Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bad, Bad Shaman

Title 1


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, and so on. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Racism!


Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text

It's 2010, and Cafe Press is selling what is calls "Squaw ornaments."


Text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text


Text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text


Text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text


Text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text


Text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text Text text text text text text text text text



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, and so on. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween: The Most Racist Day of the Year

Growing up in the Michigan parochial school system, we were told by the sisters that the word Hallow’een was a contraction of All Hallows Eve, and that Hallow meant holy or sacred. We were told that on this night when the border between the worlds became blurred, the Celtic tribes believed that the spirits of the dead were allowed to come back to earth. Because they believed that the spirits of the dead could walk among the world of the living, they feared what the spirits might do to them, and tried to disguise themselves to fool the spirits into believing that they weren’t living.

As an impressionable Native girl, that seemed pretty awesome to me back then. Unfortunately, all these traditions have been lost in a materialistic society that transforms everything into a commodity. Sex sells the best in the mainstream media, and this is reflected in the choices that young women make in Halloween costumes. I’ve heard that there are some college parties where women are not allowed to attend unless they are dressed "sexy." The backlash against feminist values is even more chilling when the costumes use other people’s ethnicity to appease the demands of a generation of young white men whose sexual attitudes were constructed almost entirely from pornography. As an indigenous woman, it is disheartening to see how a spiritually bankrupt, pornographic youth culture has transformed All Hallows eve into an opportunity to get drunk and engage in minstrelsy, abusing my image in the process.

While there have been many bloggers objecting to the hyper-sexualization of children and young girls and to the racist element of playing with another human being’s ethnicity on this day, there has been very little written from the perspective of indigenous women, who must confront both misogyny and racism on this day that once carried the connotation of "holy."

My Grandmother always taught me that my female body is sacred. She frequently reminded me that when something is sacred, you cover it. When something is for sale, you put it on display. It wasn’t easy to follow these values as a teen-ager when I wanted to fit in with the other girls, but I am extremely grateful for these teachings today. All of my Native girlfriends are outraged at the way our images are being sold against our will and marketed for the perverse enjoyment of the dominant portion of society.

The most common rationalization put forth by non-Indians engaging in Halloween minstrelsy is that it’s just “harmless fun.” The question I have is, harmless to whom?

I have no doubt that the average college student is unaware that the representation of indigenous women in media has a direct correlation with how we are viewed by society. I’m certain that the young woman hoping to give herself the illusion of being "exotic" by dressing as an Indian princess never stops to think that is a correlation between the objectification and dehumanization of indigenous women and real world violence perpetrated against them.
Over the last 30 years, the Native Women's Association of Canada has chronicled over 600 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

Amnesty International published a report in 2007 that concluded that "Indigenous women face higher incidences of rape/sexual assault than other racial/ethnic groups of women."

They found that, "Sexual violence against Indigenous women in the USA is widespread -- and especially brutal. According to US government statistics, Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the USA."

Maze of Injustice

Violence Against Women

"While it's estimated that 1 out of 6 American women will be raped and/or sexually assaulted in her lifetime, more than 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in her lifetime."

While it is common for non-Natives to assume that Native men are the cause of all this violence, 70% of sexual violence against Native women is committed by non-Natives.

No group of people is more hyper-sexualized on Halloween (and the rest of the year) in America than indigenous women. The Indian Princess is one of the most popular "sexy" costumes. Still, it is difficult for white people to look honestly at the power dynamics in the society where they enjoy the top rung on an artificial and unjust racial hierarchy.

When you objectify and dehumanize a human being, it makes it easier to exploit and sexually violate that human being.

The lack of positive images of indigenous women and the distorted and sexist media image lead to real world- role-playing of racist stereotypes about us on Halloween. This leads to real world violence perpetuated against us. Psychiatrists have well documented that there is a causal link between dehumanization of a group of people and violence against them. The work of Phil Zimbardo who did the Stanford prison experiment documents this very well, but those who are blinded by their own whiteness cannot see this.

Phil Zimbardo interviewed by Steven Hassan

Another way that some people avoid talking about Halloween minstrelsy is to claim that one person’s fun is another person’s degradation. My response is, the person having fun is allowed to be a full human person, but the person feeling degraded has been reduced to an object and is not being thought of as a person by the one just having “fun.” The person doing the objectifying has the point of view that is in error. The person being objectified has the more realistic perspective because she is aware that she is not an object.

Stereotypes reduce whole human beings to objects. The harmful impact of both negative and so-called positive stereotypes on Native Youth has also been well documented.

Blue Corn Comics

I would further argue that there is no such thing as a positive stereotype because reducing an individual even to a positive caricature, still limits her humanity.
Native women have had to confront the two opposing stereotypes of squ*w/princess for centuries. The two complete opposites of the sexless squ*w as workhorse and the hyper sexualized princess who is desperate for a white man, have been used to dehumanize indigenous women and keep them from full participation in society for centuries. Even today, well-intentioned white liberals still see indigenous people in terms of simplistic dichotomies. Our men are either lazy drunks and strident militants or spiritual servants and brave eco warriors. We women are either licentious harlots or wise earthy elders. That doesn’t leave much room in between for our true humanity.

