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- Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions: The Life of a Sioux Medicine Man
- Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions | mysite
- Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions
It was a fantastic recommendation. Many reviews of this book comment on how authentic and humorous and accessible these stories are. They are very rich in insight into life and the world in general. They reveal so much about the differences between the Lakota Way of Life and the typical I am an atheist.
They reveal so much about the differences between the Lakota Way of Life and the typical settler colonial that means us white people way of life here under US Capitalism. He doesn't try to sanctify himself. He stresses that a Lakota Medicine Man has to experience all of life--what it's like to be good and what it's like to be bad--and he tells it all.
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It is a fun story. There was much to inspire me and to learn from, like the practice of giving possessions away to honor a birth or a wedding or a funeral. The Lakota do not purchase presents on these occasions like we do during Christmas shopping season. The family gives away their own personal possessions--the more things given away, the more honored are those who are being celebrated.
Sometimes the family is so moved to give away all their things--tables, chairs, beds, everything, until their house is empty. Of course, this becomes an occasion for the folks of their village to meet their needs in return by giving them their possessions.
What an amazing tradition!
Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions: The Life of a Sioux Medicine Man
That is just one example. This book is a treasure trove. Also there were stories and beliefs that challenged me as an atheist. One example is his claim that Medicine Men can influence the weather. I appreciated the insights he gave into why they believe this.
I feel no need to pass judgment one way or the other. I have grown accustomed to accepting the weather as one of those things that cannot be controlled. I see no reason for me to change now. Of course, Lame Deer wasn't asking me to believe him. He certainly wasn't expecting me to try to influence the weather. He was merely describing the way of a Lakota Medicine Man. I respect and appreciate that. Lame Deer was not reluctant to point out that sometimes the medicine just doesn't work.
This is no slight against the power of the Medicine Man. Since they did not take money for their services, there is no ill will when it doesn't work. But if a Lakota person pretends to have had a vision calling them to be a Medicine Man when in reality they had not, that always ends badly, he says, bringing shame to the individual and to their family. I was intrigued by how significant the role of dreams and visions is for the Lakota. He speaks extensively about the importance of extreme hunger, thirst, pain, bodily mutilation, light deprivation, heat and cold in evoking such visions.
He sharply contrasts the quality of visions procured "the old way" with visions experienced under the influence of drugs or even peyote. This was the first book I have read by Lakota Medicine Man. It is certainly the most detailed account I have read of Indigenous life by an Indigenous narrator. Lame Deer's warm and trusting relationship with Richard Erdoes, his Austrian amanuensis, comes through strongly and adds a great deal of warmth to the joy of reading this delightful little volume.
It also conveys the hope that the devastating wounds of settler-colonialism can be healed, if we White people could only humble ourselves enough to admit the terrible reality that allows us to live here. Every USA resident should read something by an Indigenous author. I recommend this book highly. Thank you, Anita Fix, for sharing it with me. We do need a fix for this broken world. May 05, Alina W. This book was a pleasure to read, and leaves a deep impression, which I hope will stay.
In the form of storytelling, Lame Deer conveys an outline of Sioux philosophy. This medium for philosophy allows readers to viscerally feel certain principles of Sioux philosophy and to be able to view their own lives, transformed, in terms of those principles. Particularly, Lame Deer shows that symbols, or the meanings that objects hold for us, determine the possible ways we can live and become. It is very s This book was a pleasure to read, and leaves a deep impression, which I hope will stay. It is very striking how he shows this.
Lame Deer starts off the book with stories of his childhood and adolescence, in which we get a sense of the meanings of objects for Native Americans or at least for him, which can likely generalize to a certain generational range of Sioux people. Many of these meanings strike non-Native Americans as bizarre, mystical, or even plain crazy e.
Then, Lame Deer examines the modern white American world and describes it from his standpoint. This description is countercultural and chillingly accurate. Money is the ultimate ritual object for white America -- ultimate in the sense of having meaning, of quantifiable capital, that is so real and important for us that it influences virtually all cultural and social practices. There are so many examples to illustrate this. One that Lame Deer provides is that farmers will kill off gophers on farmland due to this symbolic value of the dollar bill; these animals are considered pests relative to their economic interests.
Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions | mysite
As a consequence of this local extinction, coyotes lose an important source of food, and they begin toying with livestock. Then, the farmers find ways to poison and kill off the coyotes. As the chain of consequences goes on, more and more living beings are harmed, humans included. In another example, Lame Deer describes a war skirmish between whites and a Native community, in which the whites were overpowered.
Native people cleared the land of debris, including dollar bills the whites had carried. They used such debris, money included, as burning material for cooking. One white soldier shot himself in the head when he saw this; this man was overwhelmed by despair, seeing so much money 'go to waste'. Lame Deer thus lets the reader see that the symbols that drive white America are as baffling and crazy as the symbols that drive Native America. But there is an immense difference between the two kinds of symbols.
Those of the former are clearly far more immoral and destructive, on certain regards e. The most philosophically rich chapters of this book are , and then the last chapter 16 and epilogue.
Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions
Chapters focus on describing certain key rituals in Sioux culture; these are sensual and rich in detail. I did not find those chapters as interesting due to my background, and I think readers could grasp the essence of the book with skimming those chapters. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in being introduced to Native American philosophy, or in gaining a critical lens on our own cultures.
Mar 22, Richard Reese rated it it was amazing. His government-issued name was John Fire. He was born some time between and , and died in His parents were of the last generation to be born wild and free. He never saw a white man until he was five. At 14, he was taken away to a boarding school, where he was prohibited from speaking his language or singing his songs. The class work never went beyond the level of third grade, so Lame Deer spent six years in the third grade. He eventually gained renown for being a rebellious troublemaker.