New Age Fraud
'Wanna-bes', Fakes, Frauds, Phonies, Twinks, etc., etc..
Let me begin by saying that I am not a man who calls other
people names. I will not do that here either. Allow me to
explain what all this 'wannabe' and 'fraud' stuff is about to
us as Indian people. For centuries, we had everything we
knew stolen from us - our land, our languages, our culture
and our identity. All these things which make us who we
are were taken. Not only that, but the image of who we are
as people was twisted and contorted by white society into
something either barbaric or ridiculous. In short, we were
reduced to novelties and curiosities in the minds of most
mainstream Americans. Today, when a non-Indian person
decides to 'borrow' a few attributes from our culture in an
effort to seemingly appear Indian, it continues an age-old
practice of stealing and twisting our culture. This is why
so many of our people react with such outrage when they
see someone 'playing Indian'. It is an insult to our identity.
Allow me to offer some direction and clarity on this issue....
Authentic Indian people do not sell 'Indian names'
'Jumping Rainbow Eagle Dreamer' is not an authentic Indian name
Though it is right to 'gift' someone who leads a traditional
ceremony, authentic Indian people do not 'charge' a fee for it
Authentic Indian people will never tell you their Great Great
Great Great Grandmother was a Cherokee Princess, or that
they are descended from Pocahontas.
Authentic Indian holy men/women, and medicine men/women
will rarely announce their sacred gifts to a stranger. They
also will never use the word 'shaman' or 'shamanic'.
There is more, but you get the idea. Now, I'd like to share a few
last thoughts on this which I hope will lay some things to rest.
Sometimes legitimate, authentic Indian people get caught in the
crosshairs of those who label people 'New Age Frauds'. Let me
set the record straight and speak directly to this. Anyone who
can put names on a list and label them 'New Age Frauds' without
ever having met the people they are accusing is a coward, and
has no business educating anybody about American Indian issues.
So, for the Native person who has suffered this kind of attack, try
to understand that there are some among us who are so angry that
they lose sight of reality. For the non-Indian person reading this,
can you see the kinds of cultural strife 'playing Indian' can cause
within our own communities? This is why it is important to share
these things, so that we all may learn to live together with respect.
- John Two-Hawks
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