A friend of mine recently saw a preview of the documentary Reel Injun. The documentary revealed that before the 1930s, indigenous people were depicted in a broad range, but after the great depression hit, Hollywood began to produce images of indigenous people as savages. The country was on hard times and it needed a less powerful group to hate. There’s a stunning parallel to the way that immigrants and Muslims are portrayed during the current "recession."

Media images served as a powerful tool to legitimate the taking of indigenous resources. The white population didn’t feel any guilt in the forced acculturation of Native American children because they had been slowly conditioned to view them as savage, less than human and in need of civilizing. It’s easier to seize natural resources and force human beings into virtual slavery if you have been conditioned to see them as less than human. Hollywood deliberately perpetuated racist stereotypes about Native Americans to make it easier to take gold, silver, uranium and land from us. Keeping these stereotypes alive today in the imagination of privileged white American youth will make it easier to continue to use reservations as toxic waste dumps and to continue to seize our resources.

The "Sexy squ*w" costume, where indigenous women are depicted as promiscuous animals, has always been the most offensive Halloween costume to me. This year, when I was surfing the net, I started to notice something – all the women were posed in the exact same fashion. If you survey the costumes available to young women, you will see that all the models have been posed in the exact same manner. They are all scantily clad, barefoot or wearing skimpy high heels and carrying a squ*w axe (or some other weapon). I started asking myself, how do all these different companies know to pose all the models in the exact same way? Well the answer has to be that they are all working from their imaginations that have been shaped by the exact same stereotype.

I looked for a historical precedent and I found what I’ll call the "squ*w on the warpath" stereotype. It is a subset of the "Indian Princess" stereotype, but with the added element of danger. The Pocahontas stereotype is offensive to me because it depicts indigenous women as subservient, passive and existing only for the sexual pleasure of the white men she craves. This emerging stereotype has another dimension to it. The indigenous woman is depicted armed and angry. That anger is not justifiable anger that every treaty that has ever been made between indigenous nations and the United States government has been broken. The women are depicted as sexually desirable and vulnerable, yet armed and irrationally angry and therefore in need or conquering. And who gets to do the conquering? White men of course. The white men who control the college parties where young women exploit themselves are given the privilege of constructing indigenous women according to their own desires and fears – mostly fears of losing their undeserved privileges in the society where they dominate. This "harmless fun" serves to reinforce the racial and sexual domination of indigenous women.

The first use of the "squ*w on the warpath" stereotype that I could find was Carrie Nation. She carried on a prohibition campaign swinging what she termed a "squ*w axe" and tried to used the stereotypical savagery and irrational anger of the Native American woman to her political advantage. In the late 1950’s movies such as "White Squ*w" depicted scantily clad Native women (always played by white women) who were irrationally angry and needed to be subdued by the superior white man. Loretta Lynn came right out and used the term "squ*w on the warpath" as the title for her album. You can see she used the pose from Hollywood movies. When the hippies first started to appropriate Native American images in the 1960’s, the band 1910 Fruitgum Company knew to use this pose in their album cover. And in 2010, Neytiri the blue Avatar has an action figure that is posed in the exact same way. Even people who consider themselves to be liberal have been indoctrinated with these racist and sexist images of indigenous women. The indoctrination is so slow and so complete that they don’t realize it.

A 2010 version of the "squ*w on the warpath" stereotype: Neytiri from Avatar

Playing with racial stereotypes is about power. Those with white skin privilege have chosen to do the defining. Those of us without it are dismissed as hyper-sensitive and told to spend our time on issues that whites define for us as being more important. Those of you reading this that have white skin privilege and think it’s just harmless fun to try on the ethnicity of others, need to realize that dehumanization is the essential processes in the transformation of “good” well-intentioned people into perpetrators of evil. There will be a lot of racist idiocy tomorrow among people of every political persuasion, every race, age and sexual orientation. It’s time to put a stop to it.

There is no reason why you have to succumb to media indoctrination. There is no reason why Halloween has to be the most racist day of the year. As feminists, humanists, and white anti-racists allies, you can challenge undignified images that misrepresent indigenous people. You can chose to talk about racial stereotypes when you see people “just having fun” with other people’s ethnicity on Halloween. We all need to start honestly discussing who has the power to define others in this society and how we can view all human beings in their full humanity and not as one dimensional stereotypes.

When you are in a position of power, you have a responsibility NOT to mock people who are not in a position of power. Racial stereotypes only function are to reinforce outdated notions of white supremacy. You can choose not to engage in the degradation of your fellow human beings. You can contact he companies who manufacture these costumes and inform them how inappropriate they are. Ethnic costumes are meant to produce a reaction. If you are reading this, you now know that the reaction they produce in indigenous women is one of outrage and offense. If you know something offends a marginalized group of people, then why continue to do it? It’s time to turn Halloween back into a night that is sacred, by respecting all women’s bodies and respecting the dignity of all human beings.

Here is the Hall of Shame:

The top companies who are marketing racist Halloween costumes:
(Most of these companies are in Australia or the UK, co-incidentally, the parts of the world where fake Native American "shamanism" is most prevalent.)

Some of the businesses have already removed their "sexy Indian" costumes.


American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Canadian women and girls from rural areas are prime targets for sex traffickers.

Missing and murdered Aboriginal women

Like Minded Bloggers



Native Appropriations: Rachael Zoe as "Makeshift Indian Warrior"

Paris Hilton was a drunk sexy indian for Halloween

Paris Hilton as a "Sexy Indian": the Halloween Fallout Begins

Angry Navajo/Indian Girl

My Identity is not a costume for you to wear

"appropriating the identities of racial minorities and perpetuating stereotyping isn’t cool at Halloween or any other time."

The S-Word: The Squaw Stereotype in American Popular Culture

Racialicious: Take Back Halloween

Lightweight Racist

Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and the Engagement of the Racial Other


MS. - They fail to mention racist costumes hmmm

Halloween Breeds Sexism

Collection of sexist and inappropriate Halloween costumes (at least they included Indian princess)

Halloween Costumes for Feminists

Halloween Can Sometimes Be More Of A Trick Than A Treat


Killing the Indian Maiden: Images of Native American Women in Film


For all the white folks out there who still just don’t get it

Tim Wise-The Pathology of White Privilege Part 1/6

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

James Arthur Ray's Trial Date Set

James Ray's trial date has been set for August 31st.

The autopsy reports show that Kirby Brown and James Shore died of heat stroke and Liz Neuman died of massive organ failure and hyper thermia from prolonged exposure to excessive heat.

The families of the victims wanted Judge Warren Darrow to withhold the autopsy photographs and all but the first and last pages of the autopsy report. Thankfully, he respected their wishes.

Please remember James, Liz and Kirby in your prayers today.

The Camp Verde Bugle reports that the trial should run from August 31 to approximately December 17th. If the trial continues the expected 56 days, jurors will only be paid $672.00 during that time, so only those who can afford to take that much time off will be able to judge whether Ray is guilty of manslaughter.

James Arthur Ray has plead not guilty to three counts of manslaughter. It's clear that he has the means to hire a legal team to engage in an extended legal battle to assure his acquittal. Since James Ray refused to issue any refunds, part of his defense may actually be financed with money from the deceased.

Arizona has been hit hard by the recession and very few lower to middle class people are likely to welcome extended jury duty. Consequently, James Ray is likely to have a disgruntled jury.

On the other hand, Ray may face a jury of individuals who also make their living selling spiritual quackery to unsuspecting tourists who may want to make an example of him to protect the fake-shame-man industry. Or they may be reluctant to make an example of Ray for fear of being prosecuted themselves one day.

What about the tendency of Arizona juries to nullify the law of criminal negligence? Can James Ray’s well -paid legal team convince a jury to reject the law out of concern for the fate of this particular defendant? Will plastic sweat lodge peddlers be willing to convict another plastic sweat lodge peddler?

Will the prosecution be able to assemble 12 people who can’t get out of jury duty and who are able to understand and follow the jury instructions? From the information I’ve gathered about Sedona, the jury may be composed predominantly of New Age enthusiasts who distrust logic and reason and are intellectually incapable of evaluating the evidence. Are there 12 people in Sedona who have 3-4 months to kill and who possess the basic cognitive skills to rationally evaluate the evidence and render a fair verdict?

I can just imagine the voir dire questions:

Do you believe that aliens from the Pleiades are influencing our lives on earth?

How often do you receive channeled messages from the archangel Michael?

How many times have you had your chakras aligned in a pay-to-pray sweat lodge?

What kind of sweat lodge are you currently running?

Do you believe the Universe is your cosmic ATM, willing to hand out all the prosperity you ask of it?

Can you see my aura right now?

I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.

For the latest updates on this case, follow the hashtags:
#jamesray or #deathlodge on twitter

Read More About It:

Fidel, N. (1991). Preeminently a political institution: The right of Arizona juries to nullify the law of criminal negligence. Arizona State Law Journal, 23, 1-60.

Horowitz, Irwin A. (2001). Jury Nullification: Legal and Psychological Perspectives. Brooklyn Law Review


March 19, 2010

Stephen Ray Interview Transcript

"I think he was grossly negligent and I think he should have to suffer the consequences of that." – Stephen Ray

Stephen Ray gave testimony that James Ray had a bucket of water that he used to splash himself and his assistants, but offered no relief to the participants who paid thousands of dollars for harmonic wealth. Ray also testified that James Ray was adamant about having everyone take a teaspoon full of salt, which only dehydrates a person faster.

"I mean there was a call that he had after which was supposed to be for participants and one of his underlings spoke up and said, 'the people that passed away were in another place and were having so much fun that they just didn't want to come back'. And I thought that was the biggest crock of crap that I've ever heard in my life." – Stephen Ray

Detective Diskin informs Stephen Ray that even if James Ray is acquitted, the Yavapai County prosecutor can still charge Ray with nearly 50 aggravated assaults on behalf of the survivors with neurological problems.

March 18, 2010

Records in Arizona sweat lodge case offer details

"Stephen Ray, who was among the 18 people hospitalized following the ceremony, said he hasn't recouped his sense of taste or smell and still has ringing in his ears, severe headaches and trouble sleeping.

He said "James Ray showed a callous disregard for the participants because of his own ego and greed."


Verde Independent
The "accidental" ruling by the coroner will not change James Ray's prosecution status

Prescott Daily Courier
The main issue in the James Ray manslaughter case will be his recklessness and disregrad for human life.

Autopsy Report released 3/17/2010 by the Arizona Daily Star


Prescott E-news James Ray Appears In Court As Trial Date is Set
This report contains audios of the judge setting the trial date.

Crimesider: Sweat Lodge Autopsies Show People Died from Heat Stroke and Organ Failure

Autopsy reports released in AZ sweat lodge deaths

Verde Independent
James Arthur Ray trial to take 3 to 4 months

Camp Verde Bugle:
James Ray trial to take up to 4 months


WKBT Channel 8
Judge issues orders in sweat lodge case

News Talk Radio 97.5
AZ Judge To Decide On Withholding Pics, Autopsy In Ray Case


Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Jailbird Flies the Coup and Starts Tweeting Again

Photo courtesy of Buffalo post

On Friday, February 26, 2010 James Arthur Ray was released from Camp Verde jail. On Thursday, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow lowered Ray's original bond from $5 million to $525,000. By the next morning at 11:00 am, Ray was able to post bond. For now, he is a free man. The conditions of his parole are that he surrenders his passport, that he doesn’t conduct any more plastic sweats of visions quests and that he not leave the state of California except for work.

Ray’s statement to the public can be heard here:

It seems that a lot of frauds featured on Oprah are re-creating themselves these days.
James Frey has re-created his reality to include a fake Indian name – John Twelve Hawks.
Frey told the media, "I will neither confirm nor deny that I am John Twelve Hawks [...] or anyone else ... I will say that I have done, and I am continuing to do, projects that will come out anonymously or with invented names on them,"


James Ray has been tweeting differently lately. He seems to have abandoned "The Secret" philosophy – well at least he isn’t interested in how he attracted 3 counts of manslaughter – and he’s projecting a more mainstream, Christian image online.

Ray’s choice of quotations may merely be just part of his racist indoctrination in American culture. He may be unwittingly equating light with knowledge and civility and darkness with mystery and savagery from his CORE western Christian beliefs. He seems to have abandoned the create your own reality philosophy and is attempting to re-make himself in a more acceptable, mainstream born-again Christian fashion. I’m sure all this is for a potential jury. Frauds who get caught always re-make themselves and go back to doing exactly what brought in money before. Ray’s going to have to sanitize himself from any bizarre beliefs promoted by the Angel Valley people and present himself to a jury of his peers as a sincere, religious leader who was the victim of a terrible accident. To maintain control over the true believers, Ray has always demonized critical thinking and free debate. His latest tweets are quite chilling when you put it the context of his history of influencing people to take risks with their mental, physical, spiritual and financial health.

"…Aspirants to be noble clay under the Almighty effort, let us advance on chaos and the dark"


"If you can't embrace the dark you'll never dance in the light"

"Very few understand that it's the dark that creates and gives birth to greater light. Read the book of Genesis again."

"It's the experiences of the darkness that bring clarity to the light"

It’s not too bright after repeatedly being accused of being a cult leader to talk about turning people into clay, and Ray is a cunning guy. So I’m sure that this quote has a lot of hidden meaning to the true believers who are still out there, refusing to admit they’ve been fooled by this cunning trickster. I know the Angel valley compound uses "light" and "dark" metaphors in their space opera. Either way, Ray is clearly setting up an "Us verse Them" dichotomy to prevent his few true believers from being contaminated by free discourse or critical thinking. It’s not uncommon from frauds who have been unmasked to adopt a persecution complex and paint themselves as Jesus, crucified by the ignorant unbelievers. It should be interesting to see how Ray is "re-born" after the deathlodge incident.

Ray’s fate is now in the hands of a jury, so Ray’s PR team has probably been working on his public image before he faces a jury of 12 of his ‘peers’

I did an internet search for demographics by zip code for
the Angel Valley Retreat in Sedona 86336 and this is what I found:

James Ray’s ‘peers’ are 53.2% female, 92.5% white with a median age of 50.7. 57.4% are gainfully employed with a median income slightly above the U.S. average at $41,966 / year in 1999 dollars. 90.5% have High School diplomas, 38.5 % have Bachelor’s degrees (significantly above the national average of 24.4%)

According to my sources, the people of Sedona who will decide Ray’s fate are also overwhelmingly politically liberal and to open New Age philosophies. The jury pool includes all of Yavapai county, but Arizona only pays $12.00 per day for jury duty, so that lets out almost anyone who's not wealthy enought to afford to take time off for a long jury trial. I hear Arizona is having trouble getting jurors because very few people can afford to take even a day off for the fabulous wage of $1.50 / hour! Also, I hear from skinz in Arizona that there isn’t a lot of love lost between some of the more straight-laced proprietors of businesses that cater to tourism and the Angel Valley people. It should be interesting to see if Ray will distance himself from the people he termed "experts" in his "white papers". I'll definitely be watching how he re-creates his reality in the coming months.

