Statement concerning Sedona deaths
As Keeper of our Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, I am concerned for
the 2 deaths and illnesses of the many people that participated in a sweat
lodge in Sedona, Arizona that brought our sacred rite under fire in the
news. I would like to clarify that this lodge and many others, are not our
ceremonial way of life, because of the way they are being conducted. My
prayers go out for their families and loved ones for their loss.
Our ceremonies are about life and healing, from the time this ancient
ceremonial rite was given to our people, never has death been a part of our
inikag a (life within) when conducted properly. Today the rite is
interpreted as a sweat lodge, it is much more then that. So the term does
not fit our real meaning of purification.
Inikag¹a is the oldest ceremony brought to us by Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit).
19 generations ago, the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people), were given
seven sacred rites of healing by a Spirit Woman Pte San Win (White Buffalo
Calf Woman). She brought these rites along with our sacred C¹anupa (pipe) to
our People, when our ancestors were suffering from a difficult time. It was
also brought for the future to help us for much more difficult times to
come. They were brought to help us stay connected to who we are as a
traditional cultural People. The values of conduct are very strict in any
of these ceremonies, because we work with spirit. The way the Creator,
Wakan Tanka told us; that if we stay humble and sincere, we will keep that
connection with the inyan oyate (the stone people), who we call the
Grandfathers, to be able to heal our selves and loved ones. We have a
³gift² of prayer and healing and have to stay humble with our Unc¹i Maka
(Grandmother Earth) and with one another. The inikag¹a is used in all of the
seven sacred rites to prepare and finish the ceremonies, along with the
sacred eagle feather. The feather represents the sacred knowledge of our
Our First Nations People have to earn the right to pour the mini wic¹oni
(water of life) upon the inyan oyate (the stone people) in creating Inikag¹a
- by going on the vision quest for four years and four years Sundance. Then
you are put through a ceremony to be painted - to recognize that you have
now earned that right to take care of someone¹s life through purification.
They should also be able to understand our sacred language, to be able to
understand the messages from the Grandfathers, because they are ancient,
they are our spirit ancestors. They walk and teach the values of our
culture; in being humble, wise, caring and compassionate.
What has happened in the news with the make shift sauna called the sweat
lodge is not our ceremonial way of life!
When you do ceremony - you can not have money on your mind. We deal with the
pure sincere energy to create healing that comes from everyone in that
circle of ceremony. The heart and mind must be connected. When you involve
money, it changes the energy of healing. The person wants to get what they
paid for; the Spirit Grandfathers will not be there, our way of life is now
being exploited! You do more damage then good. No² mention² of monetary
energy should exist in healing, not even with a can of love donations. When
that energy exists, they will not even come. Only Œafter¹ the ceremony,
between the person that is being healed and the Intercessor who has helped
connect with the Great Spirit, the energy of money can be given out of
appreciation. That exchange of energy is from the heart; it is private and
does not involve the Grandfathers! Whatever gift of appreciation the person
who received the help, can now give the Intercessor what ever they feel
their healing is worth.
In our Prophesy of the White Buffalo Calf Woman, she told us that she would
return and stand upon the earth when we are having a hard time. In 1994 this
began to happen with the birth of the white buffalo, not only their nation,
but many animal nations began to show their sacred color, which is white.
She predicted that at this time there would be many changes upon Grandmother
Earth. There would be things that we never experienced or heard of before;
climate changes, earth changes, diseases, disrespect for life and one
another would be shocking and there would be also many false prophets!
My Grandmother that passed the bundle to me said I would be the last Keeper
if the Oyate (people) do not straighten up. The assaults upon Grandmother
Earth are horrendous, the assaults toward one another was not in our
culture, the assaults against our People (Oyate) have been termed as
genocide, and now we are experiencing spiritual genocide!
Because of the problems that began to arise with our rebirth of being able
to do our ceremonies in the open since the Freedom of Religion Act of 1978,
our Elders began talking to me about the abuses they seen in our ceremonial
way of life, which was once very strict. After many years of witnessing
their warnings, we held a meeting to address this very issue of lack of
protocol in our ceremonies. After reaching an agreement of addressing the
misconduct of our ceremonies and reminding of the proper protocols, a
statement was made in March 2003. Every effort was made to insure our way
of life of who we are as traditional cultural People was made, because these
ways are for our future and all life upon the Grandmother Earth (Mitakuye
Oyasin All my relations), so that they may have good health. Because these
atrocities are being mocked and practiced all over the world, there was even
a film we made called ³Spirits for Sale².
The non-native people have a right to seek help from our ³First Nation
Intercessors² for good health and well-being, it is up to that Intercessor.
That is a privilege for all People that we gift for being able to have good
health and understand that their protocol is to have respect and appreciate
what we have to share. The First Nations Intercessor has to earn that right
to our ceremonial way of life in the ways I have explained.
At this time, I would like to ask all Nations upon Grandmother Earth to
please respect our sacred ceremonial way of life and stop the exploitation
of our Tunka Oyate (Spiritual Grandfathers).
In a Sacred Hoop of Life, where there is no ending and no beginning!
Namah u yo (hear my words),
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White
Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle.