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Society & Culture  (tags: Indians, Americans, Native Americans, Spirituality, culture, society, religion, interesting, GoodNews, humans, ethics, americans )

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ATLANTA -- A delegation of elders paid what some have described as an historic event to explain Native American spirituality to a gathering of religious leaders here. Elders from the Manataka American Indian Council of Hot Springs, Ark., gave 16...

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kat yazzie (400)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 7:02 am



ATLANTA -- A delegation of elders paid what some have described as an historic event to explain Native American spirituality to a gathering of religious leaders here.

Elders from the Manataka American Indian Council of Hot Springs, Ark., gave 16 hours of intense presentations for the 3,500-member Association of Professional Chaplains annual convention May 3-10.

Central to the presentations were handing out 3,000 copies of MAIC’s 16-page brochure titled “Native American Spirituality: An Informational Guide for Health Care Providers, Hospital Staff and Administrators, Chaplains, School Administrators, Funeral Directors and Others Regarding Ceremonies, Rights and Obligations.”

“To our knowledge, nothing has been done like this before. We are grateful that a national, global clergy organization has for the first time opened its doors to American Indian spirituality,” said MAIC Chairman David Quiet Wind Furr.

MAIC, a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), cultural, educational and religious organization, was invited to the conference to meet with Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish religious leaders to formally recognize American Indian spiritual beliefs for the first time.

“It is our hope and prayer that this program will serve as a template for more presentations to a broader audience of religious leaders, lay persons and the public. The value and far-reaching social and religious effects of this project are enormous,” Furr said.

In addition to the overview of traditional practices for religious and health care providers, the MAIC representatives gave talks and demonstrations of Native American culture and belief.

The delegation included Peter V. Catches, Jr. (Zintkala Oyate) Keeper of the Spotted Eagle Way of Lakota medicine, MAIC Elder’s Council Chairman Rev. David Quiet Wind Furr, MAIC Spiritual and Ceremonial Elder Jim PathFinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi), Lee Standing Bear Moore, and Rev. Linda James.

The brochure was prompted by various incidents in which indigenous spiritual elders were turned away from treating patients in hospitals and health-care settings, most notably with the case of Baby Lupita Amador Nov. 1, 2003. Despite prayers from across the United States and beyond for this 3-year-old girl dying of cancer, a visiting Lakota holy man was barred by a home care nurse who threatened the family with turning the child over to state welfare authorities if “pagan rites” were administered.

“We wrote the brochure so that Native peoples would know their rights and so that health care providers, physicians, hospitals, chaplains and others would know that the First Amendment and specific federal laws guarantee free exercise of religious and spiritual beliefs,” said Ewing.

“It is our hope that not only will there never be another incident of the type that occurred with Baby Lupita but that every hospital and health care provider in America will have a copy of this brochure,” Ewing added, noting that 10,000 copies have been printed and a CD and PowerPoint presentation is in the works.

According to Lee Standing Bear, the goal of the seminar was to increase understanding and reduce stereotypical labels attached to Indigenous spiritual beliefs.

"We encouraged participants to become advocates of policy changes within their work places that would foster acceptance of American Indian spiritual beliefs and increase actual participation in those practices," said Bear.

"We achieved our goal at this historic meeting to bridge the gap of understanding and increase tolerance for American Indian spiritual beliefs. The reaction of religious leaders was warm and accepting. We were impressed with the depth and sincerity of the overall comments of participants," said Bear.

The MAIC committee responsible for organizing the event plans to create a CD presentation and organize future seminars around the country that will emphasizing American Indian spirituality. Committee members include MAIC Elder’s Council Chairman Rev. David Quiet Wind Furr, MAIC Spiritual and Ceremonial Elder Jim PathFinder Ewing (Nvnehi Awatisgi), Lee Standing Bear Moore, Rev. Linda James, Annette Ewing, Bob Donaldson and Aimee Dixon.

Copies of the brochure are available from MAIC,, or e-mail:; or write: P.O. Box 476, Hot Springs, AR 71902.

BernadetteP P (72)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 7:04 am
good stroy kat

Patrick W (119)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 7:25 am
An excellent display of tolerance and acceptance between fellow humans. It's gratifying to see cooperation amongst spiritual leaders of all beliefs. It cultivates a better level of understanding.