Too bad there can’t be a change of venue to the 57770 code, ey?

The Rick Ross forum has been analyzing Ray’s tweets as the specific, technical persuasion techniques that they clearly are:

The Anti-Cult analyzes James Ray’s tweets as being "carefully written and deliberate." He claims Ray is using twitter to contact his followers and maintain control over their thinking so that they see themselves as ‘elite’ and special. This is what all plastic shamans do to prevent their followers from researching their credentials and bizarre paranormal claims.

James Ray’s supporters on twitter are:

An example of a James Ray true believer is Hermai Nelson:

Hermia tweets to James Ray: "Light can only serves it purpose if darkness exists. My #1passion is bring light into darkness. Wonder why I'm so supportive?"

Hermia tweets to James Ray: "thanks 4 play-by-play tweets. Feel like playing HWW in my head. 3 years ago my new life begins when I saw u in the secret dvd."

James Ray to Hermia : "Is it still uncomfortable 4u to become HUB master faculty member?? Be our speaker at HUB event to pre-sale your book in Nov 6-7."

Without all the attention to the Sedona incident, there would not be so much information about how MLM (Multi-Level-Marketing) Cults attract and manipulate young idealistic and ambitious people.

The willingness to believe on the part of MLM cult members is remarkably similar to the willingness to believe among New Age seekers. That willingness and desperation makes them vulnerable to cults that can take their live savings, their spiritual integrity and even their lives. Let's hope the nons learned their lesson this time.

You can't find spirituality from people advertising it on the internet. It has to come from within. It doesn't come effortlessly or without struggling with your shadows. If you truly want to be a more spiritual person, look within. Look at your relationships to other human beings. Native Spirituality is all about sharing and reciprocity. It doesn't have anything to do with living a long life or attracting wealth. James Ray's philosophies and the philosophies of most plastic shamans who advertise on the internet are completely antithetical to indigenous spiritual teachings. Our spirituality is about sharing power equally and creating community. Selfless giving is what it's all about.

My advise to any non-Indian seeking a spiritual dimension to their life it to look within -- examine your white skin privilege and find ways to balance power in the society you live in. Forget about revisionist history and creating a fantasy past that never existed. Look at the present society you live in and do what you can to make it a little bit better. Native Americans value acts of selflessness, NOT intentions. Spirituality is hard work. If you try to take short cuts, you make yourself vulnerable to cult leaders who manipulate you because of their insatiable lust for power. I hope the trickster James Arthur Ray learned his lesson, but I predict he will just shape-shift himself into a more cunning, more mainstream version of his old huckster self. It would be a great thing if James Ray could learn from his mistakes and really become a different, less self-involved and selfish person. He needs to understand that the Native community isn't fooled by empty promises or claims of good intentions. These things are meaningless if not backed up be real action. We decide who is our friend based on their actions. Our friends prove themselves to be our friends by their actions. A good man shows himself to be a good man by his generosity with people who are less fortunate than he is. James Ray was given many gifts by the creator which he squandered for accolates in the White world. Can he make amends to the indigenous communities he wronged by perverting their spiritual rites? A good start would be to give generously to Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and especially the Northern Arizona reservations that were hit hard by severe winter weather. Is James Ray capable of "playing full on" and becoming a generous man of integrity? We will wait and we will watch.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010



James Arthur Ray was arrested today in Prescott Arizona. The charges are even more serious than expected. Surprisingly he’s being charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 3 human beings last October.

Yavapai County officials presented their case to a grand jury on Wednesday February 3, 2010 and an indictment was handed down very quickly, on the same afternoon. The grand jury returned a "true bill" on 3 counts of manslaughter. This means that, after having heard the witnesses for the government, the grand jury is of opinion that there is sufficient cause to put the defendant on trial. The indictment took almost 4 months and alleges that the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman were a result of James Arthur Ray’ recklessness.

This afternoon, at approximately 3:30 pm, deputies delivered a warrant to James Ray’s at his attorney’s office in Prescott Arizona. Ray surrendered to authorities and was taken into custody at the sheriff's Prescott office to begin booking procedures. He was then transferred to the Camp Verde Detention Center for final processing where he will spend the night and will face a judge tomorrow morning.
I couldn’t find precise statistics, but I’ve been told that the majority of the prison population in Yavapai county is brown – either Native or Mexican. Since Native Americans are placed under correctional supervision at twice the rate of whites in this country, I’m guessing that the great shaman is about to be surrounded by a whole bunch of those Native folk he claims to have such a close association with. The word, Custer comes to mind.

The court considered Ray’s means and his likelihood to flee and wisely set his bond at $5 million. Good Morning America is reporting that Ray is unable to pay the bond so he may have to stay in jail until a trial can be scheduled. That'll give him a lot of time to get acquainted with the skinz inside the iron house. I'm sure they'll be very interested in hearing about how his prosperity philosophy landed him in the pokey.

Arizona Revised Statutes defines manslaughter as:

Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1103


Manslaughter; classification

A. A person commits manslaughter by:
1. Recklessly causing the death of another person; or
2. Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion resulting from adequate provocation by the victim; or

3. Intentionally aiding another to commit suicide; or

4. Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A, paragraph 3, while being coerced to do so by the use or threatened immediate use of unlawful deadly physical force upon such person or a third person which a reasonable person in his situation would have been unable to resist; or

5. Knowingly or recklessly causing the death of an unborn child by any physical injury to the mother.

B. An offense under subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development. A person shall not be prosecuted under subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section if any of the following applies:

1. The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman's behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.

2. The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman's unborn child.

3. The person was the unborn child's mother.

C. Manslaughter is a class 2 felony.

Manslaughter is a lesser crime than murder. It is defined as the unlawful taking of another life under circumstances that make the criminal less culpable than someone who commits murder. A criminal who's found guilty of manslaughter will usually receive a lesser punishment than if he was found guilty of murder. Manslaughter is usually divided into two types:

• Voluntary manslaughter

• Involuntary manslaughter:
To prove involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors will have to convince jurors that James Arthur Ray took risks he shouldn't have -- and that other, reasonable people, wouldn't have.

James Ray faces three felony counts. Each count carries a penalty of 3 - 12.5 years in prison. However, the actual sentence could range anywhere from probation to the full 37.5 years in prison. James Ray could only serve the time it takes to schedule a trial or he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Unless there is a change in venue, it will most likely all depend on a jury composed of several people who conduct the same type of plastic sweat lodges that Ray did. They may choose to deny their own exploitation of Native American spiritual practices and depict Ray the "one bad apple" making and example of him so they can define themselves as the opposite. They may let him off with probation out of fear of setting a precedent that may one day lead to being charged with a similar offense (jury nullification). How a jury will vote is anyone's guess. Looking at the way James Ray's attorney's are arguing, it looks like they're going for jury nullification to me. Here's an example of the type of instructions a jury may be given. Nevertheless, James Ray's troubles will not end even if he does receive probation. After the criminal trial, James Ray will be facing civil charges as well as possible Federal charges from the Lakota Nation.

James Ray posted what he sees as the facts on his website []

Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh issued this media release
You can learn more about the arrest in this link:

YCSO Media release

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at:

(928) 771-3260 or
the YCSO website:

UPDATE: February 17, 2010
An up-to-date list of all legal documents in James Arthur Ray negligent homicide case:

UPDATE: February 12, 2010

An interesting development today in Rick Ross's Anti-Cult Forum
Forum member confirms that James Arthur Ray was a $cientologist.

James Ray’s right hand man, Josh Fredrickson and his wife, Meagan, spoke with detectives on the condition of immunity from prosecution.
Transcripts of Meagan & Josh Fredrickson’s Immunity Interview are posted on the Salty Droid Blog: Mania Megan’s Memories

Arizona Republic
No gag order ruling by judge in sweat lodge case
Judge Warren Darrow did not rule on the gag order today. Instead, he took the matter under advisement and advised attorneys to comply with rules governing their conduct.

KTVK 3 Phoenix
No Gag Order in James Arthur Ray Case
Judge Warren Darrow did not immediately rule Friday over whether a gag order should be issued.

Prescott E-news:
Judge Warren Darrow, Yavapai County Superior Court, ruled against the State’s motion for a gag order in James Arthur Ray’s manslaughter trial.

FOX News Phoenix
Judge Darrow said he would take the prosecutor’s request for a gag order under advisement and reminded attorneys to comply with ethical rules that govern their conduct. Attorney’s for the media also argued against a gag order stating that it would it "severely limit the public's ability to monitor the proceedings."


Breaking news: 2nd secret James Ray conference call

It seems that James Arthur Ray can't legally plead guilty yet. His attorneys were just attempting to manipulate the media by getting the words "not guilty" out into the media and (subliminally?) influencing potential jurors to associate the words "James Ray" and "Not Guilty". IMHO, it’s kind of like trying to get people to associate the terms "Glenn Beck" and "self-control", but Ray seems to be getting desperate and the truth just isn’t working for him.

An Editorial in the Prescott E-news has the entire audio of the James Ray initial appearance. This may be the last information you get on the trial if Yavapai Prosecuting attorney, Sheila Polk has her way.

After James Arthur Ray’s attorneys plastered their faces all over the media, on Good Morning America and Larry King Live, in a transparent attempt to influence a potential jury, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, has requested a "gag order" hearing. A gag order is a judge's order prohibiting the attorneys and the parties to a pending lawsuit or criminal prosecution from talking to the media or the public about the case. The intent is usually to prevent prejudice due to pre-trial publicity which would influence potential jurors. Based on the "freedom of the press" provision of the First Amendment, the court cannot constitutionally restrict the media from printing or broadcasting information about the case. The prosecutor's tool to stop a case from being tried in the press is a gag order on the participants under the court's control.
While the Gag Order would stop James Ray’s attorney’s from trying the case in the media, it would also stop the public from having access to any information from Yavapai county staff regarding any aspect of this case with the exception of the scheduling of hearings.

