DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST EXPLOITERS OF LAKOTA SPIRITUALITY
DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST
EXPLOITERS OF LAKOTA SPIRITUALITY
At the Lakota Summit V, an international gathering of the U.S. and Canadian Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota nations, about five hundred representatives from forty different tribes and bands of the Lakota unanimously passed the following declaration on June 10, 1993:
* Whereas we are conveners of an ongoing series of comprehensive forums on abuse and exploitation of Lakota spirituality; and
* Whereas we represent the recognized Lakota 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 "wanabees," 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 reached epidemic proportions in urban areas throughout the country; and
*Whereas our Sacred Pipe is being desecrated through the sale of pipestone pipes at flea markets, powwows, and "New Age" retail stores; and
* Whereas pseudo-religious corporations have been formed to charge people money for admission into phony "sweatlodges and vision quest" programs, and
* Whereas sacrilegious "sundances" for non-Indians are being conducted by charlatans and cult leaders who promote abominable and obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites; and
* Whereas academic disciplines have spring up in colleges and universities institutionalizing the sacrilegious imitation of our spiritual practices by students and instructors under the guise of educational programs in"shamanism"; 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 in the "New Age movement," in the "men's movement," in "Neopaganism" cults, and in "shamanism" workshops all have exploited the spiritual traditions of our Lakota people by imitating our ceremonial ways and by mixing such imitation rituals with non-Indian occult practices in an offensive and harmful pseudo-religious hodge-podge; and
* Whereas this exponential exploitation of Our Lakota spiritual tradition 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 traditions and spiritual practices of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people.
2. We call upon 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 takeover and systematic destruction of our sacred traditions.
3. We urge our people to coordinate with their tribal members living in urban areas to identify instances in which our sacred traditions are being abused, and then to resist this abuse, utilizing whatever specific tactics necessary and sufficient (for example: demonstrations, boycotts, press conferences, and acts of direct intervention).
4. We especially urge all our Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people to take action to prevent our own people from contribution to and enabling abuse of our sacred ceremonies and spiritual practices by outsiders; for as we all know, there are certain ones among our own people who are prostituting our spiritual ways for their own selfish gain, with no regard for the spiritual well-being of the people as a whole.
5. We assert a posture of zero-tolerance for any "white [sic] man's shaman" who rises from within our own communities to "authorize" the expropriation of our ceremonial ways by non-Indians; all such "plastic medicine men" are enemies of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people.
6. We urge traditional people, tribal leaders, and governing councils of all other Indian nations, as well as all national Indian organizations, to join us in calling for an immediate end to this rampant exploitation of our respective American Indian sacred traditions by issuing statements 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 that our highest duty as Indian people is to preserve the purity of our precious traditions for future generations, so that our children and our children's children will survive and prosper in the sacred manner intended for each of our respective peoples by our Creator.