Friday, April 11, 2008

Wannabes Commercialize Their “Ceremonial Grounds”

Originally Posted 8 March, 2008

“Lost Cherokee Headman” Doug Cotter is conducting Arkansas Concealed Carry (handgun) Permit training for $40 per person at the organization’s “ceremonial grounds” in Dover, Arkansas. This is one of the factions that has split from the original “Lost Cherokee” in the past couple of years, after a disagreement between Cliff Bishop and Doug Maxwell.

If you recall from previous comments, the original “Lost Cherokee” was the group that was involved in spurious Office of Indian Education grants and numerous Arkansas School Districts. The Office of Indian Education continues to give grants nationwide to schools without Indian students, a massive misuse of Indian directed funds.

While the validity of any “ceremonial ground” established by a wannabe “tribe” should be brought into question, the “Lost Cherokee’s” claim of a ceremonial ground and subsequent use of the site for such an activity is a degradation of real ceremonial grounds. This goes to show how far these wannabe “tribes” can go in maligning Indian traditions. Ceremonial grounds are for religious purposes, and the “Lost Cherokee’s” use of their so-called “ceremonial grounds” makes a laughing stock of real ceremonial grounds everywhere.

Concealed Carry Permit training on such grounds are not in keeping with the purpose of those grounds any more than holding bingo games would be. .As with other non-religious activities, it does not belong there. I find it unimaginable that Cotter could not have located another place in Dover to conduct his activities. Even if the “Lost Cherokee” grounds are a pale wannabe imitation of a ceremonial ground - which I suggest it is - conducting this non-religious activity on the grounds is an insult to legitimate American Indians who value their traditions.

At the same time that many Tribes are trying to protect their traditional ceremonial grounds, the “Lost Cherokee” conveys a false impression to the public that ceremonial grounds are unimportant pieces of real estate that have no special meaning and can be commercialized at will.

Lastly, although I support the right of individuals to carry a weapon for protection, I question why a wannabe group would host such training. I suppose that now we will have fully armed wannabe “Cherokees” running around the streets and hills of Arkansas.

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