Just as there is no single American Indian “language” and “culture,” so there is no single American Indian “religion.” There once existed a diversity of Native peoples whose 2 million descendants today represent the heirs of many languages, cultures, and religious practices that still define Indian country. This world of experience included sacred ritual practices that Native peoples regarded as an essential part of secular, everyday life. Such practices were part and parcel of what it meant to be human within the varied cultures that differed from one another.
Time has altered the cultural context that sustained traditions of the past, and most contemporary Indians live very much like non-Indians. However, Native peoples still refer to a “traditional religion,” even though there was no religion, per se, that was common to all groups (nor did the word “religion” exist within the hundreds of Indian languages that were once spoken). As a field of study, Indian religion is a broad topic with a vast literature of mixed quality. It is also a contentious topic that often pits Indians against non-Indians who involve themselves in some way with the subject.
This overview focuses on religious practices that have prehistoric roots and that have continued, with modification, up to the present. It will also cite people who have been influential in the field, controversies that have arisen, and works that have been significant. The subject has drawn inquiry since anthropology’s birth and will no doubt continue to do so regardless of the heated debates that periodically emerge.
Early Studies of Indian America
Students of culture evaluate all early material related to Native people, and this includes colonial accounts, government reports, military intelligence, and missionary journals. The formal study of the subject began with the Bureau of American Ethnology, a precursor of the Smithsonian Institution. Anthropology’s forebears associated with the Bureau were commissioned to “salvage” tribal traditions for posterity by interviewing Native people who remembered, or still practiced, them. Frances Densmore, James Dorsey, Alice Fletcher, J. N. B. Hewitt, Francis LaFlesche, and Elsie Clews Parsons are but a few of the many pioneers who undertook early fieldwork that was later refined by Clark Wissler, Robert Lowie, Franz Boas, and their many successors.
The study of Indian religion has focused on the analysis of rituals, private revelations, dances, revitalization movements, herbal curing, vision seeking, and the biography of men and women specialists. Although traditions are often peculiar to distinctive regions or culture areas, certain themes and traditions do overlap. Unlike other world religions, Indian practice does not have clearly defined dogmas. Because latitude is given religious practitioners, differing opinions and nuanced behaviors occur within communities. This overall pattern should be kept in mind when considering what is described below.
Community, Spatiality, and Nature
Some have argued that individualism was a leitmotif of American Indian religious practice. This position was based on the continent-wide practices of fasting and vision questing, wherein one sought supernatural power. These practices assured participants that their hunting and war exploits would be successful. Achieving these goals meant that prestige and an elevated social standing would accrue to one who exhibited such questionably devout behavior that was so laden with self-interest.
Although persuasive, this argument has been challenged by those who say that all behaviors were community-based. That is, power was sought in order to be the best possible member of a village or camp. After all, a person’s existence depended upon the network of kith and kin that composed the social universe. Thus, one sought to make as profound a contribution as possible to the community’s continued survival.
A middle position to these contrasting approaches was suggested in the mid 20th century by the “culture and personality” school of anthropology. It detected patterns of behavior that tended to vary from one group to the next, with each group revealing a prominent trait within these patterns. Harold Driver’s The Americas on the Eve of Discovery illustrates this approach. In the tradition of Ruth Benedict (a prominent theorist), his book describes the “self-effacing Zuni,” “the self-assertive Nootka,” and “proud Piegan.”
Native life is also concerned with spatiality. This involves conducting rituals and orienting village configurations in a manner that makes most accessible the sacred power suffusing all creation. The camp circle, for example, reflects the Eternal, which, like the circle, has no beginning and no end. Rituals also carefully include supplication to the cardinal directions, the sky and earth, while particular places are considered sacred (and visited in time of need).
Spatiality is popularly understood as a Native sense of oneness with the environment. Romanticized, Indian appreciation for geographical sites and the creatures inhabiting them has elevated Native peoples to the status of premier ecologists. Politicized, it has elicited from critics the charge of being a ploy in the guise of religion to recover land that was fairly forfeited or fraudulently removed from Indian control.
Regardless of these perceptions, a fact of life over all culture areas has been a special appreciation for natural phenomena that Native people say are invested with supernatural power. These include everything from mountain tops to lakes, rivers, peculiarly shaped stones, feathers, or claws. Thus, people commonly claim that all creatures and all geographical features command reverence. However, historical accounts suggest that the ancestors were more selective in determining where supernatural power was most likely to reside.
Language, Culture, and Religion
The term medicine man has been a well-known referent used by both Indians and non-Indians in historic times, and it was derived from the French word for doctor, le medicin. Native practitioners were known by designations unique to their people, whereas le medicin referred to people whom the French saw exercising a curative role within a group. Recent history has modified this usage because one now hears a gender-neutral reference to medicine “people.” This new term applies to men or women who possess some kind of curative power or to anyone specializing in ceremonies (curative or not) recognized by a group as traditional.
Twentieth-century social thought and traditional Indian life uniquely merged together in transforming what anthropologists call the “menstrual taboo.” Not Native parlance, this global phenomenon existed throughout Indian America and is in evidence (among other ways) when women are kept at a distance from ceremonial participation during what some call their “moon time.” A prohibition observed uninterrupted in some areas, it has weakened or been ignored in others. Elsewhere, as part of the cultural resurgence movement, the menstrual observance has been enlivened anew, with women themselves advocating its observance.
In a Native form of feminism, the menstrual taboo is not dismissed as a product of oppressive patriarchy preventing ritual privileges to women. Rather, value is imparted to the custom. It is said that the mysterious, monthly flow of blood was a powerful event “traditionally” honored by the ancestors.
Said to be a defining mark of gender, it required a segregation that positively recognized the special birthing power of women. In their efforts to sustain or revitalize this ancient custom, participants emphasize its reverential quality. Its restrictive nature is eclipsed by recognizing the menstrual taboo as a kind of religious salute to, or recognition of, procreation’s necessary opposites. Most people, however, simply observe the custom and offer no justification other than saying “something will go wrong if we don’t do this,” “we have always done it this way,” or “it is our tradition.”
Phrases like the Algonquian language family’s “Kitchi Manitou” or the Siouan language family’s “Wakan Tanka” are references to the highest supernatural power. Commonly translated as “Great Spirit,” this reference to a Creator-being is as conventional to modern Indians as “God” is to Westerners. Parallel understandings likewise obtain, but controversy surrounds the topic.
Anthropological studies suggest that Wakan Tanka and Kitchi Manitou are associated more with animistic notions than with a monotheistic conception of deity. Such studies identify monotheism with “chiefdom” and state-level societies (as in the southeast and northwest culture areas). However, this often elicits criticism from some Indians, who charge that their tradition recognized “the same God that white people pray to.” The counterargument is then made that ethnographic material reveals the meaning of Wakan Tanka or Kitchi Manitou to have changed over time.
Anthropologists will note that cultural continuity or change is a fact of life found universally. Just as for groups elsewhere, Native “tradition” to one era was “innovation” to an earlier period, and an example of this is evident with the Lakota word for dog (sunka). When the horse was introduced to this people of the Plains culture area, they needed a name for it. Because this marvelous creature carried burdens as no dog ever could, and because its speed and utility to the people were unequalled, the name that seemed most natural was sunka-wakan (wakan translated as “sacred” but implied mystery, incomprehensibility, awe, and wonder), or “sacred dog.”
Some will argue that when Wakan is associated with Tanka (“great”), the word traditionally referred to the totality of all mysterious, sacred, awe-inspiring phenomena of the supernatural world that humans beheld in wonder. Only in the historic period, it is further added, did the Lakota associate Wakan Tanka with one all-powerful Creator figure. This is extended to numerous Indian groups with comparable language equivalents, but such an understanding generates controversy among those who insist that monotheism was an age-old Native concept.
Academic theory has echoed for some time the thought of a 17th-century Jesuit missionary, José de Acosta. He proposed that Asian hunter-groups settled the Americas long ago by following animal herds. The Latter Day Saints (Mormon) founder, Joseph Smith, outlined an alternative theory in his early 18th-century Book of Mormon. Most Indians and non-Indians consider this an unsubstantiated connection of Native peoples with Old Testament Israelites, whereas non-Mormon Indian “fundamentalists” propose that their origin stories should be accepted at face value.
Joined even by non-Indians in this reaction against academic theory, Native people sometimes speak of North America as “turtle island,” a reference to the earth being on the back of a turtle. Some will claim that Native peoples associated the turtle’s head, legs, tail, and shell with geographical features that exist from the Arctic to the Caribbean. Although satellite photography reveals the flaws of this contemporary
“teaching,” “turtle island” does describe a type of tale found in Indian oral literature.
In a study of 300 North American creation stories, eight basic types were found to exist (and have global parallels). The “earth diver” category is widespread, but is only one of these types. It involves a Creator-figure who tells animals to dive to the bottom of the sea and bring back mud from the bottom. Generally, after three failed attempts by different creatures, the turtle (or duck, as in California) is then sent and returns with a mouthful. The Creator puts it on the creature’s back, and it spreads to become the land that will now support a human population.
The other categories of Native genesis tales are “emergence stories” (in the Southwest), which tell of a people’s coming from a lower-world, through several levels, to what is now the earth’s surface; “world parents” stories, wherein there is a sky father and earth mother (found in southern California and the Southwest); “spider-as-Creator or first-being” stories; stories that tell of the “creation or formation of the world through struggle or robbery” (along the west coast of Canada extending down to southern California); creation “arising from the corpse of a giant” (in New York and Washington); “two Creators” who are brothers or sisters competing with one another; and one type that tells of a “blind brother” creating people better than his younger sibling. These creation stories are Native America’s counterpart to those found in the holy writ of other religions.
The “Peace Pipe”
Although there are many Indian religious practices, the smoking pipe emerges as a recurrent symbol of expression. It is not the totality of Indian religion, nor is it a symbol that synthesizes the creed of any one group. It is, however, a commonly recognized instrument of ritual overarching the North American continent. Popularly referred to by non-Indians (and even some Indians) as a “peace pipe,” this religious artifact is now commonly known as a “sacred pipe.”
All of Native America made use of pipes with incised, varied designs. They were used for either religious functions or for leisure (different areas of the country maintained one emphasis or the other). Prehistoric pipe usage is evident in the numerous pipe bowls excavated from many sites throughout North America.
The early contact period in eastern Canada is best known through The Jesuit Relations, and they report pipe rituals and casual smoking corroborated by later accounts. The Lewis and Clark expedition regularly noted occasions at which the pipe was used, as did George Catlin after them. His name is now associated with the red pipestone (“catlinite”) common to many bowls. References in early accounts to a “calumet” are to a special kind of ritual pipe.
Woodland peoples made much use of the pipe, and one scholar asserts that the full depth of Plains Indian religion might be understood only through study of the pipe and its accompanying ritual. Meanwhile, the Southwest culture area developed ceremonies that did not rely on its use. California saw tobacco ceremonially smoked and also eaten in order to test the virtue of young women. Smoking was done in Alaska to alter consciousness and induce guiding visions.
The 20th-century pan-Indian movement drew upon pipe usage as an especially important sacred instrument of ritual. It has become somewhat of a religious thread binding the many-patterned fabric of Indian culture and religion. Such is why a rural Abenaki from Maine can meet with a reservation Shoshone from Wyoming and urban Chippewa from St. Paul and celebrate their solidarity through smoking of this unique religious artifact.
The Sweat Lodge
A practice known continent-wide in both secular and sacred spheres of activity is today generally referred to as a “sweat” or “sweat lodge” ceremony. In a small to large, igloo-shaped structure holding anywhere between 2 and 20 people, hot rocks are placed in a central pit, water is sprinkled on the rocks, and prayers are led by a medicine person, who conducts the ceremony. Both physical and spiritual strength are sought by participants, who some say re-enter the womb and exit the ceremony reborn. Aided by the interest of non-Indians, this ceremony is now practiced in urban and reservation Native settings by young and old alike, where just years earlier it had been a custom preserved by relatively few.
The Native American Church
Drug use of the 1970s led many to Indian country in search of a botanical mysticism thought to exist within the Native world. The reality that existed was quite different. Alcohol was unknown to prehistoric Indian America other than being ceremonially employed by southwestern and Mexican tribes (even its secular use in this region was limited). Jimsonweed was ingested by an assortment of groups from California to Mesoamerica for the pleasure it induced or for more serious concerns (for example, predicting the future, curing the sick, communicating with supernatural powers). Other narcotic mushrooms, beans, leaves, and plants were part of this complex of Native religious pharmacology, but none of these attained the popularity of peyote.
This carrot-shaped root is native to the deserts of central and northern Mexico (extending into Texas). Its tip rises above the ground and is called a mescal or peyote “button.” Either this tip or the whole plant may be consumed. It also can be prepared as a spinach-like porridge, or brewed as a kind of greenish tea. Mescaline, in combination with other alkaloids contained in the plant, produces what nonpeyotists call “hallucinogenic effects.”
Sometimes simply referred to as “peyotism” or the “Peyote Road” (by members), organizations began to form after the turn of the century. After 1921, peyotism spread from state to state under the incorporated title of Native American Church. Today, peyotism is found throughout the American and Canadian plains, the Southwest (especially among the Navaho), the Southeast, the Great Lakes region, and isolated places elsewhere. Migration to cities also extended peyote influence beyond the reservation milieu. In the United States, it is associated with the Kiowa and Comanche of Oklahoma (around 1870), and from them, the Church spread rather quickly. In recent years, attempts to outlaw the use of peyote (by both the government and some tribal councils) largely have been abandoned (except among non-Indian users).
Origin stories that relate the coming of peyote vary, but all point to a belief that the supernatural took pity on Indians and decided to communicate spiritual power through a special plant—peyote. Newly subjugated groups appreciated this important gift because it included a merging of Native tradition with the Christianity that recently had been introduced. This blending was regarded as a light in the darkness of social decay. It was a providential outreach to groups feeling supernaturally abandoned.
Even though Protestant or Catholic practice took root among Indian groups, some harbored a spiritual restlessness that yearned for greater Native expression. Word of the “Peyote Way” brought hope that herein might be the awaited revelation—the blending of Native and Christian traditions. For some, the Native American Church represented this union, and peyote missionaries were successful in spreading what some followers call an Indian version of Christianity.
The 20th-Century Revitalization of American Indian Religious Practice
The late 20th century witnessed a revitalization of Indian religion that was significantly influenced by the popularity of John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks. This book’s appeal was bolstered by the later publication of Joseph Brown’s The Sacred Pipe (an account of ritual practices provided by the same “holy man”). Both works revealed an “Oglala Sioux” (Lakota) elder whose religious perspective became associated with all Indian peoples. His was the story of a people disenfranchised from the pristine wilderness that was their idyllic home. Emotionally moving, his biography recounted the destruction of an entire way of life and the religious system that was its underpinning.
Since the 1960s, this man’s image determined the trajectory of writings related to American Indian religion. Referred to as the “bible of the hippie movement” and “bible of all tribes,” Black Elk Speaks became the wellspring of numerous works that strove to surpass its appeal. These works propelled American Indian religious practice into becoming a significant feature of broader social trends that saw many people reevaluate their worldview and way of life.
During this period, a fertile publishing career was launched for Lakota author Vine Deloria when Custer Died For Your Sins became a bestseller in 1969. His blistering critique of anthropologists challenged academics to reassess their relationship to the people their work tended to objectify. In 1973, he argued in God Is Red that Native religious practice should be appreciated for an integrity that was just as valid as larger world religions that scholars seemed to hold in higher esteem. A corrective to an academic tradition whose harvest he found both inadequate and patronizing, Deloria’s work also opened the floodgate for works of disparate quality.
A prolific writer, his Red Earth, White Lies later spelled out an ideology reflected in the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian. He charged that anthropological analyses are highly suspect and should be eschewed in favor of a people’s myths, legends, and oral traditions. In the same vein as biblical creationists, he insisted that Indian origin stories should be understood as containing literal truths. Following Deloria’s cue, the museum exhibits feature Native accounts that conflict with theories suggesting Indians somehow migrated to North America from elsewhere.
An award-winning series of television commercials also significantly affected perceptions of Native religious practice. The series featured an actor in Plains garb a la Black Elk. With a tear on his cheek, he mournfully beheld trash littering the ground. It was this iconic figure that gave impetus to a fledgling environmental movement and equated American Indian religion as more nature-friendly than the prevailing ideologies that brought blight to the land. Indian people accepted this positive stereotype and used it to help them in the courts. It was embraced by activists who lobbied for reclamation initiatives that interwove land claims with religion. Although this trend often polarized affected populations, sympathetic judicial decisions nonetheless restored Indian privileges in, or control of, lake, river, and mountain sites that were adjudged sacred to Native ancestors and their descendants.
Tribes often enlisted the testimony of anthropologists to help win favorable verdicts for cases that were showcased nationally. Varied media brought much attention to the Iroquois, who sought large swaths of land in New York; to numerous Great Lakes peoples, who fought to retain fishing rights; and to the Lakota, who pleaded for a “return” of the Black Hills to their ownership. Within these and most other legal disputes, Native groups insisted that their efforts were grounded on a religious imperative that identified them with the water, soil, or creatures that “the Creator” enjoined them to protect and with whom they identified as a people.
