"new agers" and native wisdom (fwd)

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Sun, 26 Feb 1995 17:11:57 -0700

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

Hello Robert,
Yes, you have my permission to repost my commentary. There are some very
basic phylosophical differences between the "New Age" belief system and
the beliefs of my Grandmothers. The main one being the belief held by my
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
to Creator for how we behave toward others, Our Mother Earth and all of
her children. As a young person (42) i have to give an account to my
Grandmother, the people, and Creator for the way in which i treat my
children. I am not my own god. New agers do not want to be held
accountable to the Native community for their behavior. The meanings of our
cerimonies are lost on the new agers, they can not see beyond the
rituals. When the white race "killed" their creator and decided that they
would teach their children that they "evolved" from something without
intellect, without feeling, without meaning, it left an emptiness in the
children. Today those 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 to fill that emptiness. But because their
basic beliefs will not allow them to be accountable to a Creator, they do
not look for the meaning 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 would have you believe, our religions are
community based, and the 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 result of genocide and i will spend the rest of
my life fighting the 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. Granted, not all Native Americans adhier to the teachings of our
Grandfathers and Grandmothers. They have give up the old princilples for
those of the Europeans. I believe that this is why our people
self-destruct through alcohol, suicide, drugs,and other ways. But i am
grateful that we are beginning to look to these issues. Our Elders are
waking up and the heart is coming back into our people. We are gaining
controll of our own lives again, and at the heart of this new life is
Creator, our children, and our Elders. Native people do not have the same
religious freedom that White people have. New agers have the power to
make themselves heard by the people of their culture. They give a wrong
representation of our beliefs, they trivialize our practices destroying
their power. As a teacher i see the beliefs of my people minimized and
misrepresented in the class room, and our 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. The goal of the dominate culture
has been and still is destruction of the native by assimilation. This
policy has not changes since the beginning of the invasion, it has gone
undrground into the educational curriculum and legal legislation that
abrogate treaty rites (the main issue of treaty rites is the natives
right to live on the land). At the heart of our survival has been our
spiritual beliefs. The new agers carry out their own form of genocide
against our people by stealing our spiritual beliefs, minimizing them,
bastardizing them and destroying the power that is in them.
These are some of my own thoughts.
Thank you for asking a native.
There are others who can speak to this issue much clearer than i, and
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.
Creator bless you.
Nora Bunce