"new agers" and native wisdom (fwd)

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Sun, 26 Feb 1995 16:44:42 -0700

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 13:16:59 -0900
To: johnsorl@colorado.edu
Subject:"new agers" and native wisdom

Hello Robert,=20
Yes, you have my permission to repost my commentary. There are some very=20
basic phylosophical differences between the "New Age" belief system and=20
the beliefs of my Grandmothers. The main one being the belief held by my=20
Grandmothers that we have a Creator, that exists outside of ourselves. We=
are a small but segnificant part of the creation and we are accountable=20
to Creator for how we behave toward others, Our =FA=D6Mother Earth and all =
her children. As a young person (42) i have to give an account to my=20
Grandmother, the people, and Creator for the way in which i treat my=20
children. I am not my own god. New agers do not want to be held=20
accountable to the Native community for their behavior. The meanings of ou=
cerimonies are lost on=20
the new agers, they can not see beyond the rituals. When the white race=20
"killed" their creator and decided that they would teach their children=20
that they "evolved" from something without intellect, w=FBithout feeling,=
without meaning, it left an emptiness in the children. Today those=20
children as adults look around for all sorts of things to fill that void,=
Our cerimonies ore but on thing that these people have grabbed in order=20
to fill that emptiness. But because their basic beliefs will not allow=20
them to be accountable to a Creator, they do not look for the meaning=20
behind the cerimonies, and they only pick and choose portions which serves=
their own agendas. There is no one Indian religion, as the new agers=20
would have you believe, our religions are community based, and the=20
practices reflect the individual characteristics of the community and the=
individuals. True medicine people do not sell their knowledge for profit,=
it is to be shared freely with the people. As a native woman i look to my=
grandmothers for the wisdon i need, i do not go llooking to take someones=
elses religion. As a native woman, i accept the pain that comes as a=20
result of genocide and i will spend the rest of my life fighting the=20
devestating effects of genocide on our children. New agers do not want to=
accept this part of what it is to be native. They do not want anything to=
upset their romanticized idea of what it is to be native. =20
=09Granted, not all Native Americans adhier to the teachings of our=20
Grandfathers and Grandmothers. They have give up the old princilples for=20
those of the Europeans. I believe that this is why our people=20
self-destruct through alcohol, suicide, drugs,and other ways. But i am=20
grateful that we are beginning to look to these issues. Our Elders are=20
waking up and the heart is coming back into our people. We are gaining=20
controll of our own lives again, and at the heart of this new life is=20
Creator, our children, and our Elders. =20
=09Native people do not have the same religious freedom that White people=
have. New agers have=20
the power to make themselves heard by the people of their=20
clture. They give a wrong representation of our beliefs, they trivialize ou=
r practices destroying their power. As a teacher i see the beliefs of=20
my people minimized and misrepresented in the class room, and our=20
children that ore forced to attend the schools are made to feel shame for=
the beliefs of their grandparents and shame for who they are. =20
=09The goal of the dominate culture has been and still is=20
destruction of the native by assimilation. This policy has not changes=20
since the beginning of the invasion, it has gone undrground into the=20
educational curriculum and legal legislation that abrogate treaty rites=20
(the main issue of treaty rites is the natives right to live on the=20
land). At the heart of our survival has been our spiritual beliefs. The=20
new agers carry out
their own form of genocide against our people by stealing our spiritual=20
beliefs, minimizing them, bastardizing them and destroying the power that=
is in them. =09
These are some of my own thoughts.=20
Thank you for asking a native.=20
There are others who can speak to this issue much clearer than i, and=20
with much more knowledge. I encourage you to seek those people out if you=
want a true representation of how native people view the new agers.=20
Creator bless you.=20
Nora Bunce
=09=09 =20