Please contact Sheila Polk to protest any limitation on the public's right to be informed about the James Ray trial:
County Attorney's Office - Camp Verde
2830 N. Commonwealth Drive, Suite 106
Camp Verde, AZ 86322

Camp Verde Office
Phone: (928) 567-7717
Fax: (928) 567-7745

Prescot E-News Certain Hearings Cancelled in James A. Ray's Case
The expedited Reduction of Bail hearing set for Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8 am has been cancelled along with the Early Disposition Court hearing scheduled for Thursday February 11, 2010 at 8:00 am.

Phoenix New Times
Sweat Lodge Prosecutor Seeks Gag Order in James Ray Manslaughter Case
Prosecuting Attorney Sheila Polk's motive is probably to stop James Ray's PR team from making a pubicity tour and polluting potential juries, but the ax of media censorship swings both ways. The gag order would prevent the public from learning about the trial also.

Larry King Live
See for yourself how James Ray's PR team is spinning this crime.

FOX News Phoenix Prosecutors want gag order in James Arthur Ray Trial

Arizona Central Prosecutors want gag order in Arizona sweat-lodge case

KPHO 5 Phoenix: Gag Order Sought in Sweat lodge Case

Debunking Nuage 'Detoxification' Quackery

New Wager$ and Neo-Pay-gun$ are fond of claiming that Native Americans used the sweat lodge to "detoxify" the body in a literal, physical sense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not be fooled by those claiming to "detoxify" the body with plastic sweat lodges. Even some of our own people are beginning to believe the New Wage psedo-science. This harms us for generations as it confuses our young people and makes it nearly impossible to hand down our authentic traditions with the integrity of their truly beautiful and meaningful symbolism intact. New Wager$ only seem to be interested in living a long life for its own sake, without any commitment to community. To the indigenous mind, this is a selfish, sacrilegious, un-spiritual way of being. There is always a price to pay for this lack of humility.

Quack Watch: "Detoxification" Schemes and Scams by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The detox and the cleanse: science and pseudoscience collide

Sweat Lodge can be Deadly but NOT Cleansing

New Age Detoxification Quackery comes from $cientology - It is NOT INDIGENOUS
Meth cops swear they can sweat off toxins (Scientology Quackery)

UPDATE February 6, 2010

Washington Post Employees of sweat lodge leader granted immunity by Felicia Fonseca

Two key employees of James Arthur Ray, Megan and Josh Fredrickson, upon being granted immunity from prosecution are now coming forth with information that Ray erroneously told them that people passing out and vomiting was to be expected in a sweat lodge. Even though Megan Fredrickson was sitting right next to Ray, she still claims she cannot recall much of what he said and did. She told investigators, "James is my boss, so I listened to what he says and I listened to what he told participants."

UPDATE February 4, 2010

Prescot E-news
James Arthur Ray's Hearing To Be Today at 11 am a detailed account

It has been widely reported that James Ray plead not guilty in court on February 4, 2010. Judge Warren Darrow set a hearing on whether to lower the bond amount for Thursday, February 11th.

KPNX-12 News: James Ray plead not guilty today in court.

Phoenix New Times
James Ray pleads not guilty and opts to stay in jail

Native Protest at James Ray's Court Appearance

The Camp Verde Bugle Native Protesters Hear Ray's Pleas By Jon Hutchinson

The Intertribal Eagle Feather Law Council claims that James Ray’s practices violate the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.

"We have been given that ceremony by our elders. We are taught to fast. A sweat lodge is never that large and we don't charge for it. We don't sell spirituality. That is greed ... This is a giving-of-life ceremony, not a taking of life." -- J.R. Packhorse, (Ponca, Black Hills Sioux)

Note: An amendment to the American Indian Arts and Crafts, HR 725, bill is being considered that would authorize any federal law enforcement officer to investigate crimes relating to an alleged counterfeiting of Indian arts and crafts. This is significant because it would authorize the Indian Arts and Crafts Board to refer any violations involving the sale of goods misrepresented as Indian-produced goods to any federal law enforcement officer or agency, as opposed to just the FBI. In addition, any federal law enforcement officer would be authorized to conduct an investigation without a referral from the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. []


Prescott e-news - the most thorough coverage
Sedona Sweat Lodge Organizer James Ray Arrested

CNN Video of James Ray's Perp Walk

ABC Nighline: Day of Reckoning

Nightline investigation - February 3, 2010

CBS NEWS: Sweat Lodge Guru Faces Manslaughter

USA Today video

Good Morning America
James Ray may be in jail until the trial because he doesn't have the money to post bond.

San Diego
Survivor Beverly Bunn talks about the arrest
"He only wants one thing, money."

Anderson Cooper 360 blog

New York Times
Sweat Lodge Leader Is Indicted in Deaths

Los Angeles Times
Self-help guru arrested in Arizona sweat lodge deaths

Please feel free to distribute this information wherever you feel is appropriate. All graphics are CopyLEFTED because I believe in free information for free people. Any indigenous activist/ally is welcome to use them to expose the dangerous philosophies being promoted by New Wager$ and Neo-pay-gun$.

Blog Disclaimer: This is not a paid blog. I do not endorse James Arthur Ray and he has never compensated me in any way. 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.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, and so on. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The material in this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for a health care provider's consultation. Please consult your own appropriate health care provider about the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your own symptoms or medical conditions. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Will Exploitive Pay-to-Pay Ceremonies Finally Be Regulated?

