There are lots of frauds out there - self-proclaimed "spiritual leaders" who are using aspects of Native American ceremonies, against the wishes of those in the very communities they are stealing from. In the Gaelic and CR communities we are dealing with this when some white person decides they will justify their theft by calling it "Celtic", and hoping people are stupid enough to not know that the ceremonies and beliefs of the diverse Celtic Nations are different from those of the various First Nations. While some settle for the ugliness of painting a triskele on a fake Indian drum and doing their idea of a chanupa (pipe) ceremony, the really shameless have even gone so far as to publicly tack a mis-applied Gaelic (or other Celtic language) name on their idea of an Inipi or smudging ceremony, stupidly thinking that no one out there who is actually part of these cultures will notice. Though not always confronted in public, these people are being laughed at by those who speak the languages (Native American and Celtic languages).
Sometimes the theft gets so egregious that the laughter turns to anger, and people rise up and go public with it, despite the fact that many of these frauds have a number of Newage supporters. This has been happening more and more lately, and as Native American protesters and their supporters are getting more organized, the trend is going to continue. A recent example of this is the movement against Rachel Holzwarth, aka Suraj Holzwarth (sometimes her last name has also been spelled Holzworth). She has renamed herself "White Eagle Medicine Woman", despite these being titles one has to earn, from communities she has no legitimate connection to. She is traveling around, selling "prayerformances", at which she wears Indian regalia and claims to present a Seneca ceremony. She is not Seneca. This is what an actual Haudenosaunee has to say about it:
For more on Holzwarth, check out the very long and detailed thread on NAFPS, and the briefer MySpace page by one of the groups organizing protests. The MySpace page also includes more pictures and videos. So far the group has been successful in getting many of her engagements shut down. The ones that have not yet been canceled... if she attempts to proceed, the protests are being planned.
When she performed in Massachusetts, Wampanoag warriors and their supporters stood up to her. The confrontation became bloody when her security, and the cops they called, attacked the protestors. In an act of desecration, Holzwarth walked up to Hartman Deetz, one of the Wampanoag men beaten by the cops, who was lying in a pool of his own blood on the floor; Holzwarth rubbed her hands in his blood, then proceeded to rub his blood into the skin of her drum.
Maybe she did it so now she can say she "has Native blood." And for the first time it won't be a lie.
Oh, btw, when asked her ancestry she has given a variety of conflicting stories. She's claimed she's Seneca because... she dreamed she's Seneca. She has also said she's "Seneca and Celtic." Great. Just Great. Guess what Rachel, we don't want you either.
crossposted to Craobh Caorann