I dislike "White" people who co-opt Amerindian culture and spirituality, when that culture and spiritual identity is not theirs by nature (blood) or nurture (how and where one was raised). I think it is grossly unfair and disrespectful to Amerindian cultures for "White" people to do this, and I think it detracts from the beauty and magnificence that many Amerindian cultures posses. I see far too many "White" people bastardizing Amerindian spirituality and turning native sacredness into an ugly, desecrated farce. If it isn't your culture, leave it the hell alone!
My mother's mother is Cherokee; that does not mean that I am Cherokee. I am not Amerindian, and I do not try to be. All my life I have been disgusted with "White" culture and what passes for "values" in "White" society, but it is the society I have been raised in, and it's what I'm "stuck with." Given a choice, I would have rather been born and raised Cherokee, or Navajo; I was not, and that's that.
"White 'Indianphiles.'" are Americans ("White") who desperately try to be "Indian" for a variety of reasons. They give themselves "Indian-sounding" names; they spend tens of thousands of dollars on silver and turquoise jewelry; they embrace what they believe to be "Indian spirituality" (which usually isn't, by the way); they seek approval and friendship with Amerindians as their chief method of self-validation and self-esteem. When these people talk to their "White" peers, they start every third sentence with "My Indian friend Hooting Owl says...." or "My best friend is Hopi and she says...." In other words, their reverence for an Amerindian culture is based upon a desire to fill the empty ache in their own psyche, and not actual veneration and admiration. That emptiness is created by a mixture of the sick, abusive "White" culture, regret concerning past personal failures, and an imaginary ideal of Amerindian life not representative of reality.
A huge number of "White" people wish desperately to be Hopi or Navajo; in actual practice, I consider it vastly unlikely they would chose the life of, for example, the average Navajo. Do these "White" people really wish to live in a dirt hogan at a sheep camp, shear wool off sheep, spin the wool, and weave rugs to make a living? Are they willing to give up their fancy cars, indoor toilets, piped-in water, access to health care, telephone service, and electricity? A large section of the Navajo Reservation ("Big" and "Checkerboard") lack these "modern" convinces that most "White" people enjoy.
A "White" person can love and admire the Navajo culture and not strive to be Navajo. Trying to be Navajo when one is not, and has not been raised in the Navajo culture, is not just silly---- it's sad. Trying to embrace Navajo spirituality when one is not Navajo is not just sad--- it's blasphemy.
Sure, I wish I had been raised Cherokee or Navajo. I detest "White" culture, where competition and winning is more important than competing and sharing the rewards. I abhor people who steal what they do not need. I loathe people who lie or injure people out of greed, fear, ignorance, and hatred. I despise a culture that places its elderly in warehouses when they become "too much of a burden" to take care of. I sneer at people who live in luxury while their cousins, aunts, parents, grandparents, and other family members go hungry and cold. I would prefer to be a Traditional Cherokee or Navajo, where such behavior was considered signs of mental illness, as they were so rare.
I'm "White," raised as such, and very much a product of my culture. Try as I might, I'll never be Amerindian, even though my grandmother is. This leaves me free to reject much of "White" culture that I find repugnant and despicable, and retain that which is positive. I can then augment my life with values cherished in certain Amerindian cultures. But the result is NOT Amerindian culture, and NOT Amerindian spirituality. I wish more "White" people would understand this basic fact.