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Monday, November 7, 2011

Ceremonies in the News

Censored News:  This site is AWESOME
Current news about Indigenous People and human rights.

New Agers Need to Put Money Where Their Mouths Are to Free Leonard Peltier
By Corine Fairbanks in Native Condition

(Here is just 2 paragraphs from the article - link to it to find details about Leonard Peltier)
The American Indian Movement has been fighting the New Age movement for over 30 years now. This business supports a billion dollar industry. For all of the rhetoric that these New Age predators use, such as: "love and light," and "be the change you want the world to be," they execute strategic marketing plans to profits from selling and desecrating our ceremonies, sacred objects, and medicines.

Most of them claim to be Native or Indigenous, yet why have they not participated or demanded Peltier's release? Even one dollar from a thousand people could move mountains on some of these issues and help educate more people in who Leonard Peltier is. How many "Native" or "Indigenous People" have even ever heard of Leonard Peltier? How many know of the personal sacrifices this warrior and his family have made and the outcome of these sacrifices?

Arizona Sweat Lodge Deaths: Are Sweat Lodges Safe?
***UPDATE: A judge imposed two-year sentences for each of the three deaths Friday afternoon, but the sentences are to be served concurrently. Ray must serve at least 85 percent of the term before he will become eligible for release. He was also ordered to pay a total of $57,000 in restitution to the families of the victims.

Sweat lodges are typically harmless, and it's certainly possible to participate in them safely, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you try one out:

1: Know How Many People Will Be in the Sweat Lodge:
Typically, a sweat lodge houses eight to 12 people - but this can go up to 25 in a traditional lodge. The unusually large number of people in the Sedona sweat lodge (56 people) made it dangerous and difficult to monitor the participants.  Similarly, make sure the lodge is built using only natural materials - not plastics. This allows for a natural absorption of excess moisture.

2. Know the Person Who "Pours the Waters"
According to Native American tradition, the person who "pours the waters" is the spiritual leader responsible for monitoring the mental and physical condition of the sweat lodge participants. Research the leader's background, experience, and who they learned from the same way you would with any other health treatment.

3. Make Sure a Sweat Lodge is Okay for You
Sweat lodges are not for everyone. Pregnant women and those with high blood pressure, epilepsy, or medical conditions like heart disease should not participate.  A sweat lodge involves a high level of trust and you may be naked or wrapped in a towel with a group of others. According to Native American custom, someone should not charge money for a sweat lodge. However, "offerings" are traditionally accepted. Sexual overtures are a sure sign that something is amiss.

4. Use Precaution before Entering
Items like jewelry should not be worn in a sweat lodge as they may burn your skin. Also, eating a heavy meal before a sweat lodge experience will put a strain on your circulatory system. Eat light and drink lots of water before entering a sweat lodge.

5. Have an Exit Strategy
Everyone responds differently to heat. Make sure to listen to your body and step outside the sweat lodge to cool off or drink water if needed. Ray was accused of discouraging people to leave, but it is important that the person who "pours the waters" allows you feel comfortable enough to know when you need a break.

Native History: A Non-Traditional Sweat Leads to Three Deaths
Taliman was quoted by CNN following the tragedy as saying, “What right does Ray have to mimic, mangle, and manipulate Native ceremonies that have been carefully handed down among indigenous cultures over millennia? Ray does not own any rights to Native spirituality, because they are owned collectively by Indigenous Peoples and cannot be sold.”  Ray however is one of many who Taliman also referred to as a “huckster posing as the real thing” and was only found guilty of a crime when the loss of life occurred.
Following the guilty charge Ray was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $57,000 in restitution to the families of the victims—he was released from prison on parole on July 12 of this year.