Approaching Indigenous cultures

I recommend the following article written by a Native American, because it addresses some points that can easily be transferred to Hellenism. The author’s knowledge and clear language shows the reader what it means and what the requirements are to become a part of American Indian or, in our specific case, of Hellenic religion.
Be careful when dealing with other people’s cultural identity, it is the most sacred thing. Indigenous cultures «are not public property.» Their ancestral cults cannot be «bought and sold and thus consumed.» That’s the New Age perspective. Indigenous people have a different way of looking at the world, culture and mankind. Their religions are an organic part of their everyday lives, on the collective and the individual level.
They define their relationship to their land, families, ancestors and gods. You don’t have to like that, just accept it and let them be. Respect the boundaries they set for themselves.
This means, don’t project your stereotypes onto them or judge other cultural groups based on the standards of your own culture. They are not responsible for your interpretations or expectations. We are responsible for the way we perceive what we are seeing.

It would be also good to differentiate between your own wishes and the needs of the particular indigenous culture or group. Indigenous groups have their very own interests, problems and goals.
Respect their right to self-determination. If you respect them, their culture and imagination, they will treat you with the same respect.
But if you begin to impose your notion of their own culture on them, if you lecture them on their own history or even scold them because they are unwilling to correspond with your mental schemata or to «correct» themselves in accordance with your particular ideology, you will be treated as an invader. The worst thing to do would be to ignore their otherness, their right to be themselves, and to try to change them into something they are not.
As an ethnic Hellene I can say: 1500 years of religious colonialism have made us allergic to such attempts.
Therefore, if you knock at their door, be kind, polite and friendly.
Treat them the way you want to be treated.
Respect their «Yes,» accept their «No.»
Be open to learn, understand and appreciate what you see.
That’s the best way to approach indigenous cultures.

Seeking Native American Spirituality: Read This First!