Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Witchy Tips

To White American/Canadian Witches/Pagans, from a Native Witch

Remember that you are on stolen indigenous land. Remember that when you practice magic and involve the earth, that you are an invader. That this is colonized land, and it, like those of us remaining indigenous peoples, suffer from the pain and wounds of colonization as it continues today.

Do something about it. If you want to work with the earth, if you want to respect this land, do something about it. Donate to conservation charities, make offerings, go to protests, use your magic to help. Stop appropriating traditional practices, terms and sacred items from indigenous cultures, stop using racial slurs, stop erasing our cultures, stop silencing our voices. Educate your friends, correct others when they say or do something racist and appropriative. Do something to help heal not just the earth, but the people who are struggling to protect it. Who have always protected it. These are our sacred lands that were stolen from us. But we were also stolen away from the land, and our ancestors blood soaks it. It cries out for us, and we cry out for it. Like family members ripped away from one another to be slaughtered and raped.

Don’t stand around bitching about how ‘well that was my ancestors and I shouldn’t have to apologize for what they did’ and ‘I feel so guilty for being white boohoo whoa is me’ literally shut the fuck up because y’all are continuing to colonize and erase indigenous cultures, and continuing to rape and destroy our land and hurt the earth that we work so hard to protect. Check your fucking privilege. White people need to use their voices and their ability as majorities to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Don’t just sit around being all butthurt.

I don’t care if your precious feelings are hurt. My people are STILL being murdered on a daily basis. My sisters vanish and no one cares. I myself was raped and assaulted, falling into the 1 in 3 of all native women who will endure that horror. Our burial grounds are being desecrated. Our histories, our languages, many of our religions, traditions, even the way we love, was illegal and outlawed and we were slaughtered for them. They were beaten out of us, bred out of us. What few spiritual practices we have left, what few reclaimed words and terms we have, are being taken and perverted by new age hippie pagans. Pipelines are being built, oil is leaking into reservation water supplies, essentially sentencing thousands of natives to death and to sickness. Treaties are broken again and again and again and white folk cant even be bothered to show a little respect and not wear us as a Halloween costume. Don’t come whining to me about your fragile feelings cuz I don’t give a single shit. You want to treat me like a relic of the past, like I’m being a baby or like I’m being uncivil. We are still here. And we will not be silent any longer. You can no longer claim ignorance, that you had no idea, because we are telling you now.

You can’t change the past. There is no possible way you can apologize or make up for what your ancestors did. So stop saying you’re sorry. Sorry doesn’t do a goddamn thing. Take action. Be better than them. Change the future. Do something about it.

Posted in book reviews, Cultural Appropriation, witchy book reviews, Witchy Tips

Witchcraft Books by Silver Ravenwolf

Image result for silver ravenwolf

When I first starting practicing Wicca, like a decade ago, I came across a copy of To Ride a Silver Broomstick by SIlver Ravenwolf. I gobbled it up. It is not until, now, as a 23 year old witch with ten years of experience under my belt, that I realize what an absolute load of crap that entire book was. I can wax poetic about why, for the love of all that is good in this world, you should not, under any circumstance read, buy or support Silver Ravenpoop’s books. She is not an even remotely good source and she profits off the ignorance of young pagans.

 

  • She claims that Wicca and Witchcraft are the same thing. Yup, if you are a witch, you have to be Wiccan.
  • She claims that Satanist and Christian witches do not exist. Because all witches are Wicca, right?
  • She’s very clearly heteronormative, and does not acknowledge any genders other than the Male/Female, God/Goddess idea. Oh, and I do mean the CIS idea of Male/Female. Apparently you’re only a dude or a girl if you have the biological body parts to go with it. Yeah.
  • She talks a LOT about sex and fertility rites, but only in regards to straight people. Yup, if you’re LGBTQA, Ravenwolf refuses to acknowledge or write about you.
  • She believes and preaches the importance of an intact hymen being equal to a person’s virginity. As if virginity is actually a biological state and not just a sociological concept invented by men. Mhmm.
  • Her books are rank with cultural appropriation. Like, you name a sacred religious rite from a minority culture and she has probably written about it and said its 100% a-okay to steal stuff that doesn’t belong to you.
  • She’s clearly racist and speaks from a standpoint of white privilege, and her words are aimed at a young, white, straight audience.
  • She teaches hate and intolerance.
  • She teaches a completely incorrect version of history and tries to convince her readers that everything is a conspiracy.
  • She tries to convince us that witches are the most persecuted group of people in history and completely erases any mention of Native American genocide and the enslavement of African Americans.
  • She believes Christians and Christianity is evil and is outspoken about how much she hates them. Same for Satanists, pretty much. If you don’t believe in Wicca, you should be shunned, apparently.

