[a person on one of the lists I frequent] wrote, [snip] "I've occasionally had a vision of what appears to be a kind and gentle Native American, who's named "Uhmgoo" wearing Indian garb made from pure white feathers."[snip]
I responded, [Name of person] I am sure you did not mean to cause offense. However, here are some pointers to what many Native Americans feel about non-Indians usurping what the non-Indians assume to be Native American religious practice.
Native American [First Nations, American Indian] spirituality
[snip] This page is to discuss the borrowing of Native American spiritual rituals. This issue has become a grave and very sensitive issue to many of us. They say that imitation the sincerest form of flattery, but we don't view it this way. While I feel that learning about others views is a good thing, borrowing from our beliefs or otherwise bastardizing them is a very insulting and bad thing to do.
Gohiyuhi means respect in Cherokee.
The goal of this website to educate people about the myth of 'Native American Spirituality'. That there is, essentially, no such thing. Every Nation has their own spiritual beliefs and practices. Some of them are as close to each other as say, Protestantism and Catholicism, some are as far apart as Hinduism and Shintoism. Each are unique and beautiful. You can not learn them through workshops or reading books, because they are practiced by communities, for the communities.
We are all familar with the typical stereotypes of Native Americans.
[snip] We are so used to seeing the Land o'Lakes Indian maiden, the various school mascots, mascots of professional sports teams, etc. that we forget what effect these images have on the ideas we have of the people they represent, or on the personal image of the children of these people as they must learn to live in this society. [snip] Here we present a reading list for those who would like to learn about real Native Americans, from Native American writers writing both fiction and non-fiction. We hope you will gain a far better sense of who the people who populated this continent before the invasion that began in 1492 occured.
American Indian peoples live in the real world, and Web sites by and about Indian peoples live on the Web. Just as Indians are sometimes treated fairly in the real world, the Web contains sites that show Indians in respectful ways with accurate information, quality products to sell, and as whole human beings with real lives. Just as Indian peoples are sometimes treated wrongly in the real world, the Web also contains sites that use inaccurate and damaging "information", and portray Native peoples as either less or more than human, or as products to be exploited and sold in some fashion (especially Native spirituality).
Declaration of War against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality [In 1993] At the Lakota Summit V, an international gathering of US and Canadian Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations, about 500 representatives from 40 different tribes and bands of the Lakota unanimously passed a "Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality."