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Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions: The Life Of A Sioux Medicine Man [Paperback]

John (fire) Lame deer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 15 1973
The personal narrative of a Sioux medicine man reveals his way of life and beliefs about the white man.

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Review

Rober Brunett author of The Tortured Americans A masterpiece.

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., author of Indian Heritage of America A wonderful book...destined to become a classic.

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., author of Indian Heritage of America Lame Deer is a magnificent American....He has demolished so much misinformation and so many stereotypes about Indians and their values and ways of life that we should be ashamed of how little we have actually known of all that he has to tell us. As an individual and as a representative of his people, he is someone whom all readers should get to know -- not just those who are interested in Indians, but every American. The book is destined to become a classic. It will be read, and reread, and quoted from through the years. Personally, I am enormously enriched by it. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Account of a Man's Life May 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lame Deer was many things in his life. He was an outlaw, lawman, rodeo clown, and Indian medicine man. At a later point in his life Lame Deer came to meet an artist living in NY named Richard Erdoes. The men decided to collaborate together to write a book about the life of Lame Deer. Lame Deer himself was a Sioux medicine man trained in the ways of the old ones. This book is gripping and humorous. The first part recounts many funny personal stories about Lame Deer's life and his run-ins with the law, his personal feelings about the present state of the US, and his own thoughts about what it means to be an Indian. The latter part of the book focuses on ceremonies like the sundance, sweatlodge gatherings and also discussion about the sacred pipe. Lame Deer explains how important symbolism is to the Indian and also explains a good deal of Indian mythology in the latter part of the book which helps the average reader get inside the minds of these people and their beliefs. Throughout this book the reader will come to develop an emotional affinity with Lame Deer. You find yourself feeling how he does about pollution, broken promises, and disregard for sacred beliefs. It's very compelling. Sadly, we are also told much about how Indians faired badly at the hands of white guns, diseases and white "instant gratification" attitudes. I don't think the book was perfect because Erdoes was not an actual writer at the time although he did a decent job putting the book in literary form. I suppose he should at least be lauded for helping us to interpret Indian mysteries. My only major gripe about this book was that it wasn't longer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful and funny book.... Oct. 3 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
People here are prasing this book for the insight it gives into the lives of Native Americans. Not that this book isn't important for its take on Amerindian culture: to say that John Lame Deer doesn't have a grasp on what is important to himself and his people would be improper and negligent.
People are missing two of the things that make this book so powerful: its humor and its take on the white world that exists outside of the reservation. Erdoes commentaries on his Indian visitors, Lame Deer's comments on EVERYTHING, and the voice and process of this book are FUNNY. This book is well-constructed and fun to read. On to the second point: Lame Deer is fairly sucessful in making Europeans often look like clowns-- stripping their culture and sophistication, making them more human....
This book should have a much wider audience than it has ever had (and that is actually fairly substantial, strangely enough....) Not that this is a book that could change a person's life: it could at least give direction to the perplexed. I highly recommend this book....
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4.0 out of 5 stars The life and philosophy of a wise man April 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I once lived on the Yakima Reservation for a couple weeks, back in 1964. This constituted my entire experience with Native Americans until thirty years later I met a few Navajo and Pueblo people on a trip to the Southwest. So even though I worked as an anthropologist for many years, I had absolutely zip to do with Native Americans. I was aware that there is a huge amount of junk written and shown in movies about them; that they have been either lionized or demonized out of all proportion in America and in the world beyond. I always felt that "ethnic cleansing" was not invented in the Balkans. Only when such writers as Silko, Momaday, Alexie, and Erdrich emerged did I discover the other world of the Indian people, only the film "Smoke Signals" rang true to me. So, I wasn't sure, when I picked up LAME DEER: SEEKER OF VISIONS, co-authored by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, whether I was getting some kind of phony, "awesome-dude !" worshipful portrait of a Lakota "medicine man" or not.
Not to keep you waiting any longer---this is a wonderful book on several levels. First, it contains the life story of Lame Deer, a Lakota man born in South Dakota in 1903 at the absolute nadir of Lakota history. It tells how he grew up, surviving relentless hostility by local whites, went through many ways of life, had numerous escapades, and finally turned towards the traditional wisdom of his people, becoming a wise elder, knowledgeable in many aspects of life. He has that wry Indian humor, so different a personality to what was always presented by Hollywood. Nobody can read this book and not be impressed by this man.
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1.0 out of 5 stars it's good March 19 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is good because it was born from an unlikely friendship. Some people maybe should never be together, but the world brings them together for whatever reason. This odd pair, Richard Erdoes and John Fire nee Lame Deer, came together for many reasons, I'm sure, and one of them is the creation of this book. Lame Deer maybe chose Richard, and I feel maybe even gave him the gift to write, cause after this he goes on to do books with Mary Brave Bird and Leonard Crow Dog; letting their stories be told, just as he lets Lame Deer's story to be told. The philosophy expressed, the stories told, and the personality exposed in this book are beyond words. Lame Deer is a straight shooter. He tells it as he sees it. This can be very eye-opening and illuminating. He is real, living in reality, and at a level only very few people ascend to: the Holy Man. Very few of them walk the earth, and even fewer ever have their lives, thoughts, etc. recorded. We should feel happy we can read this, for it has power. I give it one star cause five ant enough, and one makes more sense than a mere five.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
great for aboriginal studies and understanding this book is a "nut shell" of aboriginal thinking and ceremonies, really nice!!! mm
Published 6 months ago by JESUS MARQUEZ
4.0 out of 5 stars Frank, Funny, and Irreverent look at life.
You will find yourself laughing out loud at the antics in this book numerous times. I almost fell out of my chair when the book detailed Lame Deer's crime spree of moonshine... Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2000 by W. Lambdin
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Without a lot of unnecessary rhetoric it will have a powerful effect on you, if you only read the introduction.
Published on Aug. 11 2000 by Thomas Murray
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful insider's view of the Indian tradition
I highly recommend this book for those interested in the rich heritage of the Native American contribution to all of us. Read more
Published on July 14 2000 by Janet Boone
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW - An EXCEPTIONAL piece OF Native American culture
LAME DEER, SEEKER OF VISIONS is SO FASINATING, you will not want to put it down. I'm currently reading it for the second time and I will keep on reading it over and over. Read more
Published on July 9 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, interesting life history of a Native American.
The life story of John (Fire) Lamedeer is laced with a humorous tone that will keep you reading. Lamedeer tells the tales and adventures of his life and dealing with the westward... Read more
Published on Jan. 19 1997
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