same time know that bullying is unacceptable and that tangible direct effect problems are a higher priority. 

        I’m bedridden and isolated from pretty much all community and activism of a real and directly effective form. 

        So I, having been a scholar/academic tend to address things like this that are accessible to me-ie I read some new age blogs so I made a point of sharing information on things that may be useful to those in that group who would care but otherwise be unaware.

         I let people know that if they really want to understand “Native American spirituality” that they need to be involved in Native communities, giving of themselves to make things better whether in activism like helping those blocking the pipelines,  or protesting the pollution that is hurting our children (environmental racism as an aspect of globalization was one of my areas of focus in school) or volunteering with the permaculture projects on the poorer reservations or anything else that has a direct and real impact on those communities that is positive.

        That is how I was raised to understand it; everything is spiritual,  there is no separation and actions are what creates growth and understanding. 

          I do not know what Missikech Kechqua is motivated by, or how he chooses his focus and actions. If he is a bully and not what he appeared to me (like one of my fed up activist friends) then I admire you for calling him on his bullshit because being a random jerk does no good for anyone.  

        I wish I could be more physically active and involved because there is a huge population of indigenous people here in Florida many of whom speak only Mixtec and their children have little to no access to important needs like education and healthcare as the parents also fear contact with officials of any kind since they are “illegal” migrant farm workers.  I had planned to learn Mixtec and create an organization to help with those real world problems, before I became too ill to do so.

        Our conversation has inspired me to spend a lot of time in contemplation of the value of both attitudes and choices we all make and how they affect the real world.  

        I do believe that spreading awareness of these cultural programming issues can help long term to change society and short term to help people who are otherwise unaware to make better choices. 

        I know it’s not as useful as say having a fundraiser to insulate elders houses, or provide treatment for alcoholic parents for instance-but if even half the people spending hundreds of dollars for weekend seminars on “Native American spirituality” with these plastic shamans instead realized they could learn the real truth for free and spent that money on helping disadvantaged children it would matter. It would make a difference. 

        I also think that these issues of misrepresentation and such seem bigger to those of us already removed from our ancestral communities by this process of colonization.  Those like you describe Missikech Kechqua, who are mixed blood, not raised on the reservation or with any real exposure to language, culture etc except whatever fragments remain to our parents and grandparents. Our perspective and experience are quite different.  Trying to decolonize and become “unassimilated” after the fact is not the same as trying to revive what is not yet lost.

        I’m also grateful to you for reminding me that your nation is not only suffering the negative effects of the mining and the “national energy sacrifice area” (reading about that is what redirected my career path from neuroscience to globalization and indigenous studies because I couldn’t face that existing and not doing something about it). 

        Your people have so much more that is positive.  So much that hasn’t been lost, so much good going on alongside the awful. You fixed a big flaw in my awareness by reminding me of that.

         Being a scholar not living in the places we read about or hear about from others it is easy to get stuck on the negative,  on what’s wrong and in being angry at how/why it is wrong. Even though we know it’s useless:-/

          I prefer to focus on what’s right and how to increase it, but the dominant/colonized paradigm pushes the negative focus.  It seems like this one thing is  the biggest sticking point in decolonizing our thinking. 

        Thank you for sharing your perspective and broadening my understanding.  I’m very glad to read that there are more and more real spiritual people coming online.  That alone will make the charlatans obvious to more people.  I apologize if I was rude in saying that-i have encountered a few elders and spiritual teachers online, I’ve just been overwhelmed at times by the fakes and uncaring people. 

        I don’t believe self absorbed and uncaring is at all the same as self love and self respect.  Those who truly love and respect themselves are usually the most compassionate and caring.  

        The self absorbtion I mentioned is more a hallmark of people who are not developing themselves,  who don’t know or love themselves or others.

        Those who use spiritual “highs” just as addicts use drugs and alcohol are all too common in the new age because unlike traditional spiritual teachings it does not require internal discipline of any kind.

        They talk sweetness and light but it only applies to people like them who agree with them. Any difference in perspective or understanding of the world brings out their viciousness just like when you challenge a drunk or an addict about their addiction. (The same is obviously true of many in the traditions you mentioned as also being salesmen-imho every path has truth, and truly spiritual people within it, but religions have most commonly been used as tools of control).

        They lack true self love and compassion for others.  The kindest thing is when someone calls them on their nonsense because only when they become aware of lying to themselves will they start working toward the real growth required to accept and love themselves.

        The same is true of the righteous anger of course-it’s just a different path of unawareness. It’s just easier for me to relate to because it’s the path I walked;-)

        Thank you again for your patience and time!

        Blessings,

        ohnwentsya

  6. Thunder Bow? I doubt this clown is even NDN, much less a person living in North America.(I’m thinking Great Britain) He or she can be found at spiritualforums.com and spiritualinspiration.com, both ultra new age forums.

    • White people posing as ndns to justify cultural piracy and genocide? Who would believe they could stoop so low?:-) I don’t know who anyone posting online really is but I know that our ideas and methods of conveying them stand out for what they are, no matter where we live or what ethnicity we are. If someone is willing to lie about their ethnicity, location, etc in order to convince others , once discovered it undermines their points. In the end though, ndns, like everyone, are individuals with individual ideas and perspectives. Just as the women who speak in support of women oppressing policies do not invalidate the views of those who fight to end such things, neither do Native American “Redskins” fans or new agers invalidate the fact that genocide is a multifaceted long term process that by necessity must include functions of dehumanizing, cultural destruction, co-optation and other methods of “erasing” the cultural and human identity of the people being exterminated.

      Just as centuries of propaganda about Jewish people preceded the Nazi concentration camps, so too do the colonizers attempt to define and control the images of indigenous peoples.

      That such long term, broad societal manipulation is not a direct personal issue for many Native people, as Thunderbow points out here, is obvious and indisputable. That lack of personal engagement is not an argument for accommodating such tactics though. Certainly many of us have many more pressing issues to fight like the Tar sands mining, water quality and other environmental issues, poverty, mental and physical health problems in Native communities etc But we each do what we can where we can. “The war for hearts and minds” is hardly trivial as the colonizers and Empire place enormous stated importance on it in the current “Oil Crusades”. That is one big problem with all war but especially such long term wars as “Empire vs Indigenous”. As individuals and oppressed communities, our resources are often very limited and must be spread across many areas of resistance while the aggressors, having plundered OUR resources often have plenty. By continuing to speak out with integrity, especially if you cultivate respect and empathy for those with whom you disagree, you will achieve your goals irrespective of others opinions of you. We cannot control anyone but ourselves. But if we share information respectfully, those who have good hearts and intentions will very likely use that information to become allies instead of enemies. This war is not between “white people” and Native people alone. It is the colonizers-ie those infected with a spiritual disease that causes violence, destruction and misery- and everyone else. ISIL in the news lately are a fine example of non-white colonizers. Those who enjoy commodifying others cultures, participating in genocide and feel justified in stealing from others are unlikely to change by scolding them. To them *we* just aren’t loving or light filled enough to understand their entitlement.

      • I can only speak for myself. The real problem that threatens us in not new age of others like them. It is how we treat our children, and how we teach them. Missikech Kechqua did not read what I said here, and I need not need to repeat myself any more. Or do I have the need to defend myself from Missikech Kechqua accusations any more.

      • Absolutely! For humanity as a whole as well, not only in Native communities, children are the only hope of a better future. No culture can continue that doesn’t both care for children’s needs and teach them language, culture and values. But for those who have no direct way to contribute in that ( imho, especially those who are still processing so much of their own issues as far as anger, frustration etc maybe are better not passing *that* on). I hope that if Missikech Kechqua is sincere in his concerns he will continue to learn and grow, and make a difference in whatever way he can. I believe that the more people come together and learn about what is real, work together to improve things for all, and understand one another then the world will get better for all. I may be a dreamer but I believe that if good hearted people discovered the terrible conditions so many children face-like the immigrant children fleeing drug violence, or the children exposed to radioactive waste and toxics that make them ill; then it wouldn’t only be Native parents working for their wellbeing, but a broad group from all sectors of society. I agree as you pointed out before that we won’t achieve that by attacking and scolding. It often seems that we only hear/see/understand what we are ready to. If Missikech Kechqua or new agers, or anyone is not ready, it won’t matter what we say, or how much. I found your words inspired much thought for myself. Perhaps over time the same will happen for him.

      • Thank You for your wise words and understanding. I honor you for what you said. With the other here, it is a question of him wanting to open his eyes and see.

  7. Oh yes, Thunder Bow has also been stalking me as well, ever since I began contesting such cultural appropriation on various new age forums. This can be plainly seen here.

    • If Thunderbow is as you say, a Briton posing as Dineh to attempt to invalidate your efforts, then you should celebrate your effectiveness; -). If not, remember that the Spanish could never have conquered Mixtlan without the assistance of many of the tribes that were unwilling subjects of the Aztecs. Obviously, we don’t have to agree or even be especially nice to one another just because we share indigenous ancestry or culture. Sometimes people get annoyed by one another and go out of their way to return the favor. If his statements are factual, then moderating your tone when explaining to new agers why cultural appropriation is an aspect of genocide and therefore unacceptable, would probably resolve your difficulty with him as he appears to feel your approach is abusive. It seems to me from my own experience that more respectful and empathetic communication (as in NVC) is useful for creating positive change. I understand just being angry too-but anger is a feeling to let us know something needs changes. It isn’t necessarily the best tool for creating those changes.

  8. Of course I am not here to engage in flame conflicts with obvious new age stooges, shills and sock puppets who in my opinion are symptoms of a sickness. True I’m of an eastern woodland people and have a small amount of Irish heritage from my father’s side, but he, my mother and siblings are classified as Absentee Shawnee. However I’m not here to ‘out Indian’ anyone either. Like many other American Indians I am disgusted by the new age movement’s appropriation and misrepresentation of the western hemisphere’s indigenous cultures. Like many others I will continue to speak out against such regardless of being deemed a bully, troll or negative trouble maker. To me this is no different than the European colonials and later the Americans referring to us as blood thirsty savages or ignorant godless heathens because we were defending our sense of being. It seems my only folly was questioning/contesting these misrepresentations on internet forums owned and operated by the new age movement such as Spiritual Forums or Spiritual Inspiration where anyone like me will be censored and banned. However there are other venues of communication.

    If Thunder Bow is indeed Navajo, it is sad he is feeding into these new age misrepresentations.

    • Please read what I posted here. My reply to you is what I said here. I said much, so please take your time reading my posts here, before replying to me. Then you will see if I am really feeding into those “misrepresentations”. I came up with solutions to those misrepresentations, not accusations.

      • When people feel attacked it seems they rarely accurately perceive any information being shared. I think Missikech Kechqua will eventually become aware of that in his reaction to you-and then translate that to his attacking new agers. I learned it after much arguing with people fully convinced that plastic shamans were really wise loving teachers. Much like banging my head into concrete walls:-/ I’m so grateful to both of you for commenting here as I have learned so much from the conversation. Seeing you both working toward solutions and a positive future brightens my day. I’m so isolated, it’s easy to become daunted by those determined to maintain the negative status quo. I love being reminded that even though they have money and power to enforce or manipulate the majority into generic conformity; we have so many creative and intelligent people who are not confined by the colonizers rule books for how to overcome them.

    • I think you hit the nail with your noting that you would be banned for speaking out there. Being banned for speaking out was one reason I created this blog. I know there really are many good hearted people who got involved with the new age because it does promise a better future for ALL (that is how it drew my attention as a child in the early 80’s). I accepted the sad fact that some people really are so selfish/self absorbed and unconcerned that giving them information about how they are being tricked and ripped off while helping to further genocide just results in anger, denial and personal attacks.

      Those who DO care, who really are following the stated precepts of a new world age or golden age dawning through our changing ourselves to be better-these people are open to learning. They care that Native children and elders freeze and starve in rotten conditions while these plastic shaman hucksters bilk clueless white folks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for one weekend of lies and nonsense.

      They are excited to learn about ways to become involved in efforts in the real world to improve communities and actually help real living people instead of making us feathered icons of idiocy.

      It seems useless to argue with the unevolved. It is irritating to us, them and bystanders (like Thunderbow) , who may not support the plastic shamans but also see our arguing with people unlikely to change as a waste of energy better spent elsewhere.

      I hope you will continue speaking out. I know,as Thunderbow points out, that we have many more pressing issues. But I feel that rather than worrying about those who like being tricked and believing lies, we may be able to turn enemies into allies by sharing truth with those who simply don’t know any better.
      I’ve been very heartened by the many new agers who have expressed appreciation for my sharing the facts on these issues. And by those who connect the dots that colonization isn’t just destroying us-it’s destroying everything.
      To me you are both “right”. Both of you are embodying wisdom and concern for your people and all indigenous who face the same issues. You and Thunderbow are just looking from different angles/perspectives.
      The new age movement is huge. Lots of new age adherents consider Native people as having”inside info” on how to live, how to be “spiritual” etc.
      The problem imho is not people starting from that premise-i could tell from observing my Mom and her Native friends and then observing mainstream culture that we do:-)
      When people step from that idea into following idiots who claim to be bestowing “Native Spirituality” or worse, special positions of power based on fake made up crap; they are not only creating their own “version” of us, therefore erasing us as people like them and making us into cartoons, they are wasting their energy on a dead end path.
      I believe that if millions of new agers discovered the real spirituality by putting their bodies on the line with the Natives fighting the tar sands, the Keystone XL, Energy East, or the many other environmental racist horrors like the battery plant poisoning Mohawk lands-then we would all really be creating a new, better age. The same goes for anywhere people seem to disagree. Using things like NVC to get past the oppositional and experience one another’s humanity, we can overcome the “divide and conquer” tactic that has worked for the colonizers for about 5 thousand years.

      We don’t really have separate problems-it’s all woven together. When we find ways to get together and solve problems in ways that help us all: that’s the REAL new world age. One based on community, compassion, integrity, respect and love instead of greed and fear.

      Some people will indeed see any attempt to speak your truth when it conflicts with their privilege as Bullying etc. I’m not sure that’s what Thunderbow is doing though. He reminds me more of my own elders who used to constantly remind me that “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”. His focus is on what we can do to help our own people by how we teach our children.

      The wisdom there is very similar to the idea that we can’t change others-we only have the power to change ourselves. But what we do with ourselves makes all the difference in our dealing with others.
      Ie if our children grow up speaking our languages, living and learning our cultures and worldview they will be strong enough that the colonizers attempts to erase us will be laughable to them.
      We could debate about the children in urban areas, not able to experience those things, the parents unable to teach what they don’t know etc but isn’t it better to respect each other’s difference and simply take care of the problems we are each most able to address? It will take all of our perspectives and many more to heal the wounds of colonization and move forward into a better time-a post colonized society.

  9. Yes there are many issues, but hey, the topic of this particular blog appears to me as regarding plastic shamans and the new age movement’s appropriation of native culture. I weighed in and then deemed a bully by someone who is in thick with the new age movement. Perhaps I misunderstood the topic and your opening statement. Perhaps this is a baited pitfall.

    • No, this post is about exactly that. And from my perspective the conversation in these comments has been about *better ways to address the problem* than merely arguing with idiots who feel entitled to co-opt, lie about and profit from these thefts of others cultures. Thunderbow apparently followed you here from some other discussion in which he seems to feel you were bullying people. I replied to that initial comment that speaking up to privilege may be seen as bullying by the privileged but that the anger is surely justified even if our expression of it is uncomfortable. It appears from your replies that you are either skimming or only reading a small fraction of others comments? If you read any or all of my comments it should be obvious that I consider this issue important.
      In considering Thunderbow’s perspective and comments, I came to understand that my family members who think academia rotted my brain are hardly unique or unusual among Native people. Not everyone is going to agree. My point is that Thunderbow addressing this exact issue of cultural co-optation and it’s detrimental effects on our peoples through a focus on educating our children in their language and culture, giving them a strong foundation so such idiocy will not harm them personally is an equally valid perspective. My other point is that I discovered for myself that trying to teach stray dogs to play chess never works. If people are privileged, clueless and obnoxious trying to convey information to them is wasting your time and energy. In my experience and opinion, bringing information and awareness of this issue respectfully to those who are smart and open hearted enough to care may bring us allies instead of enemies thus having a more useful outcome than simply venting our frustration on people who are incapable of understanding anything outside of their programming.
      I never thought you were a bully. You appear to be too emotional to fully absorb or understand information shared-or perhaps you are too single minded in your current quest to find our information relevant.
      The significant thing here is that as far as I can tell all three of us are on the same”side”. We just see things from different angles. That’s *good *. Only colonized robots think exactly alike on everything; -)
      The world is a mirror for everyone. We all see “out there” precisely what we are, what we feel and believe “in here”.
      I believe that colonization is an infection. An epidemic plague that threatens to destroy all life on Earth.
      Because the infected are aware, they target those who present an alternative to living as zombies. They know if people discovered alternatives to their hideous limited worldview, their control structure would collapse.
      That is *precisely* why co-optation of our cultures is NOT harmless. It is a fundamental aspect of genocide because you can’t extirminate human beings-you have to dehumanize them first, or concurrently.

      I personally believe MK-ULTRA and COINTELPRO operatives made sure that the plastic shamans became high profile and well published because imagine if millions of people started demanding tgat the U.S. and Canada actually HONOR their treaty obligations?

      Without this ridiculous sideshow stuff, that is exactly what would have happened. Red Power, Black Power, hippies and the original 1960’s new agers were all coming together in many ways prior to the invented new age that began in the late 1970’s to early 80’s.

      I hope you will keep sharing the truth. Just recognize that it really is a war so the smarter and more effective you can be, the greater impact you can create. Your enemy is not ignorant Joe Spiritfest paying his $500 entry fee to the plastic shamans deathtrap fake “sweatlodge” weekend. It is the highly trained and sophisticated handlers and organizations who created the structures the plastic shamans and Joe Spiritfests are embedded in-thus influencing the larger society.

      • Name calling and personal insults on other members, that got our friend banned. I can post links to prove this if needed. I am in those forums to teach and show the are more to us than what Hollywood shows us as. I do not talk in a harsh paranoid way. I think this a more smarter and effective way to counter these misrepresentations. Making harsh paranoid accusations is not a good way, and never will be.

      • My response to all the copy-paste words and angry non heart Comments:

        Interesting how Missikech Kechqua avoided responding to some of the truths I said here, and deemed them to be irrelivent With Missikech Kechqua, I feel we are dealing a personal psychological issues rather than what effect the New Age Movement has on Indian Nations. That is all I have to say about Missikech Kechqua personally.

        Such words and anger toward another group of people is quite common in Politics and in Wars. In the comments copied-pasted above, accusations of the group of people in question, are no different than the angry words of I.S.I.S in the Middle East. All we need to do is change the word “NDN” to the word Islam, and Chane the word “New Age” to the word America. Then we have an exact copy of the ISIS manifesto.

        The Manifesto is one of feeling down trodden, invaded, and run over by America (The New Age Movement). The ISIS manifesto if full of the exact same accusations that I noted in the above posts copied-pasted above. Missikech Kechqua is using the exact same words and tactics that ISIS is using in their war on the Western World. Cranking on such Paranoid Words over and over in ones head kills the Heart.

        When one kills their Heart with angry paranoid angry words, one can do horrible things to other people with no feeling. It is words that kill the Heart. It is words that can talk us into all kinds of horrible wars. ISIS doing horrible things to innocent people in the Middle East, because the are in the exact same angry process that Missikech Kechqua is into, paranoid accusations and all!

        My Elders taught me to use my Heart! I chosen the Heart over angry paranoid accusations. I chose not to let myself be blinded by angry words and paranoia. There are to much words in our world and not enough Heart! I am not going to go on a paranoid rant about the New Age Movement or any other group of people!

        The worse thing about people who adopt such an angry way, accuse their children in the same exact way, personal insults and all. Child Abuse is rooted in the same kind of Anger. I seen this personally on the Reservation. ISIS and Missikech Kechqua are all about Control.

        A real Warrior is not blinded by words.

      • Wow. Just as I start to think I’ve lost my revolutionary fire you effectively counter what made me doubt. You are both very wise and well spoken. I see there is a path I believe you are advocating to maintain our cultures, resist colonization on ALL levels (including the colonizers duality of aggression, violence, winners and losers).
        It is easy to give in to the very understandable anger about the situation but my Mom always reminds me that The Great Law of Peace was not written by the colonizers but by us.
        I’m aware of how everyone is manipulated by the colonized worldview and system all around us in modern culture toward certain things. Anger-which is necessary but is exploited by colonization toward endless violence and suffering, fear, greed, vanity, guilt.
        Decolonizing is hard work! I’m always reminded of the heroes at Oka who inspired me so much as a young person to devote my life to activism.

        One man at Oka embodied for me the true warrior spirit of our culture. The Canadian military had orders to shoot at waist level in order to be sure to hit women and children. They were constantly attempting to get a Mohawk guard to fire a gun so they could massacre the gathered Mohawk people-men, women and children. Late one night a Canadian soldier attacked a lone armed guard. Daring him to shoot first, threatening to kill him if he did not.

        That warrior said to the agent of lies “I will not give you the excuse to murder my people. I’m here to protect them.You can shoot me if you must, but my gun stays silent.”(not exact quote-just what I recall).

        The courage and wisdom of that man whose name I have never discovered had been a guiding star for me for over two decades.

        I felt bad after reading Missikech Kechqua’s comments because I worried that I have become co-opted or unaware. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how bad the situation, anger must be subject to heart and wisdom-not vice versa.
        If we could win through anger and violence we would have done so centuries ago. It’s a narrow path between co-optation through giving in or simply accepting and allowing any transgression, and co-optation through falling into the colonizers mindset of violence, duality and hate.
        I had not thought of traditionalists and fundamentalists as being the same in possible distortion into violence but your ISIL comparison is very disturbing.
        Anyone can be tricked into such insanity unless we listen to our hearts. No one remembers that the Germans were right about the banks and the manipulation of their economy before WWII. We only recall the Nazi horrors. We only recall their incredible cruelty and aggression-not their ideas or difficulties.

        I tend naturally toward the anger and frustration with colonization displayed in Missikech Kechqua’s comments. But your words here echo almost exactly what my own family have been trying to

      • What’s Up?

    • Please read our comments in full before replying. Name calling and personal insults I call “Bullying” and you do that here and in the other forums. I follow you because you hurt people by doing this. You hurt both Native and non native people with this kind of “bullying”. You do more harm than good.

      • I understand the truth in what you are saying here, and I apologize for allowing the unkind comments to remain but I believe Missikech is not aware of another way to communicate. I may be wrong but he appears to be young enough that awareness of the problems and the power of emotion is too strong a combination for peace or patience. I was there not too long ago, and I am grateful to those who had the patience and fortitude to help me see the boulders I was throwing in my own path. I believe that warrior spirit is needed, and hope that encounters with others like you with different perspectives may help him direct it more effectively. I apologize if my thinking is not as respectful of your feelings as it should be. I definitely do not intend disrespect.

  10. Painting quite a pretty picture now, eh?

    “Please read our comments”

    “our friend” ?

    I came here to comment about new age cultural appropriation and plastic shamans. What was your reason? Oh I know to attack me on the behave of your new age friends.

    “I am in those forums to teach and show the are more to us than what Hollywood shows us as”

    Sure you are.

    I suggest that Ohnwentsya or anyone else reads some of your playing up to those new age fluffies on those forums. I’ve no regrets for anything hurled at those nuagers aside from not being harsh enough.

    • Here are 3 links to some forums I post in:

      Psych Central:

      “Hi, I have been reading your interpretations of other’s dreams. You are so intuitive & truly care. I really admire you & just wanted to say. I love the fact that you have a ‘gift’, but share it unselfishly with others. Thank you. XXX”

      http://forums.psychcentral.com/member.php?u=207817

      Link to your online behavior in “Nuage” forums:

      “Wisa’ka, normally I wouldn’t respond in a thread but you have brought it up, posts have not been deleted to close any one out, they are deleted if they contain nastiness or issues from other forums.”

      You go under the Name “Wisa’ka” in these forums.

      http://www.spiritualinspiration.org/t8594p40-vision-quest

      Link to one of my You Tube videos called “Navajo Thunder”. The photos and videos of the Navajo people shown are by me. I have permission by the dancers and their family to post them on You Tube. Our friend invaded my videos with nasty words again. I had to ban him and remove his nasty comments. For the families were worried about such comments, and I promised to protect them from such comments. Use this video to link to my channel and list of other videos I made:

      Navajo Thunder

      • With videos like “Navajo Thunder” is how I choose to speak for my people, this how I choose to represent my people, this how I protect my people from misrepresentations and cultural genocide. I speak out through the videos I make as well as through online forums, by speaking with my Heart with Kindness.

      • Thank you for doing that! I have always felt that most people would be happy to learn the real truth, to get to know real people rather than caricatures being sold to them for agendas whether financial or political. I did get discouraged for a while by things like Missikech Kechqua mentions in another comment-the clueless, entitled and obnoxious can be overwhelmingly hard to take. But I’ve come to realize that no one chooses to change because of someone upsetting or aggravating them. People move toward things that feel good, and away from those that are painful. I learned that my venting my frustration was hampering my real objective of improving the situation.

    • Missikech Kechqua is well into his 60s. I know his comments seems to show someone much younger and more immature

  11. “Ya’at’eeh, I an a Navajo Indian and I too, have the Sacred Path Cards, and even used Tarot Cards. I have used then to do readings on the Reservation.

    None of these tools I would call Native American, even though they use native theme images and interpretations. But they are valid when used to understand one self and examine problems from different points of view. I call them “Psychological Flash Cards”.

    Before Columbus, spirituality within the tribes were rich and varied, and there was no one definition of “Native American Spirituality”. So in modern times be careful, many will mislead you.

    You can PM me with you want work with me and your readings.”

    http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=74040

    Yes you are teaching them we are not Hollywood NDNs alright. Quick, TB go back and delete.

  12. As an experiment I joined a couple of these new age internet forums awhile back. Each had “Native American Spirituality” sections where I read some rather bizarre posts. Many were about being “Native American” in past lives or the most strange was a new ager from Norway going by the name of ‘White Warrior’ claiming to been adopted into the Cherokee tribe by the Cherokee elders he often channeled. Another, a young lady from Britain went on about a handsome “Native American” man in a feathered headdress that would boink her while she dreamed at night. These people weren’t interested in American Indians as a real people, it’s like they envision in a fantastic reinvented way. They could care less about our issues or true history, or even real documented ceremonies such as Green Corn and Bread dances, or the Mandan Okipa, or the Muskogee Busk. They rather focus upon what I call – The Pretty. Medicine wheels, dream catchers, vision quests, smudging, sweat lodges and lots of flowery imagery(art) of “Native American” people all colorfully attired in weird renditions of plains people, but many having distinct European features. War bonnets, heavily beaded and fringed clothing complete with painted tipis as well as ponies. Rather pan-Indian, but more of a stereotypical type. Wolves, lots of wolves, often in threes with a full moon backdrop. Wolves as companions, pets and even under the sleeping robes with native women. I’ve a few theories regarding this abundant wolf symbolism.

    One thing is for certain, when an indigenous person questions these bizarre notions and fantastic depictions, he or she will swiftly fall under the scrutiny of both new age administrators and moderators. American Indians will be referred as negative, angry or trouble makers. I even had some new age white woman from Britain attempt to tell me how to be a “Native American” I had another Brit hurl scorn upon me because I hunt. I have to wonder what he thought those pretty painted tipis were made of as well as all that colorfully beaded fringed clothing.

    In my opinion the new agers who call themselves ‘seekers’ are not only ignorant of our many diverse cultures, but are delusional and lacking spiritually are gullible as well. Their administrators and moderators? I suspect more sinister aspects which can be attribute to ego, control and greed. All the earmarks of cult leaders.

    All in all it is disrespectful as well as making a mockery out of our beliefs and practices. I won’t play up to them.

    • Wow. You’ve encountered even more of the fruit loop squad than I have-though to be fair I’ve seen much of exactly the same idiocy, I just tend to faint when exposed to too much stupid at one time. Luckily for me, I discovered a whole other aspect of this subculture or I would never have imagined the positive outcomes I mentioned above. Imho purposeful stupid/entrenched privilege and entitled self absorbtion are about the same no matter the details of the expression. Here in the South it can run the gamut from the super pale white dudes from “the men’s movement” walking around in public in leather pants with fringed and beaded loin cloths over top, no shirts and some weird bead/bone chest thing I’ve only ever seen on white people tho I think it’s based on something old from the Plains people. This is really jaw droppingly awful except when two of them walk into a dive bar full of ndn bikers (lol;-) then it’s seriously humorous.
      To new age store owner with a shop full of Native icon crap who refused to let 3 ndn college students use her telephone when we got a flat tire in her parking lot.

      It is ridiculous. Absolutely. But I have hope for the people who are not so utterly entitled as to see other people and cultures as mere stage props for their personal movie.

      I have also had those who told me I was too mean (for bringing up cultural appropriation as part of genocide) to be a real ndn-just not loving enough.

      But for every few extra large toddlers like those there are usually twice as many people who are genuinely interested in a better world for all. Those people may start out with the stereotype view they see in books like “Silver Ravenwolf” and other fakery-but they are open to learning and generally embarrassed to have fallen for the nonsense.

      The delusional and gullible aspects are huge-and much encouraged by the hidden political pushers (ala MK-ULTRA and whatever it’s successor is called) insane investment schemes, fake spiritual schools, calls to violent overthrow of America’s government-it’s a grab bag of wack for sure but it’s a gauntlet laid out to prevent those seekers from discovering the truth outside of the colonized “Matrix”. Those who successfully sort through the junk heap of absurdity often have a great deal of personal growth just from going through it (including the ever so helpful asshats such as you have encountered).

      It is disrespectful not only to Native peoples but to Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and just about anything else that can be assaulted. Fortunately, for all the viciousness and truly bizarre stuff, there are plenty of others who are genuinely sharing real spiritual perspectives. For every group co-opted or maligned (we get to be cartoons, poor Catholics and Jews are made into whipping boys for every absurd conspiracy including baby raping and eating! ) but there are some of us (Ndns, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, witches etc) from each group around speaking our truth so those who truly are seeking it, can find it too.

      I try to use NVC (nonviolent communication) and similar techniques to communicate across boundaries but if people are completely obtuse and entitled, it can be impossible. I choose to just ignore those and avoid the aggravation but I can understand other responses.

  13. Thank You for posting that. You copy-pasted my post correctly, and I will not delete it for for that is how I post in that thread. I do use Tarot Cards and other decks in my work here on the Rez. Yes they aid me, help me see what I did not think of before. I suggest you try using Tarot Cards. Your posts would be much more thoughtful. Many have asked me for Tarot Reading here on the Rez. When I was working at the Grand Canyon, people would drive up from the Rez for a Tarot Reading by me.

    Do you actually believe what you posted above? Is that how you justify your Bullying and Hurting others with nasty personal insults? Below is a link to just one of your insults, and the moderators response:

    “Wisa’ka, normally I wouldn’t respond in a thread but you have brought it up, posts have not been deleted to close any one out, they are deleted if they contain nastiness or issues from other forums.”

    http://www.spiritualinspiration.org/t8594p40-vision-quest
    Link to the full conversation.

    Our friend goes under the name “Wisa’ka” in these forums.

  14. Interesting, one should start a topic regarding mosquitoes so as to discuss butterflies.

    As previously mentioned, the new age shills, sock puppets and stooges are symptoms of a sickness. That also applies to natives who tap dance in their moccasins serving as advertisement attractions for those exploiting American Indians.

    I have to ponder if one should feel a sense of accomplishment when he or she is hunted across the cyber universe by new age goons. Apparently nerves have been plucked. Good.

    I have to wonder if there’s time for anyone to even touch upon issues such as unsanitary living conditions, low life expectancy, lack of proper nutrition, disease, human rights, education, treaties being honored, alcoholism, domestic violence, rape, murder, corrupt tribal governments as well as Jim(NO INDIANS OR DOGS ALLOWED)Crow when there is tarot card readings to give, spirit animals to be issued over the internet and imparting important information regarding how “Native Americans” are not the same people depicted in Hollywood movies. Then I can imagine how some regard such important American Indian issues like the Diné being beset by Senator John McCain and Peabody Western Coal Company as ants invading an extremely happy new age picnic fraught with positive energy, dream catchers as well as mystical tales of being “Native American” in a past life.

    It’s all but beneath me to even regard these new age frauds and plastic medicine people as individual human beings with names as well as good souls.

    Single minded?

    Oh indeed I am when it comes to my interactions with the new age movement, especially when they are exploiting indigenous people along with what is suspected as a renewed attempt at cultural genocide. I’m sticking to my guns so to speak. No apologies or consideration of compromise. I’m strictly on the offensive when it comes to new age goons, grifters, moles and toads. Until such exploitation and mocking disrespect ceases there can be no peaceful middle ground or midstream sandbar on which to meet in a good way.

    Although there are assumptions held by oppressors and exploiters that those indigenous people not serving their interests will either die off, move on, be absorbed by an invasive mainstream society, or else endure our plight in stoic silence, we still remain affirming our ancient cultures and traditions as well as speaking out against injustices. So yeah, call us bullies, trouble makers, negative or whatever else can be hissed. We have endured your greed, your diseases, your anger, your bullets, your religions, your bullets, your prisoner of war camps, your genocidal leaders, your disrespect and your names.

    More victories have been attained in councils lodges around good fires. All battles are not fought naturally in the waking world. Rather effective spirits of the hunt and of war assist us without our having to channel them.

    • I feel that Thunderbow will not agree, but I feel that we still need both types of action, attitude and energy. I believe we can do both-ie address all those issues, stand up for our peoples and against all that’s been thrown at us with either or both perspectives.

      We obviously need warriors in so many ways most noticeably in the ongoing battles for land rights. The corporations and their military stooges are not susceptible to our loving vibes, I strongly suspect. But these battles are necessarily short term. If we don’t win the entire human race is very likely to be extinct before the long term begins.

      But while we must resist, fight back, overcome on so many fronts; we also need allies, we need more people, energy, resources etc to make things better.
      And that is where the slow, patient path of love, compassion and forgiveness is of essential importance. I believe people are seeking “Native Wisdom” because we were given the task of maintaining the “original instructions” and the other people know in their bones to seek them through Native people. The colonizers seek to distract, divide, disrupt and destroy-that’s what colonization does anyway but especially when it’s existence is threatened.
      So of course anything useful is surrounded by nonsense. It’s not accidental. But it’s not all there is either.
      I respect your path and am grateful to you and all warriors who stand up for those who cannot. I think you will eventually discover your own piece of this parallel path-the two are not exclusive. I know and love many fierce activists before whom the privileged entitled and stupid cower and basically flee. But perhaps because many of them are also mothers, I have seen another side. They were the ones who taught me to see that I can choose when fierceness or kindness is needed. We must have both because to become endlessly fierce and angry is to be eaten up by the colonizers disease.
      As far as the new age is concerned, there are plenty of us trying to share and teach without judging (as much as possible-I’m a poor example because of my latent allergy to stupid;-)
      Do you listen to Blackfire? Your comment here reminded me of one of their songs. Maybe of their whole album called One Nation Under. I’m sorry that the difference in perspective seems to be dividing you two because to me you both seem to be on parallel paths toward the same objectives. I hope you will both consider that the other person’ s perspective doesn’t have to fit you, or reflect on you. We don’t have to be the same-and that is another lesson the new agers who encountered you both may learn. Ndns are people just like them;-) We aren’t cuddly wolves or cartoons. We have different opinions and ideas. Sometimes we judge one another even though we know it isn’t necessary.

      That is precisely what made our Nations so much better than the colonizers Walmart, McDonald’s and Exxon on every block world. We were different and that was normal. We traded, made agreements on shared resources but we didn’t force everyone to be like us. Even in Empires-tribute was paid but cultures didn’t get erased.

  15. I think you are a new age fraud who has had both ego trounced upon as well as a nerve or two plucked. That thought will trouble you. Your game is fading like obscuring fog being burned away by the sunrise of a new day. You are withering in a pathetic attempt at damage control. Where are your new age friends now? Where is their censorship of the truth and their banning of accounts?

    Run along now ere I whittle you down to a nub.

    • It is not necessary to tear one another down. Obviously you each see the others conduct as unhelpful but surely we all have more than enough enemies and struggles without allowing the colonizers to pit us against each other to save them the work?
      I understand that Thunderbow’s opposition to and judging of you is unpleasant for you-it would bother me too if I were in your place. But I’m not convinced he is any kind of fraud. He conversed just like my husband with words that sleep in your mind til you think enough to understand fully. I have rarely if ever encountered that ability in colonized people.
      As much as it may seem illogical, the idea of being polite and patient even in situations where it may seem counterintuitive-is found in our societies long before colonization. I suppose it’s not my place to say really but I hope you will both consider your disagreement as a misunderstanding, or simply a difference of perspective rather than seeing one another as enemies to be put down. There’s not enough people aware of and fighting these same problems for us to make enemies of our own.

  16. Perhaps someone will find this information useful –

    Our Red Earth Observations On Internet Exploiters
    Of American Indian Spirituality
    Death Among Us:
    Encountering Internet Exploiters Of American Indian Spirituality

    THE EXCUSE
    One will find that the “new age” exploitation of American Indian spirituality is typically justified by being upheld as “freedom of religion” and especially upheld as “freedom of religious expression” when openly taught. Any attempt, whether benevolent or otherwise, to explain that what is being taught is indeed inaccurate and potentially harmful will be furiously denounced as an attempt to deny the same.

    THE DISSEMINATION OF DEATH: TEACHINGS
    A typical “new age” collective does not usually openly declare that anything whatsoever is being “taught.” This is to ensure a surface appearance of benevolence. If nothing is being “taught,” nothing is being “exploited,” is the reasoning one often finds within these communities. Additionally, this professed lack of teaching decreases the likelihood of someone quizzing and potentially exposing the community leader as a charlatan.

    Instead, “new age” community leaders instruct/mislead their followers by calling the dissemination of their inaccuracies “sharing.” They typically disguise the purpose of their community by describing it as a place to “share and discuss” (the leader’s interpretations of) American Indian spirituality.

    “NEW AGE VERSIONS OF AMERICAN INDIAN SPIRITUALITY”
    “New age” communities often call their exploitative versions of American Indian spirituality “shamanism.” Persons who study this “shamanism” are often said to be on the “red road,” “walking the red path,” or “walking the good red road.” The leader of such a community acts as the “shaman” of the group, though he or she will typically deny or profess to abhor the title (more on this later).

    The teachings which the “new age” community collectively refers to as “shamanism” always consist of a random assortment of the myths, beliefs, ceremonies, folk tales, and symbolism of unrelated American Indian/First Nations Tribes. Also incorporated into this “shamanism” are the beliefs of any number of world religions (i.e. Christianity, Buddhism, etc.) as well as non Western Hemisphere First Nations (i.e. African Tribes or Australian Aboriginal beliefs). Thus, a typical “shamanism” community could very well be presenting/marketing a collection of Christian, Buddhist, African Tribal, and American Indian Tribal beliefs to the public as an “authentic Native American path.”

    Exactly how the “new age” communities determine what beliefs should be “borrowed” from other systems of spirituality is not known. Primarily, the personal interpretations and beliefs of the community leader will be followed. Secondary emphasis is placed on the interpretations of whatever “new age” authors are popular in the occult press. The third and final emphasis is placed on the beliefs of the membership itself, probably to foster a sense of community unity and to attempt to convince the members that they are not being mislead, but rather are important contributors to the continuity of the “new age” community itself.

    At any rate, once the collective beliefs are decided upon, they are then combined into “rituals” which are supposed to gain the performer any number of benefits such as material wealth, becoming irresistable to the opposite sex, various (and vague) form of personal “enlightenment,” the ability to see and converse with “spirits,” et cetera.

    In addition to what has been covered thus far, there are several recurring themes in such communities which make them relatively easy to identify:

    1. There is a fascination with spiritual beings which are referred to as “totems,” “totem-animals,” “totem-spirits,” and various other names such as “power-animals.” These “spirits” are based upon animals which are traditionally meaningful to American Indian Tribes (eagle, bear, hawk, etc*.). Much ado is made about the acquisition of such animals, and each person is said to have a specific number of them assigned to his person, the exact amount depending upon which “new age” version of spirituality you are studying, apparently. These animals are said to represent the individuals personal characteristics/traits, such as his personality, etc.
    *Curiously, no one ever seems to claim anything but predatory or graceful (i.e. “deer”) animals as “totems.” One wonders who is remaining silent – surely someone out there has a flea, tick, or a maggot assigned to his person?

    2. Second only to “totems” is the widespread use of a divinatory device erroneously called “medicine cards.” This “new age” oracle takes the form of a deck of cards and must have been conceived after and modeled on the more well known “tarot” cards of popular occultism. There is apparently no set number of cards in a deck of “medicine” cards. They are employed by choosing a certain number of cards (according to instructions which will be supplied with the deck) and interpreting them. They are supposed to provide insight into one’s “self” and “guide” one during times of duress, though “new age” adherents vigorously deny that the meanings of the cards are taken as absolute indicators of fact.

    “Medicine cards” are marked with various artwork including animals, shell gorgets, dreamcatchers, sunwheels, and even the paintings of artist George Catlin. (!) It should be painfully obvious that “medicine” cards are indeed the products of a sad “new age.”

    3. Symbolism. A great deal of fuss is made over certain American Indian symbolism, most notably the popular/commercialized “dreamcatcher” and the “medicine-wheel.” While these symbols are apparently based upon “new age” interpretations of similar American Indian symbols, it remains to be pointed out that their presentation as part of an all-inclusive “Native American path” is – at best – inaccurate.

    The discussion of the “new age” abuse of symbolism is well beyond the scope of this writing. Very roughly, the following can be said of the “new age medicine-wheel”:
    A. It is considered to represent interaction.
    B. It is depicted as a quartered circle.
    C. Each quarter is identified with one of the four cardinal directions.
    D. Each quarter is assigned a color for ritual purposes.
    E. It is roughly analogous to the “Sacred Circle” of the Wiccan religion.
    F. Each quarter is identified with an “element” of the ancient pre-chemistry science known as *alchemy*. These are called earth, air, fire, and water.

    4. There is an all-consuming obsession with ceremonies, particularly “new age” versions of the Pipe Ceremony, Smudging, and “Vision-Quests*,” with a secondary emphasis on acquiring items associated with the ceremonies (i.e. the Pipe itself, smudging bowls, sage, feathers, etc.). Queries will often be seen from those desiring to purchase such items.

    *Curiously, there is never a mention that a “quest” might take a great deal of time and be unsuccessful, nor is there a mention of any sort of fasting.

    5. There is an obsession with books and the writings of new age authors who more often than not are not American Indian at all, and certainly not Elders. One particular book which is much invoked is called *Animal Speak*, by one Ted Andrews. Other works by such characters as Jamie Sams are highly regarded and treated biblically by the typical exploitative community.

    THE PLAYERS
    A “new age” community typically includes a Leader and three divisions, these being Co-Leaders, Participants, and Readers. All of these divisions are guided by the Leader, so with him we shall begin.

    The Leader
    The typical leader of a “new age” community will be male and generally aged 35-50 years, though it has been noted that there are many 19-23 year old full-fledged “shaman” operating on the internet.* Typically the leader is a Caucasian male or a mixed blood Native American who will not make an outright claim of being an Elder or a Teacher, but rather will claim something to the effect of having “studied with” or “studied under” various Elders of different Tribes. Often the claim to have studied “many different traditions” is made, though when pressed it will be found that the leader will not or cannot name the Elders he claims association with.*

    *One wonders how a lifetime of traditional knowledge is gained within less than a quarter of a century with these young “shamen.” (“Shame-On?”)

    *Amazingly, this unwillingness to authenticate himself will always be upheld by the “new age” membership as an example of the leader’s wisdom! His refusal to validate himself is taken to indicate that he will not deign to authenticate himself to “troublemakers” who dare question his mystical authority.

    Additionally, the leader will often be very eloquent and even more so intelligent. He will always be well versed in “new age” topics and other airy theories, being able to draw almost effortlessly upon the teachings of any belief system when interacting to illustrate his point of view. They are always well-read, dangerously authorative figures (thanks primarily to books, one might conjecture).

    Finally, it will be seldom that one encounters the Leader of a “new age” community who does not have an “Indian sounding” screen name. Often these are actual American Indian names which are claimed to have been “bestowed” or “gifted” by “Elders”; at other times they are names apparently chosen to make the Leader appear otherwordly or immensely wise (i.e. “wolf-shaman,” “Grandfather Day Eagle,” etc.).

    The leader of a “new age” community is never challenged by his flock and is acknowledged, usually with little or no fanfare, as the “shaman” of the the group, though (as noted earlier) he will vigorously deny the title if named or asked whether he is indeed a “shaman.” He typically remains aloof, interacting with general observations or settling small quarrels among the membership, in an attempt to present an air of mystery. At all times he will attempt to remain an enigma, never becoming involved in detailed discussions, to further present himself as one who is already a “master” of whatever topic is being discussed in his forum. This aloofness is of course purposeful, as it ensures that he will not be questioned and potentially exposed as a fraud. It will also be found that when the Leader interacts through the written word (i.e. on a message board) he will end his interaction with a unique signature to further portray himself as wise, mysterious, and above all benevolent. “Walk In Balance,” and We Are All Related” are two such phrases often used. The Lakota *Mitakuye Oyasin* or “All My Relations” is another extremely common signature employed by these characters.

    It may also be discovered that the Leader maintains a personal website from which his version of American Indian spirituality is openly espoused. Oftentimes he may be selling course in “shamanism” from his site or other items marketed as “Native American.” Such sites are typically loaded with American Indian themed artwork or other imagery and they are well worth examining in their entirety for reasons which will not be discussed here (legal issues).

    Co-Leaders
    The Co-Leaders of an internet based community of exploiters are well versed in “new age” topics and extremely vocal/outspoken. This, along with their acceptance of the Leader’s authority, is of course what gained them their position. They typically have the same community administrative powers as the Leader, but they will always defer to him unless he is absent. They are fiercely protective of the Leader, and if an outsider attempts to question him, he or she (the outsider) will immediately find themselves in a hostile environment with one or more Co-Leader denouncing him/her as a “troublemaker” (more on “new age” debate tactics later).

    Incidentally, it will often be noted in the case of male Leaders that the Co-Leaders are outspoken females. There seems to be a general trend among these men to surround themselves with cohorts of the opposite sex. It is tempting to address this further, but anything more would be pure conjecture.

    Participants
    Participants are members who are active in the “new age” community. They typically ask the questions, interact with one another on the message boards, and generally keep the community “flowing.” They are usually somewhat versed in and follow a “new age path,” and they often refer to themselves as “seekers” or other like terms.

    The Participants or “seekers” may or may not be aware that they are contributors to exploitation. It is notable that in this group one often finds persons who only recently discovered that they are of American Indian descent, and it is further noted that these persons may indeed be making what they perceive to be an honest attempt at recovering (what they mistakenly believe to be) their Tribe’s sacred Ways.

    Overall, Participants react unpredictably in debates, their actions/reactions apparently depending in part upon the amount of time they have spent under the influence of the Leader. Some will defend the Leader without question, others will maintain an open mind.

    Readers
    These are identical to the Participants except they do not usually interact with the community. Readers may or may not be “new age” adherents. In this group can occasionally be found persons who are already versed in their Tribal beliefs who recognized the community as fraudulent right away, joining primarily just to see what silliness was being presented as being “Native American.”

    DEBATE
    In encountering and asking questions of a “new age” community and its Leader, there are several factors one need be aware of. Let us assume we are speaking of a typical “new age” community which is teaching (or “sharing” or whatever they may say) “an authentic Native American path.”

    1. The Leader will use his administrative powers to remove you ASAP. Fortunately, he will be unable to do this quickly and still maintain the guise of benevolence, so he will typically make some or other vague observation to counter your “negative” observation about his community and then recede into his cultured enigmatic mode. When a false shaman is confronted by someone he knows or fears to be authentic, the typical side-stepping pronouncements will be such things as:

    A. “There are many paths which can be followed.”
    B. “No one way is the right way.”
    C. “No one owns spirituality.”

    Such silly observations obviously have nothing to do with the fact that the Leader is exploiting spirituality and they are of course just further ramblings made for the purpose of attempting to appear kind and benevolent. (Perhaps a good counter here would be to note out loud that doctors do not practice medicine without a license, nor do Catholic Priests teach without certification. Bluntly, one does not just wake up one morning and decide for himself that he is an American Indian Teacher or Elder).

    2. After the Leader assumes his enigmatic mode, the Co-Leaders will engage you in his place. They will make every attempt to make you appear as if you do not know what you are talking about, with primary emphasis on attempting to trick you into conceding that which the leader espoused before vanishing (A-C above). If one explains diligently and persistently that these observations are not relevant to the fact that exploitation is occuring, the debate will turn hostile. Expect the following irrelevant statements/observations to occur with regularity:

    A. You will be denounced as attempting to “impose your views” on others.

    B. You will be denounced as “not an Elder” (for whatever the reason). At any rate, the statement “You are not an Elder so…” will precede much of their interaction.

    C. You will be called “white.” This is commonly used against American Indians, and it is curious that a community which advertises itself as peaceful and racially harmonious will quickly use such racist terminology.

    D. You will be called a “wannabe” (want-to-be) activist.

    E. You will be dismissed as a “cyberwarrior.” This is a term used by some when referring to persons who use the internet to participate in letter drives, etc. It is intended to be an insult, apparently implying that one is “all talk” online and (one would suppose) meek or cowardly in the “real world.”

    F. Expect to be denounced as a “fake,” “wannabe,” or “not a real” member of any and all legitimate cultural groups (your Tribe) or organizations (i.e. activist groups) that you are known to be affiliated or associated with. A statement often made by these expert judges of how American Indians act is “*Real* Indians do not act the way you are acting.”

    G. Expect to be mocked as the “self appointed savior” of whatever topic you are debating.

    H. Further expect to endure various armchair psychological evaluations of your personality and character. Expect such ludicrous observations as “You are full of hate,” “You must lead an unhappy life,” or “You are an angry person.”

    I. Also expect that **any online communities** that you yourself may belong to will be subject to the wrath of the “new agers.” Every attempt will made to identify your ENTIRE community with YOUR actions, thereby making it appear that a massive evil entity has “assaulted” the “peaceful seekers.”

    All of the above are of course irrelevant to any real debate and must be taken for what they are: insults. By employing such tactics, the “new age” community attempts to make one appear to be a disruptive influence with no real honorable intentions whatsoever. Additionally, if they are successful at provoking a hostile response, they will instantly appear at first glance to be a peaceful group of “seekers” who have been “attacked” for their beliefs. Again, note how the topic of the debate – exploitation – has been avoided entirely.

    Another notable “new age” (not just “new age,” perhaps) tendency is to refer to any debate that goes contrary to their own opinions as being “attacked.” (?) “I was attacked for my views,” is a commonly read phrase. This is especially true if a “new age” adherent in unable to convert one to his flawed beliefs or at least gain the concession that his “way” is “also right.” One wonders how such an “attack” is accomplished through a monitor; surely it is a tactic worth learning.

    Another tactic is to claim to be or have been “intimidated” in a debate. This is of course ludicrous, and both “intimidation” and “attacked” are nothing but tactics used to attempt to cast the legitimate individual into a position where they will be unconditionally accepted by all as persons who are racist, intolerant, bullies*, etc.
    *Incidentally, “bully” is also often applied to persons who speak out against exploitation.

    Finally, it remains to be noted that there *are” “new agers” and others who are genuinely interested in American Indian topics and who believe that what they are doing is valid. It is not unthinkable that such a person could become shocked or angry when confronted by someone who denounces his “path” as fraudulent. Perhaps this person has a stereotypical view of American Indians. Perhaps he ascribes to the “noble savage” or the “medicine-teacher” notion of First Nations People. If so, perhaps he or she really does believe, when confronted by an individual none too happy with ongoing exploitation, that he is witnessing racism, intolerance, etc. Admittedly this is conjecture, but a person who has never heard of such things as monthly commodities or the terrible living conditions of some reservations could very well think that he is being denied something he has a right to, or even believe that he is seeing racism. He must think it a bitter irony that the people he imagined to be so noble and peaceful do not act just like he always imagined they would.

    Of course he will never know the greater irony.

    For us.

    We ARE the children of a People of Peace.

    And war. And hunting. And trading. And everything else that societies consist of. We did it all, laughed and loved. After all, we were nothing more than individual civilizations within the same racial group.

    And we did share freely.

    We shared the land which no one owns with the newcomers.

    The killed us and took it all, because their great God Of Peace told them that they had dominion over the earth and it was their Manifest Destiny to do so.

    So they took it.

    And now their children are so spiritually bankrupt that they want our beliefs, too.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

    The Scare Tactic
    As noted in the beginning, you will notice that any attempt to educate “new agers” about exploitation will be denounced as an “attack” on “their” religious beliefs.

    Be further advised that if/when you begin speaking out against the “new age” norm, you will suddenly find that you are being denounced as “racist.” Does the defense of one’s spirituality, the unwavering demand that it remain unadulterated and taught solely by qualified individuals (Elders), indicate that one is racist? The answer to this if of course a resounding “NO!” Being traditional or perhaps a purist (which may be the best term here) simply means that you are a purist.

    At any rate, be advised that the term “racist” will be employed against you and that the use of this word is a “new age” scare tactic. While “new age” persons may be ignorant of the fact that they are operating in error, they are definitely NOT ignorant of the attitudes prevalent in modern society. They know well that racism (although common) is abhorred and that labeling someone “racist” will immediately and unconditionally attract negative attention to the person so labeled. The vast majority of the public will automatically assume the worst of anyone they heard was a “racist” without taking the time to investigate the accusations for themselves. “New agers” know this, so they can and do use this term against you in the hope that you will “go away.”

    Further Considerations And Rebuttals To The Exploiters

    STATEMENT: “I have the right to any spirituality I choose.”
    FACT: The idea that one has the “right” to “any” spirituality stems from living within a society steeped in Christian doctrine. Christianity is an all accepting, open religion, and so naturally persons who are raised within a society with this mindset will automatically assume that all religions/beliefs are “open” and “accepting” in the same way that Christianity is. This is inaccurate. Tribal religions do not actively seek converts, nor will one find a tipi full of Elders waiting to offer one spiritual advice. In short: we’re a different culture with a different way of doing things – what you *thought* you knew about us is wrong.

    HOWEVER…

    Although it happened only recently for American Indians, it is a fact that in the U.S. you have the legally protected right to BELIEVE anything you choose to believe. No one can make you BELIEVE anything other than what you choose to believe. However, whether or not you believe that you have the “right” to misrepresent YOUR beliefs as an “authentic” American Indian belief system, it remains true that such action is immoral, trivializing, spiritually dangerous, and contributes to genocide.

    STATEMENT: “You are trying to impose your beliefs on me.”
    FACT: When someone speaks out against exploitation, they could care less about you. Your beliefs are irrelevant are personal. When someone acts against exploitation, they are acting against a fraudulent hocus pocus pseudo-religion which is being presented as an “authentic path,” usually by a fatcat fake cybershaman.

    STATEMENT: “No one owns spirituality.”
    FACT: Wrong. Each Tribe owns its own spirituality. It is theirs alone. It was given to them alone…and it doesn’t necessarily “work” for anyone else. In layman’s terms: Try to imagine two groups of people. Now imagine that they are two new automobiles, completely different models. Would you use a repair manual for the first car to repair the second car? NO! The manuals are DIFFERENT. They only work for the car they were written for! Sure, they and the cars may SEEM similar, but they are not.

    Listen and understand.

    STATEMENT: “I am descended from two different Tribes and my Elders told me that….”
    FACT: GREAT!!! If your Elders told you to mix beliefs, that is a PRIVATE affair between you and them and your beliefs now constitute and qualify as a PERSONAL – not a Tribal – belief system.

    Now…did your Elders tell you to run out onto the internet and teach your beliefs to all and sundry?

    Thought not.

    STATEMENT: “I’m Native American at heart. Aren’t we ALL red on the inside?”
    FACT: Well. No. Actually we are several different colors on the inside. Look at your hands on the keyboard: aren’t the oxygen laden veins in your hands blue?

    At any rate, this is common statement and – amazingly – a much argued one. Let us be realistic here. We won’t speak of things like CDIB’s or Tribal enrollment – those are irrelevant. It is still simple. If you are a blood descendant of any of the indigenous People of the Western Hemisphere, then you are American Indian/Native American/First Nations/AK Native, or whatever your People may call themselves. If you are not – you are not. It’s just that simple. It’s DNA and genetics, not your lifestyle and how you “feel”. Period.

    STATEMENT: “But I have always had a strong attraction to American Indian beliefs.”
    FACT: All of mankind once lived and loved within the Tribal unit. All beliefs were probably originally earth oriented, much like American Indian beliefs. If you are not a Native American and you feel a strong attraction to Native American beliefs, most likely you are feeling the desire to reclaim YOUR TRIBE’S unique beliefs. Unfortunately, most of these are unknown today, but still…why not try to seek out, uncover, and re-discover the Ways of YOUR People first?

    At any rate, most persons do not recognize that they are feeling a desire for their own Tribe’s religion, and so they mistakenly identify their “call” as being a “call” to the beliefs of American Indians.

    STATEMENT: “Exploitation is just an excuse for you jerks to have something to complain about.”
    FACT: Exploitation does many things, none beneficial.

    1. It trivializes EVERY American Indian’s beliefs. To see a self proclaimed shaman “teaching” what he says are our ways is the same to us as it would be for a Christian to witness Adolf Hitler preaching Sunday mass. It is not appreciated at all when the sacred is mixed with garbage and promptly posted – or worse, sold – online.
    2. It is spiritually DANGEROUS! We have already shown that the Ways of a Tribe are meant for its members. What will happen to the man or woman who gets caught up in some cybershaman’s lies? Yes, it’s true that he or she may choose to go BACK to his “new age” beliefs…but don’t we all have an obligation to at LEAST TELL him or her that s/he is being misled? And yes, it IS by self-appointment. No one cares about US but US.
    3. It contributes to genocide. Since the advent of wars and armies it has been known that if you destroy a People’s religion, you can dominate them entirely. As long as the beliefs endure, so will the People. In the days of city-states, entire CIVILIZATIONS would just stop – surrender – if an opposing army captured the Idol – which they literally worshipped as their God – of their city. In the New World, Christian missionaries were charged with this duty, which they were sometimes successful at, and sometimes not. All this aside, consider this: if everyone who decides that he is a shaman is allowed to promote his own false version of OUR beliefs, how long will it be – HOW MANY YEARS WILL IT TAKE – before the People don’t know the difference between shamanic garbage and their true Ways?

    It wouldn’t really take that long, would it? Who knows?

    But it *would* eventually happen, and the Ways would be lost. If not vanished, then indistinguishable from the “new age.” In effect they would be gone…and then what? The final solution for the Indian problem?

    “Since the advent of wars and armies it has been known that if you destroy a People’s religion, you can dominate them entirely. As long as the beliefs endure, so will the People.”

    http://www.oocities.org/ourredearth/exploiters.html

    • So many words here, oh so many. Words blind the Heart. We have so many words in our world as it is. It is words like these that lead us in to so many horrible wars! No wonder there are so many wars. Must we feel so persecuted? How much of the above manifesto is just words designed to kill the Heart?

      • I think we have to counter disinformation. I don’t believe I am able to discern how much of this is truly important and how much bitterness and waste. This conversation has shaken my personal feeling of being sure of my own convictions and what they mean. I know what I believe but conveying it, or analyzing something like this are more difficult than I thought!

    • Thank you for sharing this. This is excellent! Most of the discussion groups I have participated in did Not have these Native focused elements except in isolated incidents where one member would bring up or post something from one of those type of forums (which invariably got me into trouble for pointing out the bullshit).

      Many people who are not exploiting Native culture are also exploring syncretic forms of religious and spiritual belief. Interfaith groups can be very positive and helpful to participants and society. But as this details so wonderfully, it’s not a value-free area.

      We are each responsible for our choices. There is no excuse for choosing to exploit or denigrate others. I recognize that traditionalist Christians see all syncretic religious beliefs as evil. It is possible that many other traditionalists also do.

      That is a separate disagreement; which I personally feel is up to each person to choose. Syncretism in general has a very long history and is arguably represented in every extant tradition because all are built on earlier human traditions.

      I think the details in this demonstrate how co-optation and exploitation can be distinguished from non-harmful, natural cultural growth and change.

      I do want to note that there are indigenous nature based and shamanic traditions from Europe which are experiencing a huge revival in the current era. They are not co-optation from other areas but genuine ancient traditions that have survived in fragmentary forms in their traditional lands.

      Unfortunately, there are far too many exploitative hybrids as well. And the same effect of distorted, false and greed based exploitation of those traditions or hybrids using false movie derived nonsense about Native American spirituality is too create disinformation and confusion. This dilutes knowledge and over time results in genuine traditions being completely lost and destroyed.

      Do you mind if I copy this and repost in the reference area or as it’s own post so it will be easier for people to find?

    • The copy-paste of this manifesto and video really dominates this forum. It is long and uses much space, that one has to school though. This seems to be an attempt to dominate and control this forum. Bullies are all about control.

  17. “It is not necessary to tear one another down. Obviously you each see the others conduct as unhelpful but surely we all have more than enough enemies and struggles without allowing the colonizers to pit us against each other to save them the work?”

    Did my opening comments before this person’s arrival mention him or her by name? No. My comments regarded the new age exploitation of American Indians. However all reading can plainly see this person’s opening comments regarding me. I did not originally come here to tear this person as an individual. Of course out of respect for the host, I will counter any attempts by the new age movement along with their friends in a somewhat civil manner, but frankness rides upon both truth and reality. Mosquitoes cannot be turned into butterflies. One feeds off life blood while the other sips sweet nectar. Both fall under the scrutiny of an insect eating swallow.

    “I understand that Thunderbow’s opposition to and judging of you is unpleasant for you-it would bother me too if I were in your place. But I’m not convinced he is any kind of fraud. He conversed just like my husband with words that sleep in your mind til you think enough to understand fully. I have rarely if ever encountered that ability in colonized people.”

    Again my coming here had nothing to do with this person as an individual. This person made a decision
    to utilize this particular venue of conversation as a battleground in the launching of a personal attack. My grandfather who was born in the late 19th century once told me something his grandfather once imparted to him – “Don’t go to war while sick, or with wet gunpowder or a quiver of warped arrows.”

    Personally I am not attempting to convince you as an individual that this person is a fraud, but I am not sick and my powder is dry. In a manner of speaking it is not my way to sit still awaiting one of someone else’s warped arrows to strike me. On the same note you cannot convince me this person isn’t a fraud.

    “As much as it may seem illogical, the idea of being polite and patient even in situations where it may seem counterintuitive-is found in our societies long before colonization. I suppose it’s not my place to say really but I hope you will both consider your disagreement as a misunderstanding, or simply a difference of perspective rather than seeing one another as enemies to be put down. There’s not enough people aware of and fighting these same problems for us to make enemies of our own.”

    My own do not play up to the new age movement’s exploitation of American Indians. Again, I see such as a symptom rather than an individual. Remember I came here to comment about the sickness not any certain individual, but as on a humid summer day while fishing, will swat mosquitoes if they land on me.

    • You make very good points. I’m very glad you have chosen to explain and share information-that is why I created this blog. When I created it I think my views were almost identical to those you have expressed in this discussion. Over years of conversations with people much closer to Thunderbow’s perspective, and after a particularly horrible experience of COINTELPRO tactics while involved in political activism, I have moved toward the idea of NVC. NVC nonviolent communication is a theory and practice of resolving conflict through listening with respect and accepting the humanity of our opponents.

      It has helped to end wars and violent conflicts as well as personal and political conflicts.

      As I am physically quite ill and incapacitated, it seemed like a more reasonable path for me personally to follow.

      As you say don’t go to war when ill-very necessary knowledge!

      I share my perspective and ideas but I try to convey that they are just that, only my perspective and ideas-not any claim to absolute knowledge or fact.

      I perceive much truth and wisdom in your perspective and ideas. You are very effective at conveying them when not arguing personally with Thunderbow’s assertions re bullying.

      I do not claim to know that he is not a fraud or is who he claims etc. Only that to me he seems sincere, because I know Native people who have similar perspectives. It is not impossible for him to be exactly as he claims.

      My brother LOVES the Florida State Seminoles team. The Tomahawk Chop must be endured to keep family harmony-my academic explanations of it’s detrimental effects are unwelcome. But I love my brother. I don’t consider him a bad ndn, apple etc because I know what he’s gone through in life. I know my sister-in-law graduated from the school and they lived there, have connections with the school-and his very obviously Native presence was not greeted with racism but camaraderie and friends.

      I have learned that our love and respect for one another can overcome in ways protest and anger cannot. But I still support, sympathize with and understand protest and anger.

      Life is complex-even before colonization, people are not reducible to equations. Even if the colonizers who seek to control us all believe we are-their generalizations cannot contain us.

    • I forgot to say-i believe that sharing such as I and Thunderbow are attempting can create positive change in the systems we are interacting with. It is not the same kind of change as forcing entitled settlers to recognize their privilege and their complicity or participation in genocide. Absolutely not the same. It is a different kind, a different speed-slow cultural change based on personal interaction and development of relationships, caring and understanding. Imho our kind of work can ONLY be effective if the protest, activists and warriors type is present as well. Otherwise we could be swallowed up; our small circle of change easily erased by the juggernaut of colonized destruction.
      I don’t know if calling people out on forums they create and control for their perspective is effective. But I know that our presence and presentation of the real truth and facts online and in our physical communities is essential to counter the very real organized efforts at disinformation designed to erase our cultures and clear us from the remaining land and coveted resources.

  18. “The copy-paste of this manifesto and video really dominates this forum. It is long and uses much space, that one has to school though. This seems to be an attempt to dominate and control this forum. Bullies are all about control.”

    Is anyone dictating to you what to post here? I’m staying on topic while you are attempting to engage in unproductive argument for whatever reason. Now are you here to discuss the topic at hand or attempt to badger someone?

    • Unproductive?? I am spot on! Also I am spot on when it comes to being on topic here. I am not dictating anything. Now lets talk about CONTROL, for this is what this argument is all about. The control of the Fist Nations, AND Control on the internet and in today’s world. It is all interconnected, you know.

      First, it is true, the New World Native American Holocaust did happen. Millions were persecuted and many were murdered outright. Up to the 1960s Indian children were beaten and even killed in boarding school for speaking their native words. The coming of the 1960s and the associated New Age Movement eased this some what, but not totally. That is why I do not feel persecuted by the New Age Movement. The 1960s and 70s was a time of liberation, not persecution.

      Now lets talk about Persecution, and how it is used to CONTROL all people of any Nation. ISIS uses Religion and feelings of persecution to control their members and get them to do their bidding and fight their war. In their propaganda they hammered home that Islam was persecuted buy the western world. That is what they use to motivate their members, and that is how they recruit new members. Religion and talk of persecution is how they CONTROL their members and get donations.

      When I read your copied manifesto, all kinds of red flags went up in my mind. It stank of Control. By getting me to feel persecuted by the New Age, they can control me and get me to do their bidding. It is just that simple. When I saw this over worded and over done manifesto, I could only think of being controlled. What is the real motive here? Getting me to feel persecuted robs me of my Power. This manifesto is more of a Sales Job than a war on The New Age Movement.

      When I give into feelings of being Persecuted, I lose my power, and my freedom. I become a robot doing someone else bidding. My mind is filled with their words and not words of my own. I feel bad and want revenge. My heart is effectively shut down, and so is my mind. When you come in here shouting new age persecution, how much of this is really an effort by you at controlling an Internet forum? Getting people to feel persecuted is a good way of controlling them. This part of your bullying tactics.

      I think you bought into the Sales Job because you want to feel accepted, and being accepted as being a “Real NDN”. You sure been running around the internet promoting that. On some level I don;t think you feel that your are a real “NDN”, there is some self doubt in you.

      • I think you bring up very important points about the way mind control and manipulation are used to “manage” populations. It is important to act from our own deep awareness not from guilt, shame, fear etc.
        But at the same time, simply sharing information is not necessarily promoting a feeling of persecution. I don’t think or feel that misguided and unaware new agers spending money on fake “Native Spirituality” from con artists and manipulators are persecuting us.
        I think they are victims of the con men, and the larger structures of colonization designed to take away our personal autonomy and agency. They are in effect selling their souls quite cheaply for false comfort thst never lasts. It’s a state of denial not appreciably different from alcoholism or drug addiction.
        Obviously, if you’ve been reading new age forums making g friends and discussing things for a while, you know those are not the most common adherents to new age ideas and philosophy. In some areas they are more prevalent but imho most people are happy to learn about our REAL cultures, and their own.
        Shallow, selfish (ie wounded, dysfunctional) people are everywhere and the new age does attract more than average but even they can grow and learn.
        Ideally we share things like that redearth text and people learn from it, discuss it-pick apart what it means and get into the real meat-why does it matter?

        Who do we want to be? What kind of new world are we trying to build? My question to those who ejected me from groups for refusing to concede that co-optation and lies were “equally valid” religious beliefs was “is it a golden age if justice and fairness are not there for ALL?”. Obviously it cannot be.

        It helps no one to waste time on fluff and nonsense like the plastic shamans are selling. But if they fet past the initial shock and irritation of having beliefs challenged, they can go deeper and discover what is real.

        I’ve always had an internal compass-as (apparently) being raised in traditional culture I imagine you do too. We don’t need it spelled out because the nonsense doesn’t appeal to us.

        I personally try to communicate more gently but in a free society what choice do we have other than to use our freedom of speech to counter lies with truth?

        To me you are both right-it’s a question only of balance and choices. Not going too far either way.

        I agree this issue boils down to control in many ways but not just individuals seeking control by arguing but cultural control which is the core issue of colonization and decolonization.

        Who gets to decide? Ideally we become so strong that their attempts to control us fail consistently.

        But imho Audre Lourde was right and we never will tear down the Master’s house using the Master’s tools.

        Neither aggression, nor manipulation but only integrity and respect-giving and demanding both-will suffice.

        I’m grateful to both of you for having this discussion. If for nothing else than a fine demonstration of what REAL democracy looks like;-)

        After Occupy I lost my romantic idealized view of the Haudenosaunee consensus process. 🙂 it IS better, more fair and more functional than what we have now. But growing up in your average modern Native family nobody is going to believe that fluffy bunny version of our Noble Savage society. I *know* those meetings had to take forever-with plenty of people taking long walks to calm down enough to follow to rules of civility.
        The fact that we are NOT fluffy cuddly always agreeable glitter covered bunnies is exactly why our societal models and worldviews are so valuable and needed by the world today.

        We aren’t agreeable but we designed societies that worked, and allowed huge disagreements to be settled equitably and fairly with justice.
        That’s huge! Way bigger contribution to global recovery from the age of destruction than anything attributed to us by the fakers.

        Thank you for sharing your ideas and wisdom, and for following the path of the heart. It’s harder but so needed.

  19. Is this person addressing problems or still feebly attempting to badger? This person seems to have an obsession. Well, person I’m here to discuss plastic medicine men and that in itself seemed to call your name and invoke wrath. Perhaps this person is not here to discuss the topic at hand – By this person’s first and following comments it is quite apparent.

    Do go on with your badgering, It’s doing you wonders 🙂

    • Who cares if others think we look like Smurfs waving purple dream catchers at the sly. I is US who define who we are. It is our responseability to preserve our way our ways, not the New Agers.

    • You are not interested in “discussing plastic medicine men”. You are only interested in the feelings you have, when you are talking about them. It all about how bad you feel, not about any kind of topic.

  20. American Indians are making headway against new age’s misrepresentation and exploitation of their ancient cultures, beliefs and practices. Everyone from AIM to tribal elders and attorneys have joined in on outing new age exploiters such as Rachel Holzwarth(White Eagle Medicine Woman) as well as Kiesha Crowther (Little Grandmother) two people who have been caught lying about their kinship with Indian tribes. Now these two have taken their snake oil shows abroad to Europe and Australia where people are not so hip about their lies or the indigenous tribes of America. Personally I feel if someone lies about being part Haudenosaunee Seneca or Salish and Sioux(Dakota, Lakota, Nakota) to gain reputation, they will continue lying about everything else. I’d hate to be them on their way to the afterlife having to run a gauntlet of all the spirits they have pissed off in life.

    • I’m glad the liars are being outed. To me those who lie, co-opt and misrepresent Native cultures are not only harming Native cultures, they are harming those who don’t know any better than to fall into their traps. The guy who sold himself as some sort of Native “medicine man” and murdered paying customers in his inexperienced and clueless conducting of a “sweat lodge” is a perfect example of why these people are dangerous and should be shut down.
      They lie about everything. It’s a vaudeville set up that P.T. Barnum would be proud of.
      But I don’t think the majority who are disenchanted with colonized culture rooted in shopping, gossip and fear of anyone different intend to be part of that; they just know that what they’re being sold as “normal” is not real. They want something real so they search-and some do get taken in and manipulated by these con men and women.
      To my mind the longing for and intent to create a new or golden age is a natural upwelling of the human spirit not confined by the artificial contours the greedheads and disinformation purveyors try to impose on it.
      In the form not dictated by them (ie the general broad movement toward a Shift in consciousness, worldview and way of life that is kinder, more compassionate, and more just for everyone) this ideal and movement are present all over the world.
      I think the co-optation and lies are purposefully done to keep us divided and diverted into nonsense. If people came together in solidarity and respect worldwide, the colonizers greedy activities would no longer be possible.

    • Must you always post other people words and videos? Why don’t you post your own words and videos. You let others do your thinking for you. Don’t you know who you are?

  21. “You make very good points. I’m very glad you have chosen to explain and share information-that is why I created this blog”

    Well Ohnwentsya let me know when it transcends this arena phase and goes back to a topic regarding new age appropriation and exploitation of American Indians. I’ll let some others know what you’ll doing here and perhaps we can have a productive discussion.

    Have a good one.

    • I’m not sure I understand what you mean by arena phase? After re-reading the thing you posted, I saw that it’s authors encourage posting and sharing as long as the attribution and links are intact. I’m going to make it a new post of its own. I hope people will discuss the issues it brings up. I know people do get emotional in such discussions but this thread created a lot of clarity and questions that curious people can read to learn about this.
      I hope the new post will do the same. Thank you for spreading awareness. We cannot control anyone but the more truth piles up to counter the lies, the easier it is for good people to avoid being taken in by the fakery.

      • One must be careful when following someone else’s words. One really needs to have their own words and thoughts and not follow others words blindly. We must always think for oneself first. Reading feel bad text does not work for me, and worse yet, it can cause sickness. Thus the above manifesto is not for me. Why? because it can bring real sickness to the reader.

        Bad angry words can kill. Belittling others can bring much sickness. Accusing others of this and that, can bring sickness to the accuser and the accused. Reading long negative rants can encourage sickness, cause it to spread. The above manifesto encourages negative feelings, and invalidate any good feelings. The New Age Movement is not an organized group out to commit cultural genocide on Native Tribes. It is just various people doing what makes them feel good. True, as with any group, organized or not, they got their Salesmen. Both you and I know how to effectively deal with sales people. There are always someone out to make a buck.

        Actually, I find the fuzzy feel good feelings to be more healing than the harsh words in that Manifesto. The Noble Hollywood Indian Warrior Image is much more Healing than those harsh words in that manifesto. The feeling I get from fury fussy purple dream catches, are far more healing than the bad feelings I get from reading that manifesto. Cute wolves and Indian lovers surrounded by them, is much more healing than having native thoughts about others and one self. I do not understand this war on feeling good. How can feeling good be exploitation of the Indian Nations? I don’t care New Age people use our warrior image to feel good, even if it is a bit to romantic. They are not exploiting us. Only the Sales People do that by producing the goods that sell. And even if they do, we still have our ways. Nothing was taken.

        Must one one always inject negative feelings and talk into feeling good, in order to snap one back into reality, because they are feeling good about Native People, even if it is to romantic? What is so wrong with good feelings and feeling good? Are harsh negative words and thoughts more Real? Feelings of Fear and persecution do cause sickness.

        If a bunch or white people are in a drumming circle, pretending to be Indians, and it makes them feel good, what is so wrong with that? No one can steal our ways doing that pretending. To me, feeling good is healing. If they can heal by doing a fake drumming circle, so much the better.

        I am into healing. I say go with the Romantic Noble Warrior and the good feelings it gives you. Go ahead, and sleep with that furry fuzzy purple dream catcher next to you. Go with the warm fuzzy feelings you get when you see a Photoshopped image of Indian Lovers surrounded with cute furry wolves. Warm fuzzy feelings can heal you! The world really needs this kind of thing. There in nothing wrong with Love. It is time to put love and good feelings back into your life.

      • My personal thought was that even inaccurate things can be an opening to positive learning and bringing people together. Like the person who is interested in the fuzzy romantic imagery might grow into caring about real living native people and our real current lives (as in joining in to protest the pipelines or helping with those drives before school starts to get school supplies for all the kids on the reservations that can’t afford them).
        I’m not sure how I was convinced that the damage of the imagery (of depictions that erase our current real selves in favor of perpetual ghosts of the 19th century) was too great to be balanced by the possible positive outcomes.
        When I asked my Mom about this she pointed out that many of her Native girl friends, mostly Moms and grandmas like her, share images like that and new age stuff online too.
        I wonder if academic analysis is useful at some levels-such as creating government policy or working with the UN but maybe not so useful at the personal level, except for the people who are academics?

        Being autistic is almost like being an anthropologist from another planet. We read or listen to discover how things work but it isn’t consistent. Not only between our ancestral cultures but even within the dominant colonized culture. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I’m spending a lot of time thinking and praying lately because things I thought I knew keep getting more complex. Or at least my perspective has widened so nothing seems as cut and dried as it once did!

      • I know you will not respond to this post. I do not know why you think I am lying. I am only writing this because you seem intelligent enough to to read and understand what I am going to say. Looking at your other blogs, you seem to like reading and writing thus I am sure you will read this. Also what you said on this page shows you are more of a thinker than or friend here. Thus for my own good, I like to get things said and off my chest, for this is the way I am.

        Is truth about other people? Is truth accusing others of being lairs? How does one know this? How do you know I am a lair? Because so and so above said so? You seem to understand what I said what I was saying before ding-a-ling came back.

        Now about the manifesto, and A.I.M. :

        AIM is not traditional, or do they follow any Nations tradition. They are a product of Tribal Assimullation by the modern world, they originated in the 1960s. They are modern, and they are an appropriation of modern society. I do not oppose them, but I do not fully support them. If you look at the two videos, You could see the one with the proud Navajo is closer to Traditional Dine’ Nation, than the black fist that can be found plastered on any brick wall and in any western city around the world. One is full of words, the other has feeling, music, and real Navajos trying to stay Navajo.

        Now about The Sickness and why the thinking as found in the manifesto can cause real sickness. After all the anger about being lied to fades away, what are you left with? After all the hostile feelings about the group in question goes away, what are you left with. After all the words are written, after all the accusations are said, what are you left with? Tell me what are you left with? Do you like how you feel? After the ain’t it awful feelings and anger fades away after reading it, what are you left with?

        I will tell you what you are left with: NOTHING !. One does not feel like living any more, and they feel empty inside. They have no sense of self or self pride, or pride in who they are. One will only feel darkness and empty inside. Even the feeling that you are being lied to will fade away, and leave you with no will to live. This alone is a sickness that is worse than any Cancer. This sickness will rob you of Your Self and Spirit. It also can spread to others. This sickness can and will kill you.

