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#685124 - 05/08/11 11:52 PM New Article - Finding a Teacher
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
This discussion started in our thread on Tribal Health Care providers and expanded quickly. I will try to copy those posts into this thread for some continuity. Please be patient, I'm still a Trainee!

There are many reasons finding a teacher of traditional, natural healing within the American Indian community can be a challenge. This article provides some of those reasons. The copied posts include how we can work through the obstacles and develop relationships that will open the way for us to become students.

Finding a Teacher can be a Challenge
_________________________
Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
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#685126 - 05/09/11 12:05 AM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
As originally posted by Deb - Animal Life
Forum Topic: New Article - Health Care Providers

"I am a naturalist and extremely well versed in herbal remedies. I live near several reservations and would like to find a tribe to learn of Native American natural healing.

Western medicine can only help with surgeries and pills.

I am of European descent and don't want to offend anyone by showing up and asking them to teach me. Are there suggestions you might have to that end? Is there anyway to correctly seek out and approach a Native American healer?"

Sorry folks, couldn't figure out how to use the quote function between forums, or move a post. Old fashion Copy and Paste will hopefully suffice. Deb is one of our many new editors on BellaOnline. My thanks to her for visiting our forum with great questions.


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Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
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#685128 - 05/09/11 12:08 AM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
As originally posted in Forum Topic: New Article - Health Care Providers

Thanks for the question Deb! There are no simple answers for this one. The reasons have been accumulating for almost 200 years. But I am so glad you asked. As I was thinking on how best to respond, it turned into a full article. That will include some history and the basis for my answers.

You are correct. One can't just go to a reservation and say "Where are your Elders? I want them to teach me." That would be offensive on many levels. Knowledge is shared as one becomes ready, open to learn and accept it. Worthiness and purity of intentions are also important factors.

One must establish themselves as a worthy pupil, and this can take some time. The best way to start is through networking and becoming a "friend" to an Indian community. Attend their public functions and meet Tribal members. Let them get to know you. Start out asking general information and learn about their history. Always be respectful and understanding if told something is private, not to be shared.

Learn and observe their rules and customs. Apologize quickly and sincerely for goofs, and readily admit you are like a child just beginning its education. We might be experts in our fields outside of the Indian community. But with an Elder, we are children. I've made this mistake, interjecting on something I was knowledgable about. However, to the Elder it was like a 5 year old instructing them how to conduct a Sweat Lodge. While I thought it was helpful, it was actually disrespectful. I am still working on keeping my mouth shut and my ears open.

Help out where and when possible. Not monetarily, but with yourself. Asking "may I come" or "may I do this" is especially appreciated.

After one has become known, the questions come. I've experienced this several times, a non-chalant, but very probing question asked. ALWAYS listen carefully and answer all questions truthfully from the heart. These are tests and subterfuge will be detected immediately. This skill of detection has been honed and perfected over the centuries. I've also had some very blunt questions asked of me. It all depends on the personality. Some Elders test the waters gently with a new person, and others get straight to the point.

As long as one is pure of heart and intention, they will become a welcomed friend. The teaching will begin when that friend is ready. Once the teaching begins, then we can politely ask for more.
_________________________
Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
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#685130 - 05/09/11 12:12 AM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
As originally posted by Deb - Animal Life
Forum Topic: New Article - Health Care Providers

Would you be able to direct me in how to learn what Tribal functions are going on and how as a person of European decent I make myself known to them?
_________________________
I look forward to reading your comments.

In gentle winds our hearts meet and with open doors, our minds seek.

Deb Duxbury
Animal Life Editor

Animal Life
_________________________
Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
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#685135 - 05/09/11 12:46 AM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
First things first - Who are your neighbors? Which Tribes are nearby? Most states have some type of Indian Affairs council or commission established. Their website will include a list and contact information for each Tribe within the state.

Most Tribes also have websites. Some of these are primarily for their businesses, i.e. casinos, or other attractions. But all of them should include information on upcoming events open to the public. They may have a newsletter you can sign up for.

Also check in your area for non-profit organizations which support the reservation. Verify their non-profit status, make sure they've been around for a while and have a good overall reputation. Don't let 1 or 2 sour remarks be discoraging. A non-profit can never help all who ask, nor completely satisfy some they do. Once you find an organization you feel good about, volunteer what you can, a roll of stamps, labor at a fund raiser. Remember, it's not always about the money.

Introductions are important and required by many cultures. Being introduced to the Tribe by someone they respect, a little dab does get transferred to you. But the real respect must be earned. Being among the People and willing to help where needed, you will earn respect, become a trusted friend and learn so much.


Edited by Jane - Native American (05/09/11 12:48 AM)
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#685152 - 05/09/11 03:26 AM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Elleise - Clairvoyance Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Zebra

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3944
Loc: IL
Wonderful article and I love this topic!

