Ep.66 – Cultural Appropriation & The Hunger That Drives It | Aleyah-Erin Lennon – Part 2

As a lead-in to this week’s episode, Candice spends some time defining cultural appropriation, specifically in western spirituality and wellness spaces. Then things pick up where they left off last week, with the second half of a two-part conversation with artist, activist, and educator, Aleyah-Erin Lennon. Aleyah shares why she was so drawn into the world of wellness and contextualizes how she realized she had to step away. Spiritual appropriation and misuse of ‘the s-word’ (shamanism) is explored, along with how unconscious colonial entitlement can be so hard-wired that we, white folks, can become ‘takers’. Aleyah offers a deeply compassionate approach to this topic, one that takes into account the cavernous spiritual hunger that drives appropriation; and she shares what her Indigenous mentors have taught her about how we might grow in humility and in our collective spiritual capacity. Aleyah and Candice ponder the question: How might we explore spiritual tools that help and add value to our lives without co-opting, stealing, and perpetuating colonial harm? Cognitive dissonance and emotional triggers are discussed, as well as how an understanding of cult recovery can support us in our anti-racism learning and unlearning. Aleyah invites the investigation of ‘the poverty of whiteness’ and shares what it might look like to co-create expressions of spirituality and personal growth that are relationally accountable. The episode wraps with an invitation to support Aleyah and her collaborators to share their knowledge more widely.

Aleyah-Erin Lennon (she/her) is a scholar, speaker, poet and musician. Through an anti-colonial and trauma-informed lens, her focus is on healing the disconnection and abuses in the trilogy of our relationships to Self, Others, and Land. Created in partnership with Indigenous Elders, knowledge holders, and friends, he published work weaves diverse cultural narratives, story sharing, and poetry into a landscape of questions concerning our sense of identity and belonging.

September 13, 2023

Referenced In This Episode:

Also referenced in this episode:

  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • Conspirituality: How New Age Conspiracy Theories Became a Health Threat, by Derek Beres, Matthew Remski, & Julian Walker
  • White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better, by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
  • My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, by Resmaa Menakam
  • Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality, by Lisa Aldred

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