August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Larry Kibby: Religious freedom and preservation

'A Small Viewpoint' by Larry Kibby
Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen,

On this Superbowl day, I visited my Reznews Radio Video station earlier this morning to discuss briefly my viewpoint on the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act of 1978, a dialogue that had a little to do with the Sweat Lodge incident in Sedona, Arizona back in October of 2009, a tragic incident that took the lives of three Human Beings and sent 18 other folks to the hospital with serious and maybe even critical long term health problems, an incident that should not have happened but did.

Of course that video was done around 5:30 am this morning and since then I've been thinking and asking myself, "Why do we have a federal law that grants us religious freedom?" Aren't our religious rights protected by the U.S. Constitution?

Back in 1978, so much activity was going on, so many activists proclaiming, advocating and promoting a lot. From the Treaty Right Movement, Red Power Groups and the American Indian Movement, groups and organizations staging protests, demonstrations and sit-ins, debating the Civil Rights, Freedoms and Injustices of the American Indian.

Anyway, I was wondering, how it was that there was such a demand by folks that our Religious Rights be recognized, when there was on some occasions that some of us had been told by our elders, medicine people and holy ones, that we shouldn't argue, fight or get angry over matters we have no control over, because there are some things that can be put away or will go away and sadly, somethings that can come back around in a way we may not like or understand.

I wonder if people even really care to know or understand, that when something is abused or misused, something that has a strength, power or is very sacred, what would happen to them, their family or even to their tribe? And what about the non-Indians who abuse or misuse these matters, how does that impact our respects?

In this day and age, throughout this society, there are a huge number of Religious Belief's available for people to grasp a hold of, religions that provide Faith and Hope and as well, there are a great number of New Age theories and belief's available for people to practice, yet with such a huge amount of devout groups and organizations in America, what has bought all this attention and focus on the Religious Freedoms of the American Indian?

Of course it is ever so easy to state that money is the greatest reason, get rich quick schemes for the most part, however, not everyone is looking for wealth, some folks are serious about their search for Faith and Hope. Could it be that Americans have fallen away from their own Religious Convictions? Have Americans lost their respect for their pastors, priest and preachers? Why is it that Americans have strayed from their own devout beliefs? Does politics have a lot to do with Americans losing Hope?

America grew far too fast, what with all walks of mankind coming through the doors of immigration, some searching for a New Life, while others were searching and hoping to find the Great American Dream, a Dream that was thrashed when 9/11 occurred.

The Nations of Mankind came to America, bringing with them their country's cultural and religious values and principles, with some setting up their own communities, while others slipped into mainstream society and America became the Land of Opportunity for so many.

Do you know, not one of those immigrants, none of those people coming from throughout the world made any effort to understand who the original occupants of America were or if those Native people had their own way of life, their own culture or beliefs? And when it finally came to an understanding, the multitudes had already been brainwashed, the wheels of propaganda spewed out false and misleading information about the American Indian, an American History full of untruths, a history that was incomplete.

At one point in time our people loudly proclaimed that our land was not for sell, so how was it that from such a statement that a few Indians and non-Indians decided that it was ideal to sell the ceremonies, medicines, languages and other sacred regalia?

At what point in time did the elders, medicine folks and the holy ones express that it was ideal to change, add and distort the traditional values and principles? How was it that the ceremonies, medicines and so much else became so distorted, destroyed and desecrated? And why was such political corruption, cultural and sacrilege terrorism allowed to go on and on?

I'll never understand why some of our people turned their backs, minds, souls and hearts on the culture and beliefs, but I think now, we must make some serious effort to preserve and protect what we can of that in which our ancestors handed-down to us to safe-guard for our generations.
I can only hope that my children and my grandchildren and future generations will be able to have the culture and beliefs that so many of us have respected and held close to our hearts, because anymore, so much is being changed, so much is being restructured, so much is so wrong, yet it being advocated as authentic, only it doesn't come from hearts of truth. Hopefully that in which I believe will sincerely take care of that in which has become so wrong.
Composed & Posted by:
Larry Kibby -
Reznews Radio Video

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