April 30, 2012

Christian flyer calls Lakota rite "Satanic"

A Demand for Respect for Indigenous Beliefs

By Ruth HopkinsThere’s been a rash of racist flyers distributed in South Dakota lately. These flyers exemplify my concerns about the need for tolerance and respect for the spiritual beliefs of others. It’s been said that the flyer I’m including here has been circulated by Christian church members. The flyer calls the sacred Lakota rite of Yuwipi, as well as hand games, ‘satanic,’ and claims our sundancers suffer from ‘mental illness.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only is this racist flyer disheartening, it also incites hatred and violence toward Natives who are only practicing the spirituality of their ancestors. Our right to observe these ways is currently protected by The American Indian Religious Freedom Act- but even if it weren’t, we’d keep practicing our sacred rites anyway.

It amazes me that a religion based on the sacrifice of such a selfless, loving, and wise individual as Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Jew, could contain bigots, misogynists and racists, who’ve hid behind crucifixes as innocents were massacred by those who called themselves conquerors.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Christianity. There are Christians who’ve spent their entire lives in service to others. I just don’t understand why so many self-professed Christians are determined to spread hate and lies about those who don’t practice their religion, nor why they are so set on trying to control the decisions and behavior of others. There are even denominations under the umbrella of Christianity that hate each other.
Comment:  Note that a wealth of stereotypical movies and other entertainment products feeds this religious prejudice. Here's a typical example:

"Savaged" the MovieA deaf girl is brutalized by a murderous gang who are then hunted by her when the bloodthirsty spirit of an Apache warrior inhabits her lifeless body.Johnny Depp's Tonto is contributing to this prejudice also. His invented "spirit warrior" tells us that Indians have some mystical ability to talk with animals or the dead. It's not implausible for rabid Christians to think Indians are consorting with dark powers.

It doesn't matter if movies are fictional, because people get the same message from nonfictional sources. Indians often talk about communing with and getting messages from nature, spirits, or dreams. This is similar to Christian praying, but it gets twisted into something unnatural or evil.

So movies like Savaged and The Lone Ranger resonate with people who are ignorant about or prejudiced against Indians. These stereotype-filled fictions give them another reason to dislike and scorn Indians.

For more on Christian bigotry toward Indians, see Library Blocks "Occult" Native Websites and Perry's "Response" Broke Cannibal Curse?!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the "Satan scare". Back in the 70s and 80s, they suggested to children that they were abused in the most fantastic of ways by an evil cult in a day care center. (This conspiracy supposedly involved many prominent leaders as well.) The stories reached their climax when Satan scarred the kids in ways one would consider probably fatal, but they were healed by the angel Michael.

Since they've apparently realized *real* demon-worshippers don't exist, and the whole concept jumped the shark very early on, it's back to Indians.