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Declaration of War
Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality
DECLARATION OF WAR
WHEREAS we are the conveners of an ongoing series of comprehensvie forums on the abuse and exploitation of Lakota spirituality; and
WHEREAS we represent the recognized traditional spritual leaders, traditional elders, and grassroots advocates of the Lakota people: and
WHEREAS for too long we have suffered the unspeakable indignity of having our most precious Lakota ceremonies and spiritual practices desecrated, mocked and abused by non-Indian "wannabes", hucksters, cultists, commercial profiteers and self-styled "New Age shamans"and their followers: and
WHEREAS with horror and outrage we see this disgraceful expropriation of our sacred Lakota traditions has reaches epidemic proportions in urban areas throughout the country; and
WHEREAS our precious Sacred Pipe is being desacrated through the sale of pipestone pipes at flea markets, powwows, and "New Age" retail stores; and
WHEREAS pseudo-religous corporations have been formed to charge people money for admission into phony "sweatlodges" and "vision quests" programs; and
WHEREAS sacrilegious "sundances" for non-Indians are being conducted by charlatans and cult leaders who promote abominable obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites; and
WHEREAS non-Indians have organized themselves into imitation "tribes", assigning themselves make-believer "Indian names" to facilitate their wholesale expropriation and commercialization or our Lakota traditions; and
WHEREAS academic disciplines have sprung up at colleges and universities institutionalizing the sacreligious imitiation of our spiritual practices by students and instructors under the guise of educational programs in "shamanism"; and
WHEREAS non-Indian charlatans and "wannabes" are selling books that promote the systematic colonization of our Lakota spirituality: and
WHEREAS the television and film industry continues to saturate the entertainment media with vulgar, sensationalist and grossly distorted representations of Lakota spirituality and culture which reinforce the public's negative stereotyping of Indian people and which gravely impair the self-esteem of our children; and
WHEREAS individuals and groups involved in "the New Age Movement:. in the "men's movement", in "neo-paganism" cults and in "shamanism" workshops all have exploited the spiritual traditions of our Lakota people by imitating our ceremonial ways and mixing such imitation rituals with non-Indian occult practices in an offensive and harmful pseudo-religious hodgepople: and
WHEREAS this exponential exploitation of our Lakota spiritual traditions requires that we take immediate action to defend our most precious Lakota spirituality from further contamination, desecration and abuse
THEREFORE WE RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:
1. We hereby and henceforth declare war against all persons who persist in exploiting, abusing and misrepresenting the sacred tradtions and spiritual practicies of our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.
2. We call upon all our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota brothers and sisters from reservations, reserves, and traditional communities in the United States and Canada to actively and vocally oppose this alarming take-over and systematic destruction of our sacred traditions.
3. We urge our people to coordinate with their tribal members living in urban areas
4. We especially urge all our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people to take action to prevent our own people from contributing to and enabling the abuse or our sacred ceremonies
5. We assert a posture of zero-tolerance for any "white man's shaman" who rises from within our own communities to "authorize" the
6. We urge tradional people, tribal leaders, and governing councils of all other Indian nations, to join us in calling for an immediate end this rampant exploitation of our respective American Indian sacred traditions by issuing denouncing such abuse; for it is not the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people alone whose spiritual practices are being systematically violated by non-Indians.
7. We urge all our Indian brothers and sisters to act decisively and boldly in our present campaign to end the destruction of our sacred traditions, keeping in mind our highest duty as Indian people: to preserve the purity of our precious traditions for our future generations, so that ur children and our children's children will survive and prosper in the sacred manner intended for each of our respresentive people by our Creator.
Wilmer Stampede Mesteth (Oglala Lakota); Traditional Spiritual Leader & Lakota Culture Instructor; Oglala Lakota College, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Darrell Standing Elk (Sicangu Lakota); President, Center for the SPIRIT, San Fancisco, California, & Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Phyllis Swift Hawk (Kul Wicasa Lakota); Tiospaye Wounspe Waokiye; Wanblee, South Dakota