When you get older you tend to repeat yourself. So I guess I covered this topic before in some fashion, but I hear it come up once in a while with friends and think why not revisit White people in Ceremony?
My friend is having a Ceremony tonight. It is a Cosapachican (tie up) ceremony. I am sure there will be non-Native people there for sure. I guess everyone wants to take part in Ceremony. It does cause some secret (and not so secret) resentments from people about White people in Ceremony. Even greater resentment when they are participating or Helping in a Ceremony.
I remember some White participants in our Reserve Sundance Ceremony. There was this one guy who considered himself a "Windigokan", or a backwards person.
In the old days the Plains Ojibway were mighty warriors, waging fierce
battles with the Sioux, whom they hated with an implacable enmity. The
old men can still tell many exciting tales of their exploits.
of the most interesting of Plains Ojibway institutions is that of the
Cannibal Dancers, or "Windigokan," as they are called. Certain men had
the right to make for themselves ridiculous costumes of rags and masks
of the same material. When the band was gathered in the great camp
circle, one of these persons would dress and search for comrades. Armed
with a staff he would go from tent to tent until he found some one whom
he wished to associate with himself. At this time he would point his
stick, whereupon it was the duty of the chosen party to make himself a
costume and accompany his captor, willy nilly. If, however, he saw the
"Windigokan" approaching and escaped before the fateful wand was leveled
at him, it was well.
When a sufficient number of recruits had
been gathered, a tent was erected to house them, and there they dwelt,
issuing forth from time to time to capture food, or to exorcise the
demons of disease from some sick person. Their method of procuring food
was extremely amusing. The entire party, headed by the leader, would
make the rounds of the camp, singing and frolicking. When they came upon
buffalo meat hung out to dry, they would immediately proceed to stalk
it most elaborately, until finally, one of the party, who was armed with
a bow and arrow, would shoot at it. If he missed his aim, the party
proceeded, never even picking up the arrow. If the meat was struck, they
would flee in pantomime of terror, falling over backwards and
performing many ludicrous antics, returning, however, to carry off the
food in triumph. When they reached the door of their tepee they never
thought of carrying the meat in ; instead they would attempt to throw it
in through the smoke hole. If, however, the meat missed the hole and
fell outside, the "Windigokan" would never touch it and it became the
prey of the bystanders, who thronged to see the fun.
peculiarity of the cannibals was that they used "inverted speech." That
is to say, they expressed themselves by opposites. If one wished to
drink, he would announce that he was not thirsty, and if a bystander
wanted him to dance, he commanded the clown not to do so.
by Alanson Skinner, from the article The Plains Ojibway, within the anthology The Southern Workman, Vol. 43, Issues 1-10.
You see it is not an act to be a Windigokan. You must know a few of them yourself. They are the ones that do things in a manner that is not like the average. It is like the Artist. You know Artists think a different way, always being creative looking at things with a different eye than us. Same with a backwards person. He or she is the one that will make things seem out of place or weird. Rather than take things down a hill they will carry it up the hill. They will not walk a straight road to get some where but will go off in all sorts of directions but get there at their time. You know those guys. It is just the way they are. They laugh and make jokes at inappropriate times but it seems natural to us. Teasing at your Dad's funeral. And wondering why people are giving them the look? That is a Windigokan, the one that brings healing at times when you don't expect it.
My friend and Teacher is not open to having White people take part in Ceremony. She is afraid that they will steal it for their own purposes. In some cases She has been right about that. As we seen when James Arthur Ray killed three people in a Sweat Lodge. You know how that went. A Rich White guy charging outrages amounts of money for people to take part in some type of retreat. Part of the retreat was to take part in a warrior ceremony. Didn't work out very well for the warriors and for the head guru, Ray. I think he is out of jail now.
Ray likened the lodge to the Taj Mahal
or the Vatican and himself to a priest, according to a transcript of
audio recording received.
Participants paid more than $9,000 each to attend Ray's 'Spiritual Warrior' event with the sweat lodge planned as the highlight.
Update: This is why so many Indians are afraid of White people corrupting the Sacred. http://news.bme.com/2005/02/25/spiritflesh-the-energy-pull-part-1-fakir-rants-raves/