'Native' Themed Camps Continue to Offend





A Los Angeles Native woman’s anger over “Native”-themed summer camps is echoed across the country as many Native people continue to object to non-Native people’s appropriation of tribal traditions, reports Indian Country Today. While walking her dogs in a Los Angeles Park, Marisol Crisostomo-Romo, 26, spotted a van with a tipi on it. A group of white children piled into the van, clutching bows and arrows. They were members of the five-week-long Camp Shi'ini, ''a Native American-themed summer camp,” according to the camp’s website. Similar Native-themed camps, nonprofits, centers, programs, workshops, retreats and seminars, offered mostly by non-Natives thrive across the country. Native activists also believe that non-Native people operating as medicine men and shamans -- and often charging for their services -- are taking advantage of Native traditions. ''We don't charge for ceremonies,” says Charlie Sitting Bull, a traditional Oglala Lakota from South Dakota and direct descendant of Chief Sitting Bull. A 1993 decree issued by 40 different tribes declared that action should be taken against non-Natives exploiting Lakota traditions. In a letter of complaint to the camp, Chrisostomo-Romo writes that “it is important for non-Natives to understand that Natives do not exist only in museums or in Western movies. We are a people who have a future and who want the best for our children.”



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