There are people online and elsewhere who claim to be Native American "shamans" or medicine people marketing their services for hire. One such claimant had an ad on eBay, auctioning off the opportunity to study under that person to become a "Cherokee shaman."
The same person who ran the eBay ad also has several other sites offering for sale "Cherokee shamanic" services. These services include tarot readings, astrological charts, psychic readings, etc., according to her claims.
SENAA does not condone such charlatans; and we will do all in our power to stop the perversion and desecration of Native American sacred ceremonies and the exploitation on the Internet and elsewhere of Native Americans by these people who offer as "Native American spiritual teachings" bogus rituals that have no place in Native American spirituality.
Cherokee ceremony does not include crystal gazing, tarot readings, psychic phone advice, nor does it include selling one's services for a set price, per minute rates, or to the highest bidder. It is a sacrilege in every tribal nation that I am aware of for a medicine man or woman to charge for his or her services. It is unthinkable for a Cherokee medicine man or woman to advertise his or her services for hire and set prices for each type of operation.
The spiritual leaders and medicine people that I know or know about do NOT advertise their services. They don't have to. They were taught from childhood in herbal and spiritual knowledge and in the traditional culture of their tribal nation. Sacred ceremony among Native Americans is jealously guarded in each tribal nation. It is among their most precious and valuable treasures. Medicine people are the most devout of traditionalists and the most adherent to their culture and hold that culture and tradition in highest regard. It is, in fact, one of the duties of the medicine people to preserve and protect their culture and sacred ceremonies.
A medicine man does not have to advertise, because he is already known by the people he has been trained to serve. If the medicine man receives any pay, it is given to him by a patient in gratitude for his services. The medicine man does not send the patient a bill or require payment by credit card. The medicine man gives medicine, ceremony, or council because it is his duty to do so, not because he gets paid X amount of dollars for the service.
Creator has chosen the medicine man for that path; it is not a self appointed career, and that position certainly cannot be bought at an auction, online or otherwise, for the highest bid!
Medicine people of all indigenous nations have worked very hard to achieve their status, and their teachers have invested their very hearts and souls into training their protégés. They deserve our respect and admiration, not the degradation that today's charlatans have brought to be associated with them.
Anyone who sells his or her services for fixed rates; anyone who advertises at all and makes self aggrandizing claims; anyone who mixes tarot cards, astrological charts, and crystal gazing with ceremonies billed as Cherokee or any other Native American tribal origin is not a legitimate medicine man or woman. Such people are impostors of the most disgusting sort. These people do not pray with but prey upon their unwitting victims. Their victims are usually people who sincerely seek and need spiritual or emotional guidance. Through their smooth, sympathetic tone, poetic monologues, and assurances of spiritual bliss, the phony "shaman" lures these poor souls into a spiritual nightmare of false hope, deception, and deepening spiritual darkness. These are the most malevolent of thieves, the most sordid and morally depraved individuals that a spiritually starved soul can ever have the misfortune to encounter.
Not only are these impostors doing the gravest of injustices to their poor victims, they are desecrating the spirituality of legitimate Native American medicine people and making a mockery of Native Americans' most valued treasure.
We cannot undo or even assess the damage done to those who have come to these frauds for help, but we can do something about their misrepresentation of Native American spirituality and perhaps keep them from injuring other unwitting victims in the process. We can do this by educating the public, thereby alerting everyone of the tactics and false claims of these fraudulent individuals.
SUMMING IT UP: HOW TO KNOW IF SOMEONE IS A LEGITIMATE SHAMAN:
For quick reference, you KNOW the "shaman" is a fraud, if:
If any one or more of the above warning signs applies to anyone you know, then that person is an impostor!
Below, for reference purposes, is a statement issued by Mr. Richard Allen, Research & Policy Analyst for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, in which he explains his position on this issue.
We ask that you help us stop these unethical practices by boycotting anyone you know who fits the guidelines that we have given in this statement. Also, we appreciate your notifying SENAA of any sites you know of that fit any of the above guidelines.
SENAA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for taking the time to read this important alert.
A Message from Richard Allen,
Research & Policy Analyst
The Cherokee Nation is overwhelmed with those charlatans who fraudulently claim to be shaman, spiritual leaders or descendants of a Cherokee princess. Such individuals make such claims without ever having lived within the Cherokee communities. They claim to be descended from some nebulous and mysterious ancestor who was from "a reservation in North Carolina" (there is only one) or "a reservation in Oklahoma" (there are none). The ancestor is never just a plain ordinary everyday Cherokee citizen but a "Cherokee Princess," a "Cherokee Shaman," or a "Cherokee Pipe carrier" none of which actually exist or ever have. Those who claim to be "shaman" do not reside within the known boundaries of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
Cherokee medicine people and spiritual leaders are known to the Cherokee people and do not practice medicine for a fee nor sell "shamanic" lessons to anyone. They do not advertise their services through any form of media and certainly not over the internet. Traditional Cherokee healers and spiritual leaders provide their services to the Cherokee people. A Cherokee medicine person or spiritual leader is fluent in the Cherokee language and would conduct any medical or spiritual practices by using the Cherokee language. Therefore, our medicine people are those who were born of a Cherokee mother and a Cherokee father and would have been reared within a Cherokee community speaking the Cherokee language. Our traditional Cherokee healers and spiritual leaders are humble people and would not present themselves as such nor "hang out a shingle" so to speak. Cherokee medicine people are acknowledged and recognized by members of the Cherokee community as effective healers and leaders.
It is the recognition of the Cherokee people that validates these persons as medicine people and healers not self-proclamation. We may provide them small gifts, a token amount of money or foodstuffs in payment for their services. They do not charge for their services nor would they withhold their services when asked and they certainly would not prescribe payment by credit card. Cherokee medicine people may provide services to recognized members of other tribes or may provide services to non-Indians who would seek them out for treatment, but certainly would not mix their spirituality or medicine with that of other nations. Cherokee medicine and spiritual practices do not include tarot cards, palmistry, psychic readings or sweat-lodge ceremonies.
One may assume that anyone claiming to be a Cherokee "shaman, spiritual healer, or pipe-carrier," is equivalent to a modern day medicine show and snake-oil vendor.
You have my permission to print this response as is.
Richard L. Allen. EdD
Name: Richard Allen