Archives for posts with tag: new age


Insofar as the ‘new age’ people co-opting Native American ceremony, here is another of my ‘myspace’ pieces, also from 2009, following on the 2009 preceding piece on Russel Means. Taken together, these are prelude to a following piece I am in process of working up; exploring the inter-cultural misapprehension of North American indigenous based and European concept. My commentary on the AP WIRE reporting in italics

AP WIRE: Oct 10th, 2009 | PHOENIX — Authorities seeking answers to what caused two deaths and more than a dozen illnesses at an Arizona resort’s sauna-like sweat lodge were investigating whether any of the victims had medical conditions or had been fasting

Humnn, what is wrong with this picture

In all, 21 of the 64 people crowded inside the sweat lodge Thursday evening received medical care at hospitals and a fire station. Four remained hospitalized Friday evening — one in critical condition and the others in fair condition…..

My elder teachers talked about this. Think about it. “64 people crowded inside”

Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the deaths and illnesses; tests for carbon monoxide and other contaminants were negative

This is a tragedy of IGNORANCE and GREED

Among those sickened during a two-hour session were a middle-aged man and a woman who were unconscious, according to a 911 call, and a third person who was found not breathing

1st question: How could this happen except whoever is running the sweat did not have proper training? I was taught when sweating the inexperienced or people from another culture, to constantly check on the welfare of my people in the sweat, you do not take in more people than you can keep track of, you make and keep communication established with everyone by name, you ask again and again if they have enough air, you ask if they are too hot, you make certain they have opportunity to drink, you make it clear they should tell you if they are dizzy or otherwise struggling, you take real breaks and you do not group sweat ANYONE with medical condition or if they have been fasting. The Sweat Lodge, other than certain events of long tradition practiced by the trained initiates in organized societies, is typically small, intimate and strictly controlled precisely because it is DANGEROUS. It is absolutely DANGEROUS if you don’t know what you are doing

“It’s not something you’d normally see at one of the resorts there, and it’s unfortunate regardless of the cause,” Yavapai County sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said


Investigators were working to determine whether criminal actions might have been a factor in the incident, D’Evelyn said

Effectively, this is criminal negligent homicide. Or worse. These people did not have a cultural context that is in a sense a lifetime of preparation for enduring an extreme physical stress and to some, an extreme psychological stress. I can tell you what my primary native sweat teacher would have said about this event: ‘those people were murdered”

The Angel Valley Retreat Center sits on 70 acres nestled in a scrub forest just outside Sedona, a resort town 115 miles north of Phoenix that draws many in the New Age spiritual movement

“Sedona” and “New Age spiritual movement”

Self-help expert and author James Arthur Ray rented the facility as part of his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat that began Oct. 3 and that promised to “absolutely change your life.”

‘self-help expert’

Ray spokesman Howard Bragman confirmed that his client was holding an event at the retreat, as he has done in the past. Authorities said Ray was inside the sweat lodge Thursday evening and was interviewed at the scene

What could he honestly say? He murdered them with his greed and ignorance?

“We express our deepest condolences to those who lost friends and family, but we pray for a speedy recovery for those who took ill,” Bragman said. “At this point there are more questions than answers, so it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

“condolences” and “more questions than answers”

Sweat lodges, like that held on the final day of the Angel Valley retreat, are commonly used by American Indian tribes to cleanse the body and prepare for hunts, ceremonies and other events. The structure used Thursday was crudely built and covered with tarps and blankets

And those Indians, if solidly grounded in their tradtions, would know you do not sell the sweat lodge experience for $MONEY$. There is a long tradition of highly ritualized gift giving which is in no sense commercial at all, but is predicated upon a relationship to spirit and prices are not named because you cannot price the poor or unfortunate out of a relationship of learning or experiencing what is holy. There are certain traditional gifts, small in value, for the spirit. And then there is the self motivation of the heart of the patient or student towards the healer or teacher. No price can be named by the medicine man. Most Native American sweats involve no money at all, other than the gas required to gather the wood and haul it to the sweat site. All of the good medicine men I knew had real life day jobs, were older and retired, voluntarily sponsored by a patron [not for profit] or otherwise were somehow self sufficient in their own right and did not depend on their spiritual work for a living, because that would destroy your reputation. NONE OF THEM WAS WEALTHY. The ones I knew who succumbed to greed, yes, those sort of people do exist in Native America, were ostracized in their own communities and had effectively destroyed their relationship to their own people. In effect, if you work to serve the people, you do NOT sell spirit for $MONEY$

