Rolling Thunder (person)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rolling Thunder
Born John Walter Pope
(1916-09-10)September 10, 1916
Stamps, Arkansas
Died January 23, 1997(1997-01-23) (aged 80)
Elko, Nevada
Cause of death Complications from diabetes
Nationality American
Known for New Age spiritualist
Spotted Fawn
(her death 1984)
Carmen Sun Rising
(his death 1997)
Children Mala Spotted Eagle
Buffalo Horse
Ozella Morning Star
Patty Mocking Bird[1]

Rolling Thunder (birth name: John Pope, 1916–1997) was a hippy spiritual leader who self-identified as a Native American medicine man.[3] He was raised in Oklahoma and later moved to Nevada.[4]

In print[edit]

John Pope has been the subject of several books, notably Rolling Thunder (1974), by American journalist and author Doug Boyd, and the book Rolling Thunder Speaks: A Message for Turtle Island (1998), a narrative edited by his second wife, Carmen Sun Rising Pope. He also figures prominently in Mad Bear (1994), Boyd's follow-up book to Rolling Thunder, which chronicles the life of Mad Bear Anderson, who Boyd says was a peer and mentor to Rolling Thunder.[4]

In music[edit]

Rolling Thunder appears on Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's album Rolling Thunder, a 1972 release. In 1975/76, Bob Dylan organized and headlined a nationwide series of concerts called the Rolling Thunder Revue (named for thunder itself, according to Dylan.)[5]

On audio cassette[edit]

Rolling Thunder appears in taped interviews with John Trudell and Michael Chosa in which he describes the contemporary treatment of Native Americans.[6]

Life and legacy[edit]

In 1975 he and his wife Spotted Fawn founded a non-profit community on 262 acres (1.06 km2) of land in north-eastern Nevada (just east of the town of Carlin) that they named Meta Tantay. It operated until 1985; visitors over the years included Mickey Hart.[7]


Rolling Thunder died in 1997 from complications associated with diabetes. He also suffered from emphysema in the later years of his life.[4]


Rolling Thunder's given name was John Pope.[8] At times he claimed to be part Cherokee[8] and at other times Shoshone[9] or Hopi.[citation needed] He never provided proof of any Native heritage. He has been accused of cultural appropriation and cited as an example of a non-Native who taught fraudulent, "Native-style" ceremonies, often for money.[10][11] He often claimed to represent the Western Shoshone Nation.[9]


  • Native Healer: Initiation Into an Ancient Art by Bobby Lake-Thom and Robert G. Lake – 1991 (Foreword by Rolling Thunder) Quest Books ISBN 978-0-8356-0667-7


  • Rolling Thunder – Mickey Hart (1972)
  • Rolling Thunder Speaks: the Owyhee Confrontation (Audio Book)
  • From Alcatraz to Chicago - with John Trudell and Michael Chosa (Audio Book)


  • Rolling Thunder: Healer of Meta Tantay – UFO TV – DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005


  1. ^ a b Laszlo, Ervin (February 12, 2009). The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field. Inner Traditions. ISBN 1594772983.
  2. ^ The Shamanic Powers of Rolling Thunder: As Experienced by Alberto Villoldo, John Perry Barlow, Larry Dossey, and Others. Bear & Company. ISBN 1591432278.
  3. ^ Mystics, Magicians, and Medicine People: Tales of a Wanderer
  4. ^ a b c Rolling Thunder Speaks
  5. ^ "I was just sitting outside my house one day thinking about a name for this tour, when all of a sudden, I looked into the sky and I heard a boom! Then, boom, boom, boom, boom, rolling from west to east. So I figured that should be the name." Rare photos of Bob Dylan's epic Rolling Thunder tour, CBS News, retrieved April 14, 2016
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mickey Hart at Meta Tantay
  8. ^ a b Panther-Yates 40
  9. ^ a b Rolling Thunder speaks : the Owyhee confrontation
  10. ^ G. Hobson, "The Rise of the White Shaman as a New Version of Cultural Imperialism." in: Hobson, Gary, ed. The Remembered Earth. Albuquerque, NM: Red Earth Press; 1978: 100-108.
  11. ^ Chidester, David, Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture. University of California Press; 2005; p.173: "Defenders of the integrity of indigenous religion have derided New Age shamans, as well as their indigenous collaborators, as 'plastic shaman' or 'plastic medicine men.'"


Further reading[edit]

  • The Shamanic Powers of Rolling Thunder: As Experienced by Alberto Villoldo, John Perry Barlow, Larry Dossey, and Others by Sidian Morning Star Jones and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. (editors) - Bear & Company (November 2016) ISBN 978-1591432272
  • The Voice of Rolling Thunder: A Medicine Man's Wisdom for Walking the Red Road by Sidian Morning Star Jones and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. (editors) - Bear & Company (September 2012) ISBN 978-1591431336
  • Dream Catchers: How Mainstream America Discovered Native Spirituality By Philip Jenkins (2005) Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-518910-0. 2004.
  • Hollywood and the Supernatural by Sherry Hansen and Brad Steiger – St. Martin's Press (1990).
  • Mad Bear: Spirit, Healing, and the Sacred in the Life of a Native American Medicine Man by Doug Boyd (1994) Touchstone
  • Mystics, Magicians, and Medicine People: Tales of a Wanderer by Doug Boyd – Marlowe & Co (1995) ISBN 978-1-56924-880-5
  • Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives by Albert Ellis, Mike Abrams and Lidia Abrams (2008) Sage Publications, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4129-1422-2
  • Rolling Thunder: A Personal Exploration into the Secret Healing Powers of an American Indian Medicine Man by Doug Boyd – Delta (1976) ISBN 978-0-385-28859-0

External links[edit]