Indigeneity, Language and Authenticity

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New age frauds and Indigeneity


The text below, which I noticed on Tumblr a while ago, might be one of the worst examples of white New Agers infatuated with the trope of the magical, mystical Indigene that I have ever read in my entire life. I was going to leave this at first, but it just annoys me too much.


Thoughts of Indigenous tribes takes us back and connects us to another time, a time when we trusted our intuition and knew how to be stewards of the earth. It was a time when we felt a deeper connection to everything.

What Isabella Stoloff is doing here is, to put it bluntly, erasing contemporary Indigenous communities around the world, by placing them firmly in a distant past, safely away from the complex and intricate struggles we face today. In making the Indigene a long-gone, dead object, and instead focus on tropes forged by prejudices, misconceptions and lies about Indigenous communities around the world, it becomes easy to take even more from us, seeing as – to the writer and their kin – we are no longer here.

In today’s world we are losing our connection to not only each other but to our beautiful mother a well. With so much information coming at us all the time we are beginning to lose touch with what is really important. Ask yourself what is important to you. Are you more caught up in what other’s think of you, or whether you have the newest cool thing out on the market?

Here Isabella is talking about what Baudrillard would refer to as postmodernity’s ‘loss of self’. The Loss of Self is, as far as I am concerned, a concept which is only applicable to white people. What Isabella is failing to understand is that while many settler nations are struggling to come to terms with who they are, based on their history of land thefts, genocide and other atrocities, we as Indigenous peoples are firmly rooted in our own communities, and have thus not lost ourselves – but this does not mean that we have any obligations whatsoever to serve as living smorgasbords for culture vultures, only interested in taking that which seems cool, in and sufficiently mystical at the time.

Now there dis nothing wrong with wanting material things, but if you can find balance so you can grow spiritually then take a look into Indigenous cultures and see what they have to offer. There is a certain vibe when we hear the word Indigenous. It conjures up images of a time long ago, ancient civilizations, and ways of connecting to nature that we have long. It also makes us think of jungles and plant medicine, unfamiliar territory to most. But this territory is where people are finding their way back to themselves.

Indigenous peoples live, breathe, walk this planet, co-habit it with you on a daily basis, and to repeatedly paint us as relics of a sorely missed Eden of human innocence is both factually wrong, and offensive to those of us who identify as members of actual, vibrant indigenous communities today,

Those who are noticing something is missing from their lives are seeking ways to get in touch with their soul’s purpose. The people who want to connect and come back to the Mother are what I call “New Indigenous Tribes.”

The term Indigenous cannot and should not ever be used to refer to New Age settlers. It’s so intrinsically wrong, the mere act of writing it down on paper should tell you how bad it is.

These tribes are yearning for something more. We see them popping up everywhere. All religions, all walks of life, are joining together to make a difference in the world. Permaculture, sustainable living, communes and more are sprouting up all over the country. Occupy “whatever” is the fad of the day and people are joining in force saying enough is enough. Because of this, things are changing for the better. I believe this is the time to take control of your destiny. If things are not working, fix them. We can no longer stand by and allow society to dictate what works. Clear your life of what no longer serves you and clear the clutter of your mind. I say; “If it makes you feel bad or is negative, it is a lie. If it makes you feel good and is positive, it is the truth”. As the old saying goes, “The truth will set you free” and freedom is what we are all seeking. 

The section above is essentially waffle without any actual substance. To confuse the Occupy movement with an actual, current Indigenous decolonial surge sweeping the planet shows an immense level of simply not being in touch with reality.

In 1991 when I began my path of spiritual growth I remember making the decision to be honest in all my affairs. That meant absolutely no lying. It was not easy at first, and even harder for those around me. But I told my truth and to this day I do not lie. I feel this is one way for others to dial in to their intuitive nature. Speak your truth no matter what. 
Remember you are connected to every living thing. Breathe in the truth of this statement. Once we tune into the planet and listen, all our questions will be answered. It is a waste of time to sit around and beat yourself up over things. To tell yourself you are fat, or not good enough, or stupid. Allow these thoughts to melt away and fill your mind with forgiveness and love. Love is the answer, especially at this time.

Telling the truth at all times is a noble goal, but seeing as you’re so caught up in your own delusion of being a new Indigenous person, you’re essentially lying to yourself on a daily basis.

You cannot choose to be Indigenous.

