April 16, 2007

Shamanism at MCTC

Today's Pioneer Press has a story on Minneapolis Community and Technical College's (MCTC) desire to offer a diploma in Shamanic Studies. It is thought that this course would appeal to students in their 2-year nursing program.

The school took the program out, for now, after several Native American communities objected, believing the program will be teaching shamanism. The instructor, quoted in the article, says the program will teach awareness not actually "how-to" be a shaman.

I saw this headline at 4:45 this morning and I, seriously, thought it was a joke! I had not had my coffee yet (and you know how cranky I get!) so maybe I was seeing things, thought I.

Well, it's not a joke and, for once, I was not hallucinating. MCTC really wants to offer a diploma in shamanic studies.

This is so wrong on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin.

In the first place, MCTC is a state-funded institution. What are they doing offering diplomas in religious studies that they want to market to nurses?

Shamanism is seen by pagans as something that has a holiness to it. To them, it is religious. Sure, it's not what we Christians may consider holy or religious. But, to Native Americans who practice Traditional Spirituality, not just anyone can be or call themselves a shaman. Shamanism is a calling. People who actually are entitled to be called a Shaman are believed to be endowed with special gifts by the god or gods. There is no "coursework" in shamanism. The skill is passed on, usually by apprenticing to another Shaman for years, if not, decades. Healing is only one, possible, aspect of shamanism. Not all shamans are healers.

This program is bunk. No wonder the Native American community is concerned.

Do any of us think for one minute if the courses being sold to nurses were, say, "The Healing Power of Prayer" or "The Salvific Power of the Sacraments of Anointing and Reconciliation" it would even be offered? Yet, paganism, under the seemingly benign phrase of "alternative medicine" is a perfectly acceptable medical offering in our tax-supported, public, educational institutions.


Blogger Ray from MN said...

Excellent post, Cathy.

Read Katherine Kersten's column today. The Minneapolis Community and Technical College wants to install special bathing facilities for Muslims. Katherine has done some research and this is not the end, by any means.


April 16, 2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

You bring up good points; and I agree, the Native Americans have a right to be concerned.

We as Christians may disagree with their beliefs, but in the natural order, they have a right to practice their beliefs and to not have those beliefs trampled by others who do not understand or uphold them properly.

We have to stand up for all religious freedoms, because everywhere, they are either being exploited, worshipped, subliminalized, ostracized, or trampled in various forms. We no longer have true religious freedom, and this really needs to change.

We all have to speak up.

April 16, 2007 8:03 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: Oh, for crying out loud. I believe it though.

April 16, 2007 8:29 PM  

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