Charging for Ceremony
LOOKING BACK WOMAN SPEAKS
"Part of the protocols of the true Lakota religion is to not lie
(embellish), cheat or steal. When someone was found to be embellishing
for recognition or power, they were cast out from the tribe by the Council
of Chiefs governing that band.
If someone did any of these offences, they were not allowed to conduct
Above all, there was no charge for participating in the Sun Dance or
any ceremony… it was by donation only.
Invitation was by word of mouth. This is the “Old Way” and
is still practiced by true Lakota spiritualists, like Peter V. Catches
It is not traditional Lakota ceremony if there is a set fee for ceremony.
Like Fools Crow taught, everyone is welcomed as long as they adhere
to the rules of protocol.
I do not discount the good works Looking Horse has done, but we must
keep our spiritual history true to it’s past. I understand what
has happened and why it has happened.
Poverty or greed are not reasons to charge for ceremony -- as if it
were as business though a lot of so-called medicine people are doing
this. I speak from personal knowledge about this.
For example, after my Yuwipi Ceremony in Kaslo in 1997, a well-known
Lakota leader and one of the so-called Twelve Good Men who signed the
infamous Green Grass Proclamation telephoned me.
He demanded that I use him instead of Dustin Jaymes Shot With Two Arrows
because Dustin was half Mexican and half Lakota and I should not use
him because of this.
In order to perform ceremony for me, this so-called spiritual leader
demanded a ten thousand dollar speaking fee, $150 per person with a
100 person minimum, plus expenses for himself and three helpers.
A Ceremonial leader may accept money only for transportation, related
travel expense and food. The same thing holds true for dancers, singers
and others who are part of the ceremonies.
Any other amount of money or gifts from the host must be given from
the heart for the general assistance of the ceremonial leader and participants
and may not be requested or demanded by them.
Sometime after this incident, another so-called medicine man came
to my home. As he sat holding the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe in
his arms, he related how he was given permission by the same well-known
Lakota leader to conduct and charge for ceremonies -- as long as some
of the money found its way back into his [the Lakota leader's] pockets.
This man since died an anguishing death.
Who told these people they have the right to charge for ceremonies?
They appear to be giving each other the right to conduct ceremonies
Embellishments to our sacred ways have gotten away on these people and
an unknowing public.
We must rebuild the Hoop of Life with all living things on Mother
Earth. We must have a firm foundation of truth to stand on.
We do not need the face-saving stories of misguided people.
Our children need to know the truth.
We must tell the truth and not make up things to suit our needs."