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Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  1,024 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Lame Deer

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, prisioner. 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, shotgu

Paperback, Enriched Classic, 352 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1972)
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I've read a lot of mystically minded, "authentic" native american stories, and while I have enjoyed a lot of them, this one really hit me where it counts.

There's humor and wisdom and pain in this, but more interesting is what it doesn't have. Unlike many spiritually inclined texts, I don't get a feeling of... well... Smugness from Lame Deer. So many of the new age mystical texts I've read have this feeling, like "Well, this is just how the universe works, and I the author, must educate you poor

Es war Liebe auf den ersten Blick als ich 2011 das erste Mal den Wilden Westen erblickte.
Diese unendliche Weite. Offenes Land, wie man es nirgendwo in Europa findet. Echte Wildnis mit Bären, Kojoten, Klapperschlangen und Bisons. Ein grenzenloser Himmel und freie Sicht auf den Horizont. Kein Haus und keine Landwirtschaft.
Es war eine spirituelle Erfahrung und unbewusst auch die Geburtsstunde von awesomatik.
Denn seit meinem Besuch im Westen, versuche ich auf allen meinen Reisen dieses Gefühl der
I was skeptical at first with this book. I read a lot of Native American legend and trickster tales, histories and so forth. I had always lumped this one in with the " Mystical Indian" books that surround the gems I had come to find over the years. This became one of those gems. It was refreshing to see it was not some hokum over a shaman, but a book about a man growing up in the early 20th century and finding his voice among many, as well as a voice in his society. He reminds me of how my grand ...more
I think I have wound up reading this book 6 times. Lame Deer is one of the few people whose social, economic and political criticisms are not purely ideologically or politically driven. This is one of the few books that will force you to bend your mind in a new way. No, this is not a complex Continental philosophy tract. This is something better. Lame Deer makes no pretense to be an intellectual. This book is about how a dying Lakota shaman sees the world. You can accept or reject Lame Deer's so ...more
To me, this summarizes Lame Deer's narrative:

"You've seen me drunk and broke. You've heard me curse or tell a dirty joke. You know I'm not better and wiser than other men. But I've been up on the hilltop, got my vision and power; the rest is just trimmings."

I was raised Catholic, and I didn't realize how much I still looked back on that upbringing until reading this book and thinking "THIS is what a priest should be like." Any one who hasn't walked the dark side, who hasn't questioned their exis
I can not recommend this book highly enough. As someone from a predominantly (and proudly) american indian family it helped me come to terms with a lot of the things I've always felt in my life that have led to me making somewhat self-defeating choices. I don't want to make it sound like this is some sort of self-help bullshit. Becuase it's not. It's an un-apologetic autobiography of a man (and his people) who is displaced from his culture and forced to adopt a new (more destructive, angry and u ...more
As I read this book I felt I was being taken along a journey by an old Indian. Not the grumpy old Indian, One Feather, whom I met on my only successful meditation. For a long time I have wondered about the connectedness I feel inside with the Native American Indian. I've never had the desire to visit America (although I am slowly changing my mind - I guess that's allowed). Strange that I have never wanted to see the country a (real live self-confessed) witch on the Isle of Man told me that had s ...more
Nancy Bevilaqua
I have a Lakota friend (he's full-blooded, although he likes to say that he's 5/4 Lakota) who lives just off one of the reservations in South Dakota (housing on the reservations is apparently in short supply these days). Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions would probably send him off the deep end (I'm not sure if he's read it or not). He is adamantly against the "romanticization" of his people and their culture, particularly (and he is certainly not alone in this among other Lakota with whom I've spoke ...more
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 ...more
Jake The
Tahce Ushte is the main character in this story. He is a full-blooded Sioux indian. He is 72 years old. His name means John Lame Deer in indian. He has many useful attributes. This is a story about a man that wanted to represent native americans through speech and writing. He is a very diverse man. Has many talents and the main one he wanted to pursue was writing. Especially about his people. Throughout his life he met a man and they together wrote a book about Lame deers life story. It is a gre ...more
David McDannald
A classic. Lame Deer had a foot in the old world, and his insights into the modern world are humorous and important. The book can feel somewhat formless at times, but the messages within are worth the effort of reading. If you're open to it, Lame Deer's voice can change you.
My last book in 2014, utterly fascinating and interesting. I drew quite a few parallels with the American Indian beliefs and cultures and Hinduism - this was very insightful as well as painful in part, mostly the foreword (!!). People say it is a funny book, I don't agree that much but it did made me chuckle at two places. It is a book of philosophy and understanding and of keeping an open mind. It was a story near to my heart, as most of its theories find a believer in me - though of course the ...more
Read this book in May of 2014. It was fantastic!
Don Flynn
We have so many comforts living this way, but what have we lost to get here? Why do we have so much stress in our lives? Why does this world we've built for ourselves feel so fragile?

