Indian Spiritism in Public Schools
By Berit Kjos
No government funds for religious schools!
This argument against vouchers and parental choice in education fades in the light of today's religious indoctrination in public schools across America. Seductive myths, pagan rituals and idealized views of the world's pagan cultures permeate our nation's schools from coast to coast.
With the spreading implementation of outcome-based education (OBE), students are being taught and tested for beliefs and values compatible with a global spirituality that blends all religions except biblical Christianity. Some public schools have openly identified with the particular form of paganism they favor. For example, Minnesota welcomes any student to its Native American school, which provides the right spiritual foundation for world-class or global education.
When Rachel Holm, a Minnesota mother, visited her local American Indian public school, she saw magic dreamcatchers in every classroom, mystical drawings of a spiritualized earth, and a ring of stones in the school yard for Medicine Wheel ceremonies. She heard politically correct assumptions about the evils of Western culture and the goodness of pagan spirituality. What happened to the separation between church and state? she wondered. How can public schools promote Native American rituals but censure Christianity?
Her tour of the school began in the All-Nations room, where the student body had gathered for Monday morning circle time, a time of peer teaching and cooperative learning. She listened as eighth graders, one by one, imparted their wisdom to the younger students much like tribal elders would impart advice to younger braves.
A celebration of ritual drumming and dancing followed. During the drumming, if you have a good feeling, you look at the drum, explained Laura, a student assigned to guide Mrs. Holm for the day. Suddenly, the top of the drum becomes black and smoky and you see a face on the drum. It's a human face that is neither happy nor sad. One of the boys mentioned that women must never touch the drum, because the spirit of a woman inside the drum could be offended if another female touched it.
The circular walls of the All-Nations room were covered with large medicine shields made by sixth-graders. They're made from things that symbolize each person's dreams and feelings, explained Laura. They protect us from all kinds of dangers such as kidnappers and bad spirits.
A glass case in the main foyer displayed drawings of a Ojibwe creation myth. "Is this story true?" asked Mrs. Holm. "Oh, yes," answered Laura.
"How do you know?"
Laura's revealing answer illustrates today's shift from truth and reason to myth and imagination as the basis for critical thinking: "Well, I've heard it two or three times". Every classroom displayed at least one dreamcatcher, a magical spider web inside a sacred circle. The students explained that dreamcatchers protected them from evil spirits and nightmares by catching the bad dreams but permitting good dreams to pass through the center. According to fourth grade teacher, Ms. Preston, the amber crystal in the center of her dreamcatcher signified the importance of being properly aligned, apparently with the earth's spiritual energy.
The principle, Dr. Cornel Pewewardy, defines this cosmic energy in an article available to visitors titled, A Family of Learners and Storytellers. It states, "In Native American philosophy and thought `medicine' is a vital energy source that we draw upon and use for direction and for wholeness. Holistic education equates to responsibility for the whole universe: We are all related".
In the same article, Dr. Pewewardy wrote that "Indian education has always been experiential and holistic, seen as preparing the young to be productive and powerful citizens of the world in which they live. The American Indian Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minnesota public school district, offers this kind of holistic education [It] is conveying to students a network of values, norms, rituals, roles, heroes and heroines, ceremonies and myths. The school attracts students, staff and volunteers who do more than emphasize a Native American philosophy, we espouse and live it. We do so for the betterment of our children, ourselves and our world one world".
Ms. Preston agreed. "When I heard that this school was opening, I couldn't wait to send in my application," she told Mrs. Holm. "Here you not only are involved in education, but we receive a deep spiritual experience that's not available at other public schools".
A brochure describing the school confirmed its religious focus: "Students in grade K-8 will study the rich history, contributions, and culture of the American Indian". The American Indian Magnet places education into culture instead of continuing the practice of placing culture into education. The holistic approach used in designing quality learning experiences for students finds its roots in a Medicine Wheel Circle, a traditional symbol of American Indian culture, which regards the animation of the natural world as a way of creating living bonds with the ecosystem.
How can public schools teach paganism but ban Christianity? Apparently, today's purveyors of pagan religions have sidestepped this question by changing the labels. Native American spirituality is not a church in today's politically correct circles. "We don't call it religion, we call it spirituality," explained Mounds Park eighth grade teacher, Jackie Lannon. "For the Native American, their spirituality is their culture and their culture is their spirituality; you can't really separate the two".
The same can be said for Christianity. But today's educational plans, peddled under ambiguous label like outcome-based education, mastery learning and Goals 2000 aim to produce global citizens united by an all-inclusive spirituality that blends all religions. The process begins by undermining biblical Christianity and offering fun, idealized pagan models. Native American spirituality tops the list.
Isn't it time to use the same laws that banned Christianity from the classroom to stem the rising tide of occult propaganda in our schools? It's time to train our children to be citizens of God's Kingdom soldiers who battle for truth in prayer, either silently or in union with a rising army of Christian youth who refuse to surrender to deception.
(Ed. Note: For their protection, the names of visitors, students and teachers have been changed.)