Monday, January 08, 2007
The Privilege of Freedom
The Privilege of Freedom
Many Native American people are opposed to any kind of spiritual action in the modern world. On the other hand many old ceremonies, such as the Sun Dance, are up for grabs to modern people as long as they pay money for the privelage. The once sacred internal american indian only Sun Dance has had a new awakening as a way to make money for the dirt poor indians of the n orthern plains. I have mixed feelings about all of this. If hungry and rather desperate indians think they can make a living by selling off their sacred traditions, then I am willing to respect their freedom of choice I guess.
There is often a lot of nasty talk about these matters. Many Indian people of earlier generations who made some attempt to carry the sacred ideas into the modern world were talked about as criminals, as phonies and liars and thieves. I am not sure what they say about me and my work. In general I have protected myself and my work by ensuring that I sought out the council and permissions of the qualified and affected tribal elders and leaders in the areas of my work. In tribal culture what we call "the permisson of the elders" is everything and when you have it then your activities are considered "legal" in every respect. This permisson of the elders does nothing to stop the barking of wild dogs who think they know more than everyone else.
In general almost all tribal cultures are fractured, wounded, suspicious and degrading towards almost every effort by someone else. This is often a topic of concern whenever I travel....listening to the fears of an endangered people. On the other hand many tribal people have their head buried deep up their asses and have almost no idea at all what is going on in the world. Additionally, the number of indian people who actually believe in and follow traditional tribal teachings is small in number....and this number is getting smalller all the time.
Almost all of those tribes that have strong money from the casino business have weakened and indifferent ceremonial and language/culture practices. As they say, money changes everything and many tribes who now have money have substituted culture for capitalism.
What is the message? I think I am trying to say that indian people have problems, and they also have dreams. Some of the dreamers are damaged by the ones who have problems. Some of the problems with dreaming and with ceremonies is that much of the work takes place in a modern world that has an interest in these issues but very little real knowledge as to what this information really is. I rarely encounter a modern person who understands at all what a sacred pipe really is. I like to think that one of the most responsible things I do in my work is to create an opportunity to learn, to increase the store of good and faithful knowledge on these exciting and important ideas. I have done this work right up in the faces of those who have screamed out against me and in the well-meaning company of those who love the ideas I present but know nothing at all about them in a real way. It is hard work. Sometimes it is dangerous work.
Books: as for published books on these subjects....in my opinion most are better used as toilet paper as they contain little truthful information at all. published books are one of the biggest problems of all. "Black Elk Speaks" may be about the only really good book in the whole world as it is one of the very few books that lets the sacred and legal and qualified tribal elder (Black Elk) say what he wants to say. In Indian Country the tribal elders are the law, everyone else is a barking dog.
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