t took just two days for the Duluth, Minn. Office of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to cancel its August 17 solicitation for bids “from a responsible entity” for a “Native American Medicine Man“to conduct “sacred pipe,” “sweat lodge” and “smudging” ceremonies for federal inmates. Taxpayers would, of course, foot the bill for the spiritual guide.
The abrupt cancellation was perhaps due to a link on the Drudge Report. But sensitive prison officials might also have been stung by criticism that the job description was too generic, and that its blatant stereotyping would offend Minnesota’s Chippewa, Ojibwe and Sioux communities.
“What if a Navajo, Haida, Penobscot, or Miccosukee medicine man applies? (Assuming all these tribes have medicine men.),” one blogger asked. “What will the prison say? ‘Yes, you’ll do, because all Native religions are the same’? Or ‘No, sorry, our ad was misleading and we’ll understand if you sue us’?”
Whatever the reason for FBP’s abrupt cancellation of the medicine man position, two things are clear: True, it’s one less job created by the Obama administration, but at least this time taxpayers won’t have to break a sweat.