and namegiving is social recognition.
Medicine Wheels and teachings
The terminology of The Great Round teachings is identical to that of Harley Swift Deer Reagan as worded in his Apprentice Manual. "Tonal" and "Nagual" shields are terms borrowed by both Mr. Reagan and Sedonia Cahill from Carlos Castenada. Castenada's work is not validated by Yaqui spiritual leaders (personal conversation between Helene Hagan and Alfonso Valencia, Spiritual Head, Pasquale Yaqui Reservation, Arizona), or in anthropological circles. Yet, Sedonia's reading list for vision quests includes his work, with the books of Lynn Andrews and others. Lynn Andrews has been instrumental in propagating the non-existent "Sisterhood of the Shields"". She has been shown to peddle fantasy, and heads the list of "fake medicine people." The vision quest reading list also includes the writings of Jamake Highwater, a well-known Indian impersonator who actually was an Armenian ballet dancer in San Francisco.
Shields are associated with warrior paraphernalia and carry such a meaning in warrior societies of several nations of North America. They displayed honors obtained on the battlefield and were exhibited by the entrance of a tipi, as a coat of arms, so to speak. They carried no spiritual significance, but were held in great respect, for they depicted the high deeds of many valorous warriors. The making and use of shields by Sedonia Cahill and others is another misappropriation, distortion and abuse of meaningful Indian ways torn out of their contexts. The making of shields is part of Sedonia Cahill's and Bird Brother's
There are many individuals in Northern California teaching the making of
shields, as if it were an Indian ritual or ceremonial act of great
The Sun Dance Ritual, the "Prune Dance," the
"Flowering Tree Ceremony" and other such gatherings
The specific indications that the teachings of the Great Round are connected to the practice of the Sun Dance which is strictly a Plains ceremony, is the statement on the part of one of the members of the group that some attend the Swift Deer Sun Dance and a photograph from her recently published book . Such practice of the Sun Dance, without understanding the profound context of Lakota society and the place of this ritual in that context, is a travesty of a sacred ritual. The parody of a ritual, divested of its original intent within a given community where all ritual phases are interlinked in a specific way, is quite evident in the spurious sun dances held outside Indian communities.
The Medicine Wheel, which is used for ceremonies and the structure of the Vision Quest, is borrowed straight out of General Storm's book Seven Arrows, and is also at the core of all Deer Tribe teachings. Thus, Sedonia duly acknowledges Harley Swift Deer on page 15 of her book: "I give special thanks...to Harley Swift Deer for his beautiful and inspiring Medicine Wheel Teachings" .
(Other acts of desecration include) the Vision Quest paraphernalia such as making tobacco ties, making prayer arrows, cornmeal offerings etc. Imitations and borrowings from
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