traditional apache sunrise dance
The Sunrise Dance is a traditional rite of passage for young Apache women.

Traditional dance, or worshiping Satan?

A trio of Native American students say they were punished by their private Christian school for taking part in a traditional Native dance because school officials claimed it was "devil worship." Two were expelled, while the third was let off with a warning. 

The students insist the dance is an important part of their Apache identity and culture. Clearly, the Lutheran administration didn't see it that way. 

Details about the incident are now coming out, shining a spotlight on how private religious schools treat indigenous faith and cultural traditions. 

The Sunrise Dance

Here's what happened. 

Back in 2019, a female student named Caitlyn participated in a traditional dance called the Sunrise Dance. According to the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Sunrise Dance is a four-day coming-of-age ceremony for teenage girls important in Apache culture. 

“A blanket is spread out in front of the girl who holds a curved staff with which she keeps beat with the music and dances in place by shifting her weight from one foot to the other throughout the entirety of the ceremony, with an average of 130 dances of 700 to 1,200 beats per dance,” the museum explains. 

The Sunrise Dance is central to White Mountain Apache culture, and is a spiritual and emotional event for the girl, her family, and the Apache community.

Here's what it looks like:

Dancing With The Devil?

The Monday after Caitlyn took part in a friend's Sunrise Dance, however, Caitlyn and her parents were asked to attend a meeting with the school principal and a local preacher. They characterized the Sunrise Dance as some sort of Satanic or pagan ritual.

That idea wasn’t new. According to Caitlyn, her teachers at the private Christian school she attended often characterized Native traditions as Satanism. She recalls that in fifth grade, she was given an F on an art project where she drew the White Mountain Apache crest, her teacher failing her for “pagan worship.”

Caitlyn was let off with a strict warning, but two other girls who took part in the dance were reportedly expelled. Caitlyn was warned not to participate in another dance, and did not have her own Sunrise Dance.

https://x.com/LakotaMan1/status/1805307299118072273

Pattern of Oppression

In early 2023, a group of nine Apache women gathered to discuss the pattern of expulsions and the school’s stance against Indigenous practices.

The school, founded by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), allegedly has a long history of opposing Native traditions, aligning with many other Christian churches on the reservation that label such practices as demonic.

Maria, another affected mother, described how her children were also penalized for her participation in a Sunrise Dance.

Despite sending her children to East Fork for a better education, she found the school's anti-Indigenous stance damaging. She says that her own daughter came home from school one day and asked her, “Mom, did you know that when you go to Sunrise Dances, you are worshiping false idols?”

Maria asked her daughter who told her that. 

“My teacher. She said watching the Crown Dancers is worshiping Satan,” she responded.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Local Apache parents and leaders find themselves in a bind when it comes to the WELS schools on the reservation. Despite teaching their own children what they characterize as anti-Indigenous indoctrination, parents say the private Christian schools are almost always better funded and provide a better education for their kids. It’s a difficult situation.

“We can take that land back if we want to, but nobody has brought it up because there is a school there,” says White Mountain Apache tribal council member Annette Tenijieth. “Even though they are twisting the children’s minds, it is still a better school than others. We need to stand strong.”

Many of the Apache say they’re being treated like second-class citizens on their own land, with Christian teachers instructing their children that ancient tribal traditions are some sort of devil worship.

This conflict also has painful historical roots – in the 19th and 20th centuries, thousands of Native American children were forced to attend church-run schools intended to assimilate them into Western culture. Disturbing allegations from that period continue to plague the Catholic Church even today. 

And this isn't the only battle the tribe is fighting. Apache leaders are currently in a legal battle to protect a sacred religious site from being sold to an Australian mining company – a fight which many expect will be taken up by the Supreme Court. 

Praying to Multiple Gods

Complicating matters further: many Apaches have been baptized into Christianity and practice both indigenous faith traditions and Catholic ones, for example. 

“I don’t mind practicing both because the Catholic and the Apache god are identical in a way," explains one tribal member. 

Dr. Greg Johnson, professor of religious studies at UCSB, explains this phenomenon: "Time and again, Native peoples have said, ‘You know what, we will re-engineer your Christianity to better suit our purposes. So even if you tell us it’s exclusive, even if you discipline us in a way, cut our hair, dress us, make us feel a certain way, we’re not done being Apache and we will make your Christianity do things you didn’t expect.’”

Added another tribal member: “God hears our prayers. Who are we praying to? We are praying to the same God as they’re praying to. White people cannot judge us, you know? Only God can judge us.”

117 comments

  1. Lawrence A. Benson's Avatar Lawrence A. Benson

    I'm just curious as to how the teachers at this school are so well versed as to how a "Satanism Dance" is performed. Is there a referance book somewhere that explains the proper/improper way to do the dance? Perhaps a diagram that shows the foot placement on the floor while dancing. Then there's the music. You have to have the correct music, or the "Santanism" hocus-pocus won't work. IMO LOL, LOL

    1. Lori-Ann Neeb's Avatar Lori-Ann Neeb

      personally I do not believe there is a Satan or hell. it was one of the church creations to try to control the people through fear and manipulation. the closest anyone comes to a "hell" is what some humans create. i would say a few have snuck onto the rez and teach at that school. i do not understand why the reservation government does not crack down and keep cultural studies a priority all its people and any outsiders with open minds and hearts wishing to learn it as well. if those schools do not meet cultural standards, then they should change the curriculum and let teachers comply or leave.

      1. Lynn Kendall's Avatar Lynn Kendall

        I completely agree.

    2. Rev. Fr. Craig Goral D.D.'s Avatar Rev. Fr. Craig Goral D.D.

      Good question Laurence. Mike so that would mean highland dancing etc would also be in the same boat and any other cultural dancing.

    3. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

      It's simple, according to Christianity, anything not explicity Christian is Satanic.

      1. Rev. Michelle Love's Avatar Rev. Michelle Love

        I do not think that is correct. I believe that Christianity asserts that there is only one God and that people who worship multiple gods are pagans. Satanism is a religion all of its own and does not acknowledge the existence of any gods.

  1. Keith Lawrence Dimond's Avatar Keith Lawrence Dimond

    Punishing people is an admission that you can't show or convince them of what you want them to believe--or not believe.

    If you take away the bogus sanctification of it (it's a church, a true authority, so...), it stinks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This itself is more how the Demonic operates than how the bright side of the Divine does.

    That said, the school has its patterns, and they are known. It's sad to think that this is the 'better school available' on the Res.

    I wonder aloud and ask because I don't know: how is it that the Sovereign nation that is the Apache has not specified that operating on the Res means non-interference with native rituals and lifestyle? It's one thing to teach something else; quite another to hatefully cram that something else down peoples' throats!

    1. Lori-Ann Neeb's Avatar Lori-Ann Neeb

      That is what I don't understand.

  1. Najah P Tamargo's Avatar Najah P Tamargo

    Najah Tamargo-USA The Indigenous Peoples of this country have had their spiritual beliefs since BEFORE Christ was born. They have experienced genocidal treatment since first contact. All these "religous" groups are still trying to "kill the Indian to save the man". A TRUE Christian would love and accept everyone. So they are technically NOT Christians! They should be sued for their heidious actions and treatment of these Indigenous children!!!

    1. Marcella J Schieffelin's Avatar Marcella J Schieffelin

      Whatever happened to acceptance and learning? A “devil worship” dance is clearly subjective and biased. Native American tribes have their own cultural arts. Instead of shaming and punishing, the Christian teachers/school are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to embrace another culture and need to be held accountable for the harm caused.

      1. Rev. Fr. Craig Goral D.D.'s Avatar Rev. Fr. Craig Goral D.D.

        I agree Marcella. Look at what happened to the indigenous people in Canada. I live in Montreal Qc.

    2. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Najah, your statement that a true Christian would not behave this way smacks a little of the Scotsman's fallacy. Your statement that they are technically not Christians is wrong. They might well be true Christians but still imperfect souls and why we are all called to repentance. So, yes, a Christian is called to love everyone but failure to do so does not mean they are not true Christians. It does mean they are still human and imperfect. Also, the school administrators may very well love the students and still enforce their beliefs. They are not mutually exclusive. Your last sentence that the school should be sued has great passion, but the proposed remedy is wrong. Private schools may choose their own standards or criteria for who may or may not attend. And religious schools have a right to teach their respective religious doctrines. That is does not make them guilty of "hideous actions and treatment." It does mean they are being true to their mission and beliefs which parents know when enrolling their child.

      1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

        You talk of a no true Scotsman fallacy. But then pushed your own idea of it. Only you and Gray would be okay with the stripping of native culture away from people, Kester. Not surprising How racist and hypocritical you are, 🤡.

    3. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

      Sadly, they are actually Christians, they're just super racist ones. The racism is what needs to be called out, not their style of religioning their religion.

    4. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

      You allude to the "No true Scotman" fallacy with your "A TRUE Christian..." comment. A lot of true Christians consider it their right, duty even, to opress and eliminiate all non-Christians.

  1. Cynthia Mandello's Avatar Cynthia Mandello

    If they want to see a REAL satanic worship they should have attended the 2021 CPAC convention where attendees were literally bowing down to a golden statue of former President Trump erected in the lobby. No one present thought anything about it.

    Never again.

    1. Marcella J Schieffelin's Avatar Marcella J Schieffelin

      Great point.

    2. Lynn Kendall's Avatar Lynn Kendall

      Well said.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Nope. Since the Res is a separate governmental agency consistant with its own laws, there is no school or governmental agency that can come along and try and deny their recognized religion. Notice I said RECOGNIZED religion. Now if the BIA recognizes the Native American Dance as a part of the Apache religion, then there is nothing the school can do about it and the school can be legally required to either recognize the dance or remove themselves from the Res.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    Christofascists are the scourge of the 21st century.

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    I have visions of "Footloose", the movie upon hearing this news. This appears to reek of racism. Do they stop dancing, in general, or just Native Americans' dancing. Fear of Satanism is a religious concept and, if so, the government sould not intervene.

    1. Dolores W. Garza's Avatar Dolores W. Garza

      Racism for sure! Such small minded people at that school. Shame on them!

    2. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      Disco lives!

  1. Mountainsage's Avatar Mountainsage

    Couldn’t say it any better, Keith. It’s not just about making others believe what they want them to, it’s also about controlling their behavior. In so doing, they justify and gratify their own beliefs and behaviors. The Apache Nation will need to consider all of this just as many Americans have switched to home schooling for the same reasons.

    1. Pamela Vonbacho Ploof's Avatar Pamela Vonbacho Ploof

      Guess what. It's all the sale God My Iroquois ancestors prayed to the Creator or Great Spirit.. Native Americans were visited by Christ between Good Friday and Easter.. People who demean another's culture only prove what little their own faith means to them. As ministers. We all should be appalled at this and do whatever we can to get good quality teachers to that school.

      1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

        Now, just who told you that Jesus was an international traveler? Did they have SciFi transporter technology up there? Maybe they are aliens from another planet.

        1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

          I suppose if Jesus can dimensionally travel instantly, what is it to teleport to another continent? Sounds easy if ya know how.

          1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

            But the last two chapters of Revelation describe the spaceship in which Jesus is supposed to return to Earth. That proves Jesus is an extraterrestrial alien.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    If the school is on Reservation or Tribal land, then it must recognize the tribal religion. In this case it is the church that is wrong and the dancing must be allowed. If the dances actually take place off of the church property then they have no right to even voice an opinion.

  1. Amy Minckler's Avatar Amy Minckler

    I remember a few decades ago when I was talking to one woman. We had only met a few days prior and it looked like we would end up being friends. She started talking about religion. I had no issue with that. About mid way through the conversation she assured me quite confidently that all my ancestors were in hell because they did not believe in god despite the fact that it was before any christians ever set foot on this land. I just turned around and walked away.

    1. Ahmed Abduljabar Al-Hujazi's Avatar Ahmed Abduljabar Al-Hujazi

      Interesting. I totally disagree with that woman's misconception, and hopefully someone set her straight later. There is something I read once, but not being Christian I'm not sure I heard it correctly. Wasn't Jesus, during the resurrection supposed to have emptied hell, or whatever gray afterlife souls went to after their bodies died? I don't necessarily believe that, but your comment stirred a memory. If she, like other Christians, believes the Christian bible, then wouldn't that mean that your ancestors were released to heaven? Again, I don't believe your ancestors were in hell because they weren't Christians, nor do I believe that just because a person has not accepted Jesus, then they're going to hell. Just curious about what she would say about the resurrection activity belief.

      1. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

        Jesus did not go or do anything while He was in the grave. Judgement is taking place now so no one can go anywhere until it is complete. Hell is at the end of this world and as the bible says it was prepared for the devil and his angels. For those who lived before hearing the word preached, the bible says two things, one is the people that are lost are lost because they rejected the light that was available to them and in times of ignorance God winks at.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    This school is not the only option. In addition to the Bureau of Indian Affairs school there are at least two other schools. One is operated by the Catholic Church and the other by the Mormons (LDS) neither of which practices anti--traditional-Apache rhetoric. https://longreads.com/2024/06/28/they-took-part-in-apache-ceremonies-their-schools-expelled-them-for-satanic-activities/

    1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

      they're all just horrible in their own right. it was stated there are other schools available for them but that (imagine this) the lutheran one was the best one. pretty sad the way the government treats the first nations...well, government but mostly the religion behind the government

      1. Rev. Michelle Love's Avatar Rev. Michelle Love

        My question is why there are no secular schools on the reservation? Do these schools consider themselves as missionaries trying to spread the gospel to people they consider pagans? Or do they see themselves as educators trying to prepare these young people for life? In any event, I find it very hypocritical that public schools are not allowed to teach the Bible in their classrooms but Native students are having it shoved down their throats because funding has not been allocated to provide a public school on reservation land.

  1. Linda weeks's Avatar Linda weeks

    What kind of medieval BS?! These religious institutions don’t understand, indigenous spirituality to begin with to equated with Satanism is absolutely ridiculous to sanction or expel students for participating in their communities. Belief system is the worst kind of exclusion and the worst kind of ignorance. I hope the parents have a good lawyer, because I would certainly sue that school district, I hope they do.

  1. Quinn R Amaro's Avatar Quinn R Amaro

    I speak to those who condemned and expelled the Apaches: All you did was at the bidding of other humans with lost souls. Each of you have forgotten that the Apache people were here on this continent before the white man even knew it existed. Because you have chosen to follow the lies of your white church before the Truth of what Bible tells us, may you each be condemned by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior that your souls will burn for eternity.

    1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

      Quinn, there is no one alive today who condemned and expelled the Apaches so you are speaking to no one.

    2. Keith Lawrence Dimond's Avatar Keith Lawrence Dimond

      By wanting to trade hits, one only calls in total destruction.

      By resorting to identity politics ('your white man religion'), you avoid respectable argumentation.

      You are better than this! Instead of sending darkness, shine light!

    3. Keith Lawrence Dimond's Avatar Keith Lawrence Dimond

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    Of course religious zealots would do this. If they had THEIR way, they would be allowed to imprison anyone who does not worship THEIR god and theirs alone. The fact is, these people want to turn the USA into a viciously strict religious theocracy. Hence their hard push to force bibles into schools.

  1. Rev. Michelle Love's Avatar Rev. Michelle Love

    First their land, now their culture. It is possible to be a Christian and still honor your ancestors and their rights of passage. This dance was no more Satanic than the ones parishioners do in a Pentacostal church while catching the Holy Ghost. All this served to do is to force a young woman to deny her true identity.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    First off, there is no demonstrable evidence whatsoever that the Christian “Satan” is real. Until it is proved to be real it remains a mythical man made construct.

    Second: It’s just an incredibly beautiful colorful indigenous dance, no different than any other indigenous dance of native peoples than can be witnessed around the third world.

    🦁❤️

  1. Ellen B. Wentzel's Avatar Ellen B. Wentzel

    I find these organized religions to be extremely judgmental. Maybe educational classes in different cultures and those not like themselves might help.

  1. Teresa's Avatar Teresa

    If Trump is reelected, we ain't seen nothing yet. Please vote Democrat!

    1. Allan Jay Grover's Avatar Allan Jay Grover

      What does this have to do with the title of the story?

    2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Let’s just hope President Trump is re-elected, we might be able to get our country back to what it once was with proper immigration, money being spent on impoverished Americans/Veterans and the homeless, and not being frivolously given away to other countries.

      My apologies if that upsets those of you that supports giving our precious country away that people died for. 🤷🏼

      🦁❤️

      1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

        "Hope he's re-elected?" He's reelected, and you will see a lot of death. LGBTQ+ in death camps, Native Americans sent to Death camps, women who miscarry put into prison, if they don't bleed to death, women losing the right to vote, losing the right to drive, losing the right to work outside of the home, every single person who isn't a MAGA put into camps for being "traitors", etc.

        And that's just for starters. Not to mention there will never again be another US election. He will see to that as well. He will simply abolish elections. And if someone tries to run against him, because sure as sh...t he WILL run again for a 3rd term, despite the fact it's 100% against the Constitution for him to do so. Why? Because he has 100% immunity from all US Law and from Constitutional Law. In essence, Trump can now go grab a gun, start shooting anyone he chooses, and he cannot be prosecuted for it.

        I'm voting for the only person who'll ensure these things won't happen. I'm voting Democrat.

    3. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

      The puppeteers who control those puppets will put into office whom they choose. The bible says the whole world wonders after the beast (not republicans or democrats) the beast! We wrestle not with flesh and blood!

      1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

        Comment: The puppeteers who control those puppets will put into office whom they choose. The bible says the whole world wonders after the beast (not republicans or democrats) the beast! We wrestle not with flesh and blood! ... Response: That seems like a delusional way of thinking!

        1. Thomas P. Davis's Avatar Thomas P. Davis

          The one in control certainly has many believing his delusions. But then again that is why the bible says all have drunk from the wine of Babylon.

  1. Pamela Kay Waters's Avatar Pamela Kay Waters

    WTH. They are the 1st Americans. When the white man came to this country, they killed the Buffalo down to very low numbers just to kill so the Native Americans couldn't have them. White people desecrated their sacred parts of land, and then the worst of all, the White Man's Government took them and put them on a reservation, which is more or less a jail or a prisoner camp.. What does a Satan worshipper dance look like anyway. Native Americans' dances are beautiful and tell their stories.

    1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      Pamela,

      Don't forget, even once on a reservation, those were later confiscated once again by the government in many places. This still happens today to US citizens by the government. If a company or government wants your land bad enough, you can kiss it goodbye. I agree about the native American dances, very cool. This particular one was rather dull and for the life of me a can't see why anyone would think it's remotely close to satanic.

      For a reference of what dances or music are proper satanism watch Doja Cat's Paint the Town Red video. Others are Madonna, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Lil Nas X, Katy Perry, Megan The Stallion, Cardi B to name a few of many, many, many satanic artists.

      1. Patricia Ann Gross's Avatar Patricia Ann Gross

        SOJ and Pamela, I would recommend that you read the book "Missionary Conquest" by Grant Tinker to get a perspective on what "church outreach" did to the indigenous people in this country, who funded it, and who were the "real" perpetrators. Rev. Tinker is a professor at the Illif School of Theology in Aurora, Colorado.

  1. Rev. Rory's Avatar Rev. Rory

    This story broke my heart. Will this never end?

    1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

      Nope. Because religious zealots won't stop until they destroy everyone who doesn't 'worship the way they do'

    2. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

      Nope. Because religious zealots won't stop until they destroy everyone who doesn't 'worship the way they do'

  1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

    It is about time ALL so-called indigenous tribes were stripped of their political power. The idea that a people could live in The United States but remain a foreign power is preposterous. Distribute the land to tribal members and make it part of county, state, and national domain. Then public schools could be established. After all, why should they be entitled to an excellent Lutheran education. They should be required to suffer through an inadequate public-school education like the rest of us ignorant slobs.

    1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      Aye, sir! Misery loves company!

  1. Robin Anne Hannon's Avatar Robin Anne Hannon

    The Native culture and it's ways is not Satanic, but this reaction sure is. People who live in glass houses pretty much. Those who believe this sort of thing are spiritually sick and uninformed to boot. It goes along with the oppression, forced conversions, even death at the hand of Christian institutions. Might I remind you that at one point the motto was, "Kill the Indian but save the man." Under this guise horrible institutions were created where they took the child from their parents and refused to allow them to speak their language or follow their customs. Many children died in these hellholes. As Christians we need to understand the scope of this, the damage mentally, physically, spiritually, and not add to it.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      Even if it was Satanic, it's their business. Certainly not the business of the school that is on Apache land. People have the right to believe and worship in the way that they see fit.

    2. Pamela Vonbacho Ploof's Avatar Pamela Vonbacho Ploof

      Amen

  1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

    This is sad. Imagine growing up and being told the traditions of your people are evil and you must denounce them if you want to learn. It’s wrong and the reservation should not permit them to continue. There is nothing wrong with learning about Christianity and your tribal traditions. Let the children decide what is true. What is the church afraid of? Do the think their argument of God and the resurrection of Jesus isn’t strong enough so they have to forbid everything else. It shows the weakness of their faith can’t stand up to tradition.

  1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

    Yeah, they are praying to the same god (nonsense) so what’s the difference? Only minor ones. The similarity, that they are all religiously delusional, outweighs it all. Well, IMO. The xtians seem to think their delusion is ‘special’.

  1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

    Wow. SO racist. This is just so utterly racist of the school that there is nothing else to call it. The entire nation should be pointing and calling them out.

  1. Hannah Kay Colwell's Avatar Hannah Kay Colwell

    What happened to the right of freedom to worship your way?

  1. Geoffrey C. Olive's Avatar Geoffrey C. Olive

    Get rid of all religions and these problems will never occur again!

  1. William Lewis Vass's Avatar William Lewis Vass

    Prøves to me once again how ignorant christianity really is. Native American dance is no more satanic than your singing hymns. I hope they file a lawsuit for the indignation they have suffered.

  1. Sally Jeanne Altobello's Avatar Sally Jeanne Altobello

    I am so SICK of Evangelical "Christians" telling the rest of the country what is and what isn't appropriate religion! Perhaps these "Christians" need to re-read the Bible--especially the parts that tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves (nothing about them having to be Christian). How quickly we forget that WE are the interlopers in this land, that WE stole the indigenous peoples' land, that WE destroyed their strong culture. Shame on us for allowing all this, and shame on us for not speaking up against the Evangelical "Christian" movement that is destroying cultures and human rights.

  1. Graylon Morrison's Avatar Graylon Morrison

    It is horrible how these old white men is trying to change the culture of so many people, The evilness that is taking place will come back and bite each one of them. You can't erase a group of people from this Earth when they have been chosen as God's people!!!!

  1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

    It is about time ALL so-called indigenous tribes were stripped of their political power. The idea that a people could live in The United States but remain a foreign power is preposterous. Distribute the land to tribal members and make it part of county, state, and national domain. Then public schools could be established. After all, why should they be entitled to an excellent Lutheran education. They should be required to suffer through an inadequate public-school education like the rest of us ignorant slobs.

  1. John Robert Milner's Avatar John Robert Milner

    Balogna

  1. James Mounts's Avatar James Mounts

    George Mason University: 2 semesters "Western Religions"; 2 semesters "Religions of the Far East": 2 semesters "Religions of the Near East"

    1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      That sounds like a well rounded education!

  1. Andrew Cabrera's Avatar Andrew Cabrera

    To take one's heritage is like taken God out of the church

  1. Gureg Amun Ankh's Avatar Gureg Amun Ankh

    All this separation in the U S of A started in the 13-14 century when euro’s came to this country as so called pilgrims, they brought their cultures of hatred their superiority complexes,that anything other than their way of life was savage and paganism, even though others cultures were older than theirs, this country was built with hatred for others than self, and now its is uncontrollable, others don’t really hate euros in this country, they hate what they’ve done to them for centuries, and really haven’t apologized sincerely for their atrocities, they even hate their own, being Jewish is not a race, it’s a religious title given to those who excepted the Hebrew faith or culture, being Muslim is not a race it’s a religious title given to those who excepts the Islamic culture or religion, and being Christian is not a race, all this hatred amongst one another started from religious beliefs or peoples cultures and we seem to can get around this hatred, Jews fighting Muslims, religion, Christian’s against Native Americans, religion, all preach love for humanity, yet they all hate and despise one another, look in the mirror and ask yourself, I’m I a racist because of religion or cultures, you have to tell the truth cause you can’t lie to yourself. No One Wins The Race In Racism. Peace

  1. Karen F McCarthy's Avatar Karen F McCarthy

    I have to wonder what is "better" about a school that "twists children's minds."

  1. Father Flanagan's Avatar Father Flanagan

    Regardless of anything we have religious freedom in this country to worship whoever or whatever we want or to use reason, logic and common sense and not worship any of these so called “religions” and no teacher has the right to punish anyone even if they were worshipping the christians purveyor of punishment for non belief and disobedience to the church! These girls have every right to sue for this violation of their constitutional rights and they should win and this teacher should be banned from ever teaching again!

  1. Patricia Schuster's Avatar Patricia Schuster

    Unfortunately, this is a sign of the times. I am tired of mainstream and especially conservative Christians declaring things not in their narrow domain at "demonic,". Fundamentalist is tearing this country apart. If you are not a White wealthy Republican, you are nothing. This development is a sad sad comerntary on this country., not to mention it was the Native Americans who saved the Pilgrims when they had no idea how to survive in the America "they discovered." It is sad and I pray for the original natives of America. The 4th of July is about freedom, not just from tyranny of Englad, but especially now against the tyranny of next generations insulting prior citizens.

  1. Cathrine Elizabeth Silver's Avatar Cathrine Elizabeth Silver

    Fire the teachers! The two young ladies have the right and privilege to honor their ancestors. Seems to me the Christians do that every year on Christmas and Easter. Why can't we as a culture respect other's beliefs and traditions? Just asking.

    1. Rev. Michelle Love's Avatar Rev. Michelle Love

      I say fire the principal who made this decision. Since when has any school had the jurisdiction to expel a student doing something perfectly harmless outside of school hours and off of school property? The principal has given themselves more power than they really have and I pray that this young girl can find an attorney who will volunteer to have this decision overturned.

  1. KendraCrows's Avatar KendraCrows

    As a Universe of different cultures who knew love before knowing each other and explaining their ways to others who have no concept of their teachings. Now is the time to stop breeding hate of the old ways. If someone is willing to love first and become a part of the community, how is okay for the CHRISTIAN FAITH TO ALLOW one who to harm others because of the FEAR they feel? If they know their GOD, they know this is called inclusion and how to bring all together in love.

    This young lady goes to a CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, her culture celebrates what the GREAT CREATOR has brought forth. It appears from this story that this Priest needs to pray for his soul and that of those who cost this young lady her day in the SUN. She was let off with a warning because they kept her from her SUNRISE CEREMONY.

    Do they tell the Jewish men and women not to have their coming of age? Do they tell Amish they are SATANIC and not allow their children to have Rumspringa, CHOICE?

    THIS IS HORRID AND WE ARE THE ONES WHO SHOULD STAND AGAINST HATE, WE SHOULD SHUN THIS. WE SHOULD STAND UP WITH MORE THAN TALK. WHO IN THAT COMMUNITY IS DOING ANYTHING FOR HER?

    I would like to know more, rather than just seeing words. K.

  1. David M Hines's Avatar David M Hines

    I've never understood why people send their children to religious schools if they don't want them indoctrinated with religion.

    Sorry, but odious as I consider what these people did, there's nothing illegal about it and they have the same right to live as they please within the boundaries of the law as the rest of us.

    If this offends you, perhaps you should work more for a society where child-rearing "takes a village" to coin a phrase, and individual children are less susceptible to the whims of lunatic parents. This would require getting past the idea parents "own" their children and can do with them as they please and viewing children as a responsibility entrusted to parents.

    The role of society should be fostering happy and productive citizens who are offered an opportunity to reach full potential, not to support parents who damage their children and risk hurting everybody when those damaged children lash out.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      It could be perfectly illegal depending on the laws of that area. Remember, these schools are located on sovereign Apache land. I have no idea what their laws are, but such behavior should be illegal for sure. I suspect the main purpose of these religious schools is to indoctrinate the children they teach. And I think that these schools are disgusting. It's simply shameful that these so-called religious schools can get away with this kind of behavior. Where are the Elders to put them in their place?

    2. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      It could be perfectly illegal depending on the laws of that area. Remember, these schools are located on sovereign Apache land. I have no idea what their laws are, but such behavior should be illegal for sure. I suspect the main purpose of these religious schools is to indoctrinate the children they teach. And I think that these schools are disgusting. It's simply shameful that these so-called religious schools can get away with this kind of behavior. Where are the Elders to put them in their place?

  1. Patricia Ann Gross's Avatar Patricia Ann Gross

    First, people characterizing a spiritual practice they don't understand as Satanism need to learn what Satanism is. Worship of Satan. Where in the dance was anybody paying homage to Satan?

    Second, the tribal council should have the power to correct this as the landlord for the school. Since it is on tribal property, they have the power to impose as many restrictions as they want to "outside" entities that are operating on their land. They can restrict the behavior of their tenants as much or even more than the tenants are trying to impose restrictions on their children and their culture. They can impose cultural and native Apache history and language classes. They can insist that music and dance be taught in a way that includes the native Apache traditions. The school exists as a guest of the tribal counsil and needs to act accordingly. They have the power to take the land back and expel the school, so they should have the power to make it act in accordance with their traditions.

  1. Alejandro Medina de Wit's Avatar Alejandro Medina de Wit

    I am so happy to live in Mexico!

  1. Maria Elisa Koch's Avatar Maria Elisa Koch

    This country has pushed the real Americans off their land, forced them to learn English and now calling their tradition "Evil". This is their right to do like a "Sweet Sixteen" Party. This girl was doing something from her tribe and of course a Christian school calls it evil. There are other countries that have forced Christianity on them as well. Hawaii ,Puerto Rico, read their history.

  1. Govannon Thunorwulf's Avatar Govannon Thunorwulf

    Some things never change.

  1. Alex Pineiro's Avatar Alex Pineiro

    Spiritual Bigotry as I have come to term the disease of mind that leads one to believe that they fully comprehend the mind of the Almighty God, to the degree they are blinded to the profound ignorance required for allowing such musings to play upon the mind and egocentric sense of self importance. God LOVES ALL his children, God IS for ALL men and within each and everyone of us. The diversity of God's creation, even on this little blue marble we call Earth is such that he manifests in various ways to his children and his children show their adoration of HIM in accordance with this diversity. The outward expression of a given culture is not what is important, because it is what is in the HEART that touches the FATHER, and how that is expressed in our interactions with each other WHATEVER race or culture. "As you do unto others..." should be enough to awaken this truth within anyone. Unfortunately, although we share this planet, it is not the abode of the Father, even if part of his kingdom. It never will be and the reality is that each Soul must make it's journey to Spirit all of their own. Ignorance, prejudice, and the darker elements of human nature will always reflect itself to test one's resolve to understand the offender's do not know better, even if they know right from wrong. These are two very different things altogether and were clearly reflected in the Living Christ's words as he physically endured the unimaginable, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." To understand this is to begin to understand and embrace Forgiveness. This is not o say that there are not laws governing such hatefulness nor that the victims should not pursue legal recourse, as this also serves to educate the profoundly ignorant. It merely asks that such actions or responses to the offense be tempered with forgiveness and understanding regarding the root cause of the offense. We are NOT all in the same place in space and time as regards our Spiritual unfoldment, but excepting for your own decisions and the Grace of the Father, there go yourself.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Christianity is an out of control hate group.

  1. Charlene Davis's Avatar Charlene Davis

    Oh let's just talk about how much Christians have murdered Indigenous Americans put our people in concentration camps that you call Reservations so you can take land that our people were willing to share. And the fact we don't have the same rights as everyone else. The fact that Christianity actually came from Judaism the fact that Christianity is not what it was meant to be but the colonizers do not want to own up to what they have done to indigenous American people you should be ashamed we are a people of healers and without our people when the colonies first got here you none of them would have survived.

