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Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 10:20 UK
American Indian Old Ways connect here in Britain

Wa Na Nee Chee
To Wa Na Nee Chee America is better termed Turtle Island

Mother Earth Lodges, journeys of the spirit and the interpretation of dreams and visions: it is an exotic mix.

You may not expect to find a missionary promoting the beliefs of American Indians in the East Midlands.

Not that the terms American Indian or Native American find favour with Wa Na Nee Chee.

He prefers to call himself Indigenous, and maintains anyone can become, like him, a Person of the Earth: you don't have to be born a member of a tribe.

Wa Na Nee Chee himself was born on Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

He went to school there, graduated from college, joined the army for a couple of years, and went on to become a Civil Rights lawyer.

Discovering your gift

Always, though, he was aware of his decent from a long line of Medicine Men - though again he would prefer different terminology.

He'd tell you that the original description was more akin to "spiritual adviser", and it was in that guise that he came to the UK in 1992.

He wanted to pass on the tools for living he'd learned from his father - a man in tune with Nature and its universal energies. He was also a man who warned him "never be taught by humans: humans don't really know anything. Listen to Nature, listen to your visions, they will tell you who you are and what your gifts are."

The curious turn up at his talks in the likes of the Theosophical Hall in Nottingham and the Multifaith Centre in Derby to hear about The Old Ways, and the properties of tobacco, or simple sage or other herbs that can be used to reconnect.

That's reconnect with Mother Earth of course: and alongside the talks and workshops Wa Na Nee Chee runs his Mother Earth Lodges.

Anything can happen

Unlike the sweat lodges run by some, to his amusement, as "places to suffer" his version is a gentle one - less heat more enlightenment. Oh, and no nudity. There you can keep your clothes on in pursuit of cleansing and spiritual rebirth.

Considering himself one of the few still accurately attesting to the wisdom of the old traditions, Wa Na Nee Chee is apt to warns of false teachers, but is stoical about doubts cast upon his own credentials.

"Don't look at the messenger, look at the message - and if the message makes sense to you, follow the message."

He takes the level of attendance at his talks and lodges as an indicator of current engagement with ancient wisdom.

If you ever decide to attend you may hear him quote Sitting Bull:

"You take the best of both worlds, and what you like you keep, and what you don't like you throw away".





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