On October 9, 2009, two human beings died in a plastic sweat lodge conducted by self-help guru James Arthur Ray. Please remember them in your prayers along with, Liz Neuman, who remains in critical condition at the Flagstaff Medical Center, as a result of James Arthur Ray’s plastic sweat lodge in Angle Valley, Arizona.
Kirby Brown, 38, from Westtown, N.Y died in James Arthur Ray’s sweat lodge on October 9, 2009
James Shore, 40, from Milwaukee, WI died in James Arthur Ray’s sweat lodge on October 9, 2009
Lawrence Catholique, 52, from a Chipewyan First Nation's community near Yellowknife died February 9, 2009 alone in a sweat lodge in which he used wood embers.
Reverend Karen Blomberg, 54, died July 21, 2008 in a Vision Quest conducted by Wilderness Rites of Ashland, Oregon Anne Stine of was responsible for the group that was selling "elder" certificates.
Rowen Cooke, 37, Melbourne Australia died in a sweat lodge 2004
Kylie Watts, 30, Byron Bay in New South Wales died in a sweat lodge in 2003
Kirsten "Kris" Babcock, 34, Redding, California died in a sweat lodge in 2002
David Thomas Hawker, 36, of Union City, California died in a sweat lodge in 2002
Gordon Reynolds, 43, of Twickenham, West London died in a sweat lodge on November 21, 1996
Kelly Rice, 35, of Austin, Texas, housekeeper and masseuse, died of accidental heatstroke inside a sweat lodge 1993
Ronald Delgado of Santa Barbara California was killed in Archie Fire Lame Deer's 'Vision Quest' on July 12, 1980
In keeping with the tradition of letting our elders speak first, I'm posting the words of Chief Arvol Looking Horse before I write my thoughts on this tragedy.
This is Chief Arvol Looking Horse's statement on the Sweat Deaths at Angel Valley last week:
Source: Indian Country Today News
As Keeper of our Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, I am concerned
for the 2 deaths and illnesses of the many people that participated in a
sweat lodge in Sedona, Arizona that brought our sacred rite under fire in the
news. I would like to clarify that this lodge and many others, are not
our ceremonial way of life, because of the way they are being conducted. My
prayers go out for their families and loved ones for their loss.
Our ceremonies are about life and healing, from the time this ancient
ceremonial rite was given to our people, never has death been a part of
our inikag¹a (life within) when conducted properly. Today the rite is
interpreted as a sweat lodge; it is much more than that. So the term
does not fit our real meaning of purification.
Inikag¹a is the oldest ceremony brought to us by Wakan Tanka (Great
Spirit). 19 generations ago, the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people), were given
seven sacred rites of healing by a Spirit Woman Pte San Win (White
Buffalo Calf Woman). She brought these rites along with our sacred C¹anupa
(pipe) to our People, when our ancestors were suffering from a difficult time. It
was also brought for the future to help us for much more difficult times to
come. They were brought to help us stay connected to who we are as a
traditional cultural People. The values of conduct are very strict in
any of these ceremonies, because we work with spirit. The way the Creator,
Wakan Tanka told us; that if we stay humble and sincere, we will keep
that connection with the inyan oyate (the stone people), who we call the
Grandfathers, to be able to heal ourselves and loved ones. We have a
³gift² of prayer and healing and have to stay humble with our Unc¹i
Maka (Grandmother Earth) and with one another. The inikag¹a is used in all
of the seven sacred rites to prepare and finish the ceremonies, along with the
sacred eagle feather. The feather represents the sacred knowledge of our
Our First Nations People have to earn the right to pour the mini
wic¹oni (water of life) upon the inyan oyate (the stone people) in creating
Inikag¹a - by going on the vision quest for four years and four years Sundance.
Then you are put through a ceremony to be painted - to recognize that you
have now earned that right to take care of someone¹s life through
purification. They should also be able to understand our sacred language, to be able
to understand the messages from the Grandfathers, because they are ancient,
they are our spirit ancestors. They walk and teach the values of our
culture; in being humble, wise, caring and compassionate.
What has happened in the news with the make shift sauna called the sweat
lodge is not our ceremonial way of life!
When you do ceremony - you cannot have money on your mind. We deal with
the pure sincere energy to create healing that comes from everyone in that
circle of ceremony. The heart and mind must be connected. When you
involve money, it changes the energy of healing. The person wants to get what
they paid for; the Spirit Grandfathers will not be there, our way of life is
now being exploited! You do more damage than good. No² mention² of
monetary energy should exist in healing, not even with a can of love donations.
When that energy exists, they will not even come. Only after¹ the
ceremony, between the person that is being healed and the Intercessor who has
helped connect with the Great Spirit, the energy of money can be given out of
appreciation. That exchange of energy is from the heart; it is private
and does not involve the Grandfathers! Whatever gifts of appreciation the
person who received the help, can now give the Intercessor whatever they feel
their healing is worth.
In our Prophesy of the White Buffalo Calf Woman, she told us that she
would return and stand upon the earth when we are having a hard time. In 1994
this began to happen with the birth of the white buffalo, not only their
nation, but many animal nations began to show their sacred color, which is
white. She predicted that at this time there would be many changes upon
Grandmother Earth. There would be things that we never experienced or heard of
before; climate changes, earth changes, diseases, disrespect for life and one
another would be shocking and there would be also many false prophets!
My Grandmother that passed the bundle to me said I would be the last
Keeper if the Oyate (people) do not straighten up. The assaults upon
Grandmother Earth are horrendous, the assaults toward one another was not in our
culture, the assaults against our People (Oyate) have been termed as
genocide, and now we are experiencing spiritual genocide!
Because of the problems that began to arise with our rebirth of being
able to do our ceremonies in the open since the Freedom of Religion Act of
1978, our Elders began talking to me about the abuses they seen in our
ceremonial way of life, which was once very strict. After many years of witnessing
their warnings, we held a meeting to address this very issue of lack of
protocol in our ceremonies. After reaching an agreement of addressing
the misconduct of our ceremonies and reminding of the proper protocols, a
statement was made in March 2003. Every effort was made to insure our
way of life of who we are as traditional cultural People was made, because
these ways are for our future and all life upon the Grandmother Earth
(Mitakuye Oyasin All my relations), so that they may have good health. Because
these atrocities are being mocked and practiced all over the world, there was
even a film we made called ³Spirits for Sale².
The non-native people have a right to seek help from our ³First Nation
Intercessors² for good health and well-being; it is up to that
Intercessor. That is a privilege for all People that we gift for being able to have
good health and understand that their protocol is to have respect and
appreciate what we have to share. The First Nations Intercessor has to earn that
right to our ceremonial way of life in the ways I have explained.
At this time, I would like to ask all Nations upon Grandmother Earth to
please respect our sacred ceremonial way of life and stop the
exploitation of our Tunka Oyate (Spiritual Grandfathers).
In a Sacred Hoop of Life, where there is no ending and no beginning!
Namah¹u yo (hear my words),
Chief Arvol Looking Horse,
19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White
Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle.
I hope everyone subscribed will think and pray about this.
Blog Disclaimer: This is not a paid blog. I do not endorse James Arthur Ray and he has never compensated me in any way. If the FTC wants to know, I am not compensated in any way by anyone mentioned on this blog. Nothing on my blogs or websites is for sale and I advocate the purchasing of nothing.
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