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Old 02-06-2004, 10:00 AM   #1
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Tribe banishes Indian man for writing about ceremony

Indianz.Com. In Print.
URL: http://www.indianz.com/News/archives/003649.asp


Tribe banishes Indian man for writing about ceremony
Friday, February 6, 2004

A member of Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico has been banished from another Pueblo for writing about a tribal ceremony.

Tito Naranjo went to the Deer Dance at Taos Pueblo on Christmas Day. He said he was so inspired by it that he wrote an article about what happened.

He submitted the essay for a contest sponsored by The Santa Fe New Mexican. He ended up winning the adult category and $100.

But he also got a banishment order from the Taos Pueblo. A tribal leader filed a complaint against Naranjo for writing about the ceremony. Naranjo says he believes it is necessary to put tribal decisions into writing or else they will die out.

Get the Story:
Dancing With Fire (The Santa Fe New Mexican 2/6)

Copyright
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Old 02-06-2004, 12:27 PM   #2
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SEE!!!!!!!!!! See what happens. That guy named bhoy should read this post. If we was to help him find a sundance, whoever was responsible shoud get banished. I don't see that happening to me.
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Old 02-06-2004, 09:15 PM   #3
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FO REALZ HOLY CRAP MAN
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Old 02-06-2004, 09:53 PM   #4
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if dude wanted to preserve it by writing about it, he coulda put it in a journal, but he entered it in an essay contest, kinda makes his motives look a whole lot less sincere don't it?
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Old 02-07-2004, 10:51 AM   #5
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I think more tribes should use bannishment from their tribe as punishment for wrong doing (in addtion to sentencing). That includes the cease of any financial assistance too. Especially those who are domestic violence offenders and also those who prey on children.
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Old 02-07-2004, 02:35 PM   #6
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Readers Comments from that paper

Reader Comments
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: Dorothy Price

As an outsider, I have read the article "Dancing With Fire" with sympathy
for those of the Pueblo who feel betrayed. I am not saying that Mr. Naranjo
acted as a traiter. He was so impressed with the beauty and meaning of the
Deer Dance that he felt he had to share it, but he should have stated his
intent and sought permission from Tribal Elders before submitting the
article for publication.

To have religious beliefs and age-old customs laid open to scrutiny or
criticism by un/disbelievers exposes the sacred to be diluted; possibly
defiled or defamed. I find it heartbreaking. We keep what is dear and
precious close to our hearts. Too many boundaries are being crossed today; lines
of decency and respect. We all know what they are -- "pearls before swine", so
to speak.

I agree that traditions should be preserved, but with respect and care. An
outsider does not have a "right" to interpret these things just because he
gets an inspiration from heaven knows where. This is a case of stepping in
where angels fear to tread! When Mr. Naranjo denies doing irreparable harm
to the Deer Dance, he is not understanding the nuances that make up sacred
activity.

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: Ken Stein

All people that live in the U.S. are American citizens - including the
Native Americans. Mr. Coyotlacatl - get a grip on reality. Taos Pueblo is
not an independent nation. If Taos Pueblo is an independent nation - then I
suggest the people of Taos Pueblo get a Visa to visit the United States. You
people hide your culture and yet you don't understand why "True Americans"
want to understand your culture. Do you believe that your religious beliefs
are only for Native Americans - there by eliminating other races. Is your
"Creator or God" only the god of Native Americans? Do you believe that only
Native Americans are privileged to know the spiritual aspect of life - or is
only the Native American view on spirituality for Native Americans and not
for the rest of humanity?

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: James Moore

Isolationism has never benefitted American Indians and it won't now. Time to
wake up and realize that you are living in a new age. Somebody will always
be there to write an essay or take pictures and personally I would rather
learn from somebody who lives in the culture than from an outsider.

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: itxcoatl Coyotlacatl

A quote by Tom Chavez:
"This is in violation of Freedom of Speech and the Press."
Mr. Chavez, are you one of the many many "Americans" who have no respect for
the boundries of another nation? Taos Pueblo IS a distinct nation from your
"freedom of the press " camera weilding american society/nation who insists
on invading other peoples privacy. Whats another example... hmmmm Iraq
maybe???
Then you scream that non indians should be educated about indian things
while in true american custom you turn around and call us natives PAGANS. Do
you see yet why we shut your hipocritical nonsense out of our lives??

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: Lita Mondragon

Writing about a sacred activity when you are not affiliated from birth into
the sacredness of this activity is very disrespectful in that one is deemed
illiterate in the knowledge of its meaning. Just like any piece of artwork,
everyone has a opinion and yet not any one person has captured its true
meaning unless you are the artist. The mere meaning of the words Sacred
Dance means just that and does not mean that anyone has the privelege to
write or record his or her meaning of these dances. The traditions that are
sacred and religious to Taos Pueblo are not photographed or written, but
kept alive by those who choose to stay and inhabit the Pueblo and are well
aware of the significance and meaning of sacred and religious. A true Native
American does not photograph or write that is sacred for popularity and
monetary sake.

