Talk:Vine Deloria Jr.

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To do to improve[edit]

  • in-line citations
  • much more references
  • photograph
  • what influenced him in forming his ideas... both the blunt realities he posed and the controversial ones
  • more on his impact as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians
  • more on his influence as professors at the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado

Please cross off the list as they have been completed. Thanks. CJLippert 14:11, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Confirm or complete merge from other related pages

Etbnc 15:12, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Themes, approach, writing style[edit]

I suggest adding a section to the article to summarize some of the major themes of Deloria's work, and his distinctive approach to writing. There's some of that in the bio summary now, but pulling it out separately might help to create a clearer context for criticism.

Some thoughts:

  • Deloria consistently wrote with a noticeable Native American Indian point of view (a very strong and distinctive author's voice)
  • role of Coyote / Trickster (with link to WP article about Coyote Trickster)
  • prose style freely mixes documented and cited research with personal opinion, dry wit, even sarcasm
  • criticized behavior of scientists as well as some ideas considered scientific


Etbnc 14:49, 7 April 2007 (UTC)


Looks to me as if the requested merger has been completed. (But sometimes WP seems like spaghetti to me; maybe I got tangled in a tangent.)

Confirmation? Is there anything left to merge from elsewhere?

Etbnc 15:11, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Be bold and do it! Doesn't really need discussion as these are two pages on the same person. Don't envy you having to do the merge, though. Vizjim 10:38, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Sure thing, I may very well do so - but I placed the merge template there to bring it to others' attention if I didn't, which I'm assuming is appropriate.... Outriggr 23:15, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Creationism, science, etc.[edit]

I don't know enough to write something accurate on the subject, but my impression is that Deloria is known, especially in his later writings, for strong attacks on many widely-accepted scientific theories, such as evolution and the view that early Americans crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia. Needless to say, this has caused some controversy. I'm thinking in particular of his 1995 book Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact. We do have a separate article on that book, but don't really discuss the issue here. --Delirium 11:05, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I included a couple of sentences (citations included) on Deloria's take on contemporary Science. I think this will help lay a reason behind his argument toward creationism and away from the scientific explanation of origins. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JasonTCole (talkcontribs) 18:52, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Nice job on the addition of Deloria's views on science. Interesting that Deloria took such a strong position on creationism and even pushed against science so passionately. Your addition was clearly articulated and easy to understand. It was also well justified with the references/citations provided. Dkong015 (talk) 04:52, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Minor note. After Jason's edit I noticed that he hadn't realised that he was using a summary of a chapter and that the author of the chapter was not the person who wrote the summary - an easy thing to miss, so I fixed that and changed the text into a quote as it was too close to the original to use otherwise. Dougweller (talk) 11:28, 17 July 2014 (UTC)


There are footnotes [1] and [2] but now reference at the end of the article. Even more disturbing because the criticism claims some strange things about Deloria. So if you read his writings you can find many humorous remarks, that is why I don't think - even if one can find these remarks in his writings - you should take them serious.

Therefor I'll cut and paste this part on this discussion page until we have some verified references:

Deloria was widely criticized for his embrace of pseudoscience. For example, Deloria argued that white people were created by space aliens from the planet Nibiru, and that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time.[1] The Rocky Mountain News excoriated Deloria for the "the utterly wacky nature of some of his views,” and “his contempt for much science." [2]

I hid part of this comment on the page for the time being, partly because no page numbers were cited, just books, and partly because...well, I've read "God is Red", and Deloria's claims about aliens are nowhere near as batshit crazy as this makes them sound. I think a much better thing to mention would be Deloria's praise of Immanuel Velikovsky, whose pseudoscientific ideas have been roundly criticised by scientists. Because Deloria clearly supports Velikovsky's ideas, and devotes a lot of time to talking about them.

I don't recall any mention of a "planet Nibiru", and if he ever made such a mention, it was surely in jest; he does imply, if I remember correctly, that one explanation for people's beliefs in gods who directly interacted with humans was visits by alien beings, but I forget how he connected that with white people. I don't have the book with me now, though, and I won't have access to it for a few weeks more. But given how, well, devastating these claims are, I don't think it's acceptable to just cite a book as a reference--it needs to be more specific.

Also, citing a single newspaper column published apparently as a result of Deloria's death is a really poor way of referencing the claim that someone has been "widely criticised". What would be much better would be citing actual scientists and academics criticising him. --Miskwito 03:07, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Miskwito, I think you've begun to illustrate the basic challenge of describing Deloria's writing. It seems to me that Deloria's work is all about interpretation and a distinct, personal point of view. He criticized white culture. White culture criticized him. The obvious approach to saying that here with a neutral point of view tends to result in a dry transcript of "He said. She said."

I'm sure folks can always find one more "He said" page number or "She said" quote. Piling those up may just distract readers from understanding the context of the conflict.

Here's an article I found yesterday. It looks to be from an actual academic/scientist. It's the closest I've found yet to an explanation of some of science culture's concern about Deloria's writing:

I hope there are more, similar examples out there, but perhaps that one would be helpful.


