When I see a white person attempt to connect (to the land, or deity) in a 
Native American path (or one that just mimics a native american path), I 
usually wonder about what "hole" they're trying to fill. Most of them are 
blissfully unaware that their own ancestors had a similar tradition of 
ancestor/land/god worship - but the NA traditions are more accessible, call it 
a choice governed by proximity. 
I think, ultimately, that the commercialization and commoditization of Native 
American culture feeds itself. Ever buy a book on NA spirituality? Ever buy a 
dream catcher, or get one as a gift? Yes, they bring awareness of NA culture - 
but at a HUGE price - it cheapens it, and turns culture into commerce.
And now for a personal anecdote, that I think is somewhat relevant: My maiden 
name is Custer, and I've caught some flak for it - from WHITE PEOPLE. While I 
was in the Marine Corps, I worked side by side with a Native American. We had a 
long talk one day, and he told me that he understood that it was George A. 
Custer's JOB to do what he did. He was in the Army, and it didn't matter if he 
liked it or not - he didn't have a choice in the matter. After all...if it 
wasn't him, it would've been someone else. We parted good friends, with a hug - 
before he went to Iraq with my husband's old unit.
The only people that made a big deal out of it were the white people that 
worked with us. They would make jokes like : "we better not leave them alone 
together; someone might get scalped", etc. Both of us were extremely 
uncomfortable, and asked them to stop, on several occasions. 
I will not apologize for what my ancestors did. It was not my choice to be born 
here, live here (and ultimately, die here). Their choices are not MY choices. I 
wish that the NA peoples didn't have to go through what they did, but "SORRY" 
will not bring anyone back. It will not reverse the damage to North America. It 
will not reverse government trickery and ignorance of treaties. It will not 
stop the shameless commercialization of their culture. "Sorry" is empty - 
especially when it isn't your apology to give. 
In retrospect, I think that white people who insist that other white people 
apologize for their ancestors' actions are suffering from what I call "The 
Great White Guilt". They think "sorry" means something; just because it makes 
them feel better, they think that the apology acceptor should feel better too.
So, in respect to the NA culture, I do not practice it. I acknowledge and 
accept it for what it is. 


--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "roloro1557" <roloro1...@...> wrote:
> Jody-
> I would ask that you remember what Maria so wisely wrote:
> --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Maria Lopez <flordeloto@> wrote:
> > Things hardly ever are as they appear to be under the eyes of the
> > ones who are not from that culture.
> What my Native American friends objected to was the commercialization and 
> commoditization of what they consider some of their most sacred traditions by 
> greedy, materialistic white people, looking to turn a profit from the greed 
> and spiritual bankruptcy of other white people. I agree with them most 
> whole-heartedly. Not everything should be "for sale" no matter what this 
> capitalist culture says. It is a kind of rape and certainly a theft. It 
> speaks directly of the sense of entitlement many white Americans have that 
> Kristy mentioned. It simply disgusts and sickens me. 
> White people have already stolen their homeland, their language, etc and etc, 
> and decimated their population. It is nothing less than genocide what 
> European whites did to Native Americans. All this was of course approved and 
> ordained by the christian "god" of those European white people, so it was all 
> ok. Apparently still not satisfied, and under the guise of "cultural sharing" 
> and "understanding" some whites see nothing wrong with cashing in on Native 
> American spirituality. My Native American friends simply recognize the 
> reality of this, I think they see the situation plenty clearly.
> I do think cultural sharing is wonderful - IF THE CULTURE IN QUESTION *WANTS* 
> TO SHARE. Clearly the Native Americans don't want to "share". As these are 
> THEIR traditions, THEY get to choose. Not white people.
> Sorry but I think your post below romanticizes the issue, is very naive, and 
> completely lacks empathy for Native Americans.
> Artie


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