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Old 12-17-2014, 05:12 PM   #9
Transcendental Walker
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Originally Posted by OLChemist View Post
Yes, it is a fairly widespread belief.

Why do you feel free to regard various cultures ways as a all-you-can-eat buffet? This I'll have a dab of Igbo Ọdinani, a spoonful of Zen, scoop of Vaishnavism, and slice of Lakota traditional religion approach is just more colonial privilege at play. Each of these belief systems are complete, all-encompasing worldviews. To mix and match violates the sanctity of each and shows a deep disbelief in reality of all.

My people's ways are for are my people. To be part of our system, you have to be part of our people. The Great Commission isn't a Lakota thing. I have never encountered a Native religion that provides a path to conversion.

Understand for 500+ years, our ways have been attacked, suppressed, punished and damn near erased. The lands have been taken, the languages silenced, the People broken and pushed to the edge of extinction. Now, you want to share our last refuge? You want us to give our last to save the world from your ways? Maybe you should find your own way to save yourselves. We are too busy preserving our own fragile communities.

Is this a friendly, nice kumbaya view, no. But look at the history from which it was born. Try to respect cultural boundaries, rather than helping yourself to our intellectual property.
I see that you speak from deep pain. I am sorry for the crimes that were committed to your people. There is nothing I can do to change history. I have carried the guilt of being white for a long time, but when it comes down to it...I myself didn't commit any atrocities. Should I be held responsible for something that perhaps my ancestors did?

The reason I asked this question, is because I care a great deal. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have started this conversation. And what is discussed here WILL influence my decision on whether or not to pursue such studies. I have a great deal of respect for the Native cultures, in North America and South America. Maybe you're right in that I am treating the world like a "buffet". I am not Christian, I am not straight, I adhere to an alternative lifestyle, I have a disability. I'm not looking for a place to fit in, or for anything or anyone to save me. I don't need to be saved. I have a strong inclination to be closer to the Earth and live in harmony. I don't see the color of my skin as a barrier. I don't think that should be a barrier for anyone in any way.

I do have white privilege. I am well aware of that. But just because I'm white doesn't mean I cannot relate in some way. I am part Jewish. Some of my family members were in concentration camps. I do not hate German people or hold their descendants accountable for those actions. The Jewish people have been persecuted throughout the centuries all over the world. I practice Druidry because of my Irish and Scottish heritage. I come from Pagan descent...Well, Druidry was wiped out. We have some idea of what it was like, but most of the information comes from the Romans who conquered the Celtic people, and the rest comes from Christian Monks, and the stories were re-written with a Christian perspective. I can practice Druidry, but its only an echo...because true Druidry has been lost to time.

Maybe in a sense, us Western Europeans grasp at other culture's customs because we have been severed from our own? And for some of us, it really is lost and cannot be regained. The coming of Christianity wiped out a lot of pagan religions in Europe. Thousands of people were murdered for being pagan, or a witch during the witch trials. One of my ancestors was burned at the stake for being a witch, though she wasn't actually a witch at all. Are these not atrocities too? I don't hate Christians or hold them in contempt, though I have faced discrimination from them.

In any case. It is clear that this is not the right time for a white person to pursue Native American spirituality. I pray that in centuries to come, existence between our people will be more harmonious. I am not blaming Native people, I understand where you are coming from given the history (which I did learn about). I don't think that anyone is wrong for feeling this way. It is what it is.

But is it disrespectful to learn about the cultures without taking from them or practicing aspects of them? I studied anthropology in college and really enjoyed learning about other cultures around the world. I can't help if they influence my perspective on the world, information influences. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect and learn.
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