Ngystle Society

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Ngystle Society is an enterprise operating in British Columbia, Canada. The Society has been functioning as a front organisation for Psychology of Vision and continues to promote PoV seminars as well as promoting further Newage methods and products of charlatanry, and cooperates with at least one person posing as a Native American „shaman“ with whom they facilitate seminars.

Board and History

The Ngystle website offers no information regarding its board and who might represent the society in business matters. In the same way, the site does not provide information as to when the society was founded.

An application Ngystle submitted in 2012 to receive funding for a programme, they name their board members as follows: Rose Russ, Cindy Boyko, Betty Richardson, Barbra Wilson, Elna McDonald and Kay Watson, with Tiffany Duffy named as their Administrator.[1] Several of these persons are also affiliated with Psychology of Vision and/or Oneness.

Status

The Ngystle website also provides no information whether the society has been approved as a non-profit organisation or wether it is a for-profit enterprise. Ngystle Society did hold a status as a charity which is announced as revoked as of July 1, 2006[2]; according to another portal listing charities, this status did not get revoked due to failure to file, but was a „voluntary revocation“.[3] While the first portal claims Ngystle was inactive, it is quite apparent that the Society is still active: another site providing information on commercial enterprises lists Ngystle Society as a „private company“ with two employees.[4]

Various websites are still today listing Ngystle Society as a „community healing centre“ which offers „a program that works with residential school survivors and inter-generation“, so e.g. a site providing a „Directory of Community Resources and Programs for Care Providers, Parents and Children“[5], or as a charity.[6]

Ngystle themselves continue claiming the status of a non-profit organisation, e.g. in a 2012 application for funding of a youth programme.[1]

Constitution and Funding

This part of the site describes the official purpose of the organisation:

To operate and maintain a multi-use facility and library for Haida Gwaii people in order to provide educational, recreational and social programs in Skidegate, BC
- To provide social, cultural, educational, voluntary employment and other support services for the people of Haida Gwaii.
- To educate the public on Aboriginal culture through the provision of instruction on traditional Haida culture programs such as traditional games, drum making, cedar weaving and button blanket making.
- To benefit the community through the provision of arts, leadership training, youth and social programs that will build stronger communities.
- To undertake activities ancillary and incidental to the attainment of the above objectives.[7]

The site does not provide any date of the constitution and its wording may have been subjected to change when funding of programmes for residential school survivors ran out, as they do not get mentioned explicitely as one of the target groups.

The Ngystle Facebook page provides somewhat different information:

A few years ago a small group of people came together, we had one thing in mind, to heal.
To enhance the health and well-being of community members by providing holistic programming [sic!] and services which address their culutural [sic], spiritual, phycological [sic!] and physical needs. Ngystle encourages and supports community members to take responsibility for their own growth and healing, and to become active leaders and role models in their communities.[8]

It is quite interesting that Ngystle themselves speak of "holistic programming" instead of "programmes". The entry also reveals a Newage use of words and concepts, e.g. in holding their clients responsible for their own "growth and healing", and expecting of them to become "active leaders", the latter also reflecting PoV-based concepts. Both do not reflect traditional indigenous approaches.

In comparison with the constitution published at their website, the Facebook entry also does not mention educational and (voluntary) employment services, nor are goals like public education on indigenous culture or providing community benefits mentioned.

Public funding

Public funding for Ngystle's activities seem to have come mainly from two sources, as far as information obtained on the internet suggests: the Aboriginal Health Foundation established by the Canadian government, and the Gwaii Trust, established by the Haida nation.

Aboriginal Health Foundation

Ngystle Society received as much as $ 475,300 from the Aboriginal Health Foundation[9] established by the Canadian Government to provide services in particular for survivors of residential schools. The project description given to AHF by Ngystle Society read:

The project will provide Residential School Survivors and their families with a safe environment in which they can express their feelings and thoughts. This will be accomplished through the delivery of one on one counselling, support group meetings, workshops on Psychology of Vision and the provision of Traditional Haida healing activities.
The project will also provide apprenticeship training in Psychology of Vision so that participants will be able to continue their healing journeys.[9]

It is presently not possible to establish whether Ngystle constitution was subject to changes after the AHF funding ended in 2010, or whether their constitution was as broadly outlined as it is now, as residential school survivors are not mentioned in the present (Sept 2013) version. Similarly noteworthy is that AHF in fact granted quite substantial a sum of public money and does not seem to have checked whether PoV was a method of psychological treatment. Ngystle also did not provide an address of their bureaus but only a P.O.Box in Skidegate.[9] Furthermore, AHF kept on funding after the charity status was revoked by Ngystle in 2006.

