RESOLUTION OF THE 5th ANNUAL MEETING OF THE TRADITIONAL ELDERS CIRCLE
Northern Cheyenne Nation, Two Moons' Camp Rosebud Creek, Montana
October 5, 1980
It has been brought to the attention of the Elders and their representatives in Council that various individuals are moving about this Great Turtle Island and across the great waters to foreign soil, purporting to be spiritual leaders. They carry pipes and other objects sacred to the Red Nations, the indigenous people of the western hemisphere.
The past twenty years have seen the birth of a new growth industry in the United States. Known as "American Indian Spiritualism," this profitable enterprise apparently began with a number of literary hoaxes undertaken by non-Indians such as Carlos Casteneda, Jay Marks (aka: "Jamake Highwater", author of The Primal Mind, etc.), Lynn Andrews (Medecine Woman, Jaguar Woman, Crystal Woman, Spirit Woman, etc.). A few Indians such as Alonzo Blacksmith (aka: Chunksa Yuha, the "Indian authenticator" of Hanta Yo), "Chief Red Fox" (Memoirs of Chief Red Fox) and Hyemeyohsts Storm (Seven Arrows, etc.) also cashed in, writing bad distortions and outright lies about indigenous spirituality for consumption in the mass market. The authors grew rich peddling their trash, while real Indians starved to death, out of sight and out of mind of America.
These individuals are gathering non-Indian people as followers who believe they are receiving instructions of the original people. We, the Elders and our representatives sitting in Council, give warning to these non-Indian followers that it is our understanding this is not a proper process, that the authority to carry these sacred objects is given by the people, and the purpose and procedure is specific to time and the needs of the people.
The medicine people are chosen by the medicine and long instruction and discipline is necessary before ceremonies and healing can be done. These procedures are always in the Native tongue; there are no exceptions and profit is not the motivation.
There are many Nations with many and varied procedures specifically for the welfare of their people. These processes and ceremonies are of the most Sacred Nature. The Council finds the open display of these ceremonies contrary to these Sacred instructions.
Therefore, be warned that these individuals are moving about playing upon the spiritual needs and ignorance of our non-Indian brothers and sisters. The value of these instructions and ceremonies are questionable, maybe meaningless, and hurtful to the individual carrying false messages. There are questions that should be asked of these individuals:
Nation does the person represent?
If no information is forthcoming, you may inquire at the addresses listed below, and we will try to find out about them for you.
We concern ourselves only with those people who use spiritual ceremonies with non-Indian people for profit. There are many things to be shared with the Four Colors of humanity in our common destiny as one with our Mother the Earth. It is this sharing that must be considered with great care by the Elders and the medicine people who carry the Sacred Trusts, so that no harm may come to people through ignorance and misuse of these powerful forces.
Phillip Deere (deceased)
Fools Crow (deceased)
The whites are sincere but they are only sincere about what they are interested in, not about Indians about whom they know very little. They get exceedingly angry if you try to tell them the truth and will only reject you and keep searching until they find the Indian of their fantasies…. - Vine Deloria
Lyons (traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation)