Pagan Community Notes: Week of August 8, 2022

PINE RIDGE, S.D. – Late last month the Oglala Lakota Nation Tribal Council voted to exclude a non-Native missionary, Matt Monfore, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation lands for distributing pamphlets that were considered hate speech. Monfore is part of the Jesus is King Mission and had distributed church pamphlets demonizing Native spirituality and culture.

The office of Tribal President Kevin Killer released a letter on July 22 that stated:

“This week the Jesus is King Missionary was found distributing material that literally demonizes the Lakota culture and faith.”

“This is unacceptable and completely disrespectful. It is the view of the President and Council that these ‘pamphlets’ seek to promote hate instead of peace. Hate has no place on Oglala land.”

The content of the pamphlets was posted to social media by members of the Indigenous Youth Council Oglala Chapter and resulted in public outcry from tribal members.

Eleanor Ferguson who is a Youth Council mentor of the Oglala Lakota tribe wrote online on the International Indigenous Youth Council-Oglala Lakota Chapter Facebook page, “This is modern day indoctrination and what cultural genocide looks like. Why are we allowing these outsiders to disrespect us and our culture on our own territory? Something needs to be done.”

On July 27, the Oglala Lakota Nation tribal council adopted Ordinance No. 22-54 which requires “all churches and missionaries to register and request authorization to conduct missionary activity” on Pine Ridge lands.

The Tribal Council has also initiated an investigation to determine whether or not  Monfore has a connection with the Wings as Eagles Ministries which operates The Dream Center on Pine Ridge land. Monfore claimed to have held a presentation connected with the pamphlet at The Dream Center.

However, Lori McAfee, pastor and president of Wings as Eagles Ministries told Indian Country Today that Monfore had no connection to their organization and did not give a presentation or talk at their facility.

The Tribal Council is scheduled to receive a report of the investigation on August 10.

Some Tribal members who are active members within Christian churches of various denominations were confused and concerned as to whether or not Ordinance No. 22-54 would require church functions to be canceled.

The Tribal Council clarified the Ordinance by adding an amendment that religious organizations would have 90 days to comply with submitting the required forms and could continue to operate during that period.

The decision by the Oglala Lakota Nation tribal council to exclude non-members from the reservation according to the Tribe’s attorney, Thomasina Real Bird, there is limited legal precedent for tribal governments permanently banishing or excluding non-tribal citizens from reservations.

However, the decision cited the Tribe’s law and order codes addressing the removal of non-members and stating, “It is the sacred duty of and obligation of the tribal council to protect its peoples, their property, natural resources, culture, land, water rights and wildlife from any threat or conduct by non-members on the reservation and any lands under jurisdiction of the Oglala Sioux tribe.”

A number of tribes have taken this approach to resolve civil issues and have included language in their laws to use exclusion of non-members in this way. It is also the tribal councils that determine and define the due process as it relates to exclusion and removal from tribal lands.

“The council can issue an order for a person’s removal without a hearing in an emergency situation,” Thomasina Real Bird said. “Nobody can second guess you, only this governing body can determine the circumstances constituting an emergency.”


    • On September 3rd, Diana Paxson will be giving the keynote speech at the Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day and will be speaking on the topic of Pagans and the American Civil Religion.

    • Sionainn McLean, of Liminal Raven Ministries, is putting together an anthology of Witch and Pagan voices entitled, Living in Magick – Stories of Everyday Magick, Paganism and Witchcraft. They are looking for submissions that range from authentic voices and stories to personal essays, poetry, prayers, and rituals, as well as black and white photography and art. The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2022.

    In other news:

      • As the debate continues over where the Parthenon Marbles (sometimes referred to as the Elgin Marbles) belong–their country of origin, Greece, or in the British Museum where they currently reside–the most recent development is that the British Museum seems to be shifting its stance after decades of refusing to allow the Marbles to return to Greece. British Museum deputy director, Jonathan Williams said in an interview last week, “What we are calling for is an active ‘Parthenon partnership’ with our friends and colleagues in Greece. I firmly believe there is space for a really dynamic and positive conversation within which new ways of working together can be found.” Williams continued, “The sculptures are an absolutely integral part of the British Museum. They have been here over 200 years.” He emphasized a desire to “change the temperature of the debate,” and raised the option of loaning the works. “We need to find a way forward around cultural exchange of a level, intensity and dynamism which has not been conceived hitherto. There are many wonderful things we’d be delighted to borrow and lend. It is what we do.” While Greece has artifacts in its collections that the British Museum would certainly be interested in having on loan to display, its unclear whether the Greek government would settle for anything less than having a full and permanent repatriation of the Marbles to Athens.

      • In other artifact repatriation news, the Horniman Museum in London announced its plans to transfer ownership of 72 objects to the Nigerian Government. Eve Salomon, the Horniman Museum’s chair said, “The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria.” Among those artifacts that will return to Nigeria are 12 Benin Bronzes (which consist of ivory carvings and metal sculptures), a key to the king’s palace, and a brass cockerel. Brass cockerels or roosters are an integral part of the Benin ancestral altar and symbolize the queens’ mothers and their power. The British Museum possesses the largest collection of Benin Bronzes and currently has stated that it is prevented from returning them due to the British Museum Act of 1963 and the National Heritage Act of 1983.

      Positively Noteworthy

      We take a moment to remember Oliva Newton-John today. Enjoy this clip from the 1978 movie, “Grease

      and of course,


    • Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

      Deck: Gold Lyre Tarot, by Lacy Martin and Christine Scanlon, published by Microcosm Publishing.

      Card: Four (4) of Cups

      This week may call for taking a step back in order to gain a better perspective of a given situation. Emotions have the potential to cloud judgment or unduly influence the decision-making process and are likely to require some level of detachment.

      Conversely, failure to fully assess a situation before taking action has the potential to result in repeating past patterns and is unlikely to yield the desired outcome.

      Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.

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