October 31, 2007

Police called about sage

Mistaken identity clouds native rite

Plant burned to cleanse mind sometimes confused with potA ritual that gave Rose Paz a peaceful close to her day now is tinged with fear.

Last week, Paz was burning dried sage in a Native American purification rite in her apartment when she was interrupted by police officers who had been alerted to possible illegal drug use.

The misunderstanding was cleared up by an officer who recognized the bittersweet odor of burning sage.

But Paz is left with an uneasy feeling and a desire to educate others so the situation doesn't happen again.

"I was fortunate to have a police officer that knew these ways," said Paz, an enrolled Yankton Sioux tribal member. "I was fortunate I could go up to my (apartment) manager and say, "This is what happened." But I don't know that will always be the case."

No comments: