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The Sacred Pipe
Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux
Joseph Epes Brown, ed.
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This is a faithful transcription by Joseph Epes Brown of the words of Black Elk, a Sioux holy man. At the time that he told his stories to Brown, Black Elk was one of the few if not the only remaining man of his tribe to know his peoples religious rights and their meanings. Brown lived for a time with Black Elk on the Sioux reservation in order to preserve these rites for the sioux people and for for future generations of people everywhere.

The deep connection and reverence felt by Black Elk's people for the Earth and all of its creatures shines forth on every page. People of all cultures and backgrounds will benefit from the wisdom and the spirituality to be found here. This is an important book that deserves a place in every seeker's library.

Awakening Spirits
A Native American Path to Inner Peace, Healing, and Spiritual Growth
by Tom Brown, Jr.
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to In this book, Tom Brown shares the philosophy and the teachings of a Native American elder, Stalking Wolf, who he called Grandfather. He taught the young Tom Brown to connect with and become part of the natural world that surrounded him. From his connection to the natural world, he discovered profound truths of spirit. Grandfather taught him a practical spirituality that remains unseen by most modern Americans. This is the spirituality of Native Americans.

This book tells how Grandfather learned this philosophy of living. It tells how Tom Brown learned this philosophy from Grandfather. and finally, it tells readers how to discover this philosophy for themselves. This book is very readable and the philosophy is both practical and profound. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Native American spirituality.

The Elements of Native American Traditions
by Arthur Versluis
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to In Native American Traditions Athur Versluis gives us a brief, but lucid and concise introduction to a wide range of Native American traditions. He draws material from cultures as diverse as the Inuit of the Polar regions, the Aztecs and Incas of South America, tribes of the Eastern forestlands, and tribes of the Plains and the far West.

Drawing on his years of experiences with Native American peoples and the wisdom of well known healers and holy men such as Black Elk, he organizes the material into concise and easy to read chapters. Topics include: The main features of Native American cultures, their understanding of nature, fascinating ceremonies and rituals, warrior traditions, shamanic and medical practices, religious beliefs and practices, sacred sites and symbols, and much more.

The Theft of the Spirit
A Journey to Spiritual Healing with Native Americans
by Carl A. Hammerschlag, M.D.
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to The Theft of the Spirit has a message for our modern technological society. This is a message of hope. The author teaches us through several moving stories of the Hopi struggle for survival that we can use our own sense of community and tradition to conquor the emotional pain and loss that result in the death of our spiritual lives. Community is strengthened through the use of rituals, symbols, and myths.

Hammerschlag makes masterful use of the Hopi people as a mirror for the larger society to show what happens when we lose our faith in our government, our church, and our family. We become vulnerable and dispirited. Hammerschlag also uses the Hopi to show us that this does not have to defeat us. In his own words at the close of his book:

No one can steal your spirit. You have to give it away. You can also take it back. Find yours.

Voices of the Winds
Native American Legends
by Margot Edmonds and Ella E. Clark
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to More than a hundred legends from over sixty North American tribes are represented here in this fascinating book. The authors traveled to every region of the continent collecting these stories. The profound respect the authors had for the people they met and their dedication to their task really shows in this book. Here is a quote from the introduction to their book:

To help us learn and understand more about the life of the North American Indians, their myths and legends are a rich source of their oral tradition, comparable to reading European folklore and fairy tales. So superbly trained were the North American Indian tribal historians that their acting and the mimicry of sounds portraying human and animal characters were limited only by the imagination of the storytellers . . .

You will discover here how tribal traditions and cultures have been preserved from generation to generation from their earliest beginnings in Alaska during the last Ice Age. From these, we can gather greater understanding of the long heritage of Indian tribal life.

Book of the Hopi
The First Revelations of the Hopi's Historical and Religious World-View of Life
by Frank Waters
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to In The Book of the Hopi, elders of the ancient Hopi tribe of northern Arizona reveal for the first time in written form the Hopi world-view of life. The Hopi have kept this view a secret for countless generations, and this book was made possible only as a result of their desire to record for future generations the principles of their Road of Life.

The breaking of the Hopi silence is significant and fascinating because for the first time, anthropologists, ethnologists, and anyone interested in the field of Native American research have been given rich material showing the Hopi legends, th meaning of their religious rituals and ceremonies, and the beauty of a conception of life within the natural world that is completely untouched by the excesses of the materialistic world.

From the Birth of Turtle Island to the Blood of Wounded Knee
by Gerald Hausman
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Tunkashila, a little stone, relates all the stories he has witnessed from the creation of the Earth to the coming of white people and the end of the Indian peoples dream. In one sweeping narrative, eighty Native American legends in fairy tale form tell the story of Native Americans. The stories are lyrical and speak to the heart. They deserve to be read slowly and with respect. You will hear the voices of grandfathers and elders as they pass on their legends from one generation to the next. This passage is found on a flyleaf at the beginning of the story:

A Sioux medicine man once stopped in a field of grass
to talk to a stone. Addressing it reverently, he called
it Tunkashila, which means grandfather.
"Oh, Grandfather, tell me how the world began".
And the stone spoke.


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