Gwaii Trust Society

Another source of funding is the Gwaii Trust Society which is operated by the Haida Nation. Gwaii Trust gave about $ 270,000 to Ngystle Society predominantly under their „Healthy Humans“ programme between 2004-2009.[10] Due to the statutes of Gwaii Trust, funds have to be applied for individually for every incident, and the Trust keeps an archive of monies handed out on their website. According to information obtained there, payments were made in about 25 instances over the period of five years and for different purposes, ranging from computer equipment and a business plan for Ngystle to artists' payments.[10] Ngystle also had their five year business plan funded in part or totally by Gwaii Trust with an amount of $ 5,74.61.[10]

Funding from Gwaii Trust Society was obtained in particular for several seminars and programmes either on Newage practices or on programmes according to Psychology of Vision.[10] Among these were: „Children's Self Esteem Build“, „Haida Women Leadership Training Program“, „Intensive Healing Training Workshop“, „Kool Kids“, „Pro Teen Days Self Esteem“, „Reiki“, „The Excellence Series“, „The Pursuit of Excellence“, „The Wall Advancement Series“, „Youth Leadership and Volunteer Program“, „Youth Pursuit of Excellence“, amounting to some 17 seminars altogether.[10] The amounts granted ranged between $ 3,367 and $ 17,569, with an amount of $ 33,456 not further specified granted for seminars in 2006/07. The earliest amount granted was for a seminar in 2001-2002, the latest for seminars in 2008-2009.[10] Apparently, Ngystle Society's revocation of its charity status, provided Gwaii Trust Society was aware of this, did not affect the approval of monies.

Although the guidelines for funding were altered by Gwaii Trust so that core funding is no longer possible, Ngystle keeps applying for their programmes, so e.g. a „Youth-In-Action“ series from April 2012 to March 2013.[1]

Activities

The activities of Ngystle Society are predominantly in the field of Newage seminars and events, in particular seminars and events spreading Psychology of Vision and Oneness. They are further promoting and selling applications of pseudo-medic devices, and are promoting plastic shaman Erick Gonzalez. They also maintain a library largely covering alternative and pseudo-medical healing methods.

Promotion of PoV seminars and events

While the Ngystle website presently (September 2013) does not advertise any PoV seminars, they were facilitating such seminars and have been applying for their funding repeatedly over the years.

Ngystle e.g. submitted an application with Gwaii Trust to have funded a „POV Workshop 'Manifesting Success in 2011'“ in Skidegate, asking for a funding of $ 3,652.36 under the Gwaii Trust's „Healthy Humans“ Programme. Ngystle describes the workshop:

Ngystle Society is seeking funding to host a 2 1/2 day Psychology of Vision workshop in February. The workshop theme is "Manifesting Success in 2011" and will be facilitated by experienced international trainer and leader, Barbara Stevens. The workshop will be offered at no charge to twenty participants and will challenge and equip participants with skills and knowledge to live their lives in an empowered proactive manner. Participants will use visualizations and other Psychology ofVision tools to set goals for the upcoming year, work through blocks to success and create a mind map from which they can then move forward.“[11]

Several references in favour of this workshop were supplied with the application, so e.g. by Skidegate Health Centre undersigned by the Health Director, by the Skidegate Chief Councillor, by the owner of one „Crystal Cabin Gallery“, and by a Psychology of Vision Trainer from Skidegate.[11] The PoV Trainer offers the following description in her letter:

“Using meditation, Oneness Blessings, the creation of mind maps, and Psychology of Vision tools, participants will be guided to make mind maps or Vision Boards of their goals for the year 2011. Blocks to Success will be worked through and will help participants in their daily lives. Our goal is to have fun while healing.“[11]

The description reveals the mechanistic approach of PoV towards human beings, and further reveals their cooperation with the Oneness cult.

