Friday, October 16, 2009

Someone DID Die in a Sweat Lodge: Arvol Looking Horse's Thoughts

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.

In Memorium

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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Anonymous said...

Remember the story of Inktomi. When he heard the mice singing and dancing in the skull. How he wanted so bad to, be included. Well, that story is like this. People, in search of, whatever their explanation or description of their search, look to many different "religions" Hearing what had happened I am rememberd of the movement started by Bernard Red Cherries. He was originally supported by a Medicine Man from the Pine Ridge Reservation. Than, he was not, but, he pushed forward. Arvol Looking Horse supported his effort, HOWEVER, many "Lakota" people felt this was wrong because...the pipe was for "ALL" people and not just the Lakota or Sioux. I remember this movement...The articles written about Mr. Red Cherries in the Lakota his movement to prevent this ended at Bear Butte amongst many Lakota spiritual leaders.....My question is...When are the Sioux...going to unite and protect this way of life...put a patent on it or keep others from making it their own because they "know" or were "adopted" by a Sioux..its happening. Soon, the Sioux will be watching a Sun Dance of Non Sioux. Now, leaders are filing in court etc. This could have been prevented if, leaders would say...OK. There are not 1000 Chiefs and 1 Indian out there. Sioux people, we need to protect this way of life. Like the constitution of the United States...from all enemies..forgien and domestic. That pertains to us...lets keep this way of life Sioux...because every year....these people make a "pilgrimage" to our reservations for a week. and leave..they don't live this way and we always say..this way is a life..not a religion. Lets enforce this with the laws already in place. Are we Sioux going to lose the right to dance with an eagle feather because we are going to protect a white man's supposed right to do this because he came to our sun dances for five years....talked good to us. Rememvber...they always leave. Next time, lets let them and tell em...go to YOUR home....this way of life is OURS.

Anonymous said...

I forgot. I want to clerify this...Arvol Looking Horse and Bernard Red Cherries...made a Declaration to initiate this "protection". But, if I remember correctly, the Lakota spiritual leaders stopped this. Why? WHY? Just remember. Jesus came to them. White Buffalo Calf came to the Sioux...Lakota. She did not come and say...your nation will flourish ALONG with Others. That this way is for you and THEM. It was for us. Plain and simple. Any person trying to say..its for all people...have other agendas. How many non natives out we see. Who knows John Crazy Horse aka John Crow Dog. What has this man or his ancestors ever done to help our people. Were they with us. Do they freeze with us in the winter...get commods with us. No, because. His time to play indian is about two weeks a year. This man is an example of what needs to stop. We have..Indian ministers..pastors...etc. But remember..they brought that to us. They were missionaries. Brought the word to us. How many times have the Sioux...ALL together said. We need to save "OTHERS"? So, I feel that ALL the Spiritual leaders of the Sioux need to come together and say...Enough. We need to do something to protect this. AND, after the meeting no one leader can go off and say...I was given this way to give to Non Sioux. Our Sioux way stems from one way...althought interrepted different ways...its still has a core..that is for the Sioux to flourish. So let us flourish and help ourselves before we help others. Non Sioux..they all have a way of life GIVEN to them. As do we. Lets quit protecting these non Sioux. We need a way to stop this....we do.

bredcherries said...

It was very important than and it is equally important now to "protect and preserve" our Sacred customary & traditional ways of "life". At the time I was fighting to encourage the Lakota to join this effort and endorse this protection measure I had the energy of 10 warriors. Today along with 5 deaths in my family, and a near death myself in January I have chosen to approach this subject carefully, and again voice my concerns. If the lakota people want to continue to make sweat-lodge & Sundance leaders of non-natives I suppose that is there rights to do so, "however" non of them (non-natives) will ever again attempt to tell me how to pray with my Grandfathers sacred pipe!!!!! I would like to continue to mention that I appreciate Arvol Lookinghorse, Leland Littledog, Carter Camp, Lenny Foster and Calvin Iron Shell (deceased) for there wholehearted support. And I assure you all that this issue is still ongoing. Thank you for your prayers and support. Ha-ho Bernard Red Cherries

Anonymous said...

john crow dog scammer who adopted 3 children and turned them into (indians) they are whiter than white.. It is sickening how they brainwashed them.. and now grandchildren are getting brainwashed..

Anonymous said...

I am one of his adopted children. Kinda crazy how he can go from john wesner to john crazy horse to john crow dog.right? And claim to be this and that. Then adopt three small children when they were 6 yrs old and two 7 month old twins. As i can assure you all we never asked for any of this. We never asked to be or play indian. We never asked for the last name crow dog to be put on us as well. If i was old enough to make that decision when i was 7 months old and knew then what i know now, i would have never let it happen. It has caused me soo many painful nights crying my eyes out because how im treated. I just want to be me and not known as john Crow Dogs daughter. I dont like how people chastise me because of the lies he has told. Ill tell everyone who wants to know: i am white! Yes i am. But being as sincere as i can be, this is the only way of life i know. I love it and respect it as it should be.

Anonymous said...

Sad.. but true. But i guess now its our turn to be the bigger person and change the outcome.

Don't Pay To Pray said...

