( – promoted by navajo)
How can you educate the dominant culture, a mindset, that the desecration of Native American ceremony is cultural genocide?
As early as 1933, Raphael Lemkin proposed a cultural component to genocide, which he called “vandalism.” However, the drafters of the 1948 Genocide Convention dropped that concept from their consideration.
One must make a connection between making profit from cultural components considered sacred, and to the severe damage done to the indigenous culture being preyed on and profited from. While indigenous people yet suffer the effects of a 500 year Holocaust, the overall dominant culture adheres to genocide denial. Plastic Medicine men charging money for fake ceremonies and the people who pay them is the issue at hand. Why is the desecration of Native American ceremonies cultural genocide? One word – relationships.
A Medicine Man, as known in the “public domain,” is one chosen through tribal custom within a series of relationships or clan. However, a Plastic Medicine man is self proclaimed and arrogantly so. How arrogant would it be to barge into a Sovereign Nation and proclaim you’re a leader? It’s laughable, but enter one lesser known aspect of real Medicine Men: they have responsibilities they can not refuse. Ask a Plastic Medicine man for a healing ceremony at an inconvenient time, and their wallet will outweigh your needs. Sounds somewhat like the Health Care debate, doesn’t it? But Plastic Medicine men go way beyond that.
Plastic Medicine men take a little of this, combine it with a little of that, and then create a “product.” Next, they market it as authentic.
During the exterminations there were also survivors; or, the raw materials for a Plastic Medicine man’s “product” from their point of view. Survivors, like their exterminated relatives, were hunted like animals. Indeed, I know someone who related a story of historical trauma. His friend’s grandparent still wore shoes when they slept at night and
kept all their belongings in boxes, because as a child they were always fleeing Custer. This person’s cultural beliefs are that there are sacred objects, sacred ceremonies, and sacred land given to their people to survive.
The Oct. 9 headlines read: “Sweat lodge disaster” and “2 dead, 19 taken to hospitals, 64 people in sweat lodge.”
Except that it wasn’t a real sweat lodge. It was a bastardized version of a sacred ceremony sold by a multimillionaire who charged people $9,695 a pop for his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat in Sedona, Ariz.
The man responsible, self-help spiritual entrepreneur James Arthur Ray, claimed the New Age retreat would absolutely “change your life.”
And their sacred sites are tied to their sacred ceremonies and to their sacred objects. Sacred sites of many tribes are yet being encroached upon by energy companies and the military. So land theft continues, while Plastic Medicine men present Frankenstein as a Holy Man and charge a hefty price for their freak show.
But don’t ask which sacred relics he robbed from indigenous graves to bring his or her monster to life, you might end up dead.
1. We hereby and henceforth declare war against all persons who persist in exploiting, abusing and misrepresenting the sacred traditions and spiritual practices of our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.