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'Shaman' not quite right

Regarding ''Speaking out on the theft and abuse of spirituality'' [Vol. 27, Iss. 7]. On one hand, I agree with the sentiment behind the article. The rampant exploitation of First Nations has become too widespread. The appropriation of names, rituals, the romanticized way of life, demeans those of the First Nations and the struggle they've had to survive, and to this day still struggle in order to live.

There are some that might say that imitation is the best form of flattery.

One point in the article though, they need to make sure they clarify. ''Shaman'' originally referred to the traditional healers of Turkic-Mongol areas such as northern Asia (Siberia) and Mongolia, a ''shaman'' being the Turkic-Tungus word for such a practitioner and literally meaning ''he (or she) who knows.'' Shamanka is the feminine of Shaman.

It is a misconception to lump all those who practice such a system as shamans, mostly by Euro-Americans in order to create a catch-all phrase and was not a term used by First Nations.

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- Sandie Morehead

Seattle