  1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

    "Religious praying" is exactly the same as a "magical incantation". They both accomplish nothing useful! Both are just a puff or two of hot air. BTW, and those "Holy Rollers" can really dance!

    1. Rev. Michelle Love's Avatar Rev. Michelle Love

      Some people consider religious praying and magical incantation the same as manifestation or the power of positive thinking. If used the right way, they can all be used to accomplish wonderful things.

  1. Man of God's Avatar Man of God

    First no European or desendent of an European can use and judge a person or group based on the Scriptures. As long as they calim that they "White People", who are NOT in the Old Testament and in the New Testament as Romans, nailed Jesus to the cross. Continue with this BIG lie that the Father and the Son have given THEM authority to do so. The Father and the Son has never taught these evil people anything. They like all GENTILES, learned of the teachings from The Father and the Son from deciples. These evil people do not obey the Father at all and never has. Here are 2 COMMANMENTS they have always disobeyed. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGE, OR ANY LIKENESS OF ANY THING THAT IS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE EARTH BENEATH, OR THAT IS IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH. THOU SHALT NOT BOW DOWN THEYSELF TO THEM, NOR SERVE THEM: FOR I THE LORD THY GOD AM A JEALOUS GOD....THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THEY NEIGHBOUR. These White People are disobeying The Creator. STOP LYING YOU SATANS.

    1. Rev_Shaun's Avatar Rev_Shaun

      Can you please explain? Are you for or against the motion?

    2. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

      That's tellin' 'em! ;)

  1. Allan Jay Grover's Avatar Allan Jay Grover

    I am surprised that the school system gets to pick and choose what religion is approved and what is not. It appears, to me, that the school system needs to be enlightened by the Native People about their right to perform their religious ceremonies. This, in itself, is another way to control and oppression and it has been done in the past. If you are an educator, educate yourself before the past is repeated and you have a lawsuit.

    1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

      I agree. This crappy school was out of line regardless of where it's located. The fact that it's on Apache land makes it just that much worse.

  1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

    God Almighty, such dark mentality still goes on, apalling.

  1. Robert S Collins's Avatar Robert S Collins

    The school administrators are not Christians. And neither is any other organization- ELCA or otherwise.

  1. David M Hines's Avatar David M Hines

    I've never understood why people send their children to religious schools if they don't want them indoctrinated with religion.

    Sorry, but odious as I consider what these people did, there's nothing illegal about it and they have the same right to live as they please within the boundaries of the law as the rest of us.

    If this offends you, perhaps you should work more for a society where child-rearing "takes a village" to coin a phrase, and individual children are less susceptible to the whims of lunatic parents. This would require getting past the idea parents "own" their children and can do with them as they please and viewing children as a responsibility entrusted to parents.

    The role of society should be fostering happy and productive citizens who are offered an opportunity to reach full potential, not to support parents who damage their children and risk hurting everybody when those damaged children lash out.

    1. Patricia Ann Gross's Avatar Patricia Ann Gross

      For many people, and this area is no different, the private schools provide a better education which typically means their children have a better chance at a better life. Many kids going to Catholic schools are not Catholic nor are their parents, but they have a better chance at getting into an Ivy League college than someone who went to an inner-city school. According to the article the "alternative" public school was very sub-par. Not all private parochial schools have religious indoctrination, and many are quite inclusive, even though most will require some religious slant or courses. The big issue is that many private schools are more expensive than sending the kids to college, so often one goes with the best they can afford rather than the best of the best. For some it is a matter of determining what is the best they can afford, and how much of the extraneous BS you can deal with. Weighing these options is never easy, and sometimes the scales get tipped.

  1. Lady Mutt Cat's Avatar Lady Mutt Cat

    I can't believe that these lousy schools are on Apache land and still get away with pulling this kind of crap. The people granting these schools contracts to teach there need to write their contracts better, to include no religious indoctrination and complete respect for the cultures that these children come from. I'd toss that school off of the Rez in a heartbeat.

  1. Charles Fred Wells's Avatar Charles Fred Wells

    "We never forgive our victims". -Will Rogers

  1. Rev. Rory's Avatar Rev. Rory

    All over this country there are secular charter schools. Has not a single one tried to open a school on a reservation? Why not?

  1. Philenda L. Daniel's Avatar Philenda L. Daniel

    My words like Yeshua’s words hopefully will not fall on hearts of stone and ears that are tone deaf. So, the Lutherans think the Sun Dance and Ceremony is demonic. That’s rich. Luke 6:37 This teaching emphasizes refraining from arrogant, harsh judgment, and hopes for compassion and forgiveness. Not only does it seem to me at least… like they have broken: Luke 6:37, Jesus says: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Uh! Oh! Hmmm. I didn’t say it. Jesus did. In the first century, the Gnostics arose believing in a force that is unseen a God above all Gods… who is so great that the Invisible could present himself to all people in forms that they could accept and understand. They also believed that the God who created the Earth was not this invisible force, but an individual created by this Light. This God wanted to be the one and only God… this God was a jealous God… jealous of the ONE true God which is Light and the Word. The other Christian sects wanted power over the Kings of the day and began telling the political forces that the Gnostics were no good they were wrong (to put it mildly). So, ever since the first century Christians have been judging other Christians… their God is better, or they’re right and your wrong. Bigotry Noun. Plural. Bigotries 1. A defiant intolerance for any system of thought, belief, or opinion other than one's own system of thought belief or opinion. 2. The systems of thought, belief, opinion of a bigot. Used in a sentences: Everyone is a bigot when they do not consider other systems of thought, belief, or opinion outside their own. Bigotry exists in everyone.

