Native American Culture/Seeker

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Question
I read an entry on this website in regards to "what is a seeker." I am very grateful to your site for supplying this information.  The reason I was searching for it is rather unusual.  From the time I was little, I have had dreams and visions regarding future events, I have had times when I knew what people were thinking.  Back in 2000 when I was a Medical Assistant, I was performing various vision tests on an elderly Native American gentleman as part of an overall physical.  When we finished with the vision tests, he looked up from the machine he had been looking into and smiled at me and said with what seemed to me to be delight, "You are a seeker!"  I almost dropped his chart I was so startled because I instinctively knew what he meant and I was startled that somehow he knew it.  I have searched many times trying to find out what a "seeker" is in the Native American community, to see if my memory of that event was playing tricks on me, to see if it meant what I thought it meant.  You have given me peace of mind about something.  Thank You.  Now to the question.  I did read your paragraph about wearing the trappings of another cultures religion does not make you one of them or something to that effect, or it does not imbue with any powers, or something to that effect.  I am most certainly not trying to become an Indian, however, the gift of sight is not granted only to Native Americans.  What I would like is a chance to talk in person to an individual who knows more about Seekers, much more, is there a place I could go in the Bay Area of California, hopefully not too far away, someplace where I could find someone to talk to in person?  Thank you for your patience and time.

Answer
IN the purest sense, the concept of Seeker, in most Native traditions here is connected with those who are actively "seeking a mystic vision", which is a life-long process of discovering those spiritual truths and guides that will carry you to your destiny. Within each religious tradition are the prescribed means of achieving that through a series of interpreted dreams which come usually as a result of deprivation/physical stress. Probably two of my favorite written examples are in the book, Black Elk Speaks and in the books by non-Indian Richard Erdoes, who became an adept in the Lakota spiritual tradition. They sometimes verge on the obscure, but there is truth there, for those who may see it.

IN terms of second sight, each tradition has those who develop these gifts for the benefit of the community and they all have different names as you might imagine. But you are absolutely right that every human community/tradition has examples of those blessed with some level of this gift. My wife has a touch of it as well, which has terrified her since she was a child. I would suggest that the most effective thing for you to do is to listen to your heart and try to recall your dreams. Writing them down upon waking in a notebook is a good exercise to train your brain to stay engaged during these spells and may clarify your gift, but here is my main advice: Be Careful. I was born in San Rafael, myself, so I've got nothing against the Bay area in particular, but there are rampant charlatans and those unfortunates with a real gift who are controlled by charlatans. All of them are going to want something from you. Finding a real teacher is not a bad idea, but you must protect yourself and your gift from abuse and exploitation. It is not going to be easy, and it will take a great deal of research and self-honesty.

Dig in, though. You will want to attend those types of events (such as "sweat-loge ceremonies, popular I understand, now in Marin...) where this kind of gift is welcomed or extolled, but keep a close counsel. Watch and listen, and keep your wallet under your control at all times. Don't volunteer too much about yourself or your gift. Tell people you have an interest, but no more until you know who you're dealing with. I would also recommend that while Native traditions in this area are closer to the surface than in non-Indian culture, even white cultures have the same seeds. Explore the mystical persons within the religious tradition you were raised in, first, as they will be more accessible initially, until your knowledge grows. One organization I can recommend as being a mystic outgrowth of the European tradition, if that is your background, is the Builders of the Adytum, located in Southern Cal, whose work is concerned with revelation as communicated through the revealed Tarot and other oracles. They have been around for many decades, and to my knowledge, have no financial interest in "developing" followers. Their psychic leader was named Paul Foster Case, and his writings may be of use in your personal journey to reveal your gift to yourself more clearly. Good luck to you. I hope this is useful advice.

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Richard Sutton

Expertise

As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at www.sailletales.com I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.

Experience

My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

Publications
I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, www.kivatrading.com and our Ebay Store.

Education/Credentials
UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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