Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions; John Fire Lame Deer, Richard Erdoes
- Unit Price
Storyteller, rebel, medicine man, Lame Deer was born almost a century ago on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. A full-blooded Sioux, he was many things in the white man's world -- rodeo clown, painter, prisoner. But, above all, he was a holy man of the Lakota tribe.
Seeker of Vision
The story he tells is one of harsh youth and reckless manhood, shotgun marriage and divorce, history and folklore as rich today as ever -- and of his fierce struggle to keep pride alive, though living as a stranger in his own ancestral land.
January 1, 1976
About the Author
John Fire Lame Deer was a Mineconju-Lakota Sioux born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. His father was Silas Fire Let-Them-Have-Enough. His mother was Sally Red Blanket. He lived and learned with his grandparents until he was 6 or 7, after which he was placed in a day school near the family until age fourteen. He was then sent to a boarding school, one of many run by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for Indian youth. These schools were designed to “civilize” the Native Americans after their forced settling on reservations.
Lame Deer's life as a young man was rough and wild; he traveled and rode the rodeo circuit as a rider and later as a rodeo clown. According to his personal account, he drank, gambled, womanized, and once went on a several day long car theft and drinking binge. Eventually, he happened upon the house where the original peace pipe given to the Lakota by White Buffalo Calf Woman was kept; much to his surprise, the keeper of the pipe told Lame Deer she had been waiting for him for some time. This served as a turning point in Lame Deer's life. He settled down and began his life as a wichasha wakan (“medicine man”, or more accurately, “holy man”).
Making his home at the Pine Ridge Reservation and traveling around the country, Lame Deer became known both among the Lakota and to the American public at a time when indigenous culture and spirituality were going through a period of rebirth and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s had yet to disintegrate. He often participated in American Indian Movement events, including sit-ins at the Black Hills, land legally belonging to the Lakota that had been taken back by the United States government after the discovery of gold. The Black Hills are considered to be the axis mundi or center of the world to the Lakota Indians.