This is a particularly heart rending testimony, in the midst of it Windyboy makes what I consider a salient point – “our spirits don’t speak english”.
In believing that I can only ask the question how can anyone who doesn’t speak the language be named a sundance chief, a “licensed” one at that, and conduct such a ceremony?
How can anyone conduct any of our ceremonies without knowing the language?
“For that whiteman it’s a terrible shame for him to be treating people like this”
The marketing, licensing, corruption, and appropriation of our ceremonies and culture is no less a shame – yet there are those among us who have placed a price tag on them , those among us, on the fringe, and elsewhere who haven’t the language and yet present themselves as a medicine person, seer, prophet, chief, or any other number of things.
Faux tribes, faux clans, new agers, and wannabes all adorning themselves with titles,
bonnets, and pipes while a great many of them go on about the importance of ceremonial integrity as they cobble together some hybridized version specific to the role they have created for themselves.
I say these things are no less an act of genocide, a cultural genocide equally as destructive as the genocide that spills blood and takes lives, a genocide that attacks the heart, spirit, and poses as distinct a threat to the identity of our nations as did the boarding schools and relocation.
In the darkest of times, in the midst of poverty, death, being hunted like animals, the gulags, and all we have endured as a people it has been our ceremonies and traditions that sustained us – we cannot surrender them now.