    I will pray for the harden heart of the Lutheran Church as well to be healed.

    What is the Apache Ceremony and Sundance? According to the Arizona Natural History Museum: “The Apache Sunrise Dance is a four-day female coming-of-age ceremony, in which a girl temporarily becomes Changing Woman, the first lady and mother of her people. It is a significant and highly spiritual event for both the girl and the entire Apache community. Guests who are present participate in the ceremony full of music, blessings, and sharing of food. A blanket is spread out in front of the girl who holds a curved staff with which she keeps beat with the music and dances in place by shifting her weight from one foot to the other throughout the entirety of the ceremony, with an average of 130 dances of 700 to 1,200 beats per dance.” The indigenous people of the American West have rich spiritual and family cultures. At their best they are step-in-step with the changes their children go through as they progress through this world and prepare for the next. They are beautiful… how they support their children.

    Why after centuries do, we still deny the ability of God the Invisible which is Life… Who lives within us… Why do we deny the ability of “God” to adapt in order to educate all the children? Why do we continue to make “God” less than what “God” actually is? Why are we so arrogant to think that we look anything like “God”? Why can we not understand that the image of “God” could be, in the realm of possibilities…. the imagination of “God”?

    The Christian Gnostic sects were closer to the advent of Jesus aka Yeshua than any modern Christian religion. The messages over many centuries, and influences of many societal changes in regard to Christian sects are as if they participated in the child’s game named the Broken Telephone Game… people of all ages for generations have played this classic party game:

    A phrase is whispered from one individual to another until it reaches the final person. The last person to receive the whispered phrase states it out loud. In general, the original phrase gets changed based on what each individual interprets, hears… as the phrase is passed to the next person along the way. The phrase generally never ends up the same as the original.

    If you have ears hear me: Blessed be…are All the children… this has forever been ordained by Spirit which is The Word which is Life. Great Good blessing upon these three young women who love their culture and their families, and their families and culture love them. Great Good blessings upon their culture, families, community. Amen.

  1. CJC's Avatar CJC

    Xian schools exist only to indoctrinate.

  1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

    This would be why the churches are slowing down in attendance. There are too many of them left that insist when they see other activities or beliefs outside their own it's of satan. For them it's their way or satan's way regardless of what that "other" is. It's ridiculous, ignorant and shameful.

  1. Julie Armstrong's Avatar Julie Armstrong

    What a beautiful dance and Ceremony. This is NOT SATANIC. Native Americans have been performing these ceremonies for 100 of years. What is crazy is if you don't like it you deem it the Devil or God depending on who's looking at it and want to tear peoples culture down. I am very happy to see young people now a days wanting to keep their culture alive. Shame on schools and others who try to suppress these actions. OH wait it's OK to brainwash kids to believe they are animals and opposite sex and totally ruin their childhood and lives, but GOD FORBID, you let them honor their culture. Give me a break

  1. Julie Armstrong's Avatar Julie Armstrong

    What a beautiful dance and Ceremony. This is NOT SATANIC. Native Americans have been performing these ceremonies for 100 of years. What is crazy is if you don't like it you deem it the Devil or God depending on who's looking at it and want to tear peoples culture down. I am very happy to see young people now a days wanting to keep their culture alive. Shame on schools and others who try to suppress these actions. OH wait it's OK to brainwash kids to believe they are animals and opposite sex and totally ruin their childhood and lives, but GOD FORBID, you let them honor their culture. Give me a break

  1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

    Sadly, religious zealots are now pushing to make it LAW that things like the 10 commandments are in every single school, forcing their religion onto others. And that THEIR bibles must be taught in every single class. Despite the 1st amendment protections against such religious persecution. If they had their way, anyone who was not Christian / Catholic would be put in prison as it would be considered an imprisonable offense.

  1. Walter J. Holbrook's Avatar Walter J. Holbrook

    This sis another case of rejection by color. Today you have too many so-called Christians that feel you must do as they do. The only devil worshippers are the ones passing judgement.

  1. John Paul Body's Avatar John Paul Body

    I believe in the individual's right to practice what is clearly a cultural heritage. My advice; kick all so called Christian denominations who consider cultural heritage satanic off the reservation. Native culture doesn't need more insults leveled on them by white devils.

  1. Lynne Killenbeck's Avatar Lynne Killenbeck

    This Country was based on”Life,Liberty,and the Pursuit of Freedom We all God’s children no matter which God one worship. It is not right for one religion to Woke another this the land of freedom you have the right to worship any deity you choose with out fear of criticism

  1. George Soria's Avatar George Soria

    Who are we to have any say over the beliefs of the indigenous people. Their beliefs have proven to be more Christian than us who call ourselves followers of Christian faith. Their understanding of the creator and the worship to the creator by being the stewards and guardian of the land, understanding of agriculture, and respect for all living things, and their ancestors is more of what God asked of us. Yet we destroy this earth, seeking comfort, polluting the water, air, and land in the name of progress. Forgetting that we were given paradise. In Peter 4:8, It says, " Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." Must we continue the sins of the past by judging and criticize others. Or perhaps learn we are all God’s children and respect all cultures, in the name of Jesus.

    1. Kenneth Clay Ford's Avatar Kenneth Clay Ford

      The school and teacher should be sued for cultural dance. It's amazing how uneducated a ome of o u r educators are.

  1. Barry Fettis's Avatar Barry Fettis

    I CANT UNDERSTAND WHY ANYBODY WOULD

    THINK THAT?

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