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SPIRITS FOR SALE: The Commercialization of American Indian Rituals
When Annika is given an eagle feather by a Native American visiting Sweden, she realizes it is a sacred object which should probably not be in her hands. These days Native American ceremonies are being commercialized for "outsiders," arousing resentment in the Native community.
Annika sets out to find the feather's rightful owner, a quest which takes her to American Indian communities in Albuquerque, San Antonio and to Bear Butte in South Dakota. She meets many Native Americans who are bitter, believing they are "the forgotten people." But others are fighting to preserve their culture and their faith as well as to protect their land.
Navajo Andrew Thomas, who manages the Albuquerque Pueblo Center, explains that certain tribes use feathers in special ways to communicate with "the Upper God." He fears modern Native Americans have lost touch with the ancient beliefs. In this film we hear from a professor of Native American history in San Antonio who discusses the five hundred tribes who lived in the US centuries ago and recalls the massacres they suffered. Gayle Ross, a respected Cherokeeteacher, feels Americans do not understand native people. Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota nation is deeply disturbed by the entire arena of cultural exploitation.