I Am What You Believe

You may know me better as @hecatepangddss. The rest...Don't bother asking me. You'll decide for yourself.

Legal nonsense - Unless duly noted, I do not claim ownership of any posted image.

In a class I taught, we discussed the issue of spiritual appropriation. The white students told me how beneficial Native spirituality was to them and that they had to take part in these New Age movements because they find no other substitute. So I asked, even if the New Age movement is as beneficial to you as you say, do you have any responsibility to Native communities when you take part in these practices? What struck me was that no one had even considered this question before. This practice of taking without asking, the assumption that the needs of the taker are paramount whereas the needs of the one being taken from are irrelevant, mirrors the rape culture of the dominant society.

Thus, it is particularly ironic that this colonial practice, structured by sexual violence, is often perpetuated by white feminists in their efforts to heal from the wounds of patriarchal violence. Sadly, they do not consider how such practices may hinder Native women from healing as well. Native counselors generally agree that a strong cultural identity is essential if Native people are to heal from abuse because a Native woman’s healing entails not only healing from any personal abuse she has suffered but also from the patterned history of abuse against her family, her nation, and her environment. When white women appropriate Indian spirituality for their own benefit, for whatever reason, they continue this pattern of abuse against Indian peoples’ cultures. This exploitation has a specific negative impact on Native peoples’ ability to heal from abuse. Shelley McIntyre, formerly of the Minneapolis Indian Women’s Resource Center, complains that Native women who are trying to heal from abuse have difficulty finding their rootedness in Native culture because all they can find is Lynn Andrews or other ‘plastic medicine wo/men’ who masquerade as Indians for profit. It is unfortunate that, as many white women attempt to heal themselves from the damage brought on by Christian patriarchy, they are unable to do so in a way that is not parasitic on Native women. They continue the practice of their colonial fathers who sought paradise in Native lands without regard for the peoples of these lands.

—Andrea Smith (via digatisdi)

(Source: majorreisman, via becauseiamawoman)

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