Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions
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. The story…
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Living two generations after Black Elk, Lame Deer begins his life story with a vivid description of his own vision quest—a rite of passage for Lakota youth.
After purification in the sweat lodge, alone on a hill in the darkness, he learned that his wish to become a medicine man was to be granted. While Black Elk’s story is solemn and tragic, Lame Deer’s is spiced with humor and humanity. He gets drunk and goes to jail. He climbs to the top of Mount Rushmore and sits on Teddy Roosevelt’s head.
But he explains, in all seriousness, the symbolism…
John (Fire) Lame Deer gets right to the heart of modern rez life: the crazy humor, the quest to preserve culture, the bumbling government policies, and the chronic problems that beset Native people. An outspoken Lakota medicine man, Lame Deer’s story is more than just his own—it’s a ‘community autobiography’ that breaks the mold of American memoir. Call it what you will: reverent or profane, amusing or grim, tender or feisty, Lame Deer calls into question many of the upbeat assumptions so common in American life stories. There are more rags than riches in this story, and that suits…
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