By Tim Steller
On the Web site of Newton's ranch, she spells out her qualifications in more direct words: "Nancy Newton is an adopted medicine woman of the Nemenhah Tribe."
The Nemenhah band, as leader Philip "Cloudpiler" Landis calls it, is not a federally recognized tribe. Rather, Landis said, it is a branch of a Native American church. Using that status, Landis offers "spiritual adoption" in exchange for a donation.
Through this adoption process, he explained, the adoptee can become a medicine man or woman and be protected by the Native American Freedom of Expression and Religion Act, or NAFERA. As part of the adoption, the Nemenhah Web site says, the adoptee takes part in a "Sacred Giveaway" in which they make an "offering" of $250 at the outset, and $100 per year thereafter.
But some question the legitimacy of Landis, the Nemenhah and the titles he bestows, which also include "principal stone carrier." One critic is Al Carroll, who operates the Web site newagefraud.com.
Asked whether being a Nemenhah medicine woman would protect a person under the act, Carroll wrote: "No. I doubt any lawyer would argue that either. Legally, Indian is a legal term that only applies to those enrolled in a federally recognized tribe."
Unlike James Ray, Nancy Newton probably hasn't killed anyone yet. But her New Age practice sounds much more "Native" than Ray's. She's claiming to be a genuine medicine woman based on the Nemenhah's phony adoption process.
For more on the subject, see Due Diligence on Nemenhah Band and Phony "Band" Sells Healing.