Faith M (161)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 7:41 am
As a member of Manataka I am most pleased with this. Manataka Is a wonderful place and a wonderful site. It is a place where Rainbow Woman Lives and sings.All races are welcome and encouraged to cultivate the joy within.Lee Standing Bear Moore stood for me in the naming of a Relative Ceremony and I was most honored for I was to ill to go myself at the time. He lives close to my heart and I treasure his wisdom.This is just the beginning.

liz c (827)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 7:56 am
Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 8:27 am
Wonderful, thank-you Kat.

Tierney G (381)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 12:13 pm
Good news Thanks Kat

Nancy Welch (68)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 2:21 pm
This is good to hear. Thank you Kat for sharing!

Mandi T (367)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 2:40 pm
I love it!! I think it brings together cultures.
Tx Kat

Raffi LidoRoiz (301)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 2:44 pm
Yes, Faith-it should be just the beginning...what a revelation! Thanks Kat.

Dee C (23)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 2:54 pm
Wonderful article..Very happy to see this taking it should be..
Thanks Kat..
Duly noted..

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 4:57 pm
It is about time! All people should know and respect the different religions and spiritual beliefs. Thank you Kat!

sue M (184)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 6:37 pm
Pagan rites? What ignorance. I have very little knowledge of what you guys do but I am not that thick in the racism band that I do not know the difference between Pagan and Native American. The nurse acts like both Pagan and NA is voodoo. Education sucks in this country!

Great article though Kat and really it is about time you guys started showing the world who you really are. Wonderful, caring and for the good of others unselfish people's that should and deserve to be respected. Human beings who contribute to society in such a good way deserve the best.

. (0)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 6:40 pm
noted thank you

Lana W (373)
Thursday June 4, 2009, 10:00 pm
Thanks Kat

Past Member (0)
Friday June 5, 2009, 4:18 am
I am heartend by this post and I hope that it will prove to be of educational value to those who were present.The shear arrogance and insensitivity to the beliefs of the American Indian and the way his or her uiman rights are trampelled on is a disgrace.To call the American Indian Pagan shows a remarcable degree of ignorance on the part of this nurse.It sho, long before Columbus in his collosal arrogance claimed to have discoverd it.The american Indian took great care of the land the forrests,the rivers ,the streams and the animals that lived there.In fact we can learn a lot from them as they were the first conservationists and protectors of the planet.It should be recognised that the Amercan Indian is the true original American citizen and was betrayed at every turn by unscrupulous white men who exploited them for all their worth It was they who destroyed the land and the forrests and even the very mountains in the search for gold.If any nation is due an apology for the destruction of their the way of life it is assuredly The American Indian.

Cynthia Davis (340)
Friday June 5, 2009, 6:28 am
Well its about time!

Past Member (0)
Friday June 5, 2009, 7:43 am
Very encouraging and absolutely historical event which is long,long,LONG overdue."Pagan rites"....What an ignorant,arrogant thing to if the Christian god was the only one who could grant peace and guidance in a person's mortal passing.Utterly disrespectful.High time we started paying attention and due respect to the Elders.They have so much to teach us.

Winefred M (88)
Friday June 5, 2009, 8:45 am
Noted thanks Kat.

Zel J (23)
Saturday June 6, 2009, 9:14 am
Finally a giant step for Native Americans. Have you ever tried to explain that The Red Road is a way of life, a spiritual connection with Mother Earth, the Four Winds, the Winged Ones, the Four-legged,etc??? People just look at you and repeat, "Yes, but what religion are you??" Maybe this will help begin the process of undoing all the damage the Federal Government & Hollywood have done to Natives. It is going to take a lot of work that is for sure. At least we have a start on educating the general population on our spirituality & way of life. Snow Dove

Sally D (91)
Saturday June 6, 2009, 7:58 pm
This is really great news for the 'Native American Indians' and their 'Beliefs and Cultures'. This will bring about awareness of the 'Spirituality' and 'Culture' of the 'Native American Indians', who have had not only their land, their dignity & their lives taken away, but have also had no recognition regarding their 'Beliefs'. It is well overdue that the 'Beliefs' of the 'Native American Indians' should be 'Accepted', just as any other 'Belief' or 'Religion' is accepted. I personally believe that the 'Native American Indians' and their 'Spiritual Leaders' have always been an extremely Peaceful Culture & extremely Spiritual. Their 'Beliefs', in my opinion 'Make The Most Sense' and 'Have the most respect for Mother Earth and all the Creatures that live on her surface'. The Native American HOPI People (Indigenous Tribal People in Arizona) believe in the Prophecy: "The Rise Of The Warriors of the Rainbow" who will teach the people how to live "The Way of the Great Spirit". 'The HOPI Tribe' are the only Tribe in the world who have never accepted any Government Funding and Have Never Fought In A War. I have Great Respect for the 'Native American Indians'. Their Beliefs & Culture 'Have Great Meaning' and make a lot more sense than the Beliefs of Many other Religions. I am British and the main religion in Britain is Christianity and most Christians belong to the Church of England. However, I Believe in and I have Total Faith in the Beliefs of the 'Native American Indians' and follow the path of The HOPI Tribe & 'The Way of The Great Spirit'

Haudeno Saunee (19)
Sunday June 7, 2009, 12:53 am
This blows my mind! If my late grandfather(Seneca-Cherokee) were here he would be happy knowing that had taken place. At last: ga dugi Thanks a mil Kat :)

D L B (35)
Sunday June 7, 2009, 9:43 pm
It's about time people knew of the beliefs of the Indigenous Peoples of this country, long overdue. It boggles my mind what the Europeans could have learned, if they hadn't been so h3ll bent on converting the 'heathen' and stealing their lands. We owe the Indigenous Peoples more than we could ever repay. I wish I could get a copy of this brochure.

Gillian M (218)
Tuesday June 9, 2009, 12:51 pm
I was delighted to read that representatives of religious groups met with Manataka Elders to learn more of their beliefs. However, I am sad that it has taken so long for this to happen, a resepct for these beliefs should already be there and this presentation ought to have been the icing on the cake.

I think that the situation mentioned in the article should never have happened, it denied the parents of Baby Lupita Amador peace of mind.

Leigh B (211)
Wednesday June 17, 2009, 10:53 am
Great article and very informative, thanks Kat

Sammadhi Sativa (9)
Monday July 13, 2009, 3:53 pm
Is this the same Manataka group that started out as the Sons of Liberty and only whites were accepted until some time in the 1970s?

Sammadhi Sativa (9)
Monday July 13, 2009, 4:11 pm
From the internet about the Manataka:

AI Heritage Center has some good information on them you could pass onto people, but you might want to just hit these most important points in any flyers.
"“Manataka American Indian Council??? has long been noted among many traditional American Indians and organizations as an exploitative and misleading corporation that is causing damage to both legitimate American Indian peoples and those who fall for their impressive sounding claims. Promoting New Age concepts and rewriting or misrepresenting history is the foundation that the so-called “Manataka American Indian Council??? is built on.
That Manataka and it’s members might believe that “star people??? placed crystal cones in mysterious crystal caves in Hot Springs, or that Hot Springs had a Mayan connection, or that they at times associate with Pagan, Wiccan, and New Age groups is not our concern. They are free to believe in, and do, all of these things.
Our concern begins when Manataka, and certain members and associates, present themselves as a legitimate council and spokes-organization for American Indians, tribes, cultures, traditions, and ceremonies. In most cases, Manataka has not the moral right to do so, and in some cases not the legal right."

"Twisted history is fabricated in promotion of MIAC's self interest. Legitimate American Indians face enough obstacles as it is in reclaiming their heritage without the corrupted form being offered by Manataka diluting it."

"The majority of Manataka members claim Cherokee heritage, [but] they do not follow the common Cherokee naming tradition. [They choose] names are not Cherokee names, only English words that sound to the inventors like American Indian names."

"Many organizations and individuals have attended Manataka activities under a preconceived assumption that Manataka was a legitimate American Indian organization. Once there, they discover otherwise. As Dennis Stroud, president of the Cherokee Gourd Dance Society has said: "Yeah, we were suckered into going once. We will never go back."

You could also point out Manataka has chapters in the twinkie capital, Sedona, and in Westminster, England.
Manataka does not speak for me nor do they represent my interests as Cherokee.

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