Legend of Rainbow Warriors

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Since the early 1970s, a legend of Rainbow Warriors has inspired some environmentalists in the United States with a belief that their movement is the fulfillment of a Native American prophecy. However, the origin of the "prophecy" is not Native American, but rather from a 1962 book titled Warriors of the Rainbow by William Willoya and Vinson Brown from Naturegraph Publishers. Brown, who is attributed with research into Hopi prophecies, is the founder and owner of Naturegraph Publishers.[1][2][3]

The roots of that myth go back to a book called Warriors of the Rainbow. It was basically an evangelical Christian tract which was published in 1962. If anything, it was an attack on Native culture. It was an attempt to evangelize within the Native American community.[2]

The book relates Indian prophecies to the Second Coming of Christ and has been described as purveying "a covert anti-Semitism throughout, while evangelizing against traditional Native American spirituality."[1] The book The Greenpeace Story, states that Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter was given a copy of Warriors of the Rainbow by a wandering dulcimer maker in 1969 and passing it around on the first expedition of the Don't Make a Wave Committee, the precursor of Greenpeace.[4]

The legend also inspired the 1978 name of (the third) Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior that is used in environmental-protection protests as well as that of the hippie group, the Rainbow Family.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Niman, Michael (1997). People of the Rainbow: Nomadic Utopia. University of Tennessee Press. pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0870499890. 
  2. ^ a b Interview with Michael Niman
  3. ^ About Naturegraph
  4. ^ Brown, Michael (1989). The Greenpeace Story. Dorling Kindersley. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-1879431027. 


  • Willoya, William, and Vinson Brown. Warriors of the Rainbow: Strange and Prophetic Indian Dreams. Healdsburg, California: Naturegraph, 1962.
  • Dahl, Arthur. "Brown, Vinson." In Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor, 227. London & New York: Continuum International, 2005.
  • Deloria, Philip J.. Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.
  • Niman, Michael I. People of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia. Nashville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997.