Are You Teaching or Selling Native American Spiritual Practices?
My programs are rooted in the shared, nature-based wisdom traditions of all our indigenous ancestors, around the world. This includes the spiritual traditions of European, Asian and African cultures. My own ancestors are from the Celtic tribes of central Europe and the Anglo-Celtic Isles. I do not claim American Indian heritage, and I do not have a grandmother who was a Cherokee princess.
Much can be learned from the beautiful traditions of Native American wisdom. And our world is crying out for the very nature-based, earth-honoring wisdom these nations have always held sacred. But non-Indians have done a lot of harm misappropriating Native American culture and that includes some of my own peers holding themselves out as shamanic teachers and healers.
I have worked very hard to listen, honor, and learn from the indigenous elders who were willing to share their traditional ways with me. These include the Quechua Taita Iachak of South America, the contemporary Mexican Toltec, the Oglala Lakota in South Dakota, the First Nation Cree elders in Canada, and the Cherokee path of my first teacher Mikkal, who also worked with elders from the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi nation here in southwest Michigan.
But the purpose of my programs is not to "play Indian" or teach the specific ways of any culture. That is not the point and it is not necessary for healing, inner transformation, and walking a more joyful path. The point is to reconnect human beings with nature and the sacred things we all share: the heart, the earth, and the Spirit world. So I do not teach native American spiritual practices, or charge fees for any sacred ceremony, sweat lodges, or special blessings. I share what I can of the beautiful earth-honoring wisdom common to all of our ancestors, around the world.
We all come from indigenous people somewhere. And we all have a responsibility to open our hearts and walk a good path that honors the Creator and Mother Earth.
This is what I have learned from my indigenous brothers and sisters. I am deeply grateful for their teachings.