 

I just. I can’t even. I could go on. There is more I could list. But honestly, I will say it right now, do not even bother reading anything by this fraud. She teaches nothing but hate and prejudice and if you have already had the misfortune of reading one of her books, throw it away or burn it and try your best to unlearn everything she has taught you. Egads, she is just awful. (shudders) All 21 of her books are laughably bad and full of crap. I attempted to read some of her other books, thinking maybe To Ride A Silver Broomstick was just like, a bad start, or something. Nope. They’re all awful.

Posted in book reviews, Cultural Appropriation, witchy book reviews, Witchy Tips

Animal Speak by Ted Andrews

Image result for animal speak ted andrews

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to read and review some witchcraft books, in order to find some that maybe aren’t COMPLETELY awful to share with you guys. Because, let’s face it, we all like to be able to find things in book form. Now, to toot my own horn, I do have a book out right now that’s a pretty good starting point as a grimoire, but I plan to release a revised, much larger, copy sometime next year containing a lot of the things I’ve learned recently. That’s why Witchcraft is called a practice, we never really stop learning.

 

Okay, on with the review. This first book is very cringe-worthy. Like, I mean, as a Native American, reading it made me want to vomit. The book is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, and just on the cover alone you can already tell its going to be full of cultural appropriation and disrespect to us Natives. Now, the dictionary part itself was actually not too bad. The book contains a comprehensive list of animals and what they mean and stand for, etc. But there are also entire chapters devoted to ‘finding your totem’ and ‘calling your spirit animal’. I just. Nope. Nope. So much nope.

 

As I’ve said before in my ‘On Totems/Spirit Animals’ post and my ‘Common Misconceptions in Witchcraft’ article, people who are not born into/accepted and recognized by a specific Native American tribe that has a history of practices and traditions that involve totems and spirit animals, cannot, in any way, have a spirit animal or a totem. While many cultures do have Clan Animals or a history of animal guides, the terms ‘Spirit Animal’ and ‘Totem’ refer specifically to the Native American religious traditions that involve a rite of passages and several difficult trials one must undergo to EARN a Totem or a Spirit Animal. Native American cultures and religions are closed to outsiders. So the fact that this WHITE author is going around trying to teach WHITE pagans/witches and “shamans” (gags) how to contact their ‘spirit animals’, is not only disgusting but also incredibly offensive and insulting. Also, their idea of a Spirit Animal/Totem is an animal that represents you, which is completely false. A totem is an animal that chooses you because it has things to teach you. I’ve wrote extensively about this.

 

In conclusion, Ted Andrews has written many a book and most, if not all, of them include a form of cultural appropriation. Animal Speak has a good little dictionary to refer to when Animal Scrying, but you can guy a pocket version of it that includes a lot less racist garbage. Personally, I would not recommend reading this book or buying this book. Supporting authors who steal sacred traditions from minority cultures is a lot like aiding and abetting the enemy. Just don’t do it.

 

If you are interested in learning about some animal correspondences without having to be exposed to this kind of trash, you can check out my posts on the subjects here: Insects and Spiders, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds.

Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Witchy Tips

Common Misconceptions and Appropriations in Witchcraft

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how witches, in general, are misunderstood. And also about how in the witchcraft and pagan communities, a lot of ignorance abounds and unintentional racism and cultural appropriation takes place. So! The point of this post is to address some of the most common misunderstandings about witches and witchcraft, to clear the air, and set some things straight.

  • Not all witches are Wiccan. Wicca is a religion, Witchcraft is a practice. That’s like saying all doctors are Christians. Medicine is a practice. Christianity is a religion. The two are totally unrelated. Traditional Wicca is a closed religion, meaning that unless you are initiated by a priest or elder, you cannot practice it. Neo Wicca is an open religion, however, and is free for anyone to take part.
  • Not all witches have sold their soul to Satan. Again, Satanism is a religion, Witchcraft is a secular practice. Many witches I know keep their witchcraft completely seperate from their religious belief system. That being said, the Satanist Witches that I have met are very polite and nice people, and I’ve never actually met one that has sacrificed a goat.
  • Next to no witches harm animals or make blood sacrifices. Most witches actually regard nature and therefore animals as holy and sacred, something to be protected and to learn from.
  • There is no such thing as ‘Black’ or ‘White’ magic, and therefore there is no such thing as ‘black’ or ‘white’ witches. The concept of ‘black’ magic, aka magical practices that hail from African and African American cultures and is often seen as negative, evil, bad and dark in general, is an incredibly racist term. While ‘white’ magic is the mainstream idea of magical practices hailing from European cultures, and is often thought of as good, positive, light and healing magic. These racially charged terms are not just referring to two binary sides of magic, but are deeply social and racist terms that are incredibly offensive and inappropriate. Also, there is no binary of magical types. There is no light or dark magic. Magic and witchcraft in itself, is not good or evil. It is a practice, a tool. A curse can be used for good intentions. A love spell can be used with a bad purpose. The magic itself is not one thing or another, its the intentions of the caster that determine its use. Therefore, there is no such thing as bad or good magic, black or white magic, or light or dark magic. Instead, it should be looked at like you would look at a chess board. You have pieces that play on the offense, and pieces that play on defense. Chaotic magic, or Baneful magic, are curses and witchcraft that focuses on an attack strategy. While Protection and Healing magic is a style of magic that focuses on a defensive strategy. Keep those negative and racially charged terms out of your practice and go with the alternatives!
  • Witchcraft is not a religion. It is a secular practice, devoid of its own belief system. Many witches do involve religion, but any religion can go hand in hand with magical traditions, while many witches do not involve religion at all.
  • Witchcraft and Hoodoo are two very different things. Hoodoo is a magical practice with African (specifically Yoruba), African American, Haitian, Mexican Catholic, Jewish and Native American (specifically Muscogee, Choctaw and Cherokee) roots. It is still practiced today in much of the Southern US and in Africa. Witchcraft is a general term that is commonly thought of as the Wicca style of magic and refers to the European styles and ideas, but has no real tangible specific cultural heritage, since most cultures on earth have some magical traditions.
  • Not all people who practice Hoodoo are followers of Voodoo. Hoodoo, like witchcraft, is a practice. Voodoo is a closed religion. Voodoo involves mostly the worship of deities such as Oya and Ogun, while Hoodoo focuses on personal energy.
  • Not all witches curse. While a lot of witches, like myself, are pro-curse, not everyone is. And most witches who do curse only curse for a good reason, and are very careful about it. We call this practicing safe hexing and cursing responsibly.
  • Not all witches believe in the ‘three fold law’ or in ‘the law of return’. These are both Wiccan beliefs and many witches are not Wiccan, therefore do not follow those strict code of moral guidelines.
  • The concept of Karma is not what you think it is. Also, unless you are a member of the religions that observe Karma, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, the use of Karma is cultural appropriation. As is the use of Chakras. Karma is “ the belief that a person’s actions in life will determine their fate in the next life”, the Western idea of Karma is actually Dharma, which is “the moral force that orders the universe and is maintained through personal duty”.
  • ‘Spirit Animals’ and ‘Totems’ are not a witchcraft thing. In fact, unless you come from a Native American culture that has a history with these practices, you literally cannot have a spirit animal or a totem. While there are similar beliefs in different cultures, such as the Nordic ‘Clan Animals’, these specific terms, Spirit Animal, and Totem, refer directly to the traditions of Native American cultures.
  • ‘Smudging’ is also not a witchcraft thing. Again, this is a sacred religious ritual in most Native American cultures. Native American cultures are closed to outsiders, that is to say that unless you are recognized and accepted by the tribe, you cannot be Native American. Smudging is a term that specifically refers to a holy smoke cleansing ceremony that takes place in Native cultures. The term is often used to refer to ‘Censing’ or ‘Saining’ (in Celtic traditions), which is to say that it is a secular ceremony using burning herbs or smoke to purify an area. Please use these alternative terms in your craft, and keep cultural appropriation and the negativity it brings out of your practice!
  • Shaman is not what you think it means. Shaman is a word that has its origins in German and Russian cultures, but is often used to refer directly to the Native American ‘Medicine Man’, therefore please try to keep the term out of your practice unless you are in fact a German Schamane or Russian Shaman. Modern New Age religions have completely stolen many Native American religious beliefs and ideas and combined them into this culturally appropriative idea of ‘Shamanism’.  If you are not German or Russia, you cannot be a Shaman, and if you are not Native American, you cannot be a Medicine Person.

Please note this list is in no way all inclusive. These are just examples I have seen personally. Please remember in your practice to be respectful of other cultures, especially closed cultures and religions, and their wishes.

 

Posted in Cultural Appropriation

An Ongoing List of Native American Racial Slurs

This is just going to be something I will be adding on to as I collect things that are slurs towards indigenous and ndn peoples. It’s going to pain me to even write these words down, but this is for the education of non-native people so that they can cease using these racist terms. They are extremely hurtful, insulting and racist towards native people. These are just the ones I heard in high school and college…

Racial Slurs//

  • Squaw
  • Redskin
  • Chief
  • Feather
  • Injun
  • Indian (unless used by a native american for reclaimation purposes)
  • Red
  • Savage
  • Scalper
  • Seal Clubber
  • Squanto
  • Big Red
  • Squaw Hopper
  • Indian Giver
  • Honky
  • Pocahontas
  • Indian Brave
  • Indian Princess
  • Red man/woman

 

Phrases to Avoid//

  • “Don’t be an Indian Giver!”
  • “Let’s Have a Pow-wow!”
  • “Low on the Totem Pole..”
  • “That’s my stomping ground!”
  • “Hey, Chief!”
  • “We’re even! They have Casinos now!”
  • “How Indian are you?”
  • “You don’t look Indian to me!”
  • “Hold down the fort.”
  • “Maybe I should do a rain dance, this drought is awful!”
  • “Do you live in a teepee?”
  • “I’m going to scalp him!”
  • “That was savage!”
  • “My great great grandma was an Indian Princess!”
  • “Go Big Red! Go Redskins!”
  • “Get over it, already.”
  • “What makes the red man red?”
  • Pretty much the entire Peter Pan movie
  • Anything to do with the Washington Redskins
  • Anything at all to do with Columbus or the Vikings ‘discovering’ the Americas

 

Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Mvskoke Creek NDN, Native American Resources, Personal Posts

You are not "Honoring" us. You are Hurting us. 

Today I heard that the Coweta public schools made a horrificly racist homecoming float. I didn’t believe just how racist it was until I saw it myself on the news.


I was so disgusted that I nearly vomited.

My hometown is the ‘Catoosa Indians’. And in Tulsa, the Union Public schools is the ‘R*dskins’. Both are racial slurs.

Now I’ve openly displayed my disgust of these mascots because they reinforce racist stereotypes, contribute to further cultural genocide, and teach children that racism, hatred, appropriation and annihilation of a race is acceptable, along with telling kids it’s okay to objectify and fetishize an entire group of unique cultures and peoples. 

It’s not okay. It’s unacceptable. But as a young adult in a world of middle aged white people who refuse to listen to me, an actual native person, it’s really hard to make a change. But this recent development sent me over the edge. I did what little thing I could to try to make a difference.

So, I’ve created a petition to ban all Native American mascots in Oklahoma. Other states have done it successfully and good things have come out of it. One would think that ‘Indian Territory’ would have been one of those states. And while Oklahoma City has passed legislations and ordinances to make changes, and have made positive changes, the rest of Oklahoma sits on its racism with an extreme amount of appropriative ignorance.

These racist mascots do not promote peace, they promote hatred and violence towards indigenous peoples. You are not honoring our cultures, you are mocking them and offending us. 

It’s time to change the mascots, guys.

If you are reading this, thank you so much for reading my blog. Please consider offering your support to the indigenous people of Oklahoma who are so desperately trying to preserve our traditions and cultures and sign the petition here.

Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Native American Resources

A Cultural Appropriation Masterpost

This will be an ongoing list of informative and educational posts by not only myself, but other members of the POC community. They are all properly credited and when you click on the link, it will take you to their post and their blog. Please support POC bloggers and give them a follow!

Also, if you have made posts or know of really good cultural appropriation posts that you would like for me to include in this post (because my search skills can only extend so far haha), please shoot me a message with a link! Since I make posts only on ndn issues (since I am ndn), there might be a few more posts on that subject until I can find more posts to even it out! Thank you for reading!

 

The Basics//

 

First Nations and Native American Cultures//

Central and South American Cultures//

Pasifika Cultures//

Black and African Cultures//

Asian Cultures//

Roma Culture//

 

 

 

Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Mvskoke Creek NDN, Native American Resources

Support Native Americans and Buy Native

This is going to be an ongoing list of ndn artisans.

 

Moccasins//

Sharolyn Maleport (Chippewa)

TP Mocs (Blackfeet)

 

Jewelry//

Stephanie Pinkham (Nez Perce)

Cindi (Lakota)

Lea Lattie (Cherokee)

Rainey ‘Nasugraq’ Hopson (Inupiaq Eskimo)

Kathy Whitman-Elk Woman ( Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara) 

Dean Couchie (Nipissing)

Mary Whiteshield Lomax (Cheyenne/Arapaho)

Angela Davis (Navajo/Apache)

Leanna (Nez Perce)

White Antelope (Acoma) 

Kiamichi Goodbear (Ponca/Choctaw)

 

Artists and Authors//

Moonhawk Art (Cherokee/Mvskoke Creek)

Theresa Hatathlie (Navajo)

Nani Chacon (Navajo/Chicana)

David Sloan (Navajo)

Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Creek)

Dana Tiger (Mvskoke/Cherokee/Seminole)

Traci Rabbit (Cherokee)

Linda Kukuk (Choctaw)

Nadiya Littlewarrior (Cherokee)

 

Dreamcatchers//

Linda Andre (Ottawa)

Denise Pratt (Pokagon Band, Potawatomi) 

Moose-R-Us (Ojibwe)

 

A Little of Everything//

Cherokee Nation Gift Shop (Cherokee)

Alaska Native Heritage Center (Alaskan Native Tribes)

Sacred Ground Trading Post (Chumash Owner)

Miranda ‘Violet’ Navarro (Mvskoke Creek/Cherokee)

Aiden Warrior (Cherokee)

Loree Ann (Menomimee)

Christy Ruby (Tlingit)

Kachina House (Various Southern Tribes)

Sara Cooper (Metis/Cree)

 

Additions:

If you are an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, please send me a message with the link to your online store, your tribal affiliation, your artist name, and the category you wish to be listed under.

 

A Note on Appropriation:

A few people complained on my last post about cultural appropriation. I myself am an enrolled member of the Mvskoke Creek Nation of Oklahoma on my mother’s side, and of Western Cherokee ancestry on my father’s side. I have written a plethora of posts regarding cultural appropriation of NDN tribes. I would never compile a list that would condone the further abuse of my people. When you are buying something that is authentically native-made, you are not appropriating, you are appreciating. This is because you are supporting Natives by purchasing articles from them that they have consented to sell and that they benefit financially from directly. I have researched, or know personally, all of the entries on this list and have disclosed their tribal information in order to reassure consumers that they are legally creating and selling their wares in accordance with the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.

Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Mvskoke Creek NDN, Personal Posts

Cultural Genocide

In the last 500 years, not a lot of progress has been made.

European invaders slaughtered 80-100 MILLION indigenous peoples in the Americas. And that was just in the initial colonization stages. Many more have died at the hands of non-natives since then.

1 in 3 native women are raped by non-natives. I fall into that statistic, sadly.

Recent events at Standing Rock have just proved what I have been saying.

Nothing has really changed. We are still being wiped out. We are still being raped, culturally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

They are still stealing ndn land. They dug up our ancestors bones. They maced the faces of innocent, peaceful ndn protestors. Men, Women and even Children.

They brought in attack dogs, which mauled those same men, women and children.

They tried to cut off a man’s hands with a power saw.

Our people sobbed and scream, begging them to stop.

The people at Standing Rock are being backed by nearly every recognized tribe in the states. Including both of mine. If I had the money, I would drive up to North Dakota and join my brothers and sisters in the fight.

And noone bats an eye at these things.

These are just the more obvious forms of cultural genocide.

But, wait, there’s more!

Many tribes and their people have spoken out against those who steal and claim for their own certain spiritual traditions and art forms. Yeah, cultural appropriation.

But it should more appropriately be called Cultural Rape.

Because that’s what it is.

It is taking something by force that doesn’t belong to you and doing whatever you want with it.

White people who wear war bonnets or ‘sexy squ*w’ costumes for halloween and music festivals, I am looking at you.

You are raping our cultures. We are begging you to stop.

You are contributing to the sexualization and fetization of our women and children.

You are contributing to the mindset that we are just ‘fantasy’ and that we have all died out.

You are contributing to the racist and horrifically violent acts at the Dakota Access Pipeline.

You are contributing to the settler and invader mindset. That what is ours is actually just yours for the taking.

I’m telling you. It’s not.

Cultural Genocide goes beyond just murdering our people and raping our women. It is also stealing our culture, silencing our voices, and disregarding our wishes. It’s trying to assimilate us, trying to erase us, trying to chalk us up to some kind of historical race that no longer exists.

We are still here.

And we will not be silent any longer.

 

Posted in Cultural Appropriation, Personal Posts

My Sister Calls Herself White

I have a little sister three years younger than me, and she is white passing.

She tries to tell me that I overreact all the time about ndn activism. She says n*gga to her friends and her white passing Choctaw boyfriend makes racist jokes with her all the time.

Neither of them act like they care about their cultures. She told my mother and I that she doesn’t even say she’s ndn. If anyone asks, she says she’s white.

The look of heartbreak in my mother’s eyes.

My mother, who struggled to regain that part of herself when her Creek mama adopted her out. My mother who comforted me when I asked why my skin was darker than my classmates, told me most white girls ‘would kill to have my skin tone’ when they grow up. My mother who bared her teeth and spewed venom when she and i were kicked out of an Irish pub once because they ‘don’t serve dirty Indian squaws’. My mother who took us to powwows as kids, told us to be proud of where we come from, continues to support me and listen to me when I rant about the racism we still face today.

While my sister and Cherokee father say ‘you’re not even that ndn. We are white. Calm down.’ Because they have denied that part of themselves.

They may as well be white.

Because even if they have the same amount of ndn blood as I do, they have actively denied our culture, our people, our history. They’ve been colonized.

They won’t say they’re ndn, so they may as well be white.

This always breaks my heart to talk about but I’ve seen some stuff on tumblr recently, about ndns who only say they are white until they get called out for being racist and then they say ‘oh I’m ndn!’

Bitch, no you are not.

If you are ndn only when it’s convenient to you. If you refuse to support ndn rights and stand up for our people… If you deny and ignore and bury that part of yourself and tell people you are white unless it’s a discussion about cultural appropriation..

Then you may as well be white.