I came into this world A-1 feeling like an alien, lol. I mean from like age 5 my parents would just come out and say, "You don't talk like a little girl." Later on, as I got older they'd say, "You sound like you're addressing the public union." Don't even know what that is but anwho...

I feel finding a teacher is Universal. Meaning it literally is the Universe and the journey seeking out a more detailed instruction pertaining whatever we're ready to learn is also Universal, meaning the people we meet, timing, synchronistic events, etc. They are interweaving, studen/teacher stepping stones. We may be a teacher at one point, and a student another.

I find in my own forum, getting emails from people asking who is the best teacher or if I've heard of this particular person or should they travel to eastern foriegn laylines to learn divine things and as I read those emails, so much time feels wasted in the perception of spending and traveling wherever it hurts most when we can begin learning the moment we're open to recieving it.

On my lowly level, I'm finding instruction just being around people like you and Phyllis, Lisa, Jill so many, really who are welcoming as well as enlightening. It helps my own inner wisdom and light to grow. Thank you smile
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Karen Elleise
Clairvoyance Editor
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#685155 - 05/09/11 03:27 AM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 17642
Loc: Reno, NV
Jane, your article is so enlightening and so true. I learned over the years that one cannot simply approach an Elder and start asking questions. Respect and honor are integral in approaching Elders -- patience is also a quality one must have when wanting to learn.

Thank you for an informative and wonderful article -- it will be of great help to many.


Edited by Phyllis-Folk/Myth (05/09/11 03:28 AM)
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Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain

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#685240 - 05/09/11 02:40 PM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
Thank you Elleise and Phyllis for your kind words. I must admit, the suggestions provided in these posts are based on actual experience. If there is a way to goof something up with an Elder, I'll be the one who does, or already did.

However, and it's a big one, my husband and I have become valued volunteers in two tribes. We help whenever we can. My childish exuberance and talkativeness are tolerated because I am there to learn and willingly help. I accept corrections and admonishments without defensiveness or argument, and do my best not to repeat mistakes. This especially includes mistakes that I realize were made, but were not admonished.

I have bungled my way through learning how to be a good student. I'm almost there! When we are at a gathering of any type, my husband and I are constantly sharing. "I heard that, or I was told this." Elders are talking with us, our lessons have begun. We are a student tag-team. He learns from the men, I learn from the women, then we compare notes. My husband is probably the better student. He remembers most everything and can head off some of my mistakes and missteps.

One of the Chiefs named my husband "Silent Man." He is constantly listening and observing. Me, I need a mouth clamp sometimes. It's a shortcoming I readily acknowledge, but I'm working on it.
_________________________
Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
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#685254 - 05/09/11 03:25 PM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Jane - Native American Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Koala

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 2100
Loc: Southeast Georgia
Phyllis, you could not be more correct! Respect and Patience are key elements. Elleise alludes to this, and it's true, sometimes our Teachers find us. We might not be quite ready, but are already "pegged" as prospective students.

We had been attending the Cherokee of GA Pow-wows for just a few years. Each April and October, we went Friday evening and returned mid-afternoon on Saturday. We had met several vendors while shopping, but only 2 Tribal members. Standing at the Fry Bread counter, the Chief's wife looked up and said, "It's so good to see you again! Thank you for coming and supporting us."

Both of us were Stunned! I clearly remember her words, but have no idea how I responded. How could she possibly recognize two people, only seen twice a year, six months apart, among the hundreds of people who attend? Our physical appearances are just not that unique or memorable. Both of us are often mistaken for other people, especially me.

Thinking on this, and what has transpired in the years since, I have to wonder. Did we get "pegged" that night? I have come to love and respect this amazing woman with all my heart. Being referred to as one of her "children" brings equal levels of joy, pride, and humility. That might sound confusing, but it is possible.

Her wisdom and foresight are beyond question. Perhaps that night she DID recognize me and my husband, not as guests at the Pow-Wow, but for what we would become, her students.
_________________________
Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
NativeAmericanForum
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#685260 - 05/09/11 03:55 PM Re: New Article - Finding a Teacher [Re: Jane - Native American]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
Highest Posting Power Known to Humanity

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 17642
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Jane - Native American

Her wisdom and foresight are beyond question. Perhaps that night she DID recognize me and my husband, not as guests at the Pow-Wow, but for what we would become, her students.


This is such a wonderful thing to happen, Jane. Thank you for sharing with us. I go to as many Paiute events as I can. There is one Elder, she does beautiful beading, that I am always drawn to. I am hoping I will see her again this summer when the craft shows start up again. I never ask her any questions, I just watch her bead and look at her finished work. I will be looking for her at the next event and buy something from her.
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Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain

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