Besides wearing apparel and hairstyles, Native peoples also popularized neutral religious terminology that later became the vocabulary for many non-Indians. Those involved with tribal religious practice espoused a new vocabulary that substituted “spirituality” or “teachings” for the word “religion.” Similarly, “God,” although used, was often replaced with “Creator.” The tenor of the time had given a cadence to “religion” and “god” that reminded too many people of lifeless church buildings, dry texts, and rote prayers from distant Europe.
Carlos Castaneda became a household name after publishing his bestseller The Teachings of Don Juan. Deloria chastised scholars who mixed with Native peoples, but Castaneda presented himself as academe’s preferred alternative. He claimed to be an anthropologist who lived with the Yaqui people and who learned about their universe from the inside. His books became popular, and Castaneda’s life was the cover story for Time magazine (March 5,1973).
Don Juan was a biography that vied with Black Elk material as an inspirational tome of the times for college students. Its several epistle-like spin-offs were used for courses and discussion groups within academic circles. The contention of this literature was that Native peoples preserved a knowledge of drug use that Western peoples would do well to learn. After wielding much influence outside the Indian world (and revitalizing religious interest within it), Castaneda received scrutiny by scholars who called into question the entire corpus he claimed to discover while living with Yaqui religious practitioners.
Castaneda won fame, but an abiding pall hangs over his work because most people, years after the fact, regard it as fiction. Nonetheless, his efforts engendered interest and fascination with Indian religious experience. They spawned literature by and about American Indian religion that now inhabits bookstores and that challenges readers to discern authenticity.
At these bookstores, one finds studies of religion and culture interspersed with volumes that cast popular appeal and sometimes fraudulent representations of Native practice and thought. As a result, consumers made a bestseller of Forrest Carter’s The Education of Little Tree, and speakers regularly quoted “Chief Seattle’s speech” when addressing the sacredness of the environment. Relatively few were aware that both works were written by non-Indian authors.
Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, the popular biography of a contemporary Lakota medicine man, was anti-establishment in tone and fostered a widespread impression that “real” Indians could not also be Christian. Other works echoed this sentiment, which had been stated by Deloria in angrily direct terms. He distilled an opinion that was frequently heard within the pedagogy of Indian activists: “Christianity has been the curse of all cultures into which it has intruded.” Religious attitudes and literature that began to pervade the Indian world were a counterpoint to the reemergence of Christian fundamentalism in mainstream America.
The biography of Rolling Thunder, spiritual guide to a music group known as “The Grateful Dead,” won admirers within the band’s cult following and many others within the Woodstock generation. Life stories of other medicine people also were numerous over the decades, but the biographies of Lame Deer, Rolling Thunder, and Wallace Black Elk exercised the most influence. Having a marketable name but no biological or theological connection to the holy man of Neihardt and Brown, Wallace was candid in his condemnation of Christian churches within Native communities. He and others evangelized this position by addressing audiences via the lecture circuit.
As the new millennium dawned, so did the hope for new life in Indian America. The casino industry was transforming the economic status of different tribal communities, and religious practitioners were revitalizing traditions that had been suppressed, forgotten, or abandoned. At the same time, television, films, and a broad array of Indian and non-Indian writers fostered a conventional wisdom that Christian affiliation was forced upon ancestors who wanted no part of the new religion.
It was widely assumed that had they been given a free choice, elders would have retained their age-old practices and would not have joined the various Christian denominations that were now found throughout Indian America. By restoring the old practices, their descendants could amend the horrific history wrought by culture contact. Contrasting with a prevailing opinion that had been present since 1492, non-Indian commentators accorded an understandable, sometimes effusive, compensatory respect for Native religious practices.
A century earlier, Christian missionaries sought to replace Native religious practices with those of their own denomination. By 2000, many Christian ministers were assisting Native peoples to derive spiritual succor from tribal religious traditions that even the ministers regarded as having merit. Sectarianism had fallen into disfavor, and ecumenism had become commonplace.
Black Elk Speaks and The Sacred Pipe had been in the forefront of Indian cultural resurgence. They also inspired many Indians and non-Indians to appreciate Native religion anew. People saw in Black Elk a vision of the sacred that was compelling. However, the holy man’s fuller tale had not been told, and by century’s end, it generated a new debate. Black Elk: Holy Man of the Oglala revealed in detail that the sainted patriarch of traditional religion had been a devout Catholic for most of his life.
He was best remembered by those who knew him as an elder who lived the Christian faith along with many from his era. Brown admitted that he and Neihardt avoided this topic because they thought their readership would see Christianity as compromising the holy man’s “Indianness.” As a result, their portrayal of Black Elk as a resolute traditionalist made him a beacon for nativists. It moved them to seek religious meaning within Indian practice alone and forsake whatever Christian affiliation they might have had. This position was dramatically advanced by the American Indian Movement (AIM) in many highly publicized national protests, such as the occupations of Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices in Washington, DC. Activists spearheaded protests that included the restoration of Indian religious practices they understood to be traditional.
In his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread, Russell Means (a Lakota) stated that one of AIM’s concerns was to help restore the religion of people such as the revered Black Elk (Means was unaware of his Christian participation). Because AIM’s religious spokesman was Wallace Black Elk, it was only natural for Indians and non-Indians alike to conclude that Wallace was kin to the senior holy man, and that AIM’s and Wallace’s religious disposition was the same as the elder Black Elk’s. By the end of the 20th century, this understanding was as much widespread as it was inaccurate.
Urban Indian and non-Indian academics and activists were at the forefront of a revitalization movement that still unfolds within the Native world. Although the stridency has abated, Christian missionaries are still charged with complicity in bringing about the “End of the Trail” for Indian populations. However, church-going Indians still hear that the only redemption they need is redemption from those who brought Christianity.
Many were not aware that the medicine men, as custodians of tribal religious traditions, formerly claimed membership in some Christian denomination. Others tried to exorcise institutional Christian presence from among their people. This latter group asserted itself in the late 20th century where earlier, an individual might be known as a Catholic, Protestant, or Peyotist medicine man (as revealed in the biography of the much-respected religious leader, Fools Crow).
Although it was a popular tenet that Indian Christianity was oxymoronic, many Indian people continued their denominational affiliation. They also affirmed the interest in Native tradition that many younger people were expressing. If the next generation could find new life by such means, elders gladly bestowed their blessing. They did so not because they thought the young should forsake Christian practice, but because the gospel itself affirmed teachings that proffered faith and hope. Such virtues were sorely needed among so many Native peoples who were locked in the grip of a haunting poverty.
Sometimes accompanying the revivalism preached by nativists was what one anthropologist has termed “ethnognosticism.” That is, many began to assert that Indian peoples should have proprietary rights to the knowledge and conduct of rituals traditionally associated with tribal religions. This sentiment sought to have Native people alone speak on matters pertaining to the Indian world. Such exclusivity was prompted by some Indians and non-Indians who were selling their real or purported expertise to anyone who paid for their services.
This nativist position bred difficulties of its own. Anthropologist Sam Gill, teaching at the same university as Vine Deloria, was as outspoken as his colleague when he wrote that Indian hegemony within the public arena had itself become a problem. His argument is shared by others and has stirred debate, but scholars rise above it and still render a faithful reflection of Native practice. Noteworthy Indian anthropologists and their work include Alphonso Ortiz’s The Tewa World and Robert Hall’s An Archaeology of the Soul.
Native North America is composed of diverse people who devoutly attend their Christian church, participate in some tribal religious tradition, or do both (atheistic thought is seldom heard within Indian country). As they go about their daily routine, most Indians are not involved with scholarly discussions and the public activism featured on newscasts. Rather, they conduct an everyday life that is filled with the same mundane activity common to non-Indians. It helps them continue to live with a vision of the sacred that family and tribal tradition have always insisted is necessary to possess.
- Brown, J. E. (1953). The sacred pipe: Black Elk’s account of the seven rites of the Oglala Sioux. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Carter, F. (1976). The education of Little Tree. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
- Deloria, V., Jr. (1995). Red earth, white lies. New York: Scribner.
- Hall, R. L. (1997). An archaeology of the soul: North American Indian belief and ritual. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
- Means, R. (1995). Where white men fear to tread: The autobiography of Russell Means. New York: St. Martin’s.
- Neihardt, J. G. (1932). Black Elk speaks: Being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
- Ortiz, A. (1969). The Tewa world: Space, time, being and becoming in the Pueblo universe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Steltenkamp, M. F. (1993). Black Elk: Holy man of the Oglala. Norman. University of Oklahoma Press.