I have my issues with Adam Yellowbird and ICA but this is bigger than that. The idea that any county should regulate sweat lodge ceremony based on some random criteria is not ok. If they are going to make this a race issue and regulate based on having a tribal card then they discriminate even against many with native blood who simply don’t have enough of any given tribe to qualify for membership. As members of different tribes intermarry this is getting to be a bigger problem. You can literally have someone who is half Indian but has blood of four different tribes and can’t qualify for the 1/4 blood quantum of any of the tribes he or she belongs to.
Whatever my issues have been with Adam they have never been related to his running of a sweat in a responsible way, more along the lines of charging for a seminar that may include a sweat kind of thing. He is a responsible sweat leader in terms of the healthy and safety of people sweating with him. I would say if there is one statement in this video that represents my issues it would be that they gathered the leaders together to seek solutions but were not willing to place blame. James Ray was NOT leading a responsible sweat! This is not a matter of perspective. A true sweat should NEVER have the amount of people he had involved and this group should have taken a stand. Taking stands to be in integrity in that way is not Adam’s thing and that is where we parted ways.
That being said, one corrupt greedy man, James Ray, being irresponsible should not equate to the attempt by Yavapai county to regulate or remove the religious right of anyone else to sweat together. That Adam is the first person to be challenged on this issue is good. I hope they do indeed challenge him as to whether he really thinks James Ray was leading an appropriate sweat. Many people in that area sit on the fence and allow all kinds of inappropriate things to go on around sacred ceremony. It is time to look at this and truly be willing to self regulate instead of looking the other way. It seems the unwillingness to do this is what is prompting the general population who knows nothing of sweats to insist the county do it. Adam has always been willing to mix with the Sedona charlatans as easily as those with true hearts. When money gets involved and then hand in hand big ego comes, corruption follows. This unwillingness to discern and hold integrity is the very thing that originally got Adam listed on the Plastic Shaman’s site by really traditional Indians who don’t want any non red people doing anything that appears Native. I do know that Adam has grown up with Sweats and other Indian ceremony, it truly has been his life.
I’ve been standing against the Sedona greed and corruption that masquerades as spirituality for a REALLY long time. I hope this is a step that spirit is taking to say to the faithful you cannot continue to sit on the fence. When you allow certain sacred things to be corrupted and say nothing you become a participant and the ability to do these things in a good way is inevitable removed by some authority figure supposedly for the good of all and to “protect” the ignorant.
On the other side of this coin sits many self righteous Indians who feel the ceremony is only for those with blood of a given tribe. They have sat there and by attempting to own something sacred that truly belongs to the Creator and not them allowed the corruptions to continue as well. Sweating is found in many different parts of the world (the original Swedish sauna I’ll mention for one as a person who is Swedish) just as most cultures world wide have drumming traditions and stone circles are found all over the world. It long past time to accept that all ceremony comes from the Creator not any given tribe, clan or culture. We should all be working together to be sure that anyone doing any sacred ceremonies are doing them in a safe and loving way and there is NO MONEY INVOLVED.