By Richard L. Allen, EdD Research & Policy Analyst Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is overwhelmed with those charlatans who fraudulently claim to be shaman, spiritual leaders or descendents of a Cherokee princess. Such individuals make such claims without ever having lived within the Cherokee communities. They claim to be descended from some nebulous and mysterious ancestor who was from “a reservation in North Carolina” (there is only one) or “a reservation in Oklahoma” (there are none). The ancestor is never just a plain ordinary everyday Cherokee citizen but a “Cherokee Princess,” a “Cherokee Shaman,” or a “Cherokee Pipe carrier” none of which actually exist or ever have. Those who claim to be “shaman” do not reside within the known boundaries of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
Cherokee medicine people and spiritual leaders are known to the Cherokee people and do not practice medicine for a fee nor sell “shamanic” lessons to anyone. They do not advertise their services through any form of media and certainly not over the internet. Traditional Cherokee healers and spiritual leaders provide their services to the Cherokee people. A Cherokee medicine person or spiritual leader is fluent in the Cherokee language and would conduct any medical or spiritual practices by using the Cherokee language. Therefore, our medicine people are those who were born of a Cherokee mother and a Cherokee father and would have been reared within a Cherokee community speaking the Cherokee language. Our traditional Cherokee healers and spiritual leaders are humble people and would not present themselves as such nor “hang out a shingle” so to speak. Cherokee medicine people are acknowledged and recognized by members of the Cherokee community as effective healers and leaders. It is the recognition of the Cherokee people that validates these persons as medicine people and healers not self-proclaimation. We may provide them small gifts, a token amount of money or foodstuffs in payment for their services. They do not charge for their services nor would they withhold their services when asked and they certainly would not prescibe payment by credit card. Cherokee medicine people may provide services to recognized members of other tribes or may provide services to non-Indians who would seek them out for treatment, but certainly would not mix their spirituality or medicine with that of other nations. Cherokee medicine and spiritual practices do not include tarot cards, palmistry, psychic readings or sweatlodge ceremonies.
One may assume that anyone claiming to be a Cherokee “shaman, spiritual healer, or pipe- carrier,” is equivalent to a modern day medicine show and snake-oil vendor. You have my permission to print this response as is.
Richard L. Allen. EdD
Research & Policy Analyst
P.O. Box 948
Tahlequah, Oklahoma 74465