Column: Wannabes ruining Indian spirituality

"Christians aren’t the only ones for whom spirituality is a matter of life and death. So Jacob Anaya has taken up the role as a defender of the faith.

Anaya, owner of All My Relations Creations in Manitou Springs, acknowledges he is a bit like the little Dutch boy, standing up against the latest assault on American Indian spirituality: New Agers.

Anaya, originally of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and later a teacher of Lakota traditions, gives presentations to sound warnings about modern charlatans who will sell sweat lodge, vision quest or pipe ceremonies for a price.

“The pipe, the sweat lodge, everything they’re doing now is trendy,” Anaya told a gathering of about 20 on the west side Monday night. “Native people are getting mad because they’re starting to make this way of life look cheap.”

Typically, Anaya said, a New Age spiritualist will know some of the sweat lodge details and perhaps a snippet of Lakota language. They’re all about trying to create a ceremony, not about treating it as a way of life.

“These people running these lodges, they see it a few times and they think they can do it,” he said.

These wannabes sometimes hand out certificates — “they start handing out (Indian) names like cigars,” Anaya said, derisively suggesting someone can become “Squeaking Squirrel Butt” overnight."

Get the Story:
Barry Noreen: Erosion of American Indian spiritual life takes a toll (The Colorado Springs Gazette 12/5)

Related Stories
Opinion: Overnight Indians and wannabes in Tennessee (12/3)