The gallery owner in turn is a follower and trainer of the Oneness cult[12] and not a member of any First Nation, but regardless of this asserts that PoV seminars were very much appreciated by the Haida nation, had helped countless people and were an invaluable service to the community.[11] Another advertisement for the same seminar mentions that „the first 20 local participants to sign up are sponsored by the Gwaii Trust & the Ngystle Society – Tuition - $ 125 per person“[13]

Promotion of Oneness seminars and events

The Oneness movement was founded by Vijay Kumar, and Indian citizen, who goes by the title of "Kalki Bhagavan". The movement is led by Kumar and his wife, who are addressed as "Sri Amma Bhagavan" by students and followers.[14] The movement has spread to Europe and the USA from an initial Ashram in India. A temple has been built for an alleged amount of $75 million, and Kumar also operates a "Oneness University" in India, selling advanced courses and trainings.[14] Basic courses, like e.g. a training as a so-called Deeksha [blessing] giver, are also done in the USA and European countries.[15][16]

Ngystle Society promotes the Oneness cult in several ways, so e.g. on their Facebook site where they provide a link to a Oneness Awakening Course offered by Oneness University.[8]

Another promotion for a Oneness Awakening Course taking place in Haida Gwaii in July 2011 announced Ngystle Society was registering participants, and their phone number was published. For billeting, participants were advised to contact the owner of the „Crystal Cabin“ gallery writing a recommendation for a PoV seminar.[17]

Promotion of a Plastic Shaman

Ngystle Society further promotes plastic shaman Erick Gonzalez, a Gualtemaltekan who has been living in the USA since the age of 11.[18] Gonzalez claims to be Mayan, but goes by a name taken from Aztec Nahuatl language, Tata [Uncle] OmeAkaEhekatl.[18]

The Ngystle website, in an advertisement titled „Intensive Healing Training Wokshop“, claims:

Mayan Medicine Man, Erick Gonzalez has a connection to Haida Gwaii that goes back many years. Through his community relationships he has brought people together by creating a safe place for people to connect on a personal and spiritual level and facilitate healing that many people experience as profound. Mr Gonzalez workshops focus on self-empowerment, personal healing and

enquiry into the spiritual realm.[19]

A further Ngystle advertisement for a workshop with Gonzalez announces:

ERIC GONZALEZ INTENSIVE
October 16-18
Please contact Ngystle Society for more information.[20]

It is not evident why a Guatemaltekan living in the USA is needed to teach participants belonging to the Haida nation who have traditions of their own, including spiritual traditions. Gonzalez' activities are further to be seen critically since his living in the USA most probably speaks against an acculturation within Maya cultures and traditions, especially in Maya spirituality. Native medicine persons are also supposed to work within their communities and are expected to have done an apprenticeship which may well last 20 years and even more. It is highly to be doubted that Gonzalez did such an apprenticeship, although he claims „initiation“ into several different indigenous „sacred rites“[18] which usually is an indication of a plastic shaman. Another question is whether Gonzalez is indeed recognised by one of the Maya peoples or rather is of distant native descent.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued a warning on Erick Gonzalez in 2012, as Gonzalez is suspected of applying drugs to participants in his seminars, in particular Ayahuasca, Peyote, mescaline, and other substances[21], none of them part of any traditions of the ethnic groups living in the North-West Coast cultural area of North America. While Peyote is being used ceremonially in some indigenous traditions and today also by the Native American Church, its use outside of these fields is illegal. Ayahuasca is from South America where it is used as a diagnostic tool by medicine persons, quite in contrary to the use by plastic shamans who will administer the substance to their clients. Both Peyote and Ayahuasca are unknown in Mayan traditions, so Gonzalez is not in a position to justify their use with tradition and it is to be doubted that he is sufficiently informed about their dosage, contra-indications etc.

From the above quoted advertisements, however, it becomes evident that Ngystle Society continue support of and cooperation with Gonzalez.

Promotion of Pseudo-Medical Devices and Treatments

Via their website and in community newsletters, Ngystle Society promotes several pseudo-medical devices and advertises the use of them in their premises.

T-Zone Vibration Machine

Presently (September 2013), the Ngystle website does not mention this device which was recommended in 2010 in an article on Ngystle Society supplied in a community newsletter.[22] This machine often is promoted to achieve at a weight loss, but also to tone and firm muscles, increase metabolism, descrease cellulite visibility and with further claims.[23] Such claims have no scientific evidence and must be seen as a sales pitch for the device which in Canada is sold at $ 1,869 tax excluded.[24]

Trinfinity8

A further device promoted by Ngystle Society is the so-called Trinfinity8 and Ngystle sells applications of this device. According to the Ngystle website, the device

offers 72 different Rejuvenation programs
- Stress Reduction, - Energy Restoration, - Health & Nutrition, - Skin & Hair Rejuvenation
- Face & Beauty, - Weight Management, - Body Sculpting[25]

The device, however, is pseudo-medical and none of the claims it is being sold with has any scientific evidence. It is sold at a price of about $ 8,000, which Ngystle Society apparently was able to spend.

Amethyst Bio-Mat

The Amethyst Bio-Mat is another pseudo-medical device whose application is sold by Ngystle Society who claim:

The Amethyst Bio Mat is a FDA approved negative ion and for infrared ray therapeutic treatment system. It was designed by scientists, engineers and medical professionals. It uses a unique combination of three bio-compatible energy therapies. Far Infrared, Negative Ion, and Amethyst Crystal.[25]

These claims are unsubstantiated and have not been proven scientifically. The effectiveness claimed is not feasible either biologically, nor medically and physically. Amethyst is not able to emit light, warmth, or negative ions without any external energy source. If it was in fact to emit such radiation, this would be radio-active and probably hazardous to human health. Some of these products contain an electrical heat source.

In the US market, prices for end customers for a single bed mattress are between $ 1,650 and approx. $ 2,700, while professional customers are offered a smaller mattress at a reduced rate; they are recommended to charge clients $ 22 for one application.[22] Although Ngystle's charges are lower at $ 6.00, it must be considered that they do not approach a market of affluent customers, but an indigenous community, so charges apparently were adjusted to an affordable level. Given the fact that this is a pseudo-medical device with no established effectivity, the fee charged is still quite substantial for one use of an electric blanket.

Employing unsubstantiated Health Claims

In a 2009 newsletter distributed by the Skidegate community in British Columbia/Canada, Ngystle Society advertise their then newly purchased Amethyst Bio-Mat with unsubstantiated health claims:

“It reduces swelling, increases blood flow and has been shown to destroy cancer and viral cells without harming surrounding healthy cells. The Bio-Mat:
relieves pain & joint stiffness
Increases blood circulation
Decreases hyperactivity
Strengthens the cardiovascular system
Rejuvenates skin & cellular function
Induces deep Delta State of relaxation
Reduces stress and fatigue
Boosts energy & vitality
Burns calories and controls weight
Removes wastes & toxins
Boosts the immune system
Regulates Psychological well being[26]
All of the above mentioned health claims are unsubstantiated; the effectiveness of the device has not been proven scientifically. The advertisement further implies the device was able to destroy cancer and virus cells which, contrary to Ngystle claims, also never has been proven scientifically. However, clients relying on these promises may be endangered by delaying medical treatment in favour of applying the devices. These claims are particularly dangerous, since their publication in a community newsletter will contribute to lending them an inappropriate air of reliability. Ngystle were still advertising application of these devices in the newsletter in 2013.[27]

The library

While the Ngystle constitution claims their library was maintained “for Haida Gwaii people in order to provide educational, recreational and social programs“, their Facebook site announces:

“Healing Library... We have many different books about alternative healing.“

In a different section, Ngystle website further explains which categories of books there are in store in the library:

- Native Culture / Art, - Creativity, - Energy Healing, - Religious Philosophy, - Self Help, - :Workbooks, - Biography, - Physical Health, - Family Health, - Women’s Health, - Children – Youth Novels, - Physic[25]

The majority of these categories cover Newage resp. alternative medicine and advice literature, and therefore do not contribute to their readers' education, but rather reflect the vested interest of a Newage project acquiring an ever growing clientele for their range of services subject to fees.

Seminars on Culture and for Youths

In addition to the pseudo-medical and Newage activities described above, Ngystle Society has also been active in organising seminars and workshops on Haida culture and for Haida children and youths.

Some of the seminars targeting children and youths e.g. were „Children's Self Esteem Build“, „Kool Kids“, „Pro Teen Days Self Esteem“, „Youth Leadership and Volunteer Program“, or „Youth Pursuit of Excellence“.[10] The catchwords „self esteem“, „excellence“, and „leadership“ indicate these programmes may reflect PoV theories, exposing children and youths to a Newage concept which in many aspects differs widely from the Haida culture these youths come from, but who will be taught that PoV aligns well with Native American world views.

Youths programmes continue to be organised, so e.g. with a programme titled „Youth in Action“ from April 2012 until March 2013.[1] However, at least two of four teachers seem to have connections to PoV, and course contents probably could be worked over to achieve at a better reflection of traditional Haida culture („Bow and Arrow Making“, „Beachcombing/Making a Mobile“) resp. the needs and reality of a non-affluent community („Go Green“, „Gourmet Cooking“).

Another field of activity are cultural courses, e.g. „Traditional Haida Cedar Hat Weaving“[28]. As online information provided regarding these courses are scarce, it is not possible to establish the number of cultural courses organised. Judging from the above mentioned programme for youths, courses may not be taught by persons from the Haida community but from other indigenous nations, as one of those teachers is Nuxalk.

Other Newage Activities

The Skidegate Newsletter of Januar 13, 2011 carries an article placed by Ngystle Society announcing, among other courses and activities:

Heather Elrix continues to deliver healing sessions at Ngystle on Wednesdays from 10am to 4:30pm. The cost is $40.00 per session and she can work with a client in a number of ways. She is gifted in Astrology readings and working with family dynamics through the readings. She works with balancing your body and giving you suggestions on how to enhance your body’s natural ability to heal itself.[13]

Astrology and family dynamics are two more Newage practices which are not part of or compatible with indigenous traditions, therefore indigenous persons booking these sessions may be alienated from their culture which can further contribute to their problems. Although once more fees are lower compared to usual practice, these „healing sessions“ are targeting a non-affluent community. Selling „healing sessions“ based on astrology readings in no way comes close to any recognised therapy and while the human body does have self-healing abilities, sessions trying to reinforce them may disencourage clients from seeking medical help for serious conditions and so endanger their health.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.gwaiitrust.com/AGM2011.2012/Projects2011.2012/Youth2011.2012/7.Youth_in_Action_Application.pdf accessed 15/09/2013
  2. http://canadiancharities.landoffree.com/charity/Ngystle_Society accessed 15/09/2013
  3. http://www.charityfocus.ca/en/pages/charitysummary.aspx?charityid=864959648RR0001 accessed 15/09/2013
  4. http://www.manta.com/ic/mxvq2k2/ca/ngystle-society accessed 15/09/2013
  5. http://www.childcarechoices.ca/main/North/Haida+Gwaii/Directory/Community/ accessed 15/09/2013
  6. https://chimp.net/charities/ngystle-society accessed 15/09/2013
  7. ngystle.wordpress.com/ngystle-society-constitution/ accessed 12/09/2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ngystle-Skidegate/268708856529001 accessed 15/09/2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 http://www.ahf.ca/funded-projects/british-columbia/ngystle-society accessed 15/09/2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 http://www.gwaiitrust.com/project_archive/index.html accessed 15/09/2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 http://www.gwaiitrust.com/AGM_2010.2011/HH_2010.2011/HH_Nygystle_Application_Dec_1_2010.pdf accessed 15/09/2013
  12. onenesswesterncanada.ca/directory/ accessed 15/09/2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 http://www.skidegate.ca/Newsletters/jan11news.pdf accessed 15/09/2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalki_Bhagavan accessed 13/09/2013
  15. see e.g. www.deeksha.ch/mainpage/plaintext/onenessdeeksha/diegruender/index.html accessed 13/09/2013
  16. oneness-deutschland.de/uedasprojekt.html accessed 13/09/2013
  17. https://www.facebook.com/events/218148471551173/ accessed 15/09/2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 www.earthpeoplesunited.org/who-we-are accessed 20/09/2013
  19. http://www.haidagwaii.net/ngystle/Workshops_Programs/Intensive_healing.html accessed 15/09/2013
  20. http://www.haidagwaii.net/ngystle/upcoming_events.html accessed 15/09/2013
  21. http://www.thenorthernview.com/news/169704226.html accessed 15/09/2013
  22. 22.0 22.1 http://www.skidegate.ca/Newsletters/June17.10.PDF accessed 15/09/2013
  23. guardiantrader.com/Whole_Body_Vibration.html accessed 16/09/2013
  24. www.shantiwellnesscentre.com/products/t-zone-vibration-machine accessed 16/09/2013
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 ngystlesociety.com/about-2/ accessed 15/09/2013
  26. http://www.skidegate.ca/Newsletters/Jan15.09.pdf accessed 20/09/2013
  27. http://www.skidegate.ca/Newsletters/october2013.pdf accessed 20/03/2014
  28. accessed 15/09/2013