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Message-Id: <199707310350.XAA06697@primeline.primeline.com>
From: elaine flattery <flattery@primeline.com>
To: Taino-L <Taino-L@corso.ccsu.ctstateu.edu>
Subject: A Short History of Pan-Indianism
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 22:51:08 -0400
Sender: owner-taino-l@corso.ccsu.ctstateu.edu

A Short History of Pan-Indianism

From the Native American Information Service,
30 July 1997

Pan-Indianism is a non-violent liberation philosophy with roots in Native American Peace cosmologies. The Pan-Indian movement serves to stabilize Indian youth, who previously were committing suicide at the rate of 34%, and to provide a way of practicing a Native American spirituality which young Indian couples and single parents, can base their family spirituality on, assuring an extended family, and stimulating the next generation to remain Indian. Their Indian identity may be the only thing keeping these young people alive in a dominant culture which gives them the message that no one needs them. Just as Christianity has been a vehicle for genocide, Pan-Indianism is a vechile for Repatriation. The attempt to absorb Traditional Native American symbols and ethics into Christianity, thereby destroying the original meaning of them, is spiritual colonialism rather than Pan-Indianism. Inter-tribalism is usually associated with political inter-cultural [Christian] relationships between Indian Nations, monitored by the government under the BIA, and primarily of an economic nature (Jorgensen 1972).

Pan-Indianism involves the process of synthesizing the collective spiritual reality and Traditional wisdom of more than one Native American Nation, but not necessarily all of them. Sun Dance itself is Pan Indian since more than one Indian Nation has traditionally practiced it. Pan-Indianism tends to be Traditional and non-Christian. Pan-Indianism is open to all peoples.

The post-industrial, Pan-Indian Movement emerged in 1977 when the Haudenosaunee, and Indians from North and South America, presented their Great Law of Peace to the United Nations, with a warning that Western civilization, through the process of colonialism, was destroying the earth's ability to renew herself. They recommended the development of liberation technologies which would be anti-colonial, or self-sustaining, and the development of liberation theologies. A liberation theology will develop in people a consciousness that all life on the earth is sacred and that the sacredness of life is the key to human freedom and survival (Akwesasne Notes 1978: basic call to consciousness). The Peacemaker argued not for the establishment of law and order, but for the full establishment of peace, and universal justice.

In 1978, Indians walked from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., this trek was called The Longest Walk. The outcome of this walk was the Native American Freedom of Religion Act. During this walk, we were taught spiritual wisdom. The spiritual leaders got together and worked out ceremonies which did not conflict with any one Indian Nation's spiritual beliefs. This commonality, is the foundation for modern Pan-Indianism.

Many Indian Nations are forbidden, by prophecy, to share their specific religious beliefs, even with other Indians, and with members of their own tribe who are less than full-bloods. The Lakota had no such restrictions. There is a Lakota prophecy that says, when the Lakota share their spiritual ways, Indians will get their Treaties honored, so, at the time of the Longest Walk, Lakota were eager to share their Sweat Lodge, in order to create unity among Indians and their extended families, to heal and to stabilize individuals and family relationships. A Lakota spiritual leader had a vision that the colors black, red, yellow and white, our sacred colors, stood for the four races. This became the belief of choice of Pan-Indianism. The Lakota offered their Sweat Lodge ceremony and the Sweat Lodge has become the most widely spread ceremony in Pan- Indianism. It was in the Sweat Lodge that we first learned to pray all my relations.

After the Longest Walk the Sun Dance extended to California at D-Q University. Many of the Indians who had been on the Longest Walk, participated in that Sun Dance. This was a continuation of the Sun Dance being extended to Pan-Indianism. Now there has been another vision of Buffalo Calf Woman turning into buffalo of the four sacred colors. This has served to bolster the idea that the Red Road is for everyone.

The Pan-Indian movement is made up of all four races, but the largest contingency are non-federally recognized Indians, primarily urban, who are desperately clinging to their Indian identity. These people are not white, although some white people do also Sun Dance, they are very much in the minority, and are usually related to or have married into Indian families. Many Mixed Bloods (with less than 1/4 from a single tribe), because the federal government no longer recognizes them as Indians, even though they may have 100% Indian blood, do not come under the jurisdiction of the BIA or Tribal councils, so their rights to the Bill of Rights have not been abrogated. Jaimes (Jaimes 1992: 136-137) accuses the Federal government of psychic disempowerment in their blood quantum policy. ...federal policymakers have increasingly imposed 'Indian identification standards' of their own design...--this aspect of U.S. policy has increasingly wrought havoc with the American Indian sense of nationhood (and often the individual sense of self) over the past century. (Jamies 1982: 124) Nationhood implies conformity with international human rights ethics. Ethnic cleansing is a violation of human rights.

Indians ceded their land to the government by Treaty. A Treaty is an international contract. Contracts are the crux of Western civilization. It is unconscionable in today's world to deny a whole group of people the fulfillment of their contracts solely on the basis of race. Pan-Indianism can teach that the return of the Black Hills is central and indispensable to the Sun Dance Way.

On the Longest Walk were some Buddist priests. Dennis established a close friendship with the leader of these monks, and it was this old man who first sounded a call for a New Age. This was in a conversation between this Buddhist elder and Dennis which was published in a book called Buddhism and World Peace. In the beginning the New Age people were respectful and participated in many Pan-Indian ceremonies. Many leaders in the New Age movement are Indian people. As they gained more autonomy, some became arrogant and refused to give jurisdiction to Lakota for their ceremonies and began to abuse the ceremonies by corrupting them. This corruption may be due more to innocent ignorance than to deliberate disrespect. The primary abusers are not the unenrolled, they are those who have corrupted the meanings. Our enemy is not New Agers. Our enemy is willful ignorance.