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4.7 out of 5 stars
Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you like me, before I read this book, are naive to what true American Indian culture is all about (or maybe you won't realize how naive you are until you read the book), then this biography of Archie Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota Indian is definitely an excellent crash course to bring you up to date! Much of American Indian culture, especially their religion and intense beliefs about people, animals and our earth make a lot of sense to me. So many suppressed or simply not understood parts of this culture are clearly explained and described in fascinating detail. Though I don't plan to change my personal Christian beliefs, I'm moved by the depth and intensity of this culture; Archie Fire's descriptions moved me to intense shame regarding the many horrible things that were, and are still being done in the name of Christianity to this culturally rich, intelligent, colorful and generally peaceful people (Archie Fire Lame Deer, somewhat similarly, also expresses his shame of so many false medicine men promoting Indian religion & culture). And we claim to be a free country guaranteeing freedom of religion? As has become apparent to me, so many things that we believe to be a part of our white North American cultures are actually rooted in American Indian tradition. I say thanks very much to Archie Fire for recording this valuable, enlightening information for we, the unindoctrinated. I wish him and the American Indian people the realization of all of the wonderful dreams described here (as I wish to share in them also).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Growing up nurtured in the many faces and realities of nature - and the beauties & dangers therein - provided a school of knowledge for Archie Fire Lame Deer. Along side of this, were the brutalities and horrors of another type of school; this school sought to shame, beat, and abuse the native spirit out of him. This place was one of the many much written about Christian Indian Schools. Within both settings were men who set examples for Archie of humans who realized they had to do nothing else but provide him with acceptance and kindness: his grandfather and a priest at the Indian School. Archie was sent to this school by his Grandfather for the knowledge to be gained there. Grandfather was a Shaman;he knew that Archie would be one someday,too. I think the real reason he sent him to that school was to expose him - first hand - to the ugliest parts of human nature that he knew about. Archie going to Indian School was tantamount to hurricane Katrina being stopped by the frivolous levy systems in New Orleans. Despite all this violence, Archie was able to learn...the kindly Priest at the school was there, right on time, to provide support when Archie needed it most. After freeing himself from this place, his journey was soaked by alcohol. It accompanied Archie everywhere: with lots of women; in lots of fights; in just as many jail cells. It then took him to Hollywood where he became a stuntman. Under all of this was his calling as a healer and a Shaman: this is a terrifying calling. The physical and emotional demands are overwhelming. Here are the facts: only someone willing to throw away, time and again, friends, relatives, jobs, and opportunites is fit for such a job. It seems that such a person would be a narcissist; on the contrary, this kind of person walks with death and loss every day. They have no ego; they have no feelings. We have called them sociopaths. The difference between a sociopath and someone who grabs THE GIFT OF POWER is simple; the former dies or goes insane, while the latter somehow recognizes the destruction in him/herself - and in the wake they cast - as only another possession to be tossed aside. Then that empty hole is filled with the GIFT OF POWER. Archie's natural Father died. In this dying he passed the gift on to his son. Archie was born and raised in the Badlands; but other lands were just as bad. There is beauty in the Badlands...you just have to recognize it. This book should be on all required reading lists.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Archie Fire Lame Deer is the son of John Fire Lame Deer and succeeded him as head of his spiritual lineage upon his father's death. A "modern" medicine man with an incredible life story. He's funny, charming, impactful, tells the truth. If I were making a list of "must meet" holy men, he'd be on it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was totally amazing. Written in Archie Lame Deer's own words. Archie really takes us deep into the Lakota culture and brings us into the world of American Indian life. The style in which Archie teaches instills in the reader the importance of laughter to the American Indian people as a way of dealing with the horror dealt by the government and settlers throughout history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is one of the few books that tells about native American spirituality without any of the new age crap you find in most of the other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A good read. I really enjoyed this humor laced autobiography from a man who has walked in the white and red worlds. His life is an amazing reflection and his healing a tribute. His lengthy descriptions of the spiritual realms is extraordinary. You will have pause to question what you know and believe if you accept his experiences as real. I've been fortunate to have personally known a native medicine woman so what he says rings true, but for many it will push the limits of the world as they know it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, I quote passes out of it. All things writted are from humans. We put our Ideas in them. It is books like these that teach us the old ways. Our Ancestors were punished greatly for there believes. Now they can speak up if we will listen.

Thank you again for a Great Book
Joyce
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a first-person account of the life of a "medicine man," or Native-American shaman. The style is personal and engaging. This is a good introduction to the topic for the novice.
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on May 2, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book expanded my reality of, and insight into, a remarkable culture while letting me into the world of Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota medicine man. The narration by Richard Erdoes is transparent and invisible, calling no attention to itself - the work of a master - and no less is called for in this fascinating and awe-provoking life story. Archie Fire Lame Deer's life as told is gritty, real, spiritual, moving, and absorbing. I wish and hope that he and other profound Native Americans like him continue to be born and share their wisdom in the world, and that more people all over come to know the spiritual truths they teach. In our current American culture, there seem to be few great souls to be found in public life. To read about someone like Archie is a gift and I recommend it highly.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I dove into this with the usual excitement I have when starting all Native American writings. The authors' understandable resentment for the wasichu, his inspiring rebellious nature, and a heyoka personality, clearly shapes his journey. This combination made me feel that some parts of his stories were rhetorical exaggerations, and altered my concept of his purpose for writing this book. Was it to teach? Teach what exactly? I'll take it up where I left off someday, after having read his fathers book, and see if there are some redeeming qualities in the second half. Sorry, I just tired of it.
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