Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
On January 8th, 2001 at 1:00 p.m. (EST) an episode aired on the soap opera "All My Children". There was a scene in which a woman was burning sage and her maid danced in a silly manner, swaying smudge sticks in both hands in an effort to remove evil spirits from the home.
Although the characters and storyline are fictitious, it is appalling to see parts of my Native American heritage ridiculed in such a manner.
Christianity is, for the most part, treated with the utmost respect by this and other daytime sagas. The same would be done, I'm sure, with Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism, etc. Why Native American practices are the target of theft, derision and parody escapes us all.
For a culture that really had little to no use for Indigenous People's, it's a stretch to understand why we are the folks to emulate.
Your writing and research staff needs to do their homework. Try the Indian Freedom of Religion Act, for starters, any search engine online will pick up this information and more. Ignorance is no excuse.
Is it any wonder our Elders are leery about even discussing traditions? Their words often end up being altered or taken out of context. Our youth are reluctant to do anything that puts them outside of their peers approval We hear the words "self esteem" continually...isn't it an equal opportunity item?
Smudging and sage are used by traditional Native Americans for religious purposes and as an honor to Creator in prayer. We don't do voodoo, chase away evil spirits, or dance around in such a manner.
We would like to point out that we didn't notice anyone burning incense or waving a silver wand of Holy Water around. In the practice of Catholicism, that IS a ritual to ward off harmful spirits. Check it out.
Miss Lucci has a reputation for being kind, considerate and a consummate actress that everyone likes and supports. It seems unlikely she would condone stupidity or something that could appear racist.
It is my personal belief the writers and producers of "All My Children" owe an apology to all Native American people.
Thank You for your attention in this matter.
For those who would like the eMail addresses to send a copy of the following to:
"Primitive" Indian religion
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