Lame Deer, a Lakota shaman, has answers to these questions and many more. In the past 25 years or so, I've read a lot of Native American literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I'm continually drawn to it, learning from it, feeling a kinship with the authors. Today, the way we live life is like a car heading at fu
This is a fascinating look into Sioux culture from an actual wicasa wakan (medicine man in common American parlance). It is a rare window into Lakota rites (the sundance, sweat bath and vision quest), stories and beliefs.

Lame Deer also gives his perspective on white society and its spiritual and ethical bankruptcy (he spent some years in white society). He sees many of us chasing the almighty dollar, disconnected from the land, plants, animals and each other (spot on). By contrast, the Sioux gi
Michael Baca
This is one book that I have read several times over the years. Seems every time I see it on a shelf at the book store I buy another copy cause my old one I gave away so that it my inspire another person.

It's the story Lame Deer, a rodeo clown, outlaw and medicine man. We start with a journey up the hill on his first vision quest as a young boy and follow him throughout the amazing journey that is his life. When I read this book I feel as thought I am sitting next to Lame Deer as we drive along
Nothing to romanticize about the life of this Lakota medicine man. John Lame Deer was a hard drinking, womanizing, law-breaking rodeo clown who, all along, was learning the ways of the shaman, living a full life, exploring the dark side as well as the light, so that, unlike the Christian clergy, he could, when helping his people, speak and act out of experience. To look through the eyes of Lame Deer is to see how it’s possible for the symbolic world and the everyday world to coincide, how an ord ...more
Wow, what a fascinating and interesting account of the life of a Sioux medicine man. Lame Deer introduces himself and his life, but also discusses the Sioux religion, Wakan Tanka, Sioux rituals, philosphy, history and practices. Although the Sioux (and all other Indians) obviously had a bad experience with the white man, Lame Deer is not full of hate for all the pale faces. In fact, the man who assisted in the writing of the story is Anglo and a very close friend to Lame Deer and many other Siou ...more
Eye-opening. A great compare/contrast of Sioux (and other Native American) and Christian (and other Monotheistic) religions and viewpoints. Great, true stories from a medicine man. Memorable and informational.
A great insight into American Indian beliefs and rituals. Both humorous and inspiring.
Really engaging first-hand account of what it was like (is like) being an Indian under the influence of another interfering and confusing dominant culture. Published in 1972 at the height of the Indian Rights Movement, the tales go back to the previous century. Funny, irreverent, poignant, wise, Lame Deer is a wonderful reconteur. Occasional other voices are included, recorded live at demonstrations and ceremonies. The epilogue by Erdoes, the Austrian-American who helped him publish the book, is ...more
Lame Deer, for me, epitomizes what it meant to be an elder. What does this mean? I'm not too sure but the feeling I get from reading Lame Deer is the same feeling you would get from interacting with a respectable person that lives for the people but also has an abundant amount of knowledge on the ways of the people.

The text was an easy read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a non-stereotypical insight to ways of Dakotas/Lakotas. Those of you looking for an angry SIOUX Warrior or the "
Amazing. Lame Deer tells it like it really is, was, and has been. As a modern day prophet, he preaches the word of God and Mother Earth alike. I can't count the many rich and powerful quotations in this book, the epic passages that describe our nation's history, culture, and spirituality all at once. This book should be on the syllabus in every 10th grade history/english/social studies class.
Absolutely the most candid, and grounded account of life as an Indian in the 20th century. It suits me because not only is it that, but also Lame Deer is a "seeker of visions". He's a seeker of true power without frills and real relationships with people and the natural universe.
Sep 29, 2007 Justin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history fans, all Americans
Being of Native-American ancestry, this book was both inspiring and incredibly sad. That this culture is now basically lost is a tragic reminder of what we have done to this country. Lame Deer is a great story teller and this is a must-read for those interested in American history.
Levben  Parsons
A wonderful autobiography with a surprising anthropological component that took a very honest take on Sioux culture and practices. I would recommend it more as a research piece than the tale of Lame Deer's life as I expected and it seemed to be for the first half of the book.
I learned a lot from Lame Deer's tales of vision-seeking, sun dancing, ghost dancing, resistance at Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain, the red pipestone, the circular nature of all things....there's so much in here! Reading it once isn't enough.
This is a great book, funny and educational. Lame Deer was a Sioux medicine man and good friend of my father's. This book really captures his political activist nature, his spiritual side, his humor, and his humanity in all its flaws and strengths.
Lee Rowan
May 25, 2010 Lee Rowan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Native American spirituality
Recommended to Lee by: one of Lame Deer's students
This book probably says more about real native people than any college textbook written by someone with a string of degrees. I don't have the 'enriched classics' edition, just the plain paperback, and it suits John Fire Lame Deer's style better, I think.
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Fiction? 2 4 Jul 07, 2014 04:39AM  
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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 Aff ...more
More about John (Fire) Lame Deer...

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“Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a an was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were to uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth couldn't be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don't know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutly necessary to make a civilized society.” 44 likes
“If this earth should ever be destroyed, it will be by desire, by the lust of pleasure and self-gratification, by greed of the green frog skin, by people who are mindful of their own self, forgetting about the wants of others.” 7 likes
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