Breaking News: Navajo Senator Seeks to Ban Pay-to-Pray Sweats

Senator Albert Hale, a Democrat from Window Rock, AZ and the former president of the Navajo Nation, has proposed SB 1164 to regulating all pay-to-pray practices that are claimed to be “Native American” and conducted by non-Natives off tribal land. This would include the use of all sweat lodges by non-Natives. The measure requires the Arizona Department of Health Service regulate individuals or businesses that charge people to participate in what are claimed to be "traditional and authentic Native American practices." Violators would be subject to yet-to-be-determined civil penalties. SB 1164 would not restrict what Native Americans can do on reservation lands or off them and would uphold the Native American Religious Freedom Act.

Senator Hale was quoted as saying "Native American rituals are sacred and can be dangerous without training." He went on the further claim, "People should be protected from paying for inauthentic Native American ceremonies."

KPHO News Phoenix quoted Hale today saying, "This process has been a perversion of our traditional ways. The dominant society has taken all that we have: Our land, our water, our language, and now they're trying to take our way of life." Current Navajo Nation president, Joe Shirley added, "We need to be respected. Our ways cannot be abused."

To Contact Senator Albert Hale to voice your opinion on this matter:

Go to this page:


Senator Albert Hale
1700 W. Washington
Room 313
Phoenix, AZ 85007

(602) 926-4323

Or Fax:
(602) 417-3160

Handwritten, signed letters carry the most weight.


Also, Arizonans can also contact Representative Raul Grijalva, who has been very supportive of indigenous issues in the past:

James Arthur Ray's name has been in the media a lot lately, but let's not forget the names of the twelve human beings who lost their lives to greed, ignorance and ambition. They were all loved by other human beings. They all had hopes and dreams of becoming better people and those desired were used against them in a most despicable ways. Let's all do what we can to see that no one should ever have to die in a pay-to-pray ceremony ever again.

In Memoriam

Liz Neuman, 49, from Prio Lake, MN died from James Arthur Ray's sweat lodge on October 18, 2009

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 - a non-traditional method suggested to him by a New Age non-Native.

Reverend Karen Blomberg, 54, died July 21, 2008 in a Vision Quest conducted by Wilderness Rites of Ashland, Oregon. Non-Native Anne Stine of was responsible for the group that was selling "elder" certificates - something no legitimate Native medicine person would ever do.

Rowen Cooke, 37, Melbourne Australia died in a sweat lodge 2004 conducted by David Jarvis who was associated with Spirit of the Earth Medicine Society.

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 conducted by members of the Sun Bear tribe.

David Thomas Hawker
, 36, of Union City, California died in a sweat lodge in 2002 conducted by members of the Sun Bear tribe.

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.

I have always been taught, that when we do nothing in the face of such an injustice, we create a moral imbalance. I want to urge all NDN-born-NDNS to start posting comments, joining online communities and speaking out, write your local officials and create your own blogs. Non-Native people need to hear the true feelings that we have about cultural misappropriation and exploitation of our sacred ways. It's more important than ever that minority NDN-born-NDN voices, that have historically been silenced, be heard now. The internet is a powerful medium. Let's find a way to use it in a good way.

Twelve precious human beings have lost their lives in pay-to-pray sweat lodges conducted by or influenced by ambitions non-Natives who were all later shown to have absolutely no knowledge or understanding of indigenous spiritual protocol and philosophies. There have been many other close calls that were not reported in the manin stream media. In my opinion this legislation is overdue. It's telling to me that it took a Native American member of the legislature to come up with a bill that penalizes non-Natives from profiting from the exploitation of indigenous spiritual beliefs and practices, while taking steps to ensure that indigenous people are still allowed their rights to freedom of religion. I have always been an advocate of culture-jamming and taking the "cool" out of the exploitation of our spiritual ways, but perhaps the solution really lies in taking the profit motive out of this exploitation as well.

Here are several links to the story:
Sen. Hale seeks to Sanction Use of Native American Ceremonies off Tribal Land For- Profit without Permission

Former President of the Navajo Nation, Senator Hale seeks to regulate ceremonies off tribal land for profit

Regulations sought in wake of sweat-lodge deaths

AZ Capital Times
Hale files to bill to regulate Native American rituals

FOX 10 NEWS: Lawmaker Wants to Ban Sweat Lodge Use


Arizona lawmaker seeks to regulate use of traditional ceremonial practices after “sweat lodge” tragedy

Camp Verde Bugle
Lawmaker: Restrict profit from Native American practices

Lawmaker: Restrict profit from Native ceremonies

Lawmaker Seeks New Rules After Lodge Deaths

Verde News Sedona Sweat Lodge deaths prompt legislation to restrict Native American practices off reservation

Native American TimesLawmaker: Restrict profit from tribal ceremonies

To remain silent in the face of injustice, is to create a moral imbalance.

Special thanks to Laura from Maria from DDR and RRC for helping me sort out the moral and ethical issues here. Chii Miigwech!