Background

“Tell the Truth. Just Tell the Truth, and keep Telling it.”

                                                                –Chief Mel Lone Hill

The Truth be Told

The ManKind Project, formerly the New Warrior Network, is a nonprofit training corporation with autonomous international regions. The focus of the trainings is emotional literacy for men. You can read more about their programs on their website.

The Jungian Mythopoetic Background of the New Warrior Network

The first training was in 1985 and approximately 80,000 men have taken the Training since then. In putting together the Training the Founders looked at elements from several cultures and mythological and psychological systems such as Celtic and Native American mythologies as well as archetypal psychology with an eye to creating an initiatory experience—an initiation into a new way of being a man. An initiatory experience is important for the masculine psyche in order to reorganize the system of sentiments of a child into a system of sentiments appropriate to being an adult, i.e., a system of sentiments more focused on service to others than focused on oneself. One of the major goals of the weekend is to inculcate a Mission of Service in the Trainees.

When the Founders encountered a Native American sweat lodge Ceremony offered by Lakota people to the public outside of Madison, Wisconsin, they realized that the fundamental elements—fire and rocks, water and sweat and darkness, elements globally common to the masculine experience—were crucial to completing this reorganization near the end of the training by grounding and purifying the trainees, preparing them to return safely to their families and communities.

The Founders, in good faith, changed elements of what they had observed. For example, they changed the structure to plywood sheets held together with hinges and steel cable with turnbuckles, covered in black plastic. They wished to make it clear they were not doing what Indigenous Americans do. They called it a Sweat Cave, and the words spoken by the conductor of the Ceremony were never really formalized. At the time there was no cultural context in which they could have understood that by this behavior they may have been engaging in what is called today “cultural appropriation.”

The Training spread to different cities via Men’s Groups, and the Men’s Movement.

In the Spring of 1992 this man, I, Curtis Mitchell, the writer of these words, was approached by a New Warrior from the Washington DC area after a sweat lodge Ceremony in the style commonly known as the All Nations Way.* He offered tobacco wrapped in red cloth and asked me to go through the New Warrior Training and help straighten out how they were conducting the Ceremony, as it was chaotic and people were getting hurt. He said that the way I conducted the Ceremony was closer to the Ceremonies he had experienced while attending Sun Dance on Pine Ridge as a guest and supporter when the Sun Dance was re-emerging from hiding in the early-mid 1960’s.

By 1992 I had been a designated pipe carrier in the lineage of the Lakota Chief Frank Fools Crow, a pipe having been placed in my hands in the summer of 1989 by Fools Crow’s successor as Chief and grandson Chief Mel Lone Hill. I had met Chief Lone Hill in 1985 when he, his family, and Fools Crow himself travelled to the East Coast of the US in order to establish a Sun Dance there in fulfillment of a prophecy that the Sun Dance would be carried to the Four Directions. Chief Lone Hill had, at that time, recognized my authorization to conduct All Nations Lodge Ceremonies.

I consulted with Chief Lone Hill on the request to go through the New Warrior Training and he confirmed that it was OK for me to do it.

I offer the following quote to establish the position of Chief Fools Crow and Chief Lone Hill on these matters:

“The Power and the Ways are given to us to be passed on to others. To think anything else is pure selfishness. We get more by giving them away, and if we do not give them away, we lose them.”

                                                               – Chief Frank Fools Crow (Mails 2001:11)

as quoted by Suzanne Owens in

The Appropriation of Native American Spirituality

10 thoughts on “Background”

  1. Curtis
    Good to read truth.
    I miss you.
    I love you.
    Will do my part to share.
    I was one of the few DC Center Directors to attend an LKS meeting. I witnessed men intent on ensuring the integrity of the PR&C and acknowledging the friendship of many indigenous men.
    I personally donated to help a Lakota man who had a GoFundMe page based on the word of LKS men that this was a true need.

    Please keep publishing truth.
    Steve

  2. Thank you, my brother, for clarifying the context of this conflict.

    What troubles me most is the self-righteous bullying that happens in perpetrating “cultural ownership.” If, as I hold true, we are All One (I put that in the frame of the zero-point field or the “Great Link” that provides a meaning to our existence; the merging of form and thought, the sharing of idea and sensation) then “cultural ownership” is only the reflection of the deepest wounds that freeze people in the moment of the trauma.

    The hurt will not be healed by anything non-indigenous people can do. It will only be healed when the People do the healing work they need to do.

    I acknowledge the wounds and their impact. I grieve that the People are hurt. I acknowledge their desire to heal and their belief that holding on to their “culture” will help. I do not believe that the meme of “cultural appropriation” is doing or will do anything to further their healing or the achievement of human connection and harmony.

  3. On my weekend in Johannesburg, NWTA 10. The first NWTA in the cradle of humankind, Boys Town, Johannesburg, South Africa you were the P&R Man…… my partner is a desendant from the black foot tribe.! She welcomed Billy Hill to perform a sweat in her backyard where my son, Luca partipated . I get that people don’t understand, especially me !!! Much love to you Curtis ❤️

  4. Curtis, thank you for taking the time to create this to help educate all those who have cast stones. To help educate a lot of this community who are still wondering “what’s right.” With the AIMsters, spiritual leaders, medicine men, cedar people, dancers, and everyone that I’ve spoken with – the majority of them believe that in order for us to protect this and to keep this, we must share it. Share it in a way that gives reverence and respect to those that bled to have this and continue to have reverence for the children that will do this long after we are gone. Thank you brother and I still hope to sit with you some day.

  5. I offer my heartfelt gratitude to you, Curtis. I greatly appreciate what you have set out here as well as the way you have done so (which I judge/experience as being very clear and clean). I would like to see this addressed and responded to appropriately by the MKP LB. Many blessings.

  6. I am so grateful I went through my MKP weekend before the changes.
    I really feel like a lot of the magic is gone since removing all of the stuff.
    The new experience is just not as powerful.
    This is really hurt mankind project and I hope that the founders and leaders will stand up to this and put things back right.

  7. I encourage reading Bill Eddy’s book, “5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life.” If you always deal with mature people of good will, who are willing to discuss and work towards common ground – well, even then you’ll benefit. I know from 30 years of working with LKS men their maturity, wisdom, compassion and grace.

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