VERIFICATION OF PLASTICITY:   I am not 1/8 Native American (NA) and/or listed on tribal membership roles established by U.S. colonialism; I have no tribal validation through marriage or adoption; I use some NA ceremony in my healing practice; I do not charge exorbitant fees for service; I am a white woman blogging on a native American experience. What I have been called is Healer, Artist, Therapist, Provocateur, Social Worker as well Advocate and a “Spiritual Person.”  …Witch and the B word are others!

Cannupa Hanska Luger Destroying His Stereotypes: The Plastic Shaman



In 2015 an article entitled, Trauma May Be Woven into DNA of Native American’s, appeared In Indian Country Today:

“The science of epigenetics… proposes that we pass along more than DNA in our genes; it suggests that our genes can carry memories of trauma experienced by our ancestors and can influence how we [today] react to trauma and stress.”

State terrorism against the NA nation included food source removal, the introduction of disease and alcohol into the population, and murder, rape and torture. Children were placed into white run schools and forbidden access to their cultural supports including use of language: was this the earliest example of “psyche – ops” employed against enemies of the United States?

Other groups in history have been exposed to the same torture, proving that violence has no boundaries. Many have spoken against the genocide committed by fair skinned colonialists against those of color.

How could any peoples exposed to generations of these practices NOT have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?



In early 1932, Black Elk Speaks was published and describes his spiritual development as a Visionary as well as his experience in, and observation of, the Wounded Knee Massacre and Ghost Dance. The Sacred Pipe and how it came to the northern plains tribes is described in this account as well as the Heyoka ceremony and others. Black Elks Son translated these accounts to John G. Neihardt who documented them.

In the late 40s/early 50s, Joseph Epes Brown recorded and edited more information from Black Elk that described seven Oglala Sioux ceremonies: The Sacred Pipe was published in 1953 – two years after Black Elk Died.


In 1968 The American Indian Movement (AIM) was established and concretized historic concerns throughout the 70s via protests against legal, social, health and community violations. It remains active today.

In 1993 the “Declaration of War against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality” was established by the Lakota people and identifies as enemies anyone of non – Lakota origins who misappropriates cultural traditions and expressions.

In 2003, the “Arvol Looking Horse Proclamation” was established and set only tribal boundaries for ceremonies.

In 2007 the United Nations General Assembly recognized the wide ranging negative, worldwide effects of colonialism and passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This document includes most of the Lakota concerns.


Harming self and/or others through addictions, physical or psychological violence and explosive rage are symptoms of complicated trauma; choosing to maintain victim status by blaming others and seeing spiritual shortage everywhere are other examples. In fact, victims DO become perpetrators with incessant blaming and shaming of the innocents around them.


Healing is complicated and its timeline and methods are not to be mandated by anyone other than the Seeker, their Healer/s and Spirit. Recovery is often a Spiritual Crisis transforming wounds into gifts in the spiraling process of Initiation. It is not a matter of getting from point A to B; rather, it is a forward – backward circular movement toward the sky. The mitigating factor in the spiral is becoming one with the landscape and honoring it – both a space and time issue. Peoples of all ethnicities must respect and honor the healing process in others by recognizing that perpetrator and victim have suffered prior trauma at some point – Even THE PLASTIC SHAMANS of the world.


I was enthralled in the early 90s by firsthand accounts of non – Indian ceremony and lecture being halted by angry groups of indigenous Americans. The utility of unmitigated rage in recovery cannot be underestimated; at the same time, it must be recognized for what it is: adopting the stance of the original abuser and creating terror. Likewise, many white teachers claimed victim status by dropping NA teachings entirely or couching them as something else (insight from spirit guides, etc.). Others obtained spiritual instruction in South American or elsewhere and imparted it here, seeking to avoid confrontation by the dispossessed. This proved faulty because AIM now has South Americans in its fold.

What I am most troubled about is the resulting bifurcation of Plasticity that mirrors the split between extremists the world over. Recent incidents in Paris, and the inability to compromise in American politics, are two examples. How can we move beyond this?

And for those that have, congratulations!


How do the differing timelines of healing impact decisions to share teachings; can individual recovery work extend to EPIGENETIC trauma and how; can whites and NAs look for areas of spiritual alignment versus opposition and begin to share in the healing process for the greatest good of all; can students of NA teachers assist whites in their movement away from colonial attitudes; what teachings are contained in both victim and perpetrator roles?


I have learned that what I am depends on who is talking, who is listening; and on my SELF perception.

Connie C. Cox © 2015



(180IQ1), T. C. (n.d.). NAFPS Forum. Retrieved 11 18, 2015, from New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans:

Aldred, L. (2004, 10 7). Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality. (L. C. Smith, Ed.) The American Indian Quarterly (2000) , 3, pp. 329-352 .

Brown, M. F. (2004). Who Owns Native American Culture. Boston: First Harvard University Press.

Dehaluyi. (2009, 4 23). Books to Avoid about Native American Spirituality. Retrieved 11 18, 2005, from Eay: (2007, 4 9). In Their Own Words: Indigenous Activists Challenge New Age Frauds . Retrieved 11 18, 2015, from As the Teaching Drum Turns Poke a Bigot Long Enough and He will Show You His Hood:

Sylvie. (2011, 12 9). The Ugly Truth About Native American “Shamans,”Wisdom Keepers” and Spiritual Teachers. Retrieved 11 18, 2015, from Above Top Secret:



Dupree, S. (2011, March 12). WordPress. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from Looking Back Woman – Suzanne Dupre Blog:

Lakota/Nakota/Dakota Spiritual People. (1993, June). Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from American Indian Cultural Support:

NAAIP Articles. (n.d.). Lakota Declare War Against “Shamans and Plastics”. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from The Peoples Path:

Taliman, V. (1993). Lakota Declaration of War. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from The Peoples Path:

Wittstock, L. W. (n.d.). A brief History of The American Indian Movement. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council:




Drury, B. a. (2013). The Heart of Everything There Is The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend. New York: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks.

Epes, B. J. (1953). The Sacred Pipe Black Elks Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sious. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Means, R. (1995). Where White Men Fear to Tread The Autobiography of Russell Means with Marvin J. Wolf. New York: St. Martins press.

Neidhardt, J. G. (1932). Black Elks Speaks Being The Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.


Heart, T. (2007, Summer). Blood Quantum, Enrollment, Imaginary Indians and Plastic Shamans in. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from AICP Group International:


Gallagher, J. (2013, 12 1). ‘Memories’ pass between generations. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from BBC News:

Pember, M. A. (2015, 5 28). Trauma May Be Woven Into DNA of Native Americans . Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from Indian Country Today Media Network:

Pember, M. A. (2015, 6 8). Suicide and Trauma May Be Woven in DNA for Native Americans. Retrieved 11 17, 2105, from Huffington Post:

Rice, K. B. (2014, 10). Examining the Theory of Historical Trauma Among Native Americans. Retrieved 11 17, 2015, from The Professional Counselor:

Thomson, H. (2015, August 21). The Guardian. Retrieved 11 16, 2015, from Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children’s genes :



Herman, M. J. (1992). Trauma and Recovery The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books.

Linehan P.Hd., M. M. (1992). Cognitive – Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Basic Books.

Linehan Ph.D., M. M. (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guiliford Press.

Bessel A Vander Kolk, M. (1989, 6 0). The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma Re-enactment revictimization and Masochism. Retrieved 11.19.2015. Psychiatric Clinics of North America , 12 (2), pp. 389-411:



  1. Interesting Connie – definitely an area worth exploring! I look forward to more of your writings about Native Americans. Thanks for that list of references.


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