Stones are heated up outside a lodge, brought inside and placed in a pail-sized hole. The door is closed, and water is poured on the stones, producing heat aimed at releasing toxins in the body

Remember “64 people crowded inside” for $MONEY$

The ritual in sweat lodges is helpful in restoring balance and changing people’s attitudes and self-image, said Joseph Bruchac, author of “The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends.”

Dead and injured as a result of “64 people crowded inside” This has nothing to do with “restoring balance and changing people’s attitudes and self-image” when it involves commercial event for $MONEY$. Think about it. What the people have done here is like trying to buy your way with spirit

People have died in sweat lodges in the past. They were either sick tribal elders who voluntarily stayed until they died or people who had heart conditions and were in poor health

This is true, the elderly, very tired or feeling complete in their journey, could make that choice. But always, life was taught as the first and paramount choice. And as for people dying at a sweat because of poor health, this is RARE in Native America and would ALWAYS indicate a mistake having been made

“The sweat lodge needs to be respected,” Bruchac said. “When you imitate someone’s tradition and you don’t know what you are doing, there’s a danger of doing something very wrong.”

Bruchac is correct. “Danger of doing something very wrong” and “64 people crowded inside” for $MONEY$, are two and two put together when it comes to “doing something very wrong”

Ray’s retreat schedule had few details about what participants could expect, other than thrice-daily meals and group gatherings that started at 7 a.m. and ended 16 hours later

Sixteen hour days. This deadly event was held at the end of six days of 16 hour days where people have been fasting, hiking, group encountering, essentially stressed out body and mind on top of not having a lifetime of cultural context to prepare them for the sweat experience. Then they are packed like sardines into a structure in such a large number there is no way the leader can keep track of their individual welfare. This was BEGGING for trouble

The details came in a lengthy release of liability that acknowledges participants may suffer “physical, emotional, financial or other injuries” while hiking or swimming, or during a multi-day personal and spiritual quest in the wilderness without food or water or the sweat lodge

Sorry folks, but these people picked a damn poor medicine man when they ponied up for a “spiritual quest in the wilderness without food or water” and “64 people crowded inside” requiring a LEGAL WAIVER. All for $MONEY$

Some participants told detectives they paid up to $9,000 for the event. Ray’s company, James Ray International, is based in Carlsbad, Calif

“they paid up to $9,000 for the event” to a medicine man named “James Ray International”

Ray’s posting on his Twitter account hours before the deaths said: “Still in Spiritual Warrior … for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?”

Creating reality. Grief emerges from arrogance. Where is the humility taught as the underpinning of Native American spiritual belief? According to what I know from 30 years intimate contact with the spiritual teachings of three separate Native peoples, Blackfoot, Ojibwe and Cree, this guy was begging for bad luck and things to go wrong. He’ll know humility now. Or hide behind lawyers, more likely. Nothing cultural in a Native American sense with that. So, in the end, is this guy practicing Native American spiritual tradition? I don’t think so

The posting and two others were deleted Friday afternoon

People lives deleted

A woman who answered the phone at the Angel Valley resort Friday said its founders, Michael and Amayra Hamilton, would have no comment. A call to the Hamiltons’ home went unanswered

“they paid up to $9,000 for the event” and “no comment”

The Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat Center, built on former ranch property in the high-desert and red-rock country of northern Arizona, bills itself as a natural environment for self discovery and healing through a holistic approach aimed at balancing the mind, emotions, body and spirit

$MONEY$. Just to let you all know, especially those wishing to follow a Native path, the Oral History (prophets) of Stone Child’s Plains Ojibwe people had a specific name for $MONEY$ in a spiritual context. That name? “The Leading Trouble Maker.” The surviving group of these people [Stone Child descendents] are now located at Sunchild Reserve in Alberta, Canada, perhaps the true teachings survive there. I was taught the Oral History by the last of the [Chippewa language] Montana branch of Stone Child’s Ojibwe people, who now for all practical purposes are assimilated into the Cree culture at Rocky Boy or culturally extinct. My friend and tribal elder Duncan Standing Rock will vouch for this. Maybe these elders either hoped or knew I would tell you about “The Leading Trouble Maker” also known as $MONEY$. There is a lot to be known about $MONEY$, and how it corrupts spirit from the Native American point of view. There is a simple oxymoron here. $Money$ is the human element of greed that is causing the planet to die. How can charging $MONEY$ square with the Native American spiritual belief and the primary sweat lodge teaching that all life, nature as a whole, is sacred?

The property includes American Indian structures such as teepees, guest houses and outdoor labyrinths made of stones

“$9,000” paid to die. Think about it



^ screenshot of following statement:

“To whom it may concern,

“I feel good about granting my recommendations in behalf of Mr. Ronald West of whom I had known for many years. I know Mr. West had served in the U.S. Military Service with an honorable discharge. I know Mr. West has very high respect for certain aboriginal inter-tribal cultural and ceremonies. I know Mr. Ronald West is a honorable and loyal to his beliefs and to those whom Mr. Ronald West works with.

With Respect,

Mr. Duncan Standing Rock Sr.”


 Life in Indian Country Essay collection


A Modern Napi Story


The Great Oxymoron

Lester Log Roller was from a family of Indians named for a drunken forebear who had been ‘challenged’ by some White loggers in the Pacific Northwest to participate in the “Logger Olympics” of sport unique to their profession. Lester’s forebear actually had brought off his performance quite well, while keeping his balance on a log in a pond which he managed to roll with agility, both forwards and backwards… his fame for the event however, was the wild look of panic on this Indians face with his braids flying askew, because this Indian did not know how to swim.

The Indian’s champion log rolling performance was purely survival driven which made the event all the more hilarious to the redneck Whites that had sent him onto the log at gunpoint. The chief of this White Redneck tribe’s sense of honor, his name was Lucious Ludicrous Bean, declared Log Roller should be allowed to live for his amazing ability to mimic the loggers in the sport (“Damn, who’d believed”), but the Indian would hereafter have to be known by the new name and answer to it.

The Indian agreed to the terms required to save his life while still on the log, and was subsequently fished out of the pond both before he had drowned and nearing sobriety, because he had finally fallen into the water from pure exhaustion. Log Roller’s descendant, Lester Log Roller, subsequently was from a family of Indians that did not drink. They knew better. He went to Law School instead

Nobody in the White Academic world knew how to create a Native Studies Program because in fact to postulate a program as such in the western classroom was oxymoron. Hell, they did not even know that. Native Studies, if it was Natives doing the studies, would be non-interfering in Nature, observing the processes from which all Native intelligence had been drawn. Lester Log Roller did not know that, because he had been off to Boarding School from age five and then off to University in Kanadada.

By this time, Lester had mastered the provincial English linguistic trick of stating the just so “Eh?” after postulating something as mundane as “How aboot (yucky pronunciations) we run to the trading post for some smokes. Eh?” And his Blackfoot language was rusty, such as the time he was home from boarding school to visit and his Aunt told him to go back out (he had just come in the door) and bring in the “Napi-aki.” Lester started to go back out, he was confused, but then resolutely faced his Aunt and told her “I don’t have a White woman!” She laughed and said in English “I’m not talking about White women, I want you to bring in the milk jug.” Lester felt dumb. Napi-aki could mean either milk jug or White woman, but he did not get the context. He had been too long away at school

Lester was a conscientious sort, and so when his undergraduate major in ‘Native Studies’ was decided on, he returned home in summers and brushed up on his Blackfoot Language. But he did not realize that the answer to bring his university into line with the political correctness of the new times had been to establish a White Anthropology program staffed by White-educated mentalities in people with Red skins and call it ‘Native Studies.’ And so, Lester, like the now countless other Red skinned people of Native descent, thought this was real. He should have remembered the Blackfoot proverb “Everyone knows the Whiteman is crazy.” But Lester could not know this now applied to himself. So Lester questioned his former people’s elders to get ideas for his papers he would need to write in the discipline of anthropology disguised with the ‘Native Studies’ euphemism. And thought he was Indian

Lester went on to Law School and eventually became Director of ‘Native Studies’ at a great university which had been duly impressed with his achievements in the Whiteman’s so-called field of ‘Indian Treaty Law,’ having nothing to do with actual Aboriginal Laws of past times, but which combined with the idea he spoke Blackfoot, seemed to make him eminently qualified to run their program.

Here at university he met the great White theoretical physicist David Bohm and they had discussed David’s curiousity as to why it had been noted as early as the 1920’s the Native American languages seemed to have no problem describing many phenomena of the new theoretical physics, which western languages had difficulty coping with. Lester had no idea why either, but it seemed there must be something to it and so they began a dialogue… and eventually Lester became a god. To at least three or four people.

Lester, later on retired and living in a townhouse in the better part of Lethbridge, Kanadada, had continued with his anthropological interest in studying his former people and was particularly interested in their form of government before they had been conquered. His anthropological studies got him up and running on three legs in Blackfoot ways, like the proverbial wild dog that had chewed off one leg to escape a trap… and that was about it

Lester had by this time taken over the dialogue and thought he had some things figured out: Like how the old time chiefs circle of oratory had worked. Not. What he attempted to replicate in fact became a lunatic caricature of what had been his ancestral wisdom. It was not meant to be evil and in fact it was not evil. It was merely stupid. But Lester could not know that

By this time, these dialogues, with David Bohm now dead, had become sponsored by a ‘Wannabee Indian’ organization called ‘New Age in Native America’ run by an anal-retent-hyper-liberal White intellectual who fancied himself an enlightened feminist man. Though one might suspect otherwise, this man was not ‘bi,’ neither bi-sexual, nor bi-cultural

Narcissus Yabadabadoo Montenegro was a “Coyote” in the strict local Hispanic sense of the term, that is a ‘Spanglo.’ You would never know to which community of his ancestry he was loyal to, because this sort of Coyote could only be loyal to himself. His ego was of a soft burnished sort, the kind of lovely passive-aggressiveness whose nasty aspect was presented in the effeminate dark side aroma of the flower he was named for. As a real Indian, you just did not want to get too close to Narcissus if you were to enjoy the genuine natural beauty of his expression. And so it also was with the NANA sponsored dialogues he so expertly organized for the world to know the truth of the New Age in Native America

When Narcissus gazed into the reflective pool of the soft loveliness in his ego, he could detect no offensive aroma. His ethnocidal nuance as applied to Native American thought and philosophy was of a much prettier and more refined sort than that established for his intellectual forebears in the psychological literature developed by Erich Fromm: who postulated the Nazis much enjoyed the smell of their own farts.

A far cry from the camps and ovens, the ethnocidal ‘thrust’ of Narcissus’ ego priapismic tendencies was to bring about the immolation of the Indians beliefs and thinking with grandiose graphics of Taoist imagery superimposed on Native American fruits and vegetables extrapolated to western print: advertising the many ‘Red Skinned [Elmer] Fudds’ (PhDs) he would gather alongside White skinned western scientists in a grand orgy of psyco-somatic ego-stroking masturbation in high intellectual workshops of inter-racial discourse

Napi fell for it in the beginning. It was attractive, because Lester, a Blackfoot Indian who could speak his language was master of ceremony and that fact, taken together with the promoted agenda of Native America’s relationship to an observational philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, convinced Napi at the start he would learn something. Well, Napi did learn some things, he just did not learn what he had expected, like a wider understanding of Native Quantum Reality. Napi learned about Quantum Mechanics in the laboratory from the White scientists and absolutely nothing at all from the many PhD Native Americans because they had no idea at all of how Native Quantum Reality functionally worked.

