Indians in "playing Indian", buzzwords andsymbols which grant an aura of "Indianness" to language and activites, for an appearance of authenticity.

Symbols

The Coyote Figure is displayed consistently in The Great Round Newsletter. The Coyote is a Native American trickster figure. It often is the first teacher, an intermediary between the higher spirit and mortals, particularly prominent in teachings for children. Coyote stories are morality tales like Aesop's Fables and constitute a Native American literary genre. This figure is demeaned by Sedonia, Bird Brother and The Great Round, and used as a cartoon prop speaking slang or poor English. For instance, A Spring l989 newsletter inclludes the following poem:

ONE LAST COYOTE POEM-you like this newsletter? You wanna keep getting copies? You think this doesn't cost us anything? Hey, Sedonia needs your help...Please send some bucks if you haven't recently, to help pay for newsletter repro and mailing.

Activities

1. All ceremonies (pipe ceremonies, sweatlodges, vision quests, Indian chanting, medicine circles).

2. Various instructions on "how to" feather tying, making tobacco ties, making prayer arrows, making shields, making medicine bundles (including eagle feathers which are federally protected for use only by Native Americans), making amulets which include menstrual blood, pubic hair and fluids from genitalia.

 

3. Ancient gambling games like bone games.

4. Indian name giving, medicine name giving, honoring with feathers and using pipes. The use of the Pipe in a ceremonial way and the carrying of a pipe is by itself, without any other imitation or borrowing, a desecration of a ritual object sacred to the Plains people.

Based on the above list of linguistic habits, activities, symbols and publications, there is no doubt that Sedonia Cahill, Bird Brother and the organization of The Great Round, as do similar groups, present themselves to the public as teachers of Native American ways. They are indeed imitators, despite their claim to the contrary, to being "innovators and creators" of ritual, as put forward by Sedonia in her last publication (Summer l992 Earth Circle News). "I have not known anyone in this community to copy ceremonies from any other people. We are innovators and creators.." Such a statement does not need any further elaboration, in the light of the review of the activities just described. The pretense to innovation and the denial of imitation ring false. These phrases, activites, and ritual behavior have been learned from "teachers" whom they name in their publications. Almost all of these "teachers" are themselves non-Indian, often considered impersonators of Indians, and not trained in Native American traditional ways.

Expert and false teachers

'Teachers from these various traditions, including Native American teachers, have specifically shared rituals with the intent that they continue to

 

 

 

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