        I ask you to stay with your Nations traditions, changed as they are by living in a modern money orientated world. My video are much closer to our Traditions that those videos posted by our friend. After viewing my work I feel much more connected to my people and myself, and I did viewing the other videos. The real struggle is Us staying connected to the truths of our traditions, even though the dance has changed.

        I will stay with my Nation and not be appropriated by the copied manifesto. I will continue teaching our young our ways, even though the dance is different and has changed much. I will NOT Teach our youth hate and fear by telling them, a group of people is out to appropriate us, lie to us, and define us. The feelings I got after I made and watched my video are good ones, and they will never fade away. As I said here before, I chose the Proud Navajo way. I know who I am and I am proud of my Nation.

        I wrote this essay because I care. Not to appropriate you, or lie to you, or to define you. I am only asking you go back to your Nation and learn your ways, even though they have changed as our dances have. I am asking you ignore, and defend yourself from all those 1000 words copied – pasted here. You do not need them to defend your nation, or to help them survive in the money world.

        Be proud of yourself and like yourself. Self is a great gift given to you by the Universe, don’t throw it way. Learn the Truth of your Traditions. The Truths are here to stay, and no one can take them away. Not even the New Agers. Thus there is no need for all the Anger and paranoia. Only thing you can do is Teach your youth your truths of your people.

      • I am so sorry that I wrote in a way that would seem I thought you were lying! I was trying to convey to Missikech Kechqua that I *don’t* believe you are lying but given the nature of online communication there is no sure way to tell who we are speaking with. I believe we have to go on what is said, how it is said and the effects within us when we contemplate it. I completely respect you and your ideas. I was only trying to listen with openness and respect to both perspectives and respond to what was said. He conveyed the opinion that you were not who you say. So I agreed that I indeed have no way to verify but that your words ring sincere to me. You say many of the same things as my family who have long thought my admiration of angry activists and their rhetoric was misplaced.

        I must apologize to both of you because I have been unable to view any of the videos because I don’t have a computer and my phone which used to play them now tells me to get flash player-when I try it says already installed:-/

        My first intro to the plastic shamans issue was a friend sharing the Lakota Declaration of War on plastic medicine men. Because I didn’t grow up in my ancestral culture, don’t live in a Haudenosaunee community and don’t consequently feel qualified to make certain value judgements about such issues- I chose to follow what they said. I’m rethinking that whole way of doing things now. This conversation and some others recently have been highlighting how it doesn’t work well for me.

        I go days without writing/commenting when I’m very ill but I don’t mean to disregard anyone. I thought you and Missikech Kechqua were responding to one another not to me specifically or I would have left a note explaining why I was missing from the conversation.

        I idolized AIM as a teenager-like a lot of other urban ndn kids I guess. After meeting Annie Mae Aquash’s daughter online I have had a huge rethinking of that as well.

        I’m very grateful for your patience and fortitude in sharing your wisdom and understanding here. I don’t claim to know all the answers or exactly what is the “one true way”.
        I like to remain open to others ideas unless or until those ideas are shown to be harmful. I prefer to accept everyone and try to communicate within their worldview or comfort zone as much as I am able. Ideally I want to bring peace acceptance and understanding to areas if contention whenever possible.

        Most often I don’t do that as well as I’d like:-/ I apologize for hurting your feelings or causing you to feel slighted as that was not my intention at all.

        I think it’s important to share information on the big liars-those who make millions selling fakery, taking financial advantage of both Native people and white people as well as endangering those who trust them as in that sweat lodge. But I don’t share the manifestos derision and hatred for everyone who finds fluffy inaccurate but comforting images or tools like medicine cards based on bits and pieces of real added to made up stuff. With a degree in psychology and much experience counseling and teaching I know people can derive benefit from many things that are otherwise not factual or related to anything. The desire to heal and the Creator’s grace can make magic from dross. Likewise I’m aware that even unconquered cultures experience distortion and creative change over time and this isn’t always a bad thing. The nonsense will be weeded out over time especially as the Earth’s surface becomes less comfortable as we leave the extremely quiet period of the early Holocene.
        Because I don’t have that solid connection of living in my ancestral culture I often overcompensate by trying harder to do the right thing as someone else describes it.

        I’m still learning every day. I may be wrong but I believe that when someone like you tells me what my family have been telling me it’s much more likely to be the real truth than not.

        I’m sorry if I appeared to be disrespectful or unkind. I was only trying to be respectful and present with both you and Missikech Kechqua in the discussion.
        I am going to work harder to understand how my own people are, and learn how to apply that to things like this instead of accepting that my friends who are activists always know better. I can see how that tripped me up.

    • What is a “productive discussion”? Is it feeling bad while blaming others for persecuting you? You are not interested in “discussion” here, you are only interested in feeling bad. If you can get others to join you in feeling bad about someone or a group of people, then you feel connected to them and feel accepted by them. For you, it is all about feeling bad, and feeling accepted in the process. A “productive discussion” for you, is about producing and re-enforcing bad feelings.

      • I see, you too, are a Healer for your people. That is good, and I Honor you. I think all healers could be called “Autistic”. I feel the same way as you do about our situations, thus that must make me “Autistic” too LOL.. ((;o)

        Remember not even our own Elders don’t have it all down perfectly, when it comes down to knowing our Traditions. Tradition can be like an Old Woman on our young warriors backs. Only the fire of our people can get her off! Traditions will change as time goes on, as they should. This is only natural. The change has only been accelerated by the coming of the white man.

        If you can get to the library computers, use the links furnished above to know me. You will even find a photo of me! Try re-downloading loading the flash player to up date it.

        There are always those who are out to make a buck. If you do not like what they are selling, do not by it. As you know I throw various cards. Just go by your feelings when you read them, to know what truths they may have in them. They are many decks that are pure nonsense. Others can work, and are helpful.

        Thank you for your reply. I think our friend has run away for awhile.

  22. “the easier it is for good people to avoid being taken in by the fakery”

  23. Black Fist or the Proud Navajo video image? I chose the Proud Navajo. I have spoken.

  24. Arena phase,ohnwentsya. This is your blog seemingly against new age appropriation of indigenous beliefs and what do you do? Take sides with the new age which has me thinking that you’re putting bait on a hook. Try a Mepps Rooster tail with a treble hook next time, sakeeta.

    • I still do not understand the arena phase reference. I am not taking sides with the new age, nor is my blog simply “against” appropriation. My intention in creating it was to provide a source of information on the reality of indigenous people and the facts. To expose plastic shamans and their lies, participation in cultural genocide, and greed.
      I wanted there to be a place where sincere people with positive intentions could find another perspective on spiritual growth because I strongly believe that participation in appropriation and cultural genocide is the opposite of spiritual growth.
      I don’t believe I have repudiated that in this discussion.
      What I have done is to be humbled by an elder from another nation reminding me of something I have heard too often from my own elders-and yet until now, not fully understood or incorporated into my awareness.
      Everyone who has encountered colonization has been influenced and affected. We all need to be constantly vigilant in our efforts to decolonize our minds.
      I recognized in this discussion a way my own mind was still clouded by the colonizer’s belief system.
      The only way you can force someone to believe what you want them to is through power over and violence. Even then, their beliefs may not change only their outward appearance. In most cases interaction based on power over escalates and results in death (s) because it is a poorly designed method of interaction.
      My ancestors realized this after many years of constant war and so they chose to abide by The Great Law of Peace. I grew up with this and it influenced my perspective on everything.
      However, I also grew up in the colonizers society, surrounded by the dialectic of “power over and control”. I grew up angry about genocide, colonization and all the disgusting results.

      I was told that people filled with hate and anger are sick and will become sicker if they do not change. But I argued that my anger was justified because the things I hated were so seriously wrong. I missed the point. Now I am bedridden. Sick as a person is likely to ever get without dying. I’m getting the point now. This discussion highlights simply that not a turn away from my determination to educate people about how their seemingly innocent desires can be misdirected to harm others and profit evil people.
      Life is not black/white. You really are not either with George Bush or with the terrorists. And I’m not really cheerleading for plastic shamans by admitting that a wiser human being has educated me.
      Perhaps your ancestors did not follow the Great Law of Peace. Perhaps the anger and fighting spirit you display here is why your people survived colonization and for you it is the very best path to be on. I’m not saying you should think or feel as I do. The better future requires all of us to stand in our own power and take responsibility for ourselves.
      For me, I have never had success in changing the wrongs in this world through my anger, or through attacking others. Only when I became vulnerable and open to those who thought differently have I been able to connect with them and share important truths that created positive change.
      Always I learn from those who don’t think as I do.
      To recognize that everyone involved in the new age movement or interested in what they perceive as “Native American spirituality” is not evil, is not baiting anyone. It’s just smart.
      If you face a militarily superior enemy and you fail to be smart and use strategy only one outcome is possible. I owe my ancestors and the children yet to come better than that. I’m not here writing this blog to feed my ego or to look cool. I’m not here to prove that I’m ndn enough. I’m here to make a difference as much as possible within the limitations Creator placed on me.
      I apologize if my comments in this discussion gave you the wrong impression, or if you don’t appreciate my perspective. You have the right to see me however you choose. I hope you will continue to work to educate people, and create positive change in our communities and in the larger world. Every voice is needed now. Every effort counts. In the long term you and I will become the dust and soil under future generations feet-if this human collective chooses to get together and stop the destruction of our home. Probably no one will recall what we said or how we said it. They will only live with the results. Blessings to you!

      • Your comment here, is very wise one, and I honor your for this. Missikech Kechqua comment is Mepps Rooster tail with a treble hook and all. You can see he is dangling a hook here, to see who comes up and take the bait. That why I will not respond to it. I will not raise and take the bait, for these kind of immature psychological hooks are that children often use to control and get attention from others around them. Missikech Kechqua uses this tactic in all internet forums.

        Thank You for your wisdom here, but I think our friend will fully understand it, or honor it. I understand your heath issues, I often think of you in my prayers.

  25. Correction: Will not understand or honor your wisdom.

  26. If I read correctly it was this Thunder Bow who came here trolling. He also trolls under the name mac. Should I provide links to other sites he has trolled Native Americans?

    • Please do! I have had several friends suggest that both handles arguing here belong to one individual who either wishes to harass me personally or who takes amusement from “playing both sides” and creating drama. I believe that all we can do is share information and perspectives-those who read must discern truth and wisdom from lies and trolling. The more information anyone has, the easier discernment becomes. I don’t know how many people are willing to read this far down the comments but I think it’s good that this discussion is available to those interested in “Native American spirituality”. If the person most sympathetic to the new age/co-optation is ok perspective is not as stated-that definitely affects the meaning one can derive from reading this debate! But even if he is exactly who/what he claims to be- I believe that it’s still plain to see that one Ndn’s approval of something doesn’t speak for all.

      • Mac? also I been accused of being Gerard as well. Odd to this one taking such an interest in me. I have only one web capable device, thus it is hard for me to have many user names in one forum. Most forums will not let you have more than one user name per device. Ohnwentsya, I hope you are doing well. My real life name is Gerald TallTree. Some times, I still think of you when out with the horses. I have been healthy and doing well out here in Northern AZ. I been feeling good inside too, thus no need to be troll.

    • How much did your read here? Much was spoken here. I thought I was “Gerard”. You came here just to say another silly thing about me. No more no less. Links? I would like to see them as well. I seen “mac” in one of the forums I am a member of.

  27. How are you doing??

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