Damn, it was sad. Not one PhD, not a single PhD from either side of the Racial divide, understood that to be Native American in thought and philosophy had absolutely nothing to do with Race. PhD. Wow. The White western scientists were sometimes frustrated with the Red western scientists who could only tell stories from anthropology that were totally out of context and consequently nonsensical. That fact only made the Red western scientists equal to the White western scientists totally out of context with Nature and nonsensical lab experiments

Napi simply observed the first year he attended. The second year he contributed a little bit of real Indian thinking and freaked out Lester because it looked as though the entire event could be shown up as a case of ‘The Emperor Has No Clothes!’ The third year Napi had tried to explain to Narcissus and had approached Lester directly about making a contribution, how some things could change to open up the dialogues to real learning, but Napi was frozen out instead. No upsetting the gravy train of ego allowed here!

Rather the ‘face’ of the event was to be preserved at all costs, a portrait of the mysterious and knowledgeable Indian, Lester, presiding over an event that might one day yield his great secrets held in abeyance: to his lesser Native beings and the handful of toadying sycophant Whites who peered upon his Native holiness with expressions of Heavenly reverence as though they were alter-boys seated upon the left and right hands of God. In fact, it appeared to Napi that Lester didn’t know shit. Lester only knew how to rest on his laurels from his former Native Studies program directorship at Harvard, look important, and otherwise act cool and all knowing. That’s it.


This lampoon of Leroy Little Bear and the ‘Language of Spirit’ dialogues at SEED Open University, goes to the point of what you see isn’t what it was and what it was, is something you’re not going to get at any ‘native studies’ program, either…

The women’s secret societies had been the driving social engine in the Blackfoot culture, the anthropologists were males and males were NEVER admitted to these societies. The upshot is, when every sister, mother, daughter and wife of every man of consequence delivered identical message, the men would meet and take the nation in the direction these women had insisted upon. The anthropologists only saw the men meet and come to decisions. The ‘circle’ at SEED supposedly replicating the ancient native governance system, is entirely devoid of the matriarchal concept and background. An important note would be, the anthropologists were allowed to keep mistaken assumptions (mistaken assumptions that now are integrated material of so-called ‘native studies’) because the culture they were studying did not have a concept of correcting so-called ‘wrongs’, people are supposed to figure out their mistakes for themselves.

The Blackfoot word for wife, ni-naki, translates literally as “boss.” Ni-naki is the lesser form of the word ni-na-waki, which had been the highest form of Blackfoot chief in pre-contact times, and could only be a woman. The equality there was really quite balanced, with a slightly higher female authority, with great respect between the sexes and women had been fully entitled to be warriors, the term for such was sak-wo-ma-oui-aki-kwan, loosely translated as ‘defiant women.’

The men with more than one wife were seen by anthropologists as polygamists in the western sense, the western observers not realizing the women determined this. Close sisters or best friends shared the man and without this female consensus, polygamy did not happen. And it was the important women who determined who would be a man’s ‘sits besides him wife.’ In the present time, relating to any politically correct western anthropology program with the ‘native studies’ euphemism, it is the western ideas are coming to dominate the native perception of themselves, with the loss of language and oral tradition through enforced western educations, these people don’t even know who they were anymore. But what had been was, the women instilled the culture’s values and stability.

Another misconception is the countless forms of gender in the language, the western linguists puzzling over how so many masculine and feminine forms could be kept straight and why so many when in fact this was the language expressing varying degree of androgyny in descriptions, an alien concept to western linguists.

The unfortunate conclusions concerning the western culture, drawn from thirty plus years work bridging the cultural gap, can be read in my essay ‘You’ve Got Apes!


The Satires


Life in Indian Country

Collected stories, folklore and anecdotes concerning my many years life with Blackfeet Indians and traversing Native American territories

%d bloggers like this: