“Dancing with Wolves” was a critically acclaimed movie, an American classic. People raved about the accurate depiction of the Native American Community and culture. At that time, I was in middle school. I felt that it was hard to capture the true essence of the Natives from a two-hour film. But being part Taino Indian, I felt that there was something missing from the film.
I continued to hear critics rave about the movie. And I have to admit the film worked to debunk some pretty bad stereotypes. The Natives weren’t mindless savages, who were primitive, with no substantial culture or religion. There were some scenes in the movie that reflected those principles. But there was still so much more that wasn’t captured in the film. I want to use the word shamanism.
The word does not just apply to the Native Americans, but to the indigenous people in Africa, Asia and Europe. The Shamanism beliefs and practices have been cloaked in a world of darkness and have been submitted into the taboo category along with voodoo, racism, and the infamous N word. However, it is this fear that keeps people in the dark, never learning the ancient secrets of our past and about our ancestors. Shamanism is the foundation of many spiritual beliefs, psychological theories and social ideologies.
There are people who simply don’t have the desire to learn about Shamanism. These people don’t understand that the Natives were able to communicate with nature. They were able to live for thousands of years, without polluting the waters, lakes and rivers. They ate differently, not consuming preservatives and chemicals that shorten man’s life span. They respected the earth, and didn’t create excessive garbage and toxic waste dumps. They even used their feces to fertilize the land. Today, we have made tremendous leaps and bounds with the creation of electricity, computers and cars.
That would be a good point, but all of these things have taken us away from nature. These things have worked to cause a huge disconnection between man and earth, so much so that man cannot see the harm we are doing to nature. The Natives understood this and worked hard to preserve our precious earth. This is why they were able to survive for thousands of years. At the rate our new civilization is going, I would be surprised if we make it to three hundred. The first thing that we all can do is learn more about Shamanism. You can Google the word and probably get a textbook answer on what it is. Instead, talk to someone. Come to one of the meet ups that are held by Severny Olen in New York City.
The Natives of America are our ancestors. There are many people who would disagree, but no one can refute that someone else lived on this land before us. Lets pay our respect to our earth, our ancestors, and nature by keeping their culture and beliefs alive.