There are far too many people around the world who are disconnected from their communities who never come home because of people like you, who make a mockery of our real-life struggles, in order to present us as people who are dead anyway, but somehow still pure and noble and thus perfect as human goody bags whose cultural traditions are exotic enough to the Othering eye of the West to justify appropriating them.

We are in the middle of a great change and I feel this change can bring us back to our Indigenous state of being. 
So, what if we took the word Indigenous and created our own culture, our own tribe, our own world? What if the word Indigenous described us as, the people of the new world, the world we have all been talking about, one filled with trust, peace, love and light, compassion and solidarity. How would that make you feel? Imagine it now. Let that image spread all over your being.


Don’t do it. It’s offensive and actually harmful to real Indigenous communities.

We are all feeler healers and once you clear your mind, learn how to tell the truth and trust, you will have the tools needed to create beautiful lives. The more dialed in you are the better your life will be.  When you are open to the divine and fully in touch with your heart magical things can, and do happen~ 

Shaman Isabella Stoloff founded the Orange County Healing Center in 2009, speaks all over the world and is a visionary. Sessions with Isabella leave you feeling lighter, connected and more in tune with your soul. Shaman Isabella provides one-on-one sessions, teaches private Shaman classes and guides sacred retreats.  “Transforming my life has ben a passion of mine for over 20 years. I look forward to assist you connect with your soul at the deepest level” 

Created for OM Magazine

I had a look at your homepage, and I am not surprised to see that you charge $10,000 to teach people how to become shamans.

I have absolutely nothing against people who find peace, strength and confidence in New Age ideas, but I do oppose people who make it their job to speak over actual Indigenous peoples and act as shamans to the public.

You claim to be an expert on shaman practices from the Andes, and yet you’ve only been there six times according to your homepage; to me, that does not add up.

Furthermore, you only list one teacher on your homepage, a certain Dr. Alberto Villoldo, who is a known New Age fraud amongst actual Indigenous peoples around the world, and the actual shamans you’ve “learnt” from are only referred to as that – they’re faceless, nameless props in your business plan.

The sad truth is that your business and life-style is harming actual, real Indigenous peoples, by strip-mining their religious practices and selling them for a profit, and yet you have the audacity to suggest that people who are vulnerable to frauds like you should start referring to themselves as “new indigenous peoples”.

Don’t you actually hear how bad that sounds?


1 Comment

  1. Marconatrix says:

    The first thing you have to realise is that the article you’re criticising was not written for you and really has nothing at all to do with you, you’ve simply jumped on the word ‘indigenous’, whatever that’s supposed to mean. People in mainstream ‘Western’ ‘civilisation’ often feel they are culturally deprived, no doubt with good reason. So they do what people have always done and take what they need from whatever source comes to hand. (‘Indigenous’ peoples do this too). And these sources will be very very indirect, since not one in a thousand new-agers will ever have any meaningful contact with an ‘indigenous’ community. Their ideas will have been filtered though layer upon layer of misunderstanding and romanticisation and are moulded to suit their needs. Often this mythology is self-sustaining, as one author quotes another back to the nineteenth century and beyond. I’m sure many books have been written about this process, it is not at all new. ‘Celts’ and ‘Red Indians’ have always been common targets in the English speaking world, no doubt the Sámi loom large in Nordic consciousness.

    Like you I dislike the way some people are able to charge large sums of money for a load of BS, but how is that new, or new-age or even ‘Western’? If the lady in question really did go up a mountain in South America and meet a ‘shaman’, I would not be the least bit surprised if he were a charlatan, gladly taking her money (why not?) and telling her whatever she wanted to hear. Even if he were a genuine spiritual leader, do you think he’d be willing to share the sacred truths of his community with a complete stranger who had zero commitment to that community? Of course not! What would be the point?

    So I really don’t think new-agers pose any real threat to ‘indigenous’ groups, indeed they may be prepared to come to your aid when you’re threatened by logging and mining concerns etc. Otherwise let them have their fantasies, just remember they really have nothing to do with you, the real people, ‘out there’ where they’ll never go … unless you decide to run package tours to take money off them, which would be your choice.

    And even where mainstream society does come into physical contact with your cultures, there will be no deep mental contact. Why? Language! How many ‘Celtic Mystery’ gurus have learned a Celtic language? In my experience not one! And no doubt the same is true regarding ‘Indians’, Sámi and all the rest. But without the language how could anyone begin to understand the concepts of an alien culture? At least for me that’s always been the best BS detector.

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