Thank you for having the courage to speak out about this. I pray we can all judge each other as individuals one day. I'm sorry for your pain.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I just want the truth to be known! I dont want me daughter to have to go through want i went through.. so im trying my hardest to change this cycle.

Anonymous said...

the person posting as Crowdog's daughter on this forum is a fake. very transparent and obvious to anyone who knows the family.

Anonymous said...

there is much conflict over LAKOTA life and what it's based upon and what its for. Also people talk to defend others and bash others. if one truly knows what this is then, why so many things said in a hurtful way? yes there are people playing medicine men, but there are also self proclaimed chiefs. the one true thing through the chuhnupah is that it was meant from love from creator himself. never to hurt others through word or prayer. so there is knowledge and also the wakinyas, whom are the truth and the whole truth... they are the ones to tell you that the pipe is for helping one another, your families and people period and most importantly carrying humbleness with your PIPE... you can be your own worst enemy when you carry a pipe or you can be the PEOPLES best friend with sincerity. you can fool others and lye to yourself, but you cant fool the wakinyans...

Anonymous said...

the person that's posting as crowdogs daughter is not a fake. she has just come to know all of his lies..

fieryrainshadow said...

~ I feel called to comment here. I was raised believing I was white. In my heart I felt 'different' my skin was darker than my peers. My heart was bigger than my friends, and most of my family. As I grew older, I began searching for ancestors, asking questions, background, history. I did not feel that I fit in with society, my surroundings. Truth is, I did not. I only felt that I fit in, and belonged at the river, at the ocean, at the lake, surrounded with trees. I was informed by my maternal grandmother, and later my father of my heritage. It only gave truth to my own belief, answers. I feel the need to explain, I still feel segregation being made. There was a time, when our ancestors would in fact take in 'white' children as raise them as their own. And that was a loving act. A selfless act. Could one imagine a child left in the wild? No matter their color? What if you or I was left a child alone? It saddens me thinking that we all see 'self' as such a tiny perspective. When we Unite as see Native as our heart, and follow our ancestors guidance with Great Spirit above, then we shall know what true, unconditional love really is. We just need to learn discernment. That is where we need to align our heart and our minds with Great Spirit, and that I believe is the subject matter of this post. Not who is white, or Native. Or segregating ourselves. This hurts my heart. We have not learned, if this is our belief. I am growing day by day with my growth as Shaman woman, I hope everyone can understand the love in each others heart, as I do mine, and Great Spirit above. Blessings for giving me the moment to share ~ fieryrainshadow

Anonymous said...

As I am reading through these comments, I must say my personal experience has lead me to believe Native peoples should be the ones to hold the sacred space of the Sweat Lodge. I was living on the property of the Shamanic Fellowship when I was awakened at 4:45am on 6/22/02 to the sound of awake up awake up m2 people died in the Lodge, after thinking it was a play on words I realized the panic in the woman voice was no joke. As the day unfolded I was to observe some behaviors that still to this day boggle my mind, remember 2 humans passed from this life and "The People" seemed to be more concerned with the Leader who is a White woman and talks a good talk but gets Give away's for her medicine after reading what I have today I really believe that a Native should do this medicine and Vision Quests not a person who wasn't raised in this way of life. I am white and I have my own belief system but I do not feel its okay to infringe on another's sacred way of life especially at the expense of family's losing loved ones in a "Death Sweat". Please continue your good work to stop these shams from being used for a white woman's gain, although she will tell the outside world she doesn't charge I have not ever seen her do her "medicine" without a give away basket at the front of the circle. So bottom line keep your medicine sacred with the people it was handed down to.

Jeff said...

Is there anyone who can help me with some information about "Maka Oyate Sundance? I have discovered a site outside Ashland oregon and am trying to learn about it. I have very little information about it all. I have several photos of the site. Please help or pass on to someone who can. Thanks. Jefc

Anonymous said...

native American association in Germany is now in charge of the Dakota
and now will rewrite all the Lakota laws

Anonymous said...
we do a sweatlodge weekly in germany
Native American Association
of Germany
indian chief Carmen Kwasny

Anonymous said...

Carmen Kwasny
i love my sweatlodge it the best thing that happen to me

Anonymous said...

Carmen Kwasny aKa carmen eagle
Schwitzhütten, Feuerzeremonien, Trommelabende in der Natur für Kinder und Erwachsene.
Wir bauen dir deine Schwitzhütte auch bei dir Zuhause.

Anonymous said...

plastic sweat lodge is ok with me
Spiritual leaders of the Sioux
i have a plastic sweat lodge here in germany
and it never been any problem

Anonymous said...

Native American Association
of Germany eV we do sweat lodge weekly

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Carmen Kwasny
Address: Rodenbacher Str. 22, 67661 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Phone: +49 6301 5930

Carmen Kwasny woman claims she Dakota medicine woman by birth

Anonymous said...

KuuNa - Culture and Nature Carmen Kwasny Eisackerstr. 7 67734 Katzweiler Tel .: 06301-60 966 40. E-Mail: ...

booking a Lakota medicine woman Carmen Kwasny is a full blood medicine woman of the Lakota

Carmen Kwasny
Native American Association of Germany