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Old 02-16-2011, 11:55 PM
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Default Should NON native be allowed to use the Sweat Lodges

My man and I have had long talks bout sweat lodge participants, non-native and natives. Whom should be allowed to take part in sweat lodges. He, himself says ONLY NATIVES should attend, I agree to a certain extent. But I'd like to know other people view...thanks
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:33 PM
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Greetings,

I agree only natives should participate. Why? Everytime we share our culture with nons, they go out as "experts" and make money of off it. Remember the sweat lodge deaths?
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:04 PM
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I also agree that only Native Americans should be allowed. My sweetie is native, I feel like he should be able to practice his own religion with his own people if he chooses to do so.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:12 PM
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Well, I'm non-native, and I've attended numerous sweat lodges. I have no reason to try to make money on trying to be an expert on sweats, and I have no particular spiritual tradition that I hold as my own. Apparently the natives who understood that I respected their way of spirituality had no qualms about my attendance.

There's no more reason for non-natives to be excluded from the lodge than there is for Catholics to forbid Jews or Muslims to forbid Buddhists from investigating or participating in their ceremonies.

As long as it is done with an open heart and sincerity, I don't understand why it should be 'forbidden'.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:36 PM
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I cannot see how there can be a clear answer to this question, as there are so many things involved.

and yes, it is sad some "make money with sweat lodges", but not only white people do.

the decision is at the end with the sweat leader... and he or she has to decide what is right or wrong in this moment.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:18 AM
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I like all your answers..truly I do...but what bout sweat lodges within the prison system? I believe in the 1st Amendment Right...freedom of Religion...but should non-natives "not" be allowed to sweat if the majority rules (native) that they are not welcomed there? Whom decides your Native? (correctional system, government, natives?) We have had this discussion to heated arguements...he is strictly sticking to his Native Blood (full blooded 4/4 Dine'/Navajo & CIB(Certificate Indian Blood)...Should you or your tribe be Federal recognized by the goverment to say your "American Indian". Theres so many cases studies(researches) I've done that really doesnt define a true line of this or that...they all sort of umbrella one another....in some aspects...
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:19 PM
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Is anyone asking these "white" men if they are native or white, or is this assumed because of appearance? I'm Creek and Cherokee by heritage but not registered. Does that make me non native? I used to work on the Navajo rez, and it was always the Dine telling me that I'm "too white" to be native. Hate to break it to you, but skin color isn't the be all/end all.

I hate discussions like this, because while I understand the feelings of the "certified" natives, I get sick of the judgemental crap, too. No one likes a pretendian, but don't judge- you can't tell someone's motives until you get to know them. My side of the family passed, and I don't have any reason to jump through the hoops to register with a tribe. If I had living family and could learn about my history from them, I might feel differently, but otherwise, its just a piece of paper. I know who I am and where I'm from, and book history isn't the same as family history.

But maybe I'm touchy because I grew up being told I was too Indian to be white, but on the rez I was too white to be native. If they show respect to the ceremony and want to participate, it shouldn't matter if they look white.
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:44 PM
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I'm a Creek Citizen, snow white in color and believe if someone wants to participate in the sweat lodge and they are non-native, show them how to build one. Let them visit ours and see if they really understand what it means. If they cannot build one, that would be a good project to pay ahead on by helping them . If you think they are bogus don't waste your time. A good spirit will guide you.
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tluna1051 View Post
I like all your answers..truly I do...but what bout sweat lodges within the prison system? I believe in the 1st Amendment Right...freedom of Religion...but should non-natives "not" be allowed to sweat if the majority rules (native) that they are not welcomed there? Whom decides your Native? (correctional system, government, natives?) We have had this discussion to heated arguements...he is strictly sticking to his Native Blood (full blooded 4/4 Dine'/Navajo & CIB(Certificate Indian Blood)...Should you or your tribe be Federal recognized by the goverment to say your "American Indian". Theres so many cases studies(researches) I've done that really doesnt define a true line of this or that...they all sort of umbrella one another....in some aspects...
I learned this is handled different on each yard.... and most of the time it is a politic issue. what I learned over the years, the reasons for many to join the natives had other reasons, not to really walk their path, but to profit from the benefits....

I know there were sweats, most of all at special occasions, where others did sweat with Natives. and there are Natives on certain yards they dont sweat anymore, as Medicine is not repsected.

so there is no clear answer and alot depend on circumstances.

I fully agree with the former posters.... there are many who dont have "their paperwork", older guys often as their families wanted to protect their kids from the problems they had to go through when they were young.. how could they have known today it is "even a honor" to be Native... ?

in prison there is a circle..... and this circle decides what happens on this yard in a sweat and in the lodge... so best to leave it to them...
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:22 AM
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I think the sweat lodge should be open only to native americans unless they are married to someone of another race then open it to the wife/husband and any kids of the couple other wise stay out
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:45 PM
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I am non-native and I have been to a sweat as an invited guest. I did a great favor for some native people, so I had been invited. I was honored and attended, though I would not if I had not been invited. I am not in prison, but have native friends in prison.

I'm sure the politics are different from state to state and prison to prison.

This is an opinion on sweat lodge politics from one person I know who is incarcerated:

"The Native Americans initially got a small parcel of land for a sweat back in 1985 or ’86. There was a landmark case won against the warden—and CDC— that laid out the religious rights of incarcerated “Native Religious Practitioners.” It was, at that time, won by and for Indians. You had to have paperwork from your reservation (a roll number) to not only “sweat” on the grounds, but also hang with the skins, and be one yourself. This latter policy was set and followed by the inmates.

These days, though, it has become a free-for-all, an any-and-come-all of Indianness. Guys who are—and always were—either white, Mexican, black, or “others”(Asian, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Samoan, etc.), are now claiming to be Indian. Nobody has paper work or a roll number. (I actually am one of the few who do.) Just a vague answer to what tribe and what percentage Indian they are—the whites favor Cherokees, and the Mexicans prefer to be Yaqui or Apache.

Back then, being “skin” meant you had your own politics, how your race dealt with problems and maintained boundaries with others. It kept the peace and conferred identity. It had its good and its bad aspects.

These days, where anyone goes to the sweat lodge and says they’re Indian, it has become a farce, a jumbled mish-mash of opinions—about who they are, about politics, and also about ways to run the sweat ceremony. I stay away. It’s a hornet's nest of gangsters, young boys trying to be men and not even realizing how badly those shoes fit."

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Old 02-20-2011, 06:42 PM
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My wife was ostrasized from the sweat lodge in prison for over twenty years as a non-native. Last year, the BIA finally admitted a mistake they had made calculating blood quorums on the Spokane reservation and corrected it. Suddenly my wife is accepted. It seems ironic that it would take the United States government's approval for my wife to be accepted as native by other native people but such is the way of things these days.

As for me, no correction will fix my situation. I don't have a high enough quorum to be on the rolls ever but I still speak my native language and taught it to my daughter. Am I native enough? Not by any man-made standard. A quick story though...

Many years ago when my daughter was very young, we were both very sick and I took her to the native hospital (She is 50% Athabascan) in Fairbanks, Alaska. In the waiting room was the chief, also waiting to be seen. We knew each other from pow-wow's where I was part of the drum circle. He asked if we were okay and if we were going to see the doctor or if we were waiting for someone. I told him that my daughter was waiting to be seen but that I was not on the rolls. He frowned. When they came to get him he told them that he would wait until after I'd been seen. The nurse explained that I wasn't native, or not native enough. He told her that he had recently spoken to our Maker and that He thought I was and so he would wait. A chart was made for me and I was seen ten minutes later.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:26 AM
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My wife was ostrasized from the sweat lodge in prison for over twenty years as a non-native. Last year, the BIA finally admitted a mistake they had made calculating blood quorums on the Spokane reservation and corrected it. Suddenly my wife is accepted. It seems ironic that it would take the United States government's approval for my wife to be accepted as native by other native people but such is the way of things these days.

As for me, no correction will fix my situation. I don't have a high enough quorum to be on the rolls ever but I still speak my native language and taught it to my daughter. Am I native enough? Not by any man-made standard. A quick story though...

Many years ago when my daughter was very young, we were both very sick and I took her to the native hospital (She is 50% Athabascan) in Fairbanks, Alaska. In the waiting room was the chief, also waiting to be seen. We knew each other from pow-wow's where I was part of the drum circle. He asked if we were okay and if we were going to see the doctor or if we were waiting for someone. I told him that my daughter was waiting to be seen but that I was not on the rolls. He frowned. When they came to get him he told them that he would wait until after I'd been seen. The nurse explained that I wasn't native, or not native enough. He told her that he had recently spoken to our Maker and that He thought I was and so he would wait. A chart was made for me and I was seen ten minutes later.
your story made me smile, the one of your wife made me sad.... there are still some good guys everywhere..... thats the hope we have in this life!
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:54 AM
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The best way to get everybody riled up is to mention blood quorum. Well, I don't have an answer. Each tribe has a cultural tradition that is theirs only and other people should respect, even other Indians. I went to a dance held by another tribe in an another state. Friends and family were invited and no non-natives allowed and no picture taking. Good for you Nim you were invited and you respect the ceremony and you didn' become an expert. I saw a person with a Dr in front of her name and she proceeded to tell all natives in the room where we originated from and all historical eras in our lives. All of us in that room knew our history and where we came from and there was no era or period in the history of our people. Our ancestors just survived the only way that they could. She even told us an expert on Indians who wrote a book. That's funny. The people are the experts of their tribe. It may not have anything to do with this topic but those are the people I was talking about.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:01 AM
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i am natyive.. my soon to be husband is not. my father is a medicine man and a leader we have a lodge on amily land we welcome all to experience and learn ways of our people. My future husband knows more about our ways then i do. so yea i think others should be welcomed!!
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:51 PM
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I feel that answe is tricky because yes I believe in the preservation of our cultrue and yes it is true that many people use those toraditions for profit. Yet if we are allowed to keep out non natives then wht stops other cultures from excluding us then we would scream racism.Ibelieve that lands, caino rights, enrollment, and scholarships should be kept native only but as far as religous freedom I think that should be open. and remember people this is a friendly debate. I also had to deal with skin color issues being mixed I look more dominican than indian so I was too dark for the outside world and to light for the indian but my dad was born and raised on the rez.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:19 PM
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This is an interesting topic for me - my dude comes from a Native tradition where the sweatlodge isn't a part of his people's religious practices. However, while he was locked up, he frequently participated in the sweats.

He's on the outside and is currently providing some home care for an elderly "white" man who's spent more than half his life locked up. Said individual claims Cherokee and will go on and on at length about the practices of his "people." This "Cherokee" is from my hometown and I know full well from his pre-prison tats that he spent his younger days pretending to be Mexican. It's my guess that this cat, once imprisoned, spent his days in lock-up pretending to be Native to avoid the politics.

As far as religious practices go, I think anyone who wants to "sweat" should, but the gray area is reached when folks get to being involved in these ceremonies, spend some time doing it, feel they reached some level of "expertise" then suddenly morph into "Indians."

Do I think folks should be prevented from doing it? Only if the rest of the Natives are against it. I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to this, but I am sure incarcerated Natives fought long and hard for religious freedoms in prison (not to mention the fight their brethren on the outside fought for historically) and simply giving this freedom away to others so the others can "go outside" is wrong as far as I can see it.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:48 AM
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To make any thing available to only one race or religion is racial discrimination, or religious discrimination.
I wonder how it would be recieved if they decided only Christians could be allowed to celebrate Christmas, or if only people with black skin could enjoy 'carnival' (awesome afro-caribean festival around here).

If certain luxuries are only available to one group of people, then that isinciting jealousy or hatred toward that group.

It's inciting segregation and alienation of that group vs everyone else.

Anyone should be allowed to claim they're which ever religion they want.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:04 PM
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Cream,

Are you native?
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:22 AM
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I am not native, but move in circles where I come into contact with a number of members of the local band, some of whom have become good friends over the years. They have taught me many things, perhaps foremost among them the foolishness of the particular faith under which I was at least nominally brought up (now I KNOW why I was so uncomfortable in church!).

Over the years, I have been invited to several ceremonies including a sweat lodge. The invitations were not casual and in accepting them, I realized that I was being recognized, and made sure to conduct myself accordingly. Each was a fine exercise in humility, and deeply moving. And not without humor--a pipe carrier who once told me "you're only white on the outside" took one look at me after the sweat lodge and burst out laughing, saying: "now you're not even white on the outside!" I was pretty warm, and have no idea what color my skin may have been at the moment. But my heart beat anew and for that evening, at least, we were all brothers.

I would without hesitation attend any other ceremony to which I was invited. But not unless I was invited. That is simple respect.

As to New Age types who have try to steal the sweat lodge for their own purposes, I have no time for them. By and large, they are missing the point entirely, believing that the mere setting holds the sacred. It is not so. Such people talk some version of the talk. They do not walk the walk.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:55 AM
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Questions for DaveMoff (and others);

---Should people with native blood be automatically trusted to respect it and know what the sweat lodge is all about and utilise it it a better way that a white person could?

---Can it be assumed that they have an instrinsinc right by birth to a free pass onto this apparatus for spiritual enrichment, which is the sweat lodge? where as others with differing DNA are not worthy?

---Should other races be treated with initial suspicion, and only be allowed in if a pureblood native decides to deem them worthy?

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:45 AM
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My husband is Native American and very much into his traditions. He says 'being a Native American is not just the color of your skin, there are people who are Native American on the inside, who walk the Red Road to the best of their abilities, you can't see on the outside what is on the inside.' There are also Native American people who are not Native on the inside. Meaning, it is the road you walk on that should determine whether you can attend a Sweat. In prison circumstances, it also should be depending on what crime you are in for. Rapists and childmolesters should never be allowed in a Sweat Lodge. Also two spirited people should sweat separate. Wanting to attend the Sacred Ceremony of the Sweat Lodge has to do with religion, not with the color of your skin. I understand where your husband is coming from though, all too many things have been and still are being taken from the People. But both my husband and I strongly feel that Religion is the most important thing. If we keep thinking and feeling that certain religions are only meant for certain races or peoples, we will never find peace. The colors of the Medicine Wheel are Red, yellow, white and black, the colors of the four races of the people on our Mother Earth. Only when we can unite and enjoy being together in humility and respect, only then we can find inner peace. I myself had the honor to be invited (and attended) to a Sweat Ceremony on the Rosebud Reservation by Jim (James) Robideau. And I am a white woman on the outside. Again, I do understand, but that doesn't make it right.

In respect
Crow Woman

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:57 AM
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Crow woman I agree with your fella.
That's a great way to look at it.
I didn't know that's what the medicine wheel is about, how interesting.

My penpal grew up on Rosebud reservation. He's a Thin-Elk. Perhaps you know him or any of his family?
Or perhaps those places are quite large, I don't know much about the resevervations.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:27 AM
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Good Morning,

I was just curious because people hollering discrimation are not from this country.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:26 PM
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huskymum4ever huskymum4ever is offline
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maybe when people see the attitude that some people have ('we think people with different race DNA should have different rights') then if we look at the definition of rascim;
Rascism;
noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

If you say one race should have free access and bassically rule a sweat lodge, then that fits in with the above definition.

Of course we didn't grow up around the whole native vs non-native situation.
But I'm just looking at it from a non-biased point of veiw.

Perhaps the whole history of Native Americans makes some feel as though they should have a few extra benefits now?
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