Etbnc 14:31, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Moved from comments section[edit]

I recently started reading Deloria's work as part of my study of cultures, subcultures, and religion. I thought it might be interesting to see what Wikipedia had to say about him. I was right: it's definitely....interesting.

Two reactions: On the whole, I'm pleased to see the majority of the article delivers the sort of information one would wish to learn about an author of twenty books. But that's exactly why the quality of the article is marred by the "criticism" section, which sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Although the details of quotation marks, titles, and page numbers may create an appearance of neutral point of view, citing a newspaper _opinion_ column without noting such greatly undermines its supposed neutrality. To me this comes across as "He said, She said", which really doesn't add much to my knowledge of Deloria's career.

It seems to me that Deloria tried to question the conventional wisdom of mainstream, white, European-derived American culture. At times he sharply criticized the institutions of mainstream culture. Is it any surprise that an institution (a large chain newspaper) which represents mainstream culture would react by criticizing him?

To be sure, creating a coherent context for analyzing Deloria's body of work might be a challenge. It can be difficult to make counter-culture points of view understandable to a mainstream culture audience. (Deloria spent thirty years and twenty books working at it!) If this article is to serve as a scholarly resource, however, I think it's worth trying.

Perhaps the candid discussion among the page editors about their own reactions to Deloria's views might serve as a starting place for criticism. (Thoughts?) I plan to read more of Deloria's writing in the next few weeks. If I can think of a brief, neutral way to describe the context for Deloria's critics, I'll offer it.

Thanks for the biographical info that's been assembled here so far. Cheers

Etbnc 16:45, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Vine Deloria, Jr. comments left at WP:IPNA[edit]

Copied comments from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America to here.

I would like to point out the pejorative nature of the article on Wiki page. First on the table of contents is Criticism. When I try to add a bit about how he is by many a respected elder in the native community, it is unceremoniously erased. Making my point but lets get beyond that. Let's start out what is good about Deloria before we bash him. You dont like it, change it or discuss it, dont just erase it.
Role as Native Leader
Viewed by many as one to emulate, Deloria "offered an intellectual doorway through which young native people could pass and find their own way and be taken seriously." [1]


Unsigned comments by on 03:20, 5 December 2007
Moved comment from top of page to here CJLippert (talk) 04:01, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

It looks like the summary gives why the "Role as Native Leader" section keeps on being reversed. It seems reasonable. However, I do agree this section should exist but not this sentence the way it is... especially by itself. CJLippert (talk) 04:26, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Thank You, for at least moving it here to second page on deloria. There are many many references to how important deloria is to both individuals and to institutions. Thank you for not erasing this comment entirely. But if you think that it should be on the first page of deloria, why not fix it to what your standards are? I am sorry. I can barely understand all your wikipedia code. And have little computer time available to me to understand it. I would hope that someone who cares enough about Deloria to maintain a watch over his memorial page would be more interested in gaining a balanced understanding of him. and his importance to the community, instead of just erasing a part of his impact on our people and our shared nation. Please, if you are watching this dont just erase it, no? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

With great respect: this isn't a "memorial page". It's an encyclopedia. A memorial site might be a good idea, but that's not this. If a positive spirit, this is a place to put objective information about the man, and if he's a good man with good ideas, those will become evident and all the more powerful because of the objectivity. What should be said about him that the article does not? Put it here in Talk and let us Talk about it! rewinn (talk) 07:45, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


I dispute the neutrality of this article; as a rule, only vague, insubstantial quotes are offered against his views on mainstream science. I suggest either positive quotes be included or these pseudo-criticisms be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Vine Deloria, Jr.#Creationism needs revisions[edit]

The Creationism section right now includes an editing war with sentences contradicting each other and challenging the viewpoints there expressed. The challenges are not written in a neutral or encyclopedic way. Disagreements are valid but they should be rephrased in a neutral manner, not fighting within the article itself.--Lawrlafo (talk) 05:16, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I've deleted them. I agree with your comments. That is probably just a new editor without much clue as to what Wikipedia is. Dougweller (talk) 05:47, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Red Earth, White Lies discussion[edit]

I posted a topic about Deloria at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America#Red Earth, White Lies; please add your input. Thanks, Aristophanes68 (talk) 07:43, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Problem with period at end of this article's URL[edit]

the official Wikipedia URL of this page does not seem to work correctly and some kind of correction and/or redirect is needed

when the link is posted on a social network it prompts people to start a new page rather than takes them to the official one - is this a bug or a problem with the punctuation characters in the Wiki URL? Twintanist (talk) 17:22, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Twintanist, your question is being discussed at WP:Village pump (technical)#Article url not working?.
Suggestion: Try replacing the period at the end of the URL with the following percent-encoded code: %2E
(By the way, a new topic/question on a talk page goes in a new section at the bottom of the page.) --Pipetricker (talk) 23:46, 5 February 2016 (UTC)