A fundamental misunderstanding about Native ceremony that many non-Natives have is that a definitive ethnographer’s list of what each ceremony is for is even possible. All ceremony is for healing as well as for whatever blessings the Spirits choose to bestow upon those who choose to participate in ceremony. For example, the Inipi or Sweat Lodge ceremony of the Lakota is a purification ceremony and one needs to go through the Inipi before any other ceremony. Yet the highest of all ceremonies in the Lakota religion is the Canupa or peace pipe ceremony which is also frequently engaged in during the time when the flap is opened after the third round in the Inipi ceremony. It is not simply just for peace but to bring people closer together in shared understanding as well as for prayer and whatever else participants get out it. It is the “whatever else that participants get out of it” part that makes a definitive ethnographers list impossible.
Another fundamental misunderstanding that many non-Natives have is not understanding that two or more seemingly opposing realities are easily possible in Native understanding. It is a static, dualistic mindset that causes so much confusion when non-Natives try to understand Native cultures and ceremonies.
The concept of “finding God” is also odd to many Natives because divinity is something of which we are all part. It is of little wonder that the story and teachings of Curandara Maria Sabina are still so poorly understood outside the cultural context of her people. Yet it is entirely understandable how her story could be used for the benefit of the Psychopaths in Charge.
Tread lightly. There is still so much more to be revealed.