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: Jeremy Rodriguez-Ortega

Freedom of speech and of the press are rights for all Americans. I applaud
Mr. Naranjo for sharing the practices of the Taos Pueblo. The Native
Americans for years have complained that we non-Indians don't understand
their beliefs, but how can we if we are not educated on their practices. Do
the Pueblo Indians believe they are somehow different from non-Indian
peoples. It would appear their religious beliefs are like those of the
Muslims. Only Pueblo Indians are to know the "Way" for enlightenment. The
non-Indians are 2nd class human beings that can't possibly understand or be
educated in their cultural practices. If the Pueblo Indians don't want
non-Indians to understand their way of life - well then they should not
promote other aspects of their culture through commercial measures.

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: Tom Chavez

This is in violation of Freedom of Speech and the Press. If the professor
wants to write about pueblo culture, more power to him. Why are the people
of Taos Pueblo afraid to share their cultural beliefs? By writing about
tribal culture, the professor is educating non-Indians about Taos Pueblo's
cultural practices.

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
by: Marianna Garcia

The people of Taos Pueblo need to stop complaining about this situation. The
Pueblo of Taos should close its borders and live in isolation - after all,
they don't want others to understand their paganistic life style. What are
they hiding - or are they just trying to further the myths of Pueblo Indian
culture? Are they not human like the Anglos, Hispanics, Blacks, Asains, etc?
Why hide their culture?
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Old 02-07-2004, 05:55 PM   #7
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We are a tribal people. close nit, clanish, family first. Those folks at the pueblo are some of the last indians in ths U.S. that live like Indians, like thiere old folks did. The comments by non-natives just show how little they understand. We are Nations, granted by treaty.
New Age, and politically correct thinking is the opposite of most traditional values.
The Pueblos still have secrets, sacred rites. You really earn your way in. But the Outside society thinks to take all that and make it "for everyone" They earn nothing the hard way, they do not seek sanctions or permission, and so nothing IS sacred to them.
I am a "pagan.' Never been a christian. I guess i am a hypocrite too, I talk about traditions on this computer....hmmmmm.
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Old 02-08-2004, 05:41 PM   #8
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Damn it! Here I am trying to keep my blood pressure down in the last month of my pregnancy, and Gache has to go and post words from ignorant fools!

Now I have to go to my "happy place" and calm down. ;)
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Old 02-09-2004, 09:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by traci_m
Now I have to go to my "happy place" and calm down. ;)
:JawDrop :Eyepopper
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:43 AM   #10
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well the dude had it coming to him ya know? i mean he should know better than to publish ceremonys...they maintain their privateness for a reason...besides what native who was raised it would ever read about ceremonies in books...these are taught orally not by reading and passed down...thats how we maintain the sanctity of ceremonies...its like writing about the sundance...its wrong to write about it...i see alotta books at barnes and nobels even at trading posts that sell books about ceremonies and its wrong..i jest feel that when ya publish books like this it not only take s out the sanctitiy but also the spirit in each ceremony...maybe thats the reason why well one of the reasons why so many wannabes(non-natives) come to our swets and our sundance ceremonies etc..- becca
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:29 PM   #11
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And that ain't the first time Pueblos have banished someone from their land for that kinda stuff....

The anthro Frank H. Cushing was banned from Zuni for stealing religious items back in the late 1800s.....

Author Judith Fein was banned from a number of Pueblos for the crap she wrote in her atrociously racist book "Indian Time" in the early 1990s....

And now Naranjo..... he should know better, since Santa Clara was apperntly one of the places that banned Fein....

And to counter those morons who think this is a first amendment/free speech issue, read the Supreme Court's decision in Navajo Nation v. Native American Church.... they said that since tribes are sovereign, the first amendment doesn't necessarily apply to tribal jurisdiction over Indians.... and that sovereign right is not diminished by the label "domestic dependant nations" that the Supreme Court laid on us back in the 1830s.....

Long story short - there IS action we can take against cultural theives.... and Taos just did it.
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:37 PM   #12
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AMEN to that! I always grew up not talkin about anything I saw cuz my gramma told me the importance of no one else knowing, pretty much the same as that defilement issue.

It kinda would suck if outsiders knew cuz some white person might like it and make up one helluva mockery just to feel "ndn".
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Old 02-10-2004, 05:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Apachedumpling
AMEN to that! I always grew up not talkin about anything I saw cuz my gramma told me the importance of no one else knowing, pretty much the same as that defilement issue.

It kinda would suck if outsiders knew cuz some white person might like it and make up one helluva mockery just to feel "ndn".
yea and then do a hokey rendition of it on the Grammy's or something equally worldly watched... and then according to some people we're supposed to just turn our heads and just say o well... they didnt know...


BUT umm.. nah. I agree w/banishment of tribal members that commit heinous acts like robbing the tribe aka embezzlement, rape, murder and child abuse but i think this was a little over the top. The tribe should have fined him a huge fine so that he'd be paying for decades. if he wants to share his knowledge with outsiders then he should have to pay the tribe back ... do it the white way... hit them in the pocket book!
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Old 02-10-2004, 07:21 PM   #14
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Thumbs down

I would rather no one know about those sorts of things (rituals and sacred ceremonies), let them die out than having the general populus know about them. I have attended many and I feel that no one can duplicate them in any way, and I'll be damned if it is.

I know I'm not a full blooded Pueblo, but my grandmother instilled in me the etiquette and formalities that go along with the rituals, etc.

No money in this world will replace its aesthetic and traditional value, or damage that may be done if everyone knows about something they're not supposed to.
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Old 02-10-2004, 07:34 PM   #15
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ok, so I know I might sound terrible in the aforeparagraph about lettin' it die out and all, just a bit of clarification:

If these priceless traditions should ever be faced with having an option of allowing someone to write and record the rituals, etc. vs. the other, that being NOT allowing anyone to record them....I would choose to not allow anyone to record them.

Like those civilizations that have come to pass, there are those whose rituals may never be comprehended for we know too little about them, but maybe it was just better off that way, ya know?
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Old 02-11-2004, 01:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kiwehnzii
SEE!!!!!!!!!! See what happens.



*L* Juuussttt cute Kiwehnzii lol..just sounding like a lil kid not mockin ya..it just sounded like sooo much like my son *L* :p :Chatter :Chatter Kinda off the subject.. lol
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Old 02-11-2004, 11:16 AM   #17
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Other tribes have had to face this already. Read history, anthropology etc. and the tribes today can learn how others in the past have dealt with this problem. Many let everything die out instead of recording ritual and songs. They had their reasons. Others have recoreded almost everything, even the most sacred bundle songs and rituals. Way back in the 1880's some of the keepers took the pipes and bundles with them, others let folks recored everythin..Why each had their own reasons..Those that recorded everything said "I do not want the long history and knowledge of my tribe lost for our grandchildren" Saucy Calf. 1888
I do not know which way is best.
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Old 02-11-2004, 12:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Str8Dancer49
And to counter those morons who think this is a first amendment/free speech issue, read the Supreme Court's decision in Navajo Nation v. Native American Church.... they said that since tribes are sovereign, the first amendment doesn't necessarily apply to tribal jurisdiction over Indians.... and that sovereign right is not diminished by the label "domestic dependant nations" that the Supreme Court laid on us back in the 1830s.....

Long story short - there IS action we can take against cultural theives.... and Taos just did it.
You are correct in saying that the Navajo v. NAC decision from the 1950s or 1960s held that the U.S. Constitution (including the 1st Amendment) does not apply to tribes. That precedent reaches back to other decisions from the late 1800s.

Because of the "domestic, dependent" justification, however, that "problem" was amended by the passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act by Congress in 1968 which--with few exceptions--included the Bill of Rights. So now, instead of the U.S. Constitution, a federal statute was imposed on tribes because of Congress' "plenary power."

Under the ICRA, tribal criminal jurisdiction over its own members is limited to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Despite some challenges by non-member NDNs living on tribal land over the years (including most recently Russell Means), this jurisdiction and its limits over all NDNs holds true. Since this guy wasn't a member of that tribe, he wasn't really banished, so much as told "don't come ever come back," which tribes probably can do to any non-members, NDN or otherwise.

Just my 4 cents.
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Old 02-16-2004, 11:09 AM   #19
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Originally posted by Apachedumpling
ok, so I know I might sound terrible in the aforeparagraph about lettin' it die out and all, just a bit of clarification:

If these priceless traditions should ever be faced with having an option of allowing someone to write and record the rituals, etc. vs. the other, that being NOT allowing anyone to record them....I would choose to not allow anyone to record them.

Like those civilizations that have come to pass, there are those whose rituals may never be comprehended for we know too little about them, but maybe it was just better off that way, ya know?
right on... i was taught same way ya were...by not speaking about it besides ya know he probably yay tried to have a good heart about it by shareing his culture but he shouldve thought what happens if he shares his culture to the world and how it would be scrutinized by non-natives and ridiculed... he shouldve thought before acting..its like recording peyote songs or sundance songs...i see them so many times throughout many trading posts and i just shake my head and say what the heck here.....the thing is non natives and wannabes will never understand what is right and what is wrong ettiquett of native culture they have no respect of our ceremonies-becca
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Old 02-16-2004, 11:21 PM   #20
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None of us Natives is pagan, as we all know who God is. We have the right to protect the sanctity of our ceremonies and to exclude from them those who are not members of the tribe or even tribal members who do not behave in ways honoring to the tribe or the sanctity of the ceremony.

As a christian who on occasion worships in non-Native churches, I will walk out if someone is filming it and explain why if anyone asks. Non-Natives really do not understand why Natives feel like it is wrong, and it's difficult trying to explain the depth of reverence we have for the Sacred Things. When asked about Native ceremonies, I politely but firmly refuse to say anything about them. It DOES bother me that non-Natives think I do this because I'm trying to be "better" or that I'm engaging in "pagan" practices, but that's a burden we all have to bear. I will tell them that considering the way they've defiled and desecrated everything else we've shared with them since 1492, they have no right to ask anything else of us.

And maybe we SHOULD close our borders and keep what little we've got left. They can whine all they want to about it, but no tribe is obligated to put up with such ungracious, ignorant, selfish ookshans.
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