The Latest: Shamanism group responds to Alaska Native group

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on a planned shamanism retreat in Alaska (all times local):

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4:40 p.m.

A group planning a shamanism retreat in Alaska is apologizing for not reaching out to an Alaska Native organization that slammed the event as commercialization and exploitation of the spiritual healing practices of indigenous people.

The Dance of the Deer Foundation issued a statement Friday responding to criticism from the Juneau-based Sealaska Heritage Institute.

The institute sent a letter earlier Friday to the group, saying it opposes the pricey June event taking place at an undisclosed lodge outside Juneau.

The Soquel, California-based foundation said in its response to the group that it holds the deepest respect for Native people, including the Huichol tribe that it is closely connected to.

The foundation says the cost of its program helps sustain educational and cultural support initiatives and that the Huichol tribe is aware of the costs.

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12:55 p.m.An Alaska Native group is speaking out against a shamanism retreat as an event it says commercializes and exploits the spiritual healing practices of indigenous people.

The Juneau-based Sealaska Heritage Institute voiced its opposition to the pricey June retreat in a letter emailed Friday to the event sponsor, Dance of the Deer Foundation. The event — billed as the 24th in Alaska — is scheduled at an undisclosed lodge outside Juneau.

In the letter, Heritage Institute president Rosita Worl calls the event “a violation of a most sacred tradition of Native peoples.” She asks that the foundation not come to the area that’s considered the ancient homeland of a Tlingit group.

Worl says the foundation has not responded.

Representatives of the Soquel, California-based foundation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.