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Old 05-06-2003, 12:59 AM   #1
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The Cheyenne Declaration regarding the Protection of Sacred Ceremonies

The Cheyenne Nation will seek support of the Plains Sundance Nations
for the following Declaration on May 10, 2003 at Bear Butte, South
Dakota. This Declaration was authored by the Cheyenne Nation through
its Elk Society's Headsman, Bernard Red Cherries, Jr.

__________________________________________________ ___________________

UNIFIED DECLARATION REQUESTING CEREMONIAL AND CULTURAL INTEGRITIES
PROTECTION AND REQUEST CHANGES TO THE AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS
FREEDOM ACT, RELEVANT FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR CEREMONIAL SUNDANCE,
SWEAT-LODGE AND SACRED HEALING CEREMONIALS.

October 9, 2002

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
VICE-PRESIDENT RICHARD CHENEY - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF SENATE AND CONGRESS

COMMITTEE ON
INDIAN AFFAIRS-UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

WE hereby state and declare that we were given the Sacred Sundance as
a way of offering and sacrifice by the Creator through his Prophets
and spirits, and that the Sacred Sundance Ceremony is exclusive of the
Plains tribes of which we descend. Our aforementioned Tribes practice
and maintain the Sacred Sundance, sweat lodge and continue to heal our
people in our ceremonial traditional Native healing ways. And that we
reserve the right to protect, and ensure its preservation of these
very sacred ceremonials for our People and our future generations.
These aforementioned ceremonials are exclusive of our native peoples
in our inherent right to offer sacrifice and worship not always
understood by society at large. We the aforementioned Nations have
come together in an unprecedented unified effort to seek remedy to
protect and to preserve for our future generations our sacred
Sundance, sweat lodge, and related Native American Indian healing
ceremonials. We move and state that the following be considered:

1. THAT RELEVANT CHANGES BE MADE IN THE AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS
FREEDOM ACT. We understand that this law was created for the purpose
of ensuring the Preservation of our Ceremonial and Cultural
integrities of our most sacred ceremonial prayer ways. These ways have
been left for us as a way of life and prayer _expression by our
Grandfathers, since time immemorial. We were born into this way of
life and ceremonial prayer way and do not practice any other Nations
ways of prayer or _expression, choosing to respect their ways that was
left for them by their Grandfathers, be it Christian, Muslim,
Hinduism, etc.,..

2. WE UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR INHERANT RIGHT TO WORSHIP AS
OUR GRANDFATHERS BEFORE US IN THE WAYS OF THIER GRANDFATHERS AND TO
KEEP THESE WAYS SACRED AS IT WAS IN THE TIME OF OUR GRANDFATHERS, FOR
OUR GRANDCHILDREN AND FUTURE GENERATIONS:


As the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT has recognized this ever important
factor in the Creation of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in
its induction into our system of laws, that was provided for the
benefit of our people, Native Americans. This law however has been, we
feel, manipulated and protected non-natives and those who have no
Traditional or biological connection to the peoples it was intended to
benefit, NATIVE AMERICANS. These very people are the very ones who
continue to sell and profit from our Sacred Ceremonials and ways of
life, and do not represent us but for their own motives and interests.
We the undersigned Traditional, Validated, Legitimate Spiritual
Leadership of our respective Tribes do come together in unison to
request for these relevant changes after consulting with each other
and respecting each others customs, and more importantly understanding
together the abuses, and exploitation of our most Sacred Ceremonials,
and its already devastating impacts on our Native American Peoples.
And requesting this help as it was this UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
through their Representatives in SENATE and CONGRESS assembled, that
under sec.2. of the American Indian Religious Freedom act states, THE
PRESIDENT SHALL DIRECT THE VARIOUS FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS, AGENCIES, AND
OTHER INSTRUMENTALITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTERING RELEVANT LAWS TO
EVALUATE THEIR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN CONSULTATION WITH NATIVE
AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN ORDER TO DETERMINE APPROPRIATE CHANGES
NECESSARY TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS CULTURAL
RIGHTS AND PRACTICES.
We as Traditional Spiritual Leaders and Keepers of our Traditional and
Ceremonial ways of life humbly come before you now in a unified Tribal
effort.
We feel that because of the blatant abuse of our Sacred prayer ways by
those who don't know better, nor are neither Ceremonially qualified
to give guidance continue to bring harm physically, spiritually and
emotionally to those who innocently seek their guidance for spiritual
enlightenment, sometimes resulting in grave danger or even death, as
was the case in a "Solstice sweat lodge ritual", which is not of our
culture, but imitated as such. This supposed "Native ceremony" neither
was under the guidance of a Traditionally recognized spiritual leader
or "Medicineman". And as a result two (2) people of non-native descent
died in El Dorado County, California., as was reported in the
Sacramento Bee Journal, dated June 22nd, 2002. The following
unfortunate incident is a direct result of what happens because of the
illusion of seeking "Native American ceremonial experiences" without
the proper guidance of QUALIFIED Spiritual Leaders, and combination of
Laws protecting the innocent, and the Intended protectee, The Native
Americans and their cultural & ceremonial integrities. We hope that
these unfortunate incidents can altogether be avoided with the proper
relevant changes to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, making
it impossible for those non-natives to lead these sacred ceremonials,
taking into account the element of our "Native language" which is our
key component in summoning the Powers and Sacred Elements in prayer
and song and which is exclusive of the Native Americans in our
Inherent right to worship in the ways of our Grandfathers and theirs
before them. Each Tribe has their own Traditional laws that govern
their ways of life and ceremonials, each provides for the traditional
laws relevant for our protection and safety and guidance. These laws
cannot exist and do the most benefit for the preservation of our
sacred ways and for the protection of those non-natives who seek
native traditional spirituality without the coordination of the UNITED
STATES SENATE AND CONGRESS, through their representatives. All across
this land and overseas as well, our Native Traditional ceremonials are
being exploited in a fad like fashion, without regard to the impact
it's effects will have on our Children and future generations, already
we hold on desperately to what we have left, we are the Leadership
entrusted by our customary traditional laws to uphold and to preserve
our most Sacred Ways. We also feel that because of the blatant abuses
and exploitations of our most Sacred Ceremonials, that this Earth and
its inhabitants are out of balance and would rather resist this
endeavor than to favor a stand on preserving our most Sacred Ways. We
also at this time humbly and respectfully request of our white
brothers and sisters to cease leadership, authoritarian and
interpretive roles in our traditional ceremonies. We request this as
we need to restore balance and harmony to our traditional ceremonies
and spiritual ways of life. Moreover this document does not address
the participation of non-natives in these ceremonies as actual
participants, this is at the discretion of each tribe who have in
place already existing traditional laws that address this issue. Each
tribe since time immemorial have customary laws that address concerns
relevant to this protection endeavor, and respects these traditional
laws of each Nation as it pertains to their tribal customs. Our
foremost concern is for the leadership and interpretations of our
Sacred ceremonials and to maintain and stabilize our ceremonial and
cultural integrities of the aforementioned spiritual ways. We also
have made it very clear that this is not a document of hatred or
dissention of which its contents efforts have been mistakenly
identified, but a very simple plea for the preservation of our most
Sacred Ceremonial integrities, which are priceless and irreplaceable.
We also understand that some Tribes make concessions allowing for the
participation of other Tribes and non natives into their sacred
ceremonials, however keeping for their own the cultural and ceremonial
integrities, preserved in song and language. We have also identified
and all agreed that our key component in communicating with the
Creator, Earth, Sacred beings, Stars, Moons, Seasons, Animals, Sacred
Grandfathers and Grandmothers is our Native Language and songs which
are priceless and irreplaceable and cannot be duplicated or fully
rationalized by non natives. We believe that the guidance and
interpretations of our Sacred Ceremonials belongs to the Traditional
Leadership, made possible because of their Spiritual and physical
participation in their Tribes Sacred Ceremonials earning this right
and having been customarily taught the contents of these
aforementioned Ceremonials, thus making it possible to offer the
Sacred Ceremonials at the customary required and much needed times. We
come to you seeking remedy and consultation as it is this UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA IN SENATE AND CONGRESS ASSEMBLED that guaranteed the
protection through it's creation of the AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS
FREEDOM ACT.

"WE HAVE MET IN TRADITIONAL COUNCIL AND UNANIMOUSLY CONCUR THAT THE
EXISTANCE OF OUR PEOPLE AND SACRED WAYS DEPENDS ON THE DEPTH OF OUR
AWARENESS ABOUT THE EXPLOITATION OF OUR CULTURE. OUR CONCERN FOR THE
FUTURE GENERATIONS AND OUR SUPPORT FOR ONE ANOTHER CAN BE BENIFICIAL
TO ALL OUR PEOPLES BY HOW WELL WE SUPPORT ONE OTHER"


WE CONCUR ON THIS ENDEAVER TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE OUR CEREMONIAL AND
CULTURAL INTEGRETIES AND THE WAYS OF OUR GRANDFATHERS FOR OUR
GRANDCHILDREN AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
__________________
"We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume
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Old 07-12-2003, 10:21 PM   #2
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"We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume
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Old 07-13-2003, 01:08 AM   #3
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I bump for too good article.:clap: :clap:
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Old 07-13-2003, 06:12 PM   #4
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Good to see that there are still elders out there who want to save what is ours. I pray to tunkasila they are sucessful. Its high time someone took action to stop washcu's from stealing what little is left of our cultural indentity. 500 years of this is quite enough.
Heard the inipi that was put up by those washicu's resulting in the death of two of them was due to the fact they covered he inipi with blue plastic tarp. Hot air released poisonous fumes. Unfortunate it was, but that is what happens whenyou aren't qualified to do ceremony. Spirits have a way of showing their displeasure.
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