Lawsuit Over Native American Courses at the Naropa Institute

September 10, 1999

Source: The Denver Post

On September 10, 1999, The Denver Post reported that Lydia White Calf, a former student at the Naropa Institute in Colorado, has filed a lawsuit against the school for allowing an unqualified teacher to inappropriately practice sacred Lakota rituals and ceremonies as part of a Naropa course. The teacher in question, Weston Aguila 'Eagle' Cruz, claimed to be a member of the Yaqui tribe, but tribal officials said that nobody under that name is a registered member. White Calf's lawsuit claims that she raised her suspicions about Cruz to officials at Naropa a year ago, but they ridiculed her and created such a hostile environment that she was forced to withdraw from the school. The Naropa Institute, a Buddhist-inspired school that focuses on learning and spirituality, denies any wrongdoing.