Archie Fire Lame Deer

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Archie Fire Lame Deer (1980)

Archie Fire Lame Deer or Tȟáȟča Hušté (1935-2001) was a Hollywood stuntman, a medicine man, and a lecturer of Lakota people religion. He grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. With Richard Erdoes he wrote Gift of Power: the life and teachings of a Lakota medicine man.[1] He is the son of John Fire Lame Deer.

Person[edit]

Archie Fire Lame Deer (April 10, 1935 – January 16, 2001) was a Lakota Sioux spiritual leader, a medicine man and a lecturer and activist of Lakota spirituality.

He was born in Corn Creek, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. His father was John Fire Lame Deer, a well known Lakota holy man. Archie grew up with the guidance and teachings of his grandfather, Henry Quick Bear. He attended school at the St. Francis Indian School, but was able to run away at age 14 after many tries. He enlisted in the army twice and was a veteran of the Korean War, a member of the Special Forces and a P.O.W.

Among other temporary careers Archie was a ranch hand on numerous South Dakota ranches, a rattlesnake exterminator, a Hollywood stuntman, a rodeo rider and a foreman on a Hollywood ranch. Upon giving up alcohol addiction in 1971 he also became a drug and alcohol counsellor. Through the Los Angeles Indian Center he ran a program for Native American offenders imprisoned in both State and Federal institutions in California. Archie was instrumental in bringing Lakota purification ceremonies into prisons across the United States and also helped found and run the Santa Barbara Indian Center.

The last twenty years of his life Archie Fire Lame Deer has travelled throughout the world teaching Lakota spiritual beliefs and way of life. In his travels he met and talked with numerous spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama and the Pope. In 1980 he also spoke in Rotterdam at the Fourth Russell Tribunal on Indigenous Peoples' Rights.

For many years Chief Lame Deer was the intercessor at the annual Crow Dog’s Sundance on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, just like his father before him. When Archie died, his son John took his place as a Chief and medicine man and carries on the traditions of the Lame Deer family.

Archie Fire Lame Deer was subject of the book Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man, which he wrote together with Richard Erdoes.

Controversy[edit]

On July 12, 1980, Lame Deer was in the process of conducting a vision quest ceremony for two men, one of whom, Ronald Delgado, was a diabetic. Delgado died during the four-day ceremony. Lame Deer was promptly denounced as a "known fraud" and a "twinkie" (New Age practitioner) by Native American activists and even by some white New Age groups.[2][3][4] Activists from many Indian nations express concern and anger about the large number of unqualified persons, both Anglo and Indian, taking money to conduct alleged sweat lodge, sun dance, and vision quest ceremonies—often gravely at odds with the real thing—primarily for Anglo people, many of whom subsequently proclaim themselves to have received inspiration to become "medicine people" themselves, perpetuating the fraud.[5]

Delgado's race was never stated, but he was described as a Roman Catholic. Apparently charges against Lame Deer were never filed.

Prior to the incident, Lame Deer had been interviewed by Peter Matthiesen in 1978 and again in 1979. Mathiesen gratefully acknowledged that Lame Deer had "been kind enough" to include him in a sweat lodge purification ceremony at that time, and described ceremonies of respect performed by Lame Deer at Point Conception and other places around Santa Barbara, California. He quoted Lame Deer as being extremely concerned about improperly performed sweat lodges and Sun Dance ceremonies, often conducted by younger Indians with no sense of the proper timing or "feelings" of the year, wind, or weather.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Native American Authors Project at IPL
  2. ^ Diabetic Dies During 'Vision Quest', Kingman Daily Miner 1980-08-22, website found 2009-09-11.
  3. ^ Will Someone Die in a Sweat Lodge This Weekend? From a Native website which keeps track of and denounces fraudulent spiritual leaders. Lame Deer has been labeled a "twinkie" or New Age pretender by these activists.
  4. ^ "I am no longer promoting or supporting Chief Leonard Crow Dog to come to the Rainbow Gathering." From a discussion board of the Rainbow Family, a predominantly white group which gathers yearly to pray for world peace.
  5. ^ Don't Pay to Pray
  6. ^ Matthiesen, Peter, "At the Western Gate", in Indian Country (Viking, 